The Undertaker is less than two weeks away from being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The Phenom will be inducted by his long-time friend and CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon on April 1, the night before WrestleMania.
The Dead Man has had a tremendous 30-year career in WWE. His last match was against AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36. It’s an arduous task to pick five of his best moments from a career filled with uncountable epic ones but we have given it a try.
5. The Undertaker versus AJ Styles – Boneyard match in WrestleMania 36
The Undertaker returned at Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on February 27, 2020. He was a surprise entrant in a gauntlet match replacing Rey Mysterio. ‘Taker entered last and defeated AJ Styles to win the Tuwaiq Mountain Trophy.
Styles would go on to taunt Undertaker during his matches over the next few matches. The Undertaker would return a few weeks later and attack Styes, who was in a no disqualification match against Aleister Black.
Styles would go on to challenge the Deadman and during the buildup, he would call ‘Taker by his real name – Mark Calaway. Styles would also get personal bringing ‘Taker’s wife and former WWE superstar Mitchelle McCool’s name in his promos.
The Undertaker’s promos were equally intense and thrilling. He would incorporate elements of both his gimmicks – The American Badass and The Deadman. He would wear black coats like the Deadman and accompany them with bandanas like his American Badass persona.
At WrestleMania 36, he brought “The Unholy Trinity” with him. The amalgamation of three different characters. The American Badass, Deadman, and Mark Calaway himself.
That year’s WrestleMania was affected by COVID-19 as it took place behind closed doors. WWE had a great idea to make this match a cinematic treat for the fans.
Undertaker threw Styles off a building, while the latter broke a shovel on his back. There was an epic moment that is used as a meme till today. Styles would think he got rid of Undertaker as he wore a victorious smile on his face. However, to his shock, The Undertaker would be standing right behind him.
There were interferences from Styles’ allies Luke Gallows and Carl Anderson but ‘Taker took them out too. In the end, Styles was thrown into an empty grave by the Deadman.
4. The Undertaker meets Kane for the first time
Kane and The Undertaker are storyline half-brothers. It was revealed that they were separated in their childhood when ‘Taker decided to immolate Kane and his parents.’
The Undertaker was already a well-established name in the pro wrestling world when Kane debuted. Paul Bearer had teased Kane’s debut for some time and it was during the Badd Blood 1997 pay-per-view that he finally arrived. Shawn Michaels faced Undertaker inside a Hell in a Cell (incidentally, the first Hell in a Cell Match) in the Badd Blood 1997 pay-per-view.
Paul Bearer had been teasing Kane’s debut in the week leading up to the event. ‘Taker was dominating the match when Kane’s music hit. The Big Red Machine ripped the door of the cell off its hinges and went face to face with the Deadman.
Undertaker’s reaction was a classic as Kane did the turnbuckle blast and delivered a Tombstone Piledriver and left. Michaels won the match thanks to an assist from the Devil’s Favorite Deamon.
The two continued to feud for the next one year and have had great matches against each other and with each other as well as part of The Brothers of Destruction tag team.
WrestleMania 28 – End of an era
At WrestleMania 27, Triple H attempted to do what his close friend Shawn Michaels couldn’t and that is to beat the Undertaker. However, he fell agonizingly short. The Game wanted another shot at the streak of the Undertaker. Shawn Michaels was the special guest referee for that match.
The match was five-star for sure but the build-up to it was even more fascinating. The storytelling from the three giants of the business was phenomenal and each segment involving them made the fans ask for more.
The ending of the match was surreal too. The Phenom used a steel chair and took multiple shots at Triple H. The Game, however, wouldn’t quit. Triple H was all spent but still, he picked up his sledgehammer and went to hit ‘Taker with it but the 57-year-old caught him.
‘Taker had even shouted to him asking him to stay down but H wasn’t gonna go down without a fight. He pushed ‘Taker and did the DX V as a show of defiance. ‘Taker would hit H with the sledgehammer and finish the match with a Tombstone Piledriver.
Michaels and ‘Taker would help Triple H to his feet in a great show of respect and take him towards the stage area. The three of them embraced each other as the WWE Universe showed the three stalwarts great respect by standing up and applauding, It is one of the most iconic moments in the history of WrestleMania.
The Undertaker ascends to heaven
This was a goofy moment but it’s still remembered by many as one of the most unique things they have seen in sports entertainment.
Undertaker faced Yokozuna at the 1994 Royal Rumble in a casket match. The legendary Fuji called up a bunch of heel wrestlers to the ring and ordered them to dish out a beatdown on ‘Taker. The Undertaker fought valiantly against the plethora of heels until Yokozuna stole his urn which was the source of the Deadman’s powers. The two-time World champion locked Taker in the casket and won the match.
The heels were taking the casket containing Taker towards the stage area when smoke started emerging and the lights went off. Undertaker appeared on the Titantron as a video was played where he cut a promo for inside a casket. Obviously, it was a pre-recorded video. The Phenom said that he will not rest in peace and will be reborn when the time is right.
“Be not proud! The Spirit of The Undertaker lives withing the soul of all mankind. The eternal flame of life that cannot be extinguished. The origin of which cannot be explained. The answer lies in the everlasting spirit. Soon all mankind will witness the rebirth of The Undertaker. I will not Rest In Peace.”
After this, a haunting image of the Undertaker rising to the heavens was shown to end the segment leaving everyone in shock and awe.
The streak is broken
The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania was one of the greatest and most-followed things in WWE. Everyone would be excited firstly to find out who Undertaker’s opponent would be at the Show of Shows and then to watch their favorite superstar keep the streak going.
At WrestleMania 30, Undertaker went head to head with Brock Lesnar. Lesnar was a monster heel back then and fans were rooting for the Deadman to make it 22-0. There was a decent amount of build-up towards the match.
From the contract signing with Undertaker jamming the pen on Lesnar’s hand to Paul Heyman going all out to irk the legend with his unmatched mic skills, everything was riveting as far as the build-up to the match was concerned.
The match showed Lesnar as the one at the peak of his powers while his opponent was in the last stages of his glorious career. Undertaker kept fighting despite Lesnar overpowering him most of the time. He would take suplexes and F-5s but wouldn’t give up. Fans were expecting the Deadman to overcome the odds and like always, find a way to win.
When Lesnar dropped Undertaker for the nth F-5 the Deadman lay motionless as the referee started counting, the WWE Universe was nervous. When the referee counted to three and Lesnar broke the streak, the disappointment was palpable. A sense of shock ensued among the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home. Heyman’s expression of shock coupled with euphoria will always be etched in the memory of the fans. There was pin-drop silence in the arena which was buzzing even a few minutes ago.
The landscape of WWE changed as the greatest streak in sports entertainment was no more.
The Undertaker is deservingly going into the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 and we congratulate him and his family for the same.
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