From darkness, he emerged to build a dynasty second to none. He is the "Deadman." He is the "Lord of Darkness." He is
Undertaker. The mysterious Superstar from Death Valley was unveiled to WWE audiences at the 1990 Survivor Series.
Over the next two decades, the "Deadman's" domination in the ring led to multiple World Championships, as well as an
unblemished WrestleMania record.
(Continue Reading ») |
(Two Undertakers! ») |
(Family Ties ») |
(A Fresh Start ») |
(The Deadman Returns ») |
(The Streak Put In Jeopardy ») |
(The End of an Era »)
The first chapter in Undertaker's remarkable WrestleMania epic was penned on March 24, 1991 in Los Angeles,
California. Under the tutelage of new manager Paul Bearer, the "Phenom" destroyed "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. The victory
marked his first WrestleMania win, and also catapulted the "Deadman" straight to main-event status.
Undertaker spent the next several months using caskets and the mysteriously powerful urn to exploit his opponents'
fear of their own mortality. He tore through every WWF Superstar put in his path and on November 27, 1991 at the Joe Louis
Arena in Detroit, Michigan, at the Survivor Series, he defeated Hulk Hogan to capture the WWF Championship. Ric Flair's
interference in The Undertaker's WWF Championship victory ultimately caused President Jack Tunney to order a rematch at
This Tuesday in Texas. Hogan wound up walking away from the event with the WWF Championship, but the controversial
conclusion to the match caused Tunney to later vacate the title.
Following his WWF Championship reign, Undertaker faced a series of colossal competitors looking to rid the World
Wrestling Federation of the "Deadman." The four-hundred pound "Ugandan Giant" Kamala nearly accomplished the task during
the first-ever Coffin Match at the 1992 Survivor Series. Undertaker was able to avoid Kamala's offensive onslaught
en route to picking up the ground-breaking victory. The following year, the "Phenom" toppled the near eight-foot Giant
Gonzales at WrestleMania IX.
Many believed Undertaker had finally met his match when he squared off against WWF Champion Yokozuna at the 1994 Royal
Rumble. The encounter saw Undertaker victimized by not only the mighty Yokozuna, but a posse of oversized wrestlers,
including Bam Bam Bigelow and Diesel. Many assumed the defeat, which saw Undertaker stuffed into a ringside casket, meant
the demise of the "Deadman." However, as Yokozuna's gang pushed the casket up the aisle, an eerie smoke began to fill the
arena, followed by the familiar gong of Undertaker's entrance theme. "The Deadman" then appeared on the Titantron to
proclaim, "I will not rest in peace."
Both "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Paul Bearer claimed to have found Undertaker in the summer of 1994. The two
men agreed to have their Undertakers square off against each other at SummerSlam. In the end, Bearer's Undertaker
proved to be the real "Phenom," defeating DiBiase's fake after striking him with three Tombstone Piledrivers.
Undertaker's disappearance in 1994 caused him to miss WrestleMania X, but his darkness dominance returned the
following year when he defeated the massive King Kong Bundy in Hartford, Connecticut. The following year, he handily
Following his defeat of Diesel, Undertaker became the target of World Wrestling Federation newcomer Mankind. Their intense
rivalry sparked the advent of two revolutionary match types, the Boiler Room Brawl and Buried Alive Match. It also marked
the shocking end to one of the closet alliances of all-time when Paul Bearer clobbered Undertaker with his urn at the 1996
Despite losing his manager Mankind, Undertaker continued to post an impressive record, which earned him a WWF Championship
opportunity against Sycho Sid at WrestleMania 13.
Following a skull-crushing Tombstone, the "Phenom" covered Sid to reclaim the title he lost more than five years earlier.
The victory catapulted Undertaker back to the top of the professional wrestling world. He spent the next five months
successfully defending the title against the likes of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Vader.
An errant steel chair shot at the hands of special referee Shawn Michaels allowed Bret "Hit Man" Hart to dethrone Undertaker
at SummerSlam in 1997. Yearning for revenge, the "Deadman" shifted his focus from the WWF Championship scene to
destroying HBK. After a series of inconclusive contests, the two wrestlers agreed to settle the score in the first-ever
Hell in a Cell Match at Badd Blood. Once locked inside the satanic structure, Undertaker released all his
frustrations on Michaels, but just when it appeared as though victory was certain, Undertaker came face to face with a
familiar figure from the past that cost him the match: Kane.
In the months leading up to Kane's shocking debut, Paul Bearer, in an attempt to blackmail Undertaker, threatened to
uncover a disturbing secret from the "Deadman's" past. When Undertaker refused to give in to the demands, Bearer finally
revealed that the "Phenom" set fire to his family's funeral parlor twenty years earlier, killing his mother and father.
Undertaker assumed his younger brother also perished in the fire. At Badd Blood, Undertaker's assumption proved
to be dead wrong, as his disfigured sibling appeared from out of nowhere to attack him.
In the months following the shocking revelation, Undertaker refused to step in the ring with his flesh and blood. However,
after Kane attempted to send him to a fiery grave at the 1998 Royal Rumble, Undertaker had no choice but to respond
with force. The two brothers finally squared off at WrestleMania XIV. Undertaker won the emotional battle, but the
war between the two was just heating up. Undertaker and Kane went on to engage in some of the most bitter battles ever seen,
including two Inferno Matches.
In 1998, Undertaker adopted an even darker, more demonic demeanor. He also made the unpopular decision to reconcile with
Paul Bearer to form the Ministry of Darkness. Claiming to serve a "higher power," Undertaker unleashed a never-before-seen
assault on the entire World Wrestling Federation. Nobody was safe from Undertaker's wicked wrath, not even Vince
McMahon's daughter Stephanie, who was abducted by the "Deadman." Luckily for Stephanie, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin rescued
her from further torment. The heroics, however, landed Austin in WWF Championship defense against Undertaker the following
month at Over the Edge.
Leaving his "Deadman" persona in the dust, Undertaker reemerged at Judgment Day riding a motorcycle. Recognized as
the "American Bad Ass," the new Undertaker was equally imposing. Following an impressive victory over Triple H at
WrestleMania X-Seven, Undertaker formed an alliance with Kane. Known as the Brothers of Destruction, the duo spent
the next several months dominating the tag team scene.
More than a decade after defeating Hulk Hogan for his first WWE Championship, Undertaker challenged the Hulkster for
the same prize at Judgment Day in 2002. Much like that fateful night back in 1991, he used a steel chair to claim
the title from Hogan.
The fiery family hostility between Undertaker and Kane reignited in late 2003. This time, however, Kane appeared to
walk away the victory when he assisted Mr. McMahon in burying his brother alive at Survivor Series. As mounds of
dirt covered Undertaker's seemingly lifeless body, many assumed they had finally seen the end of Undertaker.
Proving you can't kill what's already dead, Undertaker made his triumph return to WWE at WrestleMania XX. He
defeated Kane to improve his WrestleMania record to an astonishing 12-0. The "Phenom's" iconic status made him the
perfect target for the brash youngster Randy Orton. The third-generation grappler saw Undertaker's ageless WrestleMania
record as an opportunity to permanently etch his name into the WWE history books. Unfortunately for the self-appointed
"Legend Killer," he became unlucky victor number thirteen.
By 2007, there were two glaring holes on the Undertaker's impressive resume. He had never won a Royal Rumble or
captured the World Heavyweight Championship. In January 2007, he filled in one hole when he last eliminated Shawn Michaels
to win the Royal Rumble. Winning that match allowed him to meet Batista at WrestleMania 23 for the World
Heavyweight Championship, which he won after a Tombstone Piledriver. Undertaker duplicated his efforts the following year
when he toppled Edge at WrestleMania XXIV to become a two-time World Heavyweight Champion.
His time with the title was cut short when Vickie Guerrero declared Undertaker's submission hold, Hell's Gate, illegal.
Edge won the match with an assist from La Familia, which resulted in Undertaker being forced out of WWE. Fortunately for fans,
Edge and Vickie had a bitter falling out, resulting in Vickie reinstituting Undertaker two months later.
Over the course of sixteen WrestleMania appearances, Undertaker had never tasted defeat. However, Shawn Michaels
claimed Undertaker had never defeated him in a singles match and demanded a shot at WrestleMania XXV. In what is
widely considered one of the most epic matches in WWE history, Undertaker won the encounter to boost his record to 17-0,
then went on to claim the World Heavyweight Championship from CM Punk later in the year. Undertaker defended the title
against Punk and Batista but lost it to Chris Jericho when Michaels, demanding a second chance at Undertaker's undefeated
streak at WrestleMania, interfered in the match. Undertaker ultimately agreed to the match, but with one stipulation:
if Shawn Michaels lost, he must retire. The "Career versus Streak" Match took place at WrestleMania XXVI. In the
end, Undertaker put Michaels through hell and sent him into retirement.
Shortly after his victory over Michaels, Undertaker was put out of action after being attacked by an unknown assailant. Kane
and Rey Mysterio each blamed each other, but the truth came to light when Undertaker returned at SummerSlam and was
attacked by Kane. The two eventually met in a Buried Alive Match where Paul Bearer and the Nexus helped Kane bury Undertaker, who
then wasn't seen for months.
Hints of Undertaker's return first appeared during the 2011 Royal Rumble. His return on February 21 was interrupted
by Triple H, making his first appearance in nearly a year. Following in the footsteps of his friend, Shawn Michaels, "The
Game" sought to end Underaker's WrestleMania winning streak. The No-Holds Barred Match between two "Last Outlaws"
at WrestleMania XXVII ended in victory for Underaker, but he left the ring on a stretcher while Triple H walked
out under his own power.
Undertaker vanished from WWE for the rest of 2011, returning in January 2012 to demand a rematch against an initially-reluctant
Triple H. The two met at WrestleMania XXVIII in a Hell in a Cell Match refereed by Shawn Michaels. The brutal
encounter left both men bloodied and battered, but in the end Undertaker claimed victory and pushed his streak to 20-0. When
it came time to leave the ring, all three men supported each other and walked into the night, together, symbolizing the
"End of an Era."
The 49-year-old's wrestling career is said to be over
Sunday night at WrestleMania XXX, The Undertaker's vaunted 21-0 record on "The Grandest Stage of Them All" fell at
the hands of Brock Lesnar after the former WWE Champion and UFC Heavyweight Champion hit "The Deadman" with three F-5's,
gaining the pinfall victory and literally shocking the thousands in attendance at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
and the millions watching around the globe. As things currently stand, it will go down as his final match in WWE.
For The Undertaker, who turned 49-years-old last month, the quality of his matches at WrestleMania was a great
source of pride and he knew going in Sunday night that he was barely going to get through the match. The Houston, Texas
native decided in recent weeks that his contest against Brock Lesnar would be his final wrestling match. He had indicated to
his closest friends that his body was telling him during his preparation for the match in Texas that his body had given all
it could. Although he put on a brave face to them, he made it very clear that there would be no match next year. It cannot be
stressed enough how brittle and broken down his body is after wrestling for thirty years.
Those in The Undertaker's small circle were not told of the finish ahead of time Sunday night. A very small group of
people knew going into WrestleMania XXX that the Streak was ending, while additional departments were told on a
need-to-know basis no sooner than was absolutely necessary. The finish was not called in the ring as had been
The Undertaker is battered following his epic contest with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania