Will The Undertaker rest in peace at 25 years?

Published: December 10, 2015

The Undertaker went on a hiatus in 1999 to have surgery. Taker returned in 2000 Judgement Day with his new look and persona. He saved The Rock from assault by Mcmahon-Helmsely faction. PHOTO: WRESTLING.ORG.IN

On November 22, 2015, at a WWE Survivor Series, The Undertaker‘s career turned 25. Twenty-five years of absolute spine-chilling moments that cemented the legacy of The Deadman.

Here are the moments and matches that made the legend who he is today to all of his WWE fans:

1. His WWE debut

The moment he walked in, he sent shivers down the spines of his top opponents. His persona was petrifying. On November 22, 1990, the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase introduced him as his surprise tag team partner, accompanied by his manager, Brother Love (who was immediately replaced by infamous Paul Bearer) in the Survivor Series. He was initially supposed to be introduced as Kane, The Undertaker, but due to an error on DiBiase’s part, he was introduced as just The Undertaker. And the rest you can figure out by yourself.

2. The streak begins

During Wresltlemania VII, The Deadman earned his first Wrestlemania victory by defeating Jimmy Snuka. Neither did the fans present at the event nor the WWE management have any idea that they were witnessing the start of the most impressive streak in WWE history. It wasn’t until victory number 13 that they realised the obvious and started building storylines around The Streak. Over the years, many great matches were contended by The Deadman but victory number one will always be special.

3. Undertaker versus Under ‘faker’

In 1994, a new strange Deadman started to haunt WWE. Copying the Phenomenon’s moves and persona, this man was introduced by the same guy who introduced the real Undertaker, Ted DiBiase. Eventually, the two Takers came face to face with our real Taker tombstoning the faker and shutting him inside a casket, never to be seen again.

4. The Reign of Terror

Taker, either alone or with his partners, has been known to carry out the most heart-stopping, spine-chilling acts. In the year 1998, he performed one of the most controversial acts in the history of WWE RAW. He crucified Stone Cold Steve Austin on a satanic cross. It brought distaste among viewers but cemented his image as a deep, dark person.

5. The Undertaker versus Mankind Hell in a Cell

There are matches and then there is the ‘Oh My God’ (OMG) moment in a match. But when the entire match becomes an OMG moment, then that is special. The Undertaker versus Mankind aka Mick Foley, Hell in a Cell is one of those matches. Credit goes to Foley for performing crazy stunts, making this match worthwhile. First, Mankind was tossed from the roof of a 16-foot high cage by The Deadman causing him to crash into the announcer table. This triggered good ol’ JR (Jim Ross the WWE commentator) to shout out his signature line for the first time:

“Good God almighty! Good God almighty! That killed him! As God as my witness, he is broken in half!”

Now if that wasn’t enough, Mankind got out of the stretcher, went back up again where The Undertaker choke-slammed him at the top of the cage. The panel broke and Mankind crashed straight down into the ring. Jim Ross shouted,

“Good God, Good God! Will somebody stop the damn match? Enough’s enough!”

Many WWE folks, including The Undertaker, believed that Mankind had actually died at that point. The match continued with Taker taking the victory.

6. American Big Evil (Biker Days)

The Undertaker went on a hiatus in 1999 to have a surgery and returned in 2000 in what came to be known as ‘Judgement Day’ with a new look and persona. He saved The Rock from the assaults of the Mcmahon-Helmsely faction. He looked less demonic and a Kid Rock song was playing in the background. He rode his Harley and became a prominent face for the company. This particular theme was selected by The Undertaker himself, drawing inspiration from his love for bikes. He carried the American Big Evil façade till Survivor Series 2003. Personally, I preferred this personality; it involved less drama and was closer to reality. The real Mark Callaway (Undertaker’s real name) revealed himself during this time. He was regularly talking in the ring and was active in storylines.

7. Buried Alive At Survivor Series 2003

The Undertaker has been involved in many buried alive matches. The 2003 Buried Alive match against Vince Mcmahon, chairman of the WWE gave way to the current Deadman persona of The Undertaker. The match was mostly one-way and The Undertaker almost won when he was about to bury Mr Mcmahon alive. But his (kayfabe) brother Kane showed up and saved Mcmahon, throwing Taker inside the grave burying him under tons of mud, thus handing Mr McMahon the win. The Undertaker went on hiatus and was announced dead by Kane on the following episode of RAW.

8. His Wrestlemania XX return

The Deadman returned from the ‘dead’ at Wrestlemania XX. This was perhaps his most memorable return to the ring. Accompanied by Paul Bearer, Taker stepped out of darkness and presented himself as a figure that had literally seen death and risen from it. There was a deafening ovation at the Madison Square Garden, New York. Taker won the match in less than 10 minutes, avenging Kane and went 12-0 at Mania.

9. Wrestlemania 26, 27 and 28: Shawn Michaels and Triple H

HBK Shawn Michaels wanted to avenge his last year’s Wrestlemania loss. In order to make The Undertaker agree to the match, HBK offered to put his career on the line. In case he was to lose, HBK would retire from WWE, never to return. So it was set. No disqualifications. No count outs. Streak versus Career. The match went on for 25 minutes and ended with Michaels losing to Taker and thus ending his career in WWE. The Deadman probably claimed his most precious soul at Wrestlemania.

The following year, HBK’s best buddy Triple H challenged Taker for a match at Wrestlemania 27. It was a great match with odds favouring Triple H.

Triple H carried the momentum and was about to pin Taker when Taker countered with his Hell’s Gate manoeuvre causing Triple H to tap out. The match took everything out of Taker and he was dragged out of the ring. Nevertheless, he proved that there are no limits when it comes to winning a Wrestlemania match.

A year later, The Undertaker challenged Triple H to a rematch at Mania, promising to avenge the beating he took. It was a Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee. The match was billed as an end of an era match. All three superstars put on a great show with Taker winning the match.

10. The Deadman meets The Beast

“One, two, three. The streak…is over” were the shocking words that were uttered by the WWE announcer Michael Cole sending the WWE universe into shock. The fans reaction at Mania was something to be seen. Every superstar of WWE was also shocked at what they had witnessed. Brock Lesnar, the Beast had the honour of ending the streak. Even though Taker got a concussion early into the match, he continued fighting for 30 minutes before Lesnar put his finisher F5 for the third time, ending perhaps the most magnificent streak in sports entertainment. The moment was so shocking that it is ranked above the infamous ‘Montreal Screwjob’ moment.

Lesnar was always an impossible task for Taker, but for a moment WWE fans believed that maybe the Phenom could obliterate him.

The final chapter of The Undertaker’s illustrious career is yet to be written. But the pages are soon coming to an end. Many are speculating that his next Wrestlemania might be his last. If that’s the case The Phenom will deserve a long rest. Even Vince McMahon acknowledges that no man has given more to the business than The Undertaker. The sacrifices he made in 25 years to entertain hardcore WWE fans are unparalleled.

We wait to see how the end will turn out to be and I am sure it will be exciting. Until then, may all of you, Rest in Peace!

Adnan Anwar

Adnan Anwar

An ACCA student studying at SKANS School of Accountancy, Lahore. He is a TV show enthusiast and plan on making a live audience sitcom in Pakistan. He tweets @adnan_anwar1 (twitter.com/adnan_anwar1)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Overgiver

    Am astonished at people whole believe this play acting is for real. LOLRecommend

  • Waqas

    People still watch this drama!!!!Recommend

  • Jazib

    i do not know about others but it was very exciting to see that a fellow Pakistani has something to comment on Taker’s legendary career. It is scripted yes but one can learn a lot from the guy behind the undead gimmick. Mark Calaway is one heck of a guy read about him and learned from that a lot.Recommend

  • Adnan Anwar

    Thanks for the kind words. Recommend

  • Adnan Anwar

    And I am astonished you believe WWE fans still believe that this is real. No one does anymore. The fans, the wrestlers, the management all are in on it and know it is just an act. Just like Game of Thrones and all your other favorite TV shows or movies. It’s entertainment. By saying “wrestling is fake” you are insulting the intelligence of WWE fan. He/She knows stop telling him. What if he keeps yelling GOT is fake etc. Wouldn’t make sense right?Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I stopped watching Wrestling 10 years ago, but no one believes it is real. People get the same enjoyment out of it as a TV drama. Everyone knows it follows a script and the ‘fights’ are choreographed.So are movies, but that doesn’t stop people from enjoying them.Recommend

  • Saad Mohammad

    This is a brillaint article, writing down about the legacy of the phenom aka deadman , please do write more regarding this , I am honestly surprised wrestling doesn’t come up more often especially with regards to how popular it used to be in Pakistan a few years ago during the ruthless aggression eraRecommend

  • Adnan Anwar

    Thanks! That is also my point. By saying “wrestling is fake” you are insulting the intelligence of a wtestling fan. Everyone is in on. It’s ENTERTAINMENT. It is as real or fake as Game of Thrones. Stop telling wrestling fans they are stupid for following it.Recommend

  • tman

    am astonished by your stupidityRecommend

  • Saad Salman Zia

    Taker has been the most awesome gimmick that McMahon ever created. There will be no parallel to his persona. And that entrance…it is to die for. He will be missed when he decides to call it a day.Recommend

  • Overgiven

    Never watched game of thrones, and don’t even know what it is. The WWE fans are insulting their own intelligence, one can forgive the ignorance if a child is a follower, but for grown ups to do so, I don’t have words! This is supposed to be a sport, right? if not then they should stop showing it on the sports channels. What are the sportsmen called who take a dive, I am sure you would know that, and the punishment they are meted out, an example of which you sure would have seen in the garb of the three pakistani cricketers.Recommend

  • Adnan Anwar

    Thanks for the kind words. Sure on my part I will try to turn in a piece here and there on wrestling, especially during major happenings in WWE universe. Recommend

  • Adnan Anwar

    Brother this isn’t supposed to be a sport. WWE stopped calling it a sport once kayfabe died. Kayfabe was an illusion that was maintained now it is no more maintained. There is a new term in case you happen to check out. Wrestling is now called, “sports entertainment”. Huge difference. It’s about telling a story with in the confines of the ring. Here are two videos I hope you see and will surely make things more clearer to you:

    Link 1:
    https://youtu.be/XhRZMHFxuRw

    Link 2:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/wwe-fake-kayfabe-wrestling-2015-11

    Good discussion. Recommend

  • ovais

    It broke my heart when the streak ended .. ziyadti ki hai taker kay saathRecommend

  • ovais

    Wrestling is not cool the uber elites but i am a proud wrestling fan i stopped watching though after CM punk left but still i do see it just to see where it is heading and NXT is awesome the way they are building no bodies . and then there is dean ambrose etc turns out i never stopped watching it but i just dont want to admit it . So Lets Go Cena — CM PUNK !!!Recommend

  • Mukesh

    Great article but regardless if race, colour, creed etc, it shouldn’t matter at all for anything. A wrestling fan can be anyone. A fan of anything can be and should be anyone so I’m not understanding comments on the writer being Pakistani. Who cares?

    Anyway, I was still annoyed that the streak ended. It was even more annoying that The Undertaker never really got his revenge and the rivalry between himself and Brock is over. I’d have liked to have seen the brothers of destruction destroy Brock which would make sense and give reason for Brock to be off tv. I wonder who The Undertaker will face at Wrestlemania 32.
    Recommend

  • Adnan Anwar

    I agree with much of what you have stated. The streak was probably the saddest moment for a wrestling fan.

    For Wrestlemania 32 there is news making rounds that John Cena would be his opponent. Which would make sense as both Taker and Cena are biggest names currently of WWE. Both names are known to anyone even if they are not wrestling fans. The last time they faced each other was in 2003. So this clash of the titans would be amazing. Let’s see!Recommend