Michelle McCool was warned, but it didn’t truly prepare her for what was coming.
AJ Styles was so good at digging into McCool during the storyline build to his WrestleMania 36 match with The Undertaker — whose real name is Mark Calaway — that it left the WWE legend’s wife wanting to “punch” her husband’s antagonist “in the face.”
“When that came up with AJ and the first night [on “Monday Night Raw”] that he really went in deep on me, Mark had text me and said, ‘Just lettin’ ya know, things are pretty stiff tonight with this promo from what I hear.’ ” McCool told The Post while promoting the WWE docuseries “Undertaker: The Last Ride” that premieres Sunday night after the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on WWE Network.
That night in early March, Styles cut a promo portraying McCool — a former WWE women’s champion in her own right — as a manipulative wife that “plays him [Undertaker] like a fiddle” who is going to “run you into the ground” by making her husband – “a broken-down old man” — get in the ring despite injuries and being past his prime. Styles continued his storyline assault on McCool, also painting her as a gold digger, in the weeks leading up to match.
“I was not expecting all that AJ gave and I love AJ,” McCool said. “I love his family, I love his wife [Wendy]. I texted his wife and said, ‘Look, you know I love y’all but he’s kind of making me hate him right now.’ He is doing his job because I kind of want to punch him in the face.”
McCool, who described herself as “a nice, sweet, shoot-from-the-hip, small-town girl,’ said she has no issue with the WWE audience potentially disliking her without knowing the real person because her past on-screen persona was also more of a heel.
“People have really hated me just because I’m with Mark,” she said. “It’s kind of like I’ve taken him away from people.”
After listening week after week to Styles, McCool joked that she wanted to her get her hands on him in the widely praised, cinematic-style Boneyard match at WrestleMania won by Undertaker when he buried the former WWE champion in a grave. Styles and McCool did trade some banter via social media during the feud.
“Come WrestleMania I was like ‘Can I please show up?’” McCool said. “I could have covered him in dirt. I could have done a lot of things.”
McCool could still get her chance as Styles opened the door for another match with Undertaker down the road during an appearance Wednesday on WWE’s “The Bump”.
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