by Amish Patel - March 03, 2011
The career of Mark Calaway began in World Wrestling Entertainment in 1990. Twenty one years later The Undertaker still reigns as The Phenom. The Legend. The Deadman. The American Badass. Or as WWE is calling him in 2011…The Last Outlaw. Call him whatever you want, but no matter the name the man has earned respect and praise as one of the best wrestlers in the history of professional wrestling. After all, how many wrestlers can say they’ve been main eventing for the biggest wrestling company in the history of the business for over 20 years? Just one man. The Undertaker.
It would be interesting to go back over twenty years to ask Vince McMahon if he thought the character of The Undertaker would still be a top guy in 2011. I’m sure he’d say something about how he wished it would last that long, but how can you know? It’s wrestling. The business is full of characters, some of whom are successes and the majority of whom are failures in some way. Think about how many truly awful wrestling characters we’ve seen over the years. The Undertaker is still here. That’s the most impressive thing about him to me. Why did he last so long? It’s a combination of the company believing him, the ability to work at a high level, to overcome injuries and most importantly the talent he possesses.
“People will say the fans consider Undertaker the greatest wrestler in WWE history. He is the most popular wrestler in WWE history. But the one thing that he has, that no other wrestler has, is the respect and admiration of his peers. In other words, they – we, as WWE wrestlers, think he’s the greatest ever. That’s a bigger compliment than being the “greatest ever” from fans. For his size, his speed, his skill, his psychology, everything about him, his look – he has the total package which makes the WWE special because you can take a man like him and make him your top player. And obviously he’s done it for so long and this company has done so well for so long – why? Because the Undertaker’s been on top. He is without a doubt the greatest ever.” – Kurt Angle
There are a lot of reasons we can look at as to why The Undertaker is as legendary as he is. Let’s break it down into categories.
The lights go out, the gong hits, that eerie music plays, the lightning strikes up and the slowest entrance in the history of wrestling begins. It’s magical. It’s that entertainment part of the business that attracts a lot of fans to it. I can remember being 11 years old, going to a WWF house show in 1991 and watching The Undertaker, as a heel, walk down to the ring. I was sitting in the second row right by the ring. He walked to the ring and every kid sitting near me was just as petrified as I was. That’s called owning the crowd. He demanded respect even in his first year as a 26 year old that could barely work. They gave him a manager in Paul Bearer because it added to his persona, but it also helped get the character across as a badass. He barely spoke. It added to the mystique. That’s the kind of presence every wrestler wishes they had. When he entered the building you watched him. The entrance was a big part of that.
Even during the American Badass era the entrance was cool because it was Undertaker riding to the ring on a motorcycle, circling his opponent, starting at them and intimidating him. I like how even when he ditched the Deadman gimmick he still did the intimidation tactics before his matches. While I’m sure Vince McMahon played a big part in creating all of it, I’m sure Taker had a big hand it in himself too. Part of the mystique of The Undertaker is that eerie feeling you get when he makes his way down the aisle. It’s all part of the gimmick. It works.
There’s no wrestler in the history of wrestling that has changed his look more than The Undertaker. His contemporaries like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and others all looked relatively the same throughout the majority of their careers. Not The Undertaker. While it’s true that black has been the color of choice for his entire run the look has been altered many times too.
Look at what The Undertaker was at the beginning.
From there his look changed a lot. He went to the purple gloves at one point. I don’t think that was a good look. Thankfully it didn’t last long. Then he dumped the multiple colors and went all black, which has become his signature. He had that demonic heel run in 1999 with the Ministry of Darkness where he looked more evil than ever. The American Badass era saw him rock the bandana and he had a totally different look. Remember this?
When he returned at WrestleMania 20 in 2004 he reverted back to his more current look for the last seven years or so. I think his ability to change his look shows how smart he is. You have to do that to stay relevant. The look of The Undertaker has been an important part of his success.
“He’s like the Madonna of wrestling. And what I mean by that is he’s not like some blonde big-breasted girl, he’s always stayed ahead of the curve, and just when things start to get a little bit stale, he changes his look, his costume, his character. He was like the biker Undertaker, but that leather trenchcoat was a connection to the old Undertaker, so people didn’t see a completely new character right off the bat. They had sort of a slow transition from the guy that they knew to the guy that they were going to know.” – Chris Jericho, “My Yard” DVD
You can break up the promos into two parts. There are the majority of the promos that have taken place while he has been The Deadman and there are the promos that took place while he was more humanized as a character in 1997 and 1998 as well as when he returned from injury in 2000 through 2003 when he was the American Badass. I loved his promo work during that run. It made you realize that there was more to this guy that simply staring at people and being an indimidating monster.
It was rare for him to have a long monologue where he spoke to the audience except during the aforementioned “humanized” runs as I like to call them. The majority of his promos were usually short and sweet. That’s what made them work. I can remember infamous promos like when he once said: “You. Me. Summerslam.” That was it. The match was on. I made fun of it at the time, but looking back it’s that kind of simplicity that works for a guy like him. And who can forget “Where to Stephanie?” when he kidnapped the innocent daughter of Vince McMahon in a car? Classic villain right there.
I’m not here to say he’s one of the best talkers ever like The Rock, Ric Flair or Steve Austin. All I’m saying is that for his character and what he was asked to do he did a great job of it. Not every great promo has to be a long monologue by one person spouting off at the mouth for ten minutes. When Taker spoke you listened. The words mattered. That’s the power of his promos.
“He’s not the most open or outspoken guy, but I’ve gotten a couple of words of wisdom out of him and they’re always gems. I like to call him ‘The Godfather,’ because there are people in charge and then there’s ‘The Godfather.’ And the Undertaker is probably the biggest money draw in the past 20 years. On top of all that, he’s a great wrestler. He’s gifted physically and he wrestles smart. He is literally the furthest thing from Lex Luger, but he is the total package. He is pro wrestling.” – CM Punk, WWE Magazine, Oct 2007
This is the most important aspect about his career. Without talent he’d just be another big guy in the wrestling business. Every wrestling fan knows that through the years big guys come and go more than any commodities in wrestling. Wrestling companies are always on the lookout for the next big guy. If you’re over 6’6″ and 300 pounds the chances are good that you’re going to get a chance to prove yourself over that 6’0″ 220 pound guy even though that guy may be a better worker than you. To wrestling promoters big guys are always going to be the bigger draws. The idea is that fans will pay to watch larger than life people. It’s not the same for the guys that look like the Average Joe on the street. The reason Undertaker has lasted as long as he has, as compared to other big guys, is because of his talent.
The Undertaker stands a legitimate 6’10” and has hovered around that 300 pound mark for the majority of his career. You could see through the years that he was skinny in the early days, but he bulked up later on and became the most imposing figure in wrestling. Even when he wrestled taller wrestlers like Big Show and The Great Khali it always seemed like The Undertaker was the favorite in the match. The thing is he always had that vulnerability factor too. In preparation for this piece I had asked some people to try to count how many times Taker has been “taken out.” The number that I was told was twenty. In twenty years he’s been taken out twenty times. Of course, each time it happens the announcers have to tell has that NOBODY has ever done that to Undertaker before. Not allowed to remember stuff, right? For a babyface to get sympathy from the fans they have to show vulnerability. Undertaker has done that a lot. Of course it’s rare for him to put anybody over clean, but that’s a booking decision to keep him strong. Most of the time when he was taken out it was after a cheap shot or by more than one man. That puts the opponent over just as much as it puts Undertaker over.
When I think of Undertaker’s talent what impresses me the most is his ability to work with different opponents. He had athletic matches with Shawn Michaels, technical matches with Kurt Angle, classic big man matches with Batista & Brock Lesnar, brawls with Mick Foley and traditional wrestling matches with Bret Hart & Steve Austin. That ability to adapt to different opponents is because of the gifts he possesses. In many ways WWE got lucky with him because how many men his size can do the athletic things he can do? Walking the ropes isn’t easy. The no hands plancha isn’t easy. That leaping clothesline that sees him ending up on his back isn’t easy. He’s a great athlete. You think you’d ever see a guy like Sid do any of that? Of course not. He’s the same size. Kane’s a good athlete too, but he’s not as good as Undertaker is. Most men his size have trouble moving the way he does.
The last point I need to make about his talent is that his peers will often talk about how respected he is in the locker room. He’s the leader of that locker room and has been for the majority of his career. Ego is a terrible thing in the world of wrestling and it has been the cause of a lot of problems for people within it. Undertaker appears to be ego-less. At least that’s my perception. He is well liked, admired and praised by so many within the wrestling business because of the way he carries himself. The man has been a main eventer for twenty years yet the majority of people in wrestling will talk about how down to Earth he really is. That’s a testament to not just his physical talent, but the intelligence he has for the business too. It’s one thing to be a great athlete. It’s another thing to put it together with the mental aspect of the business. The Undertaker has all of it.
“Twenty years from now, the wildest thing about him is that as much the fans are gonna remember him, the locker room is gonna remember him even more.” – Paul Heyman
Let’s focus on that talent a little more. Here’s a closer look at what all wrestling fans know as “The Streak.”
The WrestleMania Winning Streak
The Undertaker has had a winning streak at WrestleMania that has seen him go 18-0 at the annual granddaddy of them all. It’s amazing how in a pre-determined “sport” that somebody winning all the time holds such prestige. There’s no denying that it does, though. The marks eat it up and the smarter fans also wonder year after year if this is the time when somebody is going to beat the streak. The fact that WWE heavily promotes it every year with a video package and website should let you know how important it is. The question, did Vince McMahon plan this when it started in 1991? I’m not sure. It’s not like he could forecast a wrestler participating in 18 WrestleManias and beyond. I’m sure that once it reached four or five wins they looked at it as something they could continue for a long time.
Let’s take a look at every WrestleMania match that Taker has had and as you’ll see they got better as the years went on. If I rated the match at *** (out of 5) or higher I’ll make mention of it.
#1 WrestleMania 7: Jimmy Snuka – His WrestleMania debut as a heel. He was no-selling everything and won with the Tombstone.
#2 WrestleMania 8: Jake Roberts – Undertaker was a babyface after Jake had his “trust me” period and Undertaker ended it with a vicious Tombstone on the floor. It was a dominant effort.
#3 WrestleMania 9: Giant Gonzalez – One of the worst matches of Undertaker’s career. He won by DQ after a chloroform towel was applied to his face. WrestleMania 9 was a bad show. This match was painful to watch.
WrestleMania 10: No match. He was taken out by Yokozuna and about 87 other heels (that’s a joke) at the Rumble and returned for Summerslam in 1994.
#4 WrestleMania 11: King Kong Bundy – Another bad match because Vince was feeding him monsters. He won with a body slam followed by a clothesline due to Bundy being a very large man. Not easy to Tombstone a guy like that.
#5 WrestleMania 12: Diesel – Finally a good match, which I rate at *** or so. Diesel was on his way to WCW a few months after this, so he was very motivated. It was a good match between two big men.
#6 WrestleMania 13: Sycho Sid – Back to a bad match. At least in this case it led to Undertaker winning the World Title, which was the first time he won it at WrestleMania. It wouldn’t be the last.
#7 WrestleMania 14: Kane – In terms of build this one was the most anticipated in Taker’s career. Kane set him on fire at the Rumble while he was in a casket, so Undertaker came back to get the win here. I loved the dive over the top rope and also the three Tombstones it took to put Kane away. How many WrestleMania matches have six months of build to them? It’s rare.
#8 WrestleMania 15: Big Bossman – Another candidate for one of the worst matches of his career. It was a Hell in a Cell match that Undertaker won. Then Bossman got hung by a rope and raised to the rafters. It was a silly angle that capped off a really bad match.
WrestleMania 16: He was injured with a groin injury and then a torn pectoral injury. He returned in May 2000.
#9 WrestleMania 17: Triple H – He was in his “American Badass” persona here, which I was a huge fan of. I gave this match a ***3/4 rating for being a very good brawl featuring one of the longest ref bumps ever. I think that ref is still down. It was the second biggest match at what I feel is not only the best Mania ever, but the best PPV ever.
#10 WrestleMania 18: Ric Flair – This was the last time Undertaker would be a heel at a WrestleMania. I loved the bully version of Taker and they did a great job of adding heat to the feud by having him beat up Flair’s son David. It was an old school brawl between two of the best ever that I rate as a ***1/4 match. What did Flair think?
“The Undertaker carried me through the match [at WM X8]. I was afraid I was going to fail. I had never before woken up wondering whether somebody was a better wrestler than me.” – Ric Flair, Ottawa Sun interview, 2002
#11 WrestleMania 19: Big Show & A-Train – The story here is that Nathan Jones was supposed to be his partner, but when they practiced the match weeks beforehand they wrote him out of the match. He ended up doing a run-in. Then Nathan was gone soon after. Not a good match.
#12 WrestleMania 20: Kane – He was out of action since Survivor Series 2003 and he returned here as the Deadman persona once again, which is what he’s been ever since. His hair was shorter than usual, but it drew a big pop when he returned in his old outfit. This time it only took one Tombstone to put Kane away.
#13 WrestleMania 21: Randy Orton – A lot of people thought this might be the one where Undertaker loses because Orton was a young guy that WWE was strongly behind. It was a match that I rated at ***1/2 and I can still remember how awesome it was to see Orton counter the chokeslam into a RKO. Of course Undertaker won with the Tombstone.
#14 WrestleMania 22: Mark Henry – This was a Casket Match that went about 9 minutes while the announcers tried telling us that nobody had hurt Undertaker like Henry did. Nobody ever believed Henry could win. The match highlight was Undertaker’s plancha over the top rope onto Henry, which has become a signature spot for him. He won with the Tombstone, which he followed up by rolling Henry into the casket.
#15 WrestleMania 23: Batista – Undertaker won the Royal Rumble for the first time, so he got the World Title match on the Smackdown brand. The end result? An outstanding big man match with Batista that I rated at ****, which was his best WrestleMania match to date. It was an excellent match that went above my personal expectations for it. I loved their feud and their Last Man Standing match a month later at Backlash was even better.
#16 WrestleMania 24: Edge – For the first time since WrestleMania 13, Undertaker was in the last match at a WrestleMania. He won the World Heavyweight Title for the second year in a row in a match that I rated ****1/4, which was the best Mania match of his career at this time (I didn’t write a recap of this PPV). I don’t think anybody thought Edge was winning, but they did a good job of building the drama throughout.
#17 WrestleMania 25: Shawn Michaels – A babyface matchup featuring two WWE legends. It’s one of the best matches in WWE history. A lot of people will say it’s the best. I’m impartial to Austin-Hart at WrestleMania 13 for that one, but this is still a ***** match that I will never forget. And what about that Undertaker dive? It looked like he got legitimately hurt on the floor. The fact that he put on such a great performance after that fall only adds to his legendary high level of toughness. I never thought Michaels was going to win at any point, but those nearfalls were as believable as any Undertaker Mania match I’ve ever seen.
#18 WrestleMania 26: Shawn Michaels – What do you know? A rematch between two of the best ever and a match that I gave five stars to as well. I like the WM25 match better, but they did a lot of the same things that worked and delivered another classic in what is Shawn Michaels’ last match. The idea was that Michaels wanted Undertaker to really beat him to earn the win and that’s what happened. Two straight matches of the year for these legends.
As you can see from looking at all these matches, the last four were the best ones. It’s rare for somebody to have the best matches of their life while they are in their 40s, but that’s the case for The Undertaker. Of course it certainly helps that the opponents got better at the end too.
The Five Most Memorable Undertaker Matches…that don’t include Shawn Michaels
Over the course of a 20 year career a man is going to have a lot of memorable matches. Here are five that stand out to me for various reasons. Look at that title too. No HBK matches here. That list is coming after.
5. Summerslam 1998 vs. Steve Austin – I loved the build to this match. It was very fresh. They had wrestled on PPV the year before, but Austin wasn’t a top guy yet. This time they had that “Highway to Hell” theme to it and Austin ended up winning clean with the Stunner. Undertaker would turn heel soon after, developing that demonic “Ministry of Darkness” persona that he used for much of 1999.
4. Backlash 2007 vs. Batista – A Last Man Standing match that I remember watching live in a movie theater with friends. I didn’t watch too many PPVs in the theater, but for whatever reason we watched this one there. They went all out. The built the drama. They had a lot great false finishes. Then the match ended with a stuntman bump as they went off the stage onto wood pallets on the floor.
3. Summerslam 2008 vs. Edge – This was a Hell in a Cell match that was one of the first major matches to be under the current PG era. There was no blood. It was an old school brawl within the confines of the cell. The ending of it was very memorable with Undertaker sending Edge straight to hell by putting him through the ring to end the feud once and for all.
2. No Way Out 2006 vs. Kurt Angle – A technical wrestling masterpiece. Yeah, I said it. A masterpiece. Keep in mind that Undertaker’s 6’10” and 300 pounds. That’s not easy. Is Angle the better worker of the two? Sure, but Undertaker hung with him and did his part to make the match great too. It’s 30 minutes of wrestling and proof that even at nearly 41 years old (at the time of this match) Undertaker could really go. It was my 2006 Match of the Year at ****1/2 and I’m sure the Undertaker enjoyed it a lot more than working against Mark Henry a month later at WrestleMania.
1. King of the Ring 1998 vs. Mankind – Hell in a Cell. As a match is it the best ever? No. I’d rate it at *** out of 5, but as a moment it was phenomenal. It defined the Attitude era in a lot of ways. Of course Mankind gets a lot of credit for the bumps through the table and going through the cage, but as Mick Foley wrote in his autobiography Undertaker deserves credit for working through a broken foot. He also carried the match after Foley had knocked himself out. This might be the most famous match of Undertaker’s career. Best? Not even close. But most famous? Yes. It might be.
There are a lot of other great matches I could pick such as the one in the UK with Bret Hart in 1997, the Boiler Room Brawl with Mankind that elevated him upon his debut in the WWF, putting over Brock Lesnar in a Hell in a Cell match in 2002 and a long list of others as well. The two opponents that I wish got more matches with Undertaker are Chris Jericho and The Rock. They had brief feuds with him, but they never had the long term feuds that they deserved to have.
The Five Most Memorable Undertaker Matches that include Shawn Michaels
Without question the best opponent in the career of the Undertaker was Shawn Michaels. While they did not wrestle on PPV until 1997, the few matches they did have on PPV were amongst the best ever. I think these two set the bar very high for future big man versus little man matches. It’s going to be hard for anybody to ever top the quality of their matches.
“Man, I have absolutely zero ability into narrowing absolutely any of my favorites into just one, but I have to say, I gotta go between Undertaker and Triple H. Other than all the obvious reasons, but the biggest one for me, those are the only two guys, I could make a mistake and it would be okay. I could put the trust of the match, the story, and absolutely everything into their hands and let go of my control. I’m a control freak (laughs). Those are the only two guys I can let drive and take my hands off the steering wheel.” – Shawn Michaels in an interview with ESPN’s Bill Simmons, August 2010
Now, here’s that list of five featuring The Undertaker and his greatest opponent.
5. Ground Zero 1997 – This is from September 1997 and it led up to the Hell in a Cell. The basic premise of the match was that Shawn wanted nothing to do with Undertaker due to being scared of him. It ends up being a wild brawl that was very good and it was capped off with an impressive leap by Undertaker onto a dozen wrestlers or so. It’s one of those images I’ll never forget.
4. Royal Rumble 2007 – The match featured 28 other men, but it was really about Undertaker and Michaels. It was a sign of things to come two years down the road at WrestleMania. Their finishing sequence as the final two is the best ending in the history of the Royal Rumble and really made that match special.
3. WrestleMania 26 – I already covered it in the list about The Streak. A terrific way to end Shawn Michaels’ career. Undertaker didn’t wrestle on TV very much in 2010, but he was still able to contribute to the match of the year. That shows how gifted he really is.
2. Badd Blood 1997 Hell in a Cell – I watched this match and the number one match on this list back to back the other night. It’s hard for me to rank them. They are from different points of each man’s career and they are different kinds of matches. You can feel the hate between the two guys during the match. The build with the chair shot, the blood, Michaels being scared of him, the Kane storyline, the fall off the cage during the match, and the massive revenge chair shot by Undertaker to Shawn all led to one of the best matches ever. Five stars.
1. WrestleMania 25 – This has been covered too. To add to what I already wrote I can say I went into that match thinking it was going to be really good. I had re-watched the ending of the 2007 Rumble earlier in the day and I knew it would be a classic. Then when it was over everybody seemed to agree it was one of the best matches ever. Universal praise. Well deserved too.
“He’s got that rare attribute for a sports entertainer, which is legendary status. And a lot of guys, when they achieve that legendary status, they can float along, and rest on their laurels. But Taker doesn’t do that. When he hits the ropes, and he jumps straight over the top rope, big swan dive over the top rope onto a crowd of guys. I mean, he doesn’t have to do that, but he does. Why? Because he works his ass off every night. And when he grabs that hand and is about ready to climb the top rope and yells out “Old School!,” that’s what he is, old school. And that’s not bad. Because he has the respect for the business, he understands the business, and he’s passed the torch time and time again, but he still has many more torches to pass on and he has no problem doing that, if the time is right and if the guys are right.” – Chris Jericho, “My Yard” DVD.
What Is The Legacy of The Undertaker?
It’s hard to put a stamp on what the legacy of The Undertaker truly is. He’s the guy that has had to feud with a lot of bad wrestlers over the years because Vince McMahon loves to book big men versus big man. The truth is that all of the matches against the likes of King Kong Bundy, Yokozuna, Giant Gonzalez, Sid, Mark Henry, Heidenreich, The Great Khali, Big Show and others of that ilk are generally pretty bad. He has a lot of those bad matches under his belt. Then there are the truly great matches that he’s had with some of the best wrestlers ever like Shawn Michaels (his best opponent), Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho (I wish they had more), Mick Foley and so many others. That’s wrestling. You take the good with the bad. In Undertaker’s case the good outweighs the bad by a lot.
You know what the cool thing is about The Undertaker? We don’t know that much about him. Sure, we know he was married to a woman named Sara (you think he regrets that tattoo on the neck that has now disappeared?) and we know he’s married to Michelle McCool now, but it’s not like he’s the kind of wrestler that goes on radio shows to spout off about others. We know that Bret Hart and Ric Flair have talked trash about eachother, we know that John Cena did it about The Rock too. Steve Austin went very public when he had his frustrations with WWE’s creative team in 2002. With The Undertaker there’s not that much dialogue from the real man. There was that period when he was in The American Badass gimmick where he did some interviews (google them if interested), but otherwise he’s a man of mystery. When WWE has a Hall of Fame ceremony everybody is in the crowd except him. He doesn’t do too many personal appearances. He’s not going on talk shows doing interviews. It adds to the mystique that I love to talk about.
I’m not going to say that he is one of my five wrestlers or even in my top ten. He’s not. He’s in my personal top twenty for sure. However, when he’s at his absolute best he’s somebody that I have always enjoyed and marveled at because of everything he has ever done in his career. To me there’s no question that he is the best big man wrestler in the history of professional wrestling. Yes, a guy like Andre The Giant can be considered a bigger draw, but his career didn’t span as long and the quality of his matches aren’t nearly as good. There’s nobody else that can touch Undertaker for that title as best big man ever.
The biggest thing I learned about Undertaker while looking back on his career was how respected he was by his peers. I read a lot of quotes about the man in the last month or two while preparing for this column. I shared a few of them. There are many more. I’m not sure if there’s anybody in wrestling that is more universally liked than The Undertaker. That’s not to say everybody likes him, but if he has haters they are going to be hard to find. He’s a lot of things to a lot of people. To his peers, arguably the most important group of people to a wrestler, he is the biggest legend of them all.
What’s left for The Undertaker to do? You heard Triple H on Raw this past Monday. There’s nothing left for a guy like him. His injuries have slowed him down considerably and his days of wrestling weekly are over. Personally I think The Streak should never end. He’ll go over Triple H this year and then next year he will go over John Cena to finish at 20-0. End his career at WrestleMania. Considering all that he’s done and with all of the injuries he has the finish line is near. We all know that. He must know that. I’m going to enjoy what might be his last year because there will never be another performer like him.
Think about all the factors that make him special: the gimmick, the longevity, the size, the talent, the ability to reinvent yourself and the respect earned. Is anybody going to be able to repeat all of that? I don’t think they can. It’s too hard to do. Like I said there will never be another performer like him. He’s a special talent that will not be easy to replace. Here I am having awful flashbacks to that brutal Summerslam 1994 match against the fake Undertaker. No! That’s a bad memory.
Throughout this column I’ve shared the words of his peers. I think to sum up his career there’s no better person to turn to than The Undertaker himself.
“You desire to be the best in this business, you sacrifice. You sacrifice the time with your kids. You miss them growing up. But you have a goal in mind. You know that one day all the sacrifices that you make, it’s gonna make it easier for your children. You just hope you’re there to enjoy it. I love the fact that I can go out there and I can affect peoples emotions. I enjoy going out there and laying it all out on the line. I like taking my body to the limit. I love what I do. For the fans that have watched me over all these years, I just hope they realize that I gave everything that I had in mind, body and spirit.” – The Undertaker
His legacy is that he’s one of the best wrestlers ever, the most respected wrestler ever and a man that has been a leader in his locker room for the majority of his glorious career. His impact on World Wrestling Entertainment should never be forgotten.
His catchphrase is “Rest In Peace.”
His legacy? That will live on forever.
* * *
I realize there are a lot of things I didn’t even touch on regarding Undertaker’s career. What can you really say? There’s so much. There were parts of his career like the purple gloves, the feud with Mankind, the Ministry of Darkness, the way he made the Hell in a Cell match special and other things that I didn’t mention merely because there are so many topics to cover when it comes to him. It’s a 20 year career. I think 6,000 words is enough, but I could have easily written another 6,000 words if I had to. That says a lot about the man, I think. I hope that after reading all these words that it doesn’t leave you in a vegetative state. What? I had to bring up that awful storyline at some point!
I want to give thanks to my buddy Pat Lamorte for the awesome banner you see at the top, my friend Chuck Rawlings for some of the quotes you see throughout and also to phenomforever.com for some quotes as well. Also thanks to youtube for always being there when I need to remind myself of a moment I may have forgotten.
To The Undertaker I say thanks for all the memories. Congrats on a great career. You deserve every amount of praise you receive.
Here are some other career retrospective columns I’ve written over the past year. The next one might be about The Rock. Maybe before WrestleMania. We’ll see about that.
Thank You Shawn Michaels – My favorite article I’ve ever written about my favorite wrestler ever.
Paying Homage to Bret Hart – A lot of people will remember 2010 as the year Bret Hart came back. Why was it so important? Because his place in history mattered.
Respecting The Game – The second most powerful person in WWE these days is arguably Triple H. Here’s a look back at his career and his place in the wrestling business.
Why Randy Savage Mattered – WWE released a DVD set on Randy Savage and an action figure, but still no sign of a Hall of Fame induction. For shame.
Remembering Eddie Guerrero 5 years later – Gone, but never forgotten.
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