Former WWE Superstar Elijah Burke (aka, Da Pope) was a guest on Behind the Curtain where he talked about turning down an offer to be apart of The Spirit Squad in 2006. He also talked about an original plan/storyline for The Undertaker at WrestleMania 23.
You can check out some highlights from the interview below:
On reports that he was offered a spot in the Spirit Squad: “That was correct. My self — well, I won’t get into the names…but I will say this. The opportunity was presented by Vince McMahon himself. And Vince McMahon told me along with the other original members of the Spirit Squad that we were going to make a lot of money because it was his idea. And he was going to push it obviously, because it was his own idea, his own creation. Vince got on a plane one day and thought to himself, ‘Ha! People hate cheerleaders, ha ha ha! I’ll get cheerleaders!’ And so, that’s what he did. He got some male cheerleaders, and he wanted me to be one of them. And I politely turned it down, as I didn’t think I could’ve did that role any justice.”
On the reaction to his turning it down: “[I got] a bunch of heat for turning it down by some of the boys who saw it as squandering an opportunity, you know, for telling Vince McMahon no. And Vince McMahon appreciated the fact that I was open, honest, and was man enough to say this it’s not for me. And Vince made sure that — he sent me back down to OVW and said, ‘We’ll bring you back when we have something for you.’”
On nearly being a part of WrestleMania 23: “It’s crazy, because that WrestleMania, the whole plan was for Sylvester Terkay and The Undertaker. And Pope was supposed to, obviously — and I had no problem with it! Young Elijah Burke riding the coattails of Sylvester Terkay. [laughs] To go against the Undertaker. They brought Sylvester Terkay in specifically because Undertaker was and is a huge MMA guy. And so, Undertaker loved the physicalness and the legitness of the MMA. And he loves to bring that time of wherewithal, and create that same type of magic inside the wrestling ring.”