The Undertaker

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This article is about the professional wrestler. For other uses, see Undertaker (disambiguation).
The Undertaker
The Undertaker April 2014.jpg
Calaway in April 2014
Birth name Mark Calaway
Born (1965-03-24) March 24, 1965 (age 51)
Houston, Texas, United States
Residence Austin, Texas, United States
Spouse(s) Jodi Lynn (m. 1989; div. 1999)
Sara Frank (m. 2000; div. 2007)
Michelle McCool (m. 2010)
Children 4
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) The Commando[1][2]
Cain the Undertaker[3]
Dice Morgan
Mark Callous
Mean Mark[4]
The Master of Pain
The Punisher
Texas Red
The Undertaker
Billed height 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)[5]
Billed weight 310 lb (140 kg)[5]
Billed from Death Valley[5]
Houston, Texas
Trained by Don Jardine[2]
Debut 1984[6]

Mark William Calaway (born March 24, 1965),[7] better known by his ring name The Undertaker, is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he has worked since 1990, making him the company's longest tenured in-ring performer. Calaway began his wrestling career with World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) in 1984. After wrestling for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as "Mean Mark" Callous from 1989 to 1990, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 1990. Calaway is regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.[8]

As The Undertaker, Calaway's gimmick is a horror-themed, macabre entity who employs scare tactics and holds links to the supernatural; the character was reinvented as a biker during the early 2000s. The Undertaker is the storyline half-brother of fellow WWE wrestler Kane, with whom he has alternately feuded and teamed with as The Brothers of Destruction. The Undertaker has been involved in various pivotal storylines and matches within WWE history.[5]

The Undertaker is known for The Streak, an unprecedented run of 21 straight victories at WWE's leading pay-per-view, WrestleMania (including main event bouts at WrestleMania 13, WrestleMania XXIV, and WrestleMania XXVI); he sustained his first loss at WrestleMania XXX to Brock Lesnar.[9] Prior to his WWF/E career he also held the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship once and since unseating Hulk Hogan as WWF World Heavyweight Champion in 1991, he has won the WWF/E World Championship four times and the WWE's World Heavyweight Championship three times. All in all, he is an eight-time world champion. He also won the 2007 Royal Rumble.

Early life[edit]

Calaway was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Frank Compton Calaway (died July 22, 2003) and Betty Catherine Truby. He has four older brothers: David, Michael, Paul, and Timothy. Calaway attended Waltrip High School, where he was a member of the football and basketball teams. He graduated in 1983 and began studying at Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas on a basketball scholarship. In 1985, he enrolled in Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas, where he majored in sport management and played basketball for the Rams in the 1985–1986 season as a center. In 1986, Calaway dropped out of university to focus on a career in sports, and he briefly considered playing professional basketball in Europe before deciding to focus on professional wrestling.[10][11][12][13]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (1984–1990)[edit]

Calaway made his debut in 1984 for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) under the ring name Texas Red.[6] His first match was a loss against Bruiser Brody.[6] In 1988, after four years in the promotion, he left and joined the Continental Wrestling Association (which became part of the United States Wrestling Association after Jerry Jarrett bought WCCW and merged the two organizations into one), wrestling under several gimmicks.

On February 2, 1989, managed by Dutch Mantel, he debuted as The Master of Pain, a character fresh out of the United States Penitentiary, Atlanta after serving five years (much in solitary confinement) for killing two men in a fight.[citation needed] After his second match the next week, he stayed in the ring by challenging USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion Jerry Lawler to an impromptu match. The Master of Pain easily dominated Lawler until Mantel entered the ring and called him off. Lawler agreed to a title match, and on April 1, The Master of Pain won his first professional wrestling championship. He held it for just over three weeks before Lawler became the first man to pin him, winning it back.

While performing as The Punisher, Calaway won the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship on October 5, 1989, when Eric Embry forfeited the title.[14]

In 1989, Calaway joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as a villain and adopted the ring name "Mean Mark" Callous, a name devised for him by Terry Funk.[15] He was portrayed as a morbid character; he wore predominantly black ring attire and was described by announcer Jim Ross as having a fondness for pet snakes and the music of Ozzy Osbourne.[16] Callous was promptly drafted into The Skyscrapers tag team to replace a legitimate injured Sid Vicious, and he made his debut on January 3, 1990 in a match later televised against Agent Steel and Randy Harris.[17] The new team gained some notoriety at Clash of the Champions X when they beat down The Road Warriors after their match.[18] However, Callous' partner Dan Spivey left WCW days before their Chicago Street Fight against The Road Warriors at WrestleWar. Callous and a replacement masked Skyscraper were defeated in the street fight, and the team broke up soon afterwards.[19] Callous took on the guidance of Paul E. Dangerously and defeated Johnny Ace at Capital Combat and defeated Brian Pillman at the Clash of the Champions XI: Coastal Crush in singles competition. In July 1990, he wrestled against Lex Luger for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship at The Great American Bash, but was pinned by Luger. He gave notice to WCW on August 27.[17] His final match was on September 7 at a WorldWide taping in Amarillo, Texas in which he defeated Dave Johnson.

During his time in WCW, Calaway briefly wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) as "Punisher" Dice Morgan. After leaving WCW, he briefly returned to the USWA to participate in a tournament to determine the new USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion; he defeated Bill Dundee in the first round, but lost to Jerry Lawler in the quarterfinals. In October 1990, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE[edit]

Western Mortician (1990–1991)[edit]

Calaway made his WWF debut as Cain the Undertaker at a taping of Superstars on November 19, 1990. The original Deadman character depicted him as a western mortician dressed in a trench coat, gray-striped tie, and gray-ringed, black stetson hat with gray gloves and boot spats. He was portrayed as impervious to pain, something accomplished by Calaway not selling his opponents' attacks. Calaway made his official on-camera debut on November 22 at Survivor Series as a villainous character when he was the mystery partner of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Team.[20] Approximately one minute into the match, The Undertaker eliminated Koko B. Ware with his finisher, the Tombstone Piledriver. He also eliminated Dusty Rhodes before being counted out; however, his team won the match with DiBiase being the sole survivor. During the match, Calaway was referred to as The Undertaker, neglecting the Kane name, which was dropped shortly after the event (and seven years later was given to another wrestler who eventually became Undertaker's younger brother of the same name). At the same time, The Undertaker switched managers from Brother Love to Paul Bearer – a histrionic, ghostly character, almost always seen bearing an urn, which he used to revive The Undertaker's strength whenever Undertaker fell victim to his antagonists. Undertaker placed his defeated opponents (almost always jobbers) in a bodybag and carried them to the back.[21]

He made his WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania VII, quickly defeating "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka.[22] He began his first major feud with The Ultimate Warrior, when he attacked Warrior and locked him in an airtight casket on the set of Paul Bearer's Funeral Parlor interview segment.

WWF World Heavyweight Champion (1991−1994)[edit]

The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan to win his first WWF World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series with the help of Ric Flair, and thus became the youngest WWF World Heavyweight Champion in history until having this record broken by Yokozuna in April 1993 at WrestleMania IX.[23] WWF President Jack Tunney ordered a rematch for This Tuesday in Texas six days later, where he lost the title back to Hogan.[23] However, due to the controversial ends to the two title matches between The Undertaker and Hogan, the title was vacated by Tunney. The title was awarded to Ric Flair as the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble match.

In February 1992, The Undertaker's ally Jake "The Snake" Roberts tried to attack "Macho Man" Randy Savage's manager/wife Miss Elizabeth with a steel chair when Undertaker stopped him, becoming a fan favorite for the first time. On the February 29, 1992 episode of Superstars, Roberts confronted The Undertaker on the Funeral Parlor set over that incident (aired on Saturday Night's Main Event). After demanding to know whose side The Undertaker was on and getting the reply "Not yours!", Roberts attacked both Bearer and The Undertaker, only for Undertaker to stand his ground and run Roberts off. The Undertaker defeated Roberts at WrestleMania VIII.[22] He then feuded extensively with wrestlers managed by Harvey Wippleman throughout 1992 and 1993, such as Kamala and Giant González. Also in this time, he headlined the first episode of Monday Night Raw on January 11, 1993 with a victory over Damien Demento.[24] He faced González at WrestleMania IX, which is notable as Undertaker's only disqualification win at WrestleMania after the use of chloroform. His rivalry with Yokozuna culminated in a WWF World Heavyweight Championship casket match at the Royal Rumble in January 1994. During the match, champion Yokozuna sealed The Undertaker in the casket with the assistance of several other villainous Wippleman-managed wrestlers to win the match. The Undertaker appeared from inside the casket on the video screen, representing his spirit, warning that he would return.[25] The Undertaker did not appear in the WWF for seven months after his loss to Yokozuna. In reality, he was given time off to allow a back injury to heal.[26]

The Original Deadman Era (1994–1996)[edit]

Paul Bearer betrayed Undertaker by hitting him with the urn he is seen carrying here

During his absence, the WWF promoted his return by showing video clips of people who claimed to have seen The Undertaker. After WrestleMania X, Ted DiBiase introduced an Undertaker back to the WWF. This Undertaker, however, played by Brian Lee, was an impostor Undertaker (dubbed "The Underfaker" by fans) and led to the return of the real Undertaker in the SummerSlam main event, appearing as a new version of his Deadman persona, represented now by cool colors and replacing grey with purple. The Undertaker defeated the impostor after three Tombstone Piledrivers.[25] At Survivor Series, The Undertaker defeated Yokozuna in a casket match rematch. Throughout most of 1995, Undertaker feuded with members of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. At WrestleMania XI, while The Undertaker was facing King Kong Bundy, Kama stole the urn and antagonized him by melting it into a large gold necklace.[25] In August, Undertaker defeated Kama in a casket match at SummerSlam.[25] Several weeks later, Undertaker injured his orbital bone near his eye, forcing a period of absence for surgery, until his return at Survivor Series.

The Undertaker returned in November at Survivor Series, wearing a Phantom of the Opera-like, grey upper-face mask.[25] In the main event of the Royal Rumble in January 1996, The Undertaker was unmasked in a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match against Bret Hart, but Diesel interfered during the match, costing The Undertaker the championship.[27] A rematch for the title on the February 5 episode of Raw saw similar interference.[28] At that month's In Your House: Rage in the Cage, while Diesel was facing Hart in a steel cage match, The Undertaker delivered a surprise attack, emerging from a hole he had ripped through the ring canvas and dragging Diesel with him down under, allowing Hart the victory.[27] After several weeks of more tit for tat between Diesel and The Undertaker, the feud culminated in a singles match between the two at WrestleMania XII, where Undertaker was victorious.[22]

The Undertaker's next feud started the next night on Raw, when Mankind made his debut and interfered in Undertaker's match against Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw. For the next few months, Mankind ambushed and cost The Undertaker several matches.[27] The feud intensified, and they began taking their battles into crowds, backstage areas, and in the boiler rooms of different arenas. Mankind cost the Undertaker the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog, assisting champion Goldust to victory. As a result, the first ever Boiler Room Brawl was booked between the two at SummerSlam. During the match, when Undertaker reached for Paul Bearer's urn, Bearer hit him with it, betraying The Undertaker and allowing Mankind to "incapacitate" him with the mandible claw, giving him the win.[27] After Bearer's betrayal, The Undertaker took his rivalry with Mankind to a new level, resulting in a Buried Alive match in the main event of In Your House 11: Buried Alive, where The Undertaker won the match after a chokeslam into the open grave. However, after interference from The Executioner, as well as the help of several other wrestlers, The Undertaker was ultimately "buried alive".[27]

Lord of Darkness (1996–1998)[edit]

After being buried alive, The Undertaker returned at the Survivor Series again pitting him against Mankind, but with a unique stipulation; hanging 20 ft (6.1 m) above the ring was Paul Bearer, enclosed in a steel cage. If Undertaker won the match, he would be able to get his hands on Bearer. Even though The Undertaker won the match, interference from The Executioner enabled Bearer to escape Undertaker's clutches.[29] It was also at this event that Undertaker had developed a more informal, casual Deadman incarnation than before. In this then-new form, he took on a Gothic, brash and rebelling persona (perhaps to better fit in with the Attitude Era that consisted of more adult-oriented programming content and that was budding at around the time). In this form, he proclaimed himself as "The Lord of Darkness". Following Survivor Series, The Undertaker briefly turned his attentions to The Executioner, who had been interfering in on his matches since his arrival. At In Your House 12: It's Time, The Undertaker defeated The Executioner in an Armageddon rules match.[29] He then moved on to feud with Vader, whom he faced in January 1997 at 1997 Royal Rumble in a singles match, which Undertaker lost after Bearer interfered on behalf of his new protégé.[29] The two then clashed in the Royal Rumble match itself as they made it to the final moments of the match, but both were eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin, who had crept back into the match after his elimination was unseen. He faced both Vader and Austin in a four-corners elimination match for the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship at In Your House 13: Final Four, but Bret Hart won.[30] However, the following month, The Undertaker managed to win the title for the second time by defeating Sycho Sid at WrestleMania 13.[31]

In May 1997, Paul Bearer attempted to rejoin The Undertaker, using the ultimatum of revealing The Undertaker's "deepest, darkest secret" to the world. In storyline, Bearer revealed that The Undertaker was an arsonist/murderer, who as a child had burned down the family funeral home business (where he and his family lived and Bearer worked), killing his parents and ostensibly his younger half-brother as well. The Undertaker denied all this; however, Bearer claimed to having proof in the form of The Undertaker's alive and well half-brother Kane, who had survived though horribly scarred and burned. Bearer raised Kane after the fire, having him institutionalized from the date of the fire all the way into adulthood. Ever since the fire, Kane had been awaiting to exact vengeance on his older half-brother. In defense, Undertaker responded that Kane, a pyromaniac, had been the one to set the fire and could not have possibly even survived. Also during the period, Bearer had unintentionally admitted to Undertaker's mother having an affair with him. As a result, it was revealed to The Undertaker that Kane was actually his half-brother. Until that point, Undertaker spent his life (entirety of the father's life) under the impression that Kane was fully related to him and his family. It was during this time that The Undertaker also made an appearance in Michinoku Pro Wrestling, defeating Hakushi in a singles match.[32][33]

The Undertaker in September 1997

Concurrent to the deep, dark secret storyline directed by Bearer, Undertaker began a new rivalry at SummerSlam when guest referee Shawn Michaels accidentally hit The Undertaker with a steel chair shot meant for Bret Hart, costing The Undertaker his WWF World Heavyweight Championship.[31] After a double countout draw during Ground Zero: In Your House, Undertaker challenged Michaels to the first Hell in a Cell match at Badd Blood: In Your House. During this match, The Undertaker's storyline half-brother Kane finally made his debut under the control of Paul Bearer, ripping off the door to the cell and giving The Undertaker a Tombstone Piledriver, Undertaker's trademark finisher, allowing Michaels to pin him.[31] As the storyline progressed through Bearer, Kane challenged The Undertaker, but Undertaker consistently refused to fight his half-brother. The Undertaker's final encounter with Michaels was in a casket match at the Royal Rumble. The week before on Raw Is War, Kane had seemed to ally with his brother against Michaels' D-Generation X; however, at the event, Kane trapped him in the coffin, padlocking the casket lid, and setting it ablaze which again gave Michaels the victory. The Undertaker, however, had disappeared when the casket lid was reopened.[34] After a two-month hiatus, The Undertaker returned and defeated Kane at WrestleMania XIV.[34] The two had a rematch, the first ever Inferno match, one month later at Unforgiven: In Your House, which The Undertaker won by setting Kane's right arm on fire.[34]

The Undertaker's feud with Mankind was concluded afterward, and they faced each other in a Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring. During the match, The Undertaker threw Mankind off the roof of the 16 ft (4.9 m) cell onto a broadcast table below, in what was a preplanned move. He later performed a chokeslam on Mankind through the roof of the cell into the ring which legitimately knocked Mankind unconscious. Mankind also used thumbtacks in the match and was hit by a back body drop and another chokeslam onto them before Undertaker won the match with the Tombstone Piledriver.[34] At Fully Loaded: In Your House, The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Kane and Mankind to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship.[34] The Undertaker and Austin's reign as tag team champions lasted for only two weeks, as Kane and Mankind regained the titles on the August 10 episode of Raw Is War.[35] The Undertaker then became the number one contender for the renamed WWF Championship at SummerSlam, now held by Austin. Shortly before SummerSlam, however, The Undertaker revealed that he and Kane were working together as brothers. Despite this revelation, The Undertaker told Kane that he did not want him to interfere in the match with Austin, and even though The Undertaker lost the match, he handed Austin his championship belt back after the match in a show of respect.[34] In September, the storyline continued, and The Undertaker began to show some villainous characteristics when he and Kane revealed the fact that they were in cahoots to rid Austin of his title for Mr. McMahon. At Breakdown: In Your House, The Undertaker and Kane were booked in a triple threat match with Austin for his WWF Championship; McMahon stated that the brothers were not allowed to pin each other. The Undertaker and Kane pinned Austin simultaneously after a double chokeslam, so the title was vacated by McMahon.[34] This event led to a match at Judgment Day: In Your House between The Undertaker and Kane for the title, with Austin as the special guest referee. Near the end of the match, Paul Bearer seemed about to assist Kane by handing him a steel chair to hit The Undertaker with, but as Kane had his back turned, both Bearer and The Undertaker hit Kane with the chair. The Undertaker went for the pin, but Austin refused to count the fall, attacked The Undertaker, and counted out both of them.[34] Finally, The Undertaker became a villain the next night on Raw Is War for the first time in over six years, reconciling with Bearer and claiming that he and Bearer would unleash their "Ministry of Darkness" on the World Wrestling Federation. As part of this new storyline, he admitted that he had indeed set the fire that killed his parents, for which he had previously blamed Kane.[35]

After Survivor Series, The Undertaker returned his attention back to his previous feud with Austin for costing him the title at Judgment Day, hitting Austin in the head with a shovel during a title match with The Rock, returning the favor for what happened a month earlier. With this twist in the storyline, McMahon scheduled a Buried Alive match between The Undertaker and Austin at Rock Bottom: In Your House. In the weeks leading up to Rock Bottom, The Undertaker attempted to embalm Austin alive, tried to have Kane committed to a mental asylum, and had his druids chain Austin to his symbol, raising it high into the arena.[35] However, The Undertaker lost the match after Kane interfered.[36]

The Ministry of Darkness (1998–1999)[edit]

After building up to his second villainous run in the latter part of 1998, The Undertaker introduced an updated version of his Deadman identity by January 1999 — the dark priest who in the initial period of this persona reigned over a stable known as The Ministry of Darkness. In this form, he took on a wicked, demonic presence, much more so than ever before. He often claimed to be invoking and taking orders from a "Higher Power". Moreover, he often appeared in a hooded black robe and sat on a throne that was specially designed into his character symbol. With the help of his minions, he often performed sacrifices on select WWF wrestlers, using various incantations and magic words with intent to extract out the dark side of the wrestlers in question so as to recruit them into his Ministry. The completed Ministry of Darkness consisted of The Brood (Christian, Edge and Gangrel), The Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq), Mideon, and Viscera. Calaway himself did not wrestle for a period having undergone a hip replacement. As part of the angle, Undertaker expressed a desire to take control of the World Wrestling Federation, displacing its owner, Vince McMahon. These ambitions culminated into a rivalry between The Ministry and The Corporation, ultimately resulting in a match between Undertaker and Corporation enforcer, Big Boss Man. The two faced off in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania XV, which Undertaker won.[37] At Backlash: In Your House, Undertaker defeated Corporation member Ken Shamrock after interference from Ministry member Bradshaw.[38]

Thereafter, the Undertaker kidnapped Stephanie McMahon, forcing Vince McMahon to enter into a reluctant alliance with his longtime nemesis Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Undertaker attempted to marry before sacrificing Stephanie in an eldritch ceremony conducted by Paul Bearer, but Austin was able to rescue her.[39] At the Over the Edge pay-per-view, The Undertaker defeated Austin for his third WWF Championship with help from Shane McMahon, the special referee.[40] The Ministry eventually merged with Shane McMahon's Corporation alliance to form the Corporate Ministry. The Undertaker later revealed that Vince McMahon had been his "Higher Power" all along.[41] After The Undertaker dropped the WWF Championship back to Austin following King of the Ring,[41] and an additional loss to him in a First Blood match at Fully Loaded, his relationship with the McMahons dissolved and the Corporate Ministry disbanded.[42]

The Undertaker then began a storyline where he teamed with Big Show in a tag team known as "The Unholy Alliance", which held the WWF World Tag Team Championship twice. After their victory at SummerSlam, The Undertaker suffered a groin tear and was seen limping in several matches. He avoided competing in wrestling matches in the following weeks, instead tyrannically ordering Big Show to fight all his battles and oblige all his many wishes. To compensate for his lack of physical action, Undertaker became more vocal on the mic, often making smart-aleck remarks and performing commentary. In September 1999, on SmackDown!, Mr. McMahon threatened that he would remove Undertaker from the Unforgiven main event if he refused to participate in a casket match against Triple H. Undertaker retorted that he did not care and maybe he would not be participating in anything, thus walking out of the WWF.[43] In reality, Calaway went on a hiatus from the WWF in order to treat his groin injury. The Undertaker was advertised on the Armageddon promotional poster to return, but meanwhile also tore his pectoral muscle, making him take almost eight months out of action.[44]

American Bad Ass (2000–2001)[edit]

Undertaker at WrestleMania XIX

By his return in May 2000, The Undertaker had taken on a drastically different identity from before, as he abandoned the somber mortician-themed attires, his funeral dirge ring music, allusions to the supernatural, and the accompanying morbid theatrics. In place of this, he took on a biker identity, riding to the ring on a motorcycle, and wearing sunglasses and bandanas to the ring. His entrance music was replaced with popular rock songs of the time, like Limp Bizkit's "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" and Kid Rock's "American Bad Ass" (from which the name of The Undertaker's new gimmick originated), though it was accompanied by the characteristic opening bell of The Undertaker's original theme.

When Undertaker returned at Judgment Day, he took out all the members of the McMahon-Helmsley Faction, which caused him to once again be a fan favorite.[citation needed] He also targeted their leader, then WWF Champion Triple H. At the King of the Ring pay-per-view, The Undertaker teamed with The Rock and Kane to defeat the team of Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon.[45] Afterward, he was booked to team with Kane to contend for the WWF World Tag Team Championship. They defeated Edge and Christian, earning the right to face them the following week for the championship, which Edge and Christian retained. Kane betrayed The Undertaker by hitting him with a chokeslam twice, with the second one putting The Undertaker through the ring, on the August 14 episode of Raw Is War.[46] This incident led to another match between the two at SummerSlam, which ended in a no contest as Kane ran from the ring area after The Undertaker removed Kane's mask.[45]

The Undertaker then challenged Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series.[47] Angle, however, defeated The Undertaker after he switched places with his real life brother, Eric Angle. The Undertaker demanded and was awarded a spot in the six-man Hell in a Cell match for the WWF Championship at Armageddon. The Undertaker promised to make someone "famous" and did so when he performed a chokeslam on Rikishi from the roof of the cell.[47]

In 2001, the Undertaker reunited with Kane as The Brothers of Destruction, challenging for the WWF World Tag Team Championship once again. They received a title shot at No Way Out, facing Edge and Christian and then champions The Dudley Boyz in a tables match, but they were not successful.[47] The Undertaker then went on to defeat Triple H at WrestleMania X-Seven.[22] He and Kane continued a storyline that focused on Triple H, who formed a "surprise alliance" with then WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Brothers of Destruction were granted an opportunity to face Triple H and Austin for their titles. After The Undertaker and Kane won the WWF World Tag Team Championship from Edge and Christian,[48] Triple H pinned Kane after attacking him with a sledgehammer at Backlash, where The Brothers of Destruction lost their championship.[49] With Kane injured, The Undertaker feuded briefly with Austin for his WWF Championship, but he failed to win the title at Judgment Day.[49]

Big Evil (2001−2003)[edit]

As part of "The Invasion" storyline, The Undertaker's next nemesis was Diamond Dallas Page, who was obsessively following The Undertaker's wife, Sara.[49] While they were presented as being married from the start of the storyline, in reality, Calaway and Sara got married during the height of this feud.[50] At SummerSlam, WCW Tag Team Champions The Undertaker and Kane defeated Page and his partner Chris Kanyon in a steel cage match to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship.[49] At Survivor Series, The Undertaker teamed with Kane, The Rock, Chris Jericho, and Big Show to take on The Alliance's Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon, and Kurt Angle (this was the last time The Undertaker and Kane teamed until 2006). Angle pinned the Undertaker due to interference by Austin.[49] After The Alliance was defeated, The Undertaker became a villain once again by forcing commentator Jim Ross to kiss Vince McMahon's ass.[51] This was the beginning of a new persona for The Undertaker, as he cut his long hair short and called himself "Big Evil". At Vengeance, The Undertaker defeated Van Dam to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.[52]

The Undertaker during his "Big Evil" persona

The Undertaker's next storyline began at the Royal Rumble in January 2002, when Maven eliminated him by hitting him with a dropkick from behind. Subsequently, The Undertaker eliminated Maven in return and brutally assaulted him backstage.[52] On an episode of SmackDown!, The Rock mentioned The Undertaker's elimination at the Royal Rumble, angering Undertaker, who responded by costing The Rock the number one contendership for the Undisputed WWF Championship.[53] The storyline continued when The Rock cost The Undertaker his match with Maven for the Hardcore Championship.[54] The two faced off at No Way Out, where The Undertaker lost due to interference from Ric Flair.[52] This interference began a storyline with Flair, who declined a challenge to wrestle Undertaker at WrestleMania X8,[55] and, as a result, Undertaker assaulted his son David.[56] Flair eventually accepted the match after The Undertaker threatened to inflict the same punishment on Flair's daughter.[56] A no disqualification stipulation was added to the match, and The Undertaker defeated Flair.[22]

After the storyline with Flair, The Undertaker defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin at Backlash to win the number one contendership for the Undisputed WWF Championship. Later that night, he helped Hulk Hogan win his title match against then Undisputed WWF Champion Triple H.[52] The Undertaker then defeated Hogan for the renamed WWE Undisputed Championship at Judgment Day. The following night on Raw, The Undertaker was defeated by Rob Van Dam for the WWE Undisputed Championship; however, Ric Flair restarted the match and The Undertaker retained his championship.[57] On the July 1 episode of Raw, The Undertaker turned into a fan favorite again after defeating Jeff Hardy in a ladder match and raising Hardy's hand as a show of respect. The Undertaker, however, lost the title at Vengeance to The Rock in a triple threat match that also involved Kurt Angle.[57] The Undertaker was then switched from Raw to SmackDown! (he remained part of the SmackDown roster until the brand extension ended in 2011), alongside former Raw talent Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero. The Undertaker challenged Lesnar in a match for renamed WWE Championship at Unforgiven that ended in a double disqualification.[57] Their feud carried over to No Mercy in a Hell in a Cell match, which The Undertaker performed in the match with a legitimate broken hand and eventually lost to the champion.[57]

The Undertaker took a break after The Big Show threw him off the stage, sparking a feud.[58] The Undertaker returned at the Royal Rumble in January 2003.[59] He immediately continued his feud with Big Show and defeated him by submission at No Way Out with a triangle choke. A-Train entered the storyline by attempting to attack The Undertaker after the match, but Nathan Jones came to his aid.[59] The storyline resumed as The Undertaker began to train Jones to wrestle, and the two were scheduled to fight Big Show and A-Train in a tag team match at WrestleMania XIX.[22] However, Jones was removed prior to the match, making it a handicap match, which The Undertaker won with the help of Jones.[59]

Over the remainder of the year, The Undertaker entered a brief feud with John Cena and was booked to have two WWE Championship opportunities. The first, on the September 4 SmackDown!, against Kurt Angle, ended in a no contest, due to interference from Brock Lesnar.[60] The second, at No Mercy, was a Biker Chain match between The Undertaker and Lesnar, which Lesnar won with the help of Vince McMahon.[61] This match resulted in a feud with McMahon, culminating at Survivor Series where the Undertaker lost a Buried Alive match against McMahon when Kane interfered.[61] The Undertaker disappeared for some time following the match, with Kane claiming that he was "dead and buried forever".[62]

Return of the Deadman (2004–2007)[edit]

The Undertaker, awakening the arena lights as he enters the ring

In the storyline leading up to WrestleMania XX, Kane was haunted by vignettes proclaiming The Undertaker's return. The first was during the Royal Rumble when The Undertaker's bells tolled, distracting Kane and allowing Booker T to eliminate him.[61] Accompanied by Paul Bearer, The Undertaker returned as a hybrid version of The Deadman at WrestleMania XX and defeated Kane.[63] At Judgment Day, The Undertaker defeated Booker T. Three months later, The Dudley Boyz kidnapped Bearer on Paul Heyman's orders.[64] Thus, Heyman "took control" of Undertaker.[65] At The Great American Bash, Undertaker fought a handicap match against The Dudley Boyz, with the stipulation that if he did not lay down and purposely lose, Heyman would bury Paul Bearer in cement. The Undertaker won and stopped Heyman from burying Bearer, but after claiming Bearer was merely a liability he had no use for, buried him himself.[63]

The Undertaker began a feud with then WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) by challenging to a title match at SummerSlam, which The Undertaker lost by disqualification.[63] At No Mercy, The Undertaker and JBL competed in the first ever Last Ride match, although The Undertaker lost after Heidenreich interfered.[63] After defeating Heidenreich in a match at Survivor Series,[66] The Undertaker turned his focus to the WWE Championship once again. Along with Eddie Guerrero and Booker T, he challenged JBL to a championship rematch at Armageddon in a fatal four-way match, in which The Undertaker was unsuccessful, again due to Heidenreich's interference.[66] The feud culminated in a casket match between The Undertaker and Heidenreich at the Royal Rumble, where Undertaker sealed Heidenreich in a casket for the victory.[66]

Soon after, Randy Orton challenged The Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania 21, and claimed that he would end his WrestleMania winning streak.[67] Even with help from his father, Orton lost and The Undertaker improved his WrestleMania record to 13–0.[66] After a two-month hiatus, Undertaker returned on the June 16 episode of SmackDown!, but lost to JBL after an interference from Randy Orton.[68]

Muhammad Hassan SmackDown! controversy[edit]

In one of the most controversial moments in the WWE, on the episode of SmackDown! taped on July 4, 2005, the SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long put Muhammad Hassan in a match against Undertaker at The Great American Bash for the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, and placed Daivari in a match that night against The Undertaker, who quickly defeated Daivari. After the match, Hassan began to "pray" on the ramp, summoning five masked men, dressed in black shirts, ski-masks, and camouflage pants. Armed with clubs and a piano wire, the masked men beat and choked The Undertaker, and Hassan put The Undertaker in a camel clutch. Afterward, the masked men lifted Daivari above their heads and carried him away. Three days later, the London bombings took place.[69] The footage aired unedited on UPN in the United States and on The Score in Canada with an advisory warning shown several times during the broadcast. It was removed from the Australian and European (including in the United Kingdom) broadcasts.[70]

The angle elicited national attention in the New York Post, TV Guide, Variety, and other major media outlets. In response to the criticism, UPN decided that it would monitor the storyline closely and that it did not want the Hassan character on its network that week.[71] Hassan later delivered a promo to the live crowd for the July 14, 2005 airing episode of SmackDown!, but when UPN announced that the segment would be edited, WWE decided to host the video of the segment on its official website. In the segment, Hassan reiterates that he is an Arab-American and that the American people automatically and unfairly assume that he is a terrorist. Despite being in character, he referred to the real-world media coverage of the storyline, singling out the New York Post's Don Kaplan by name, and denouncing his description of the events on SmackDown!, such as Kaplan's comment of the masked men being "Arabs in ski masks". On the July 14, 2005 episode of SmackDown!, Hassan's absence was explained by a statement delivered by his lawyer Thomas Whitney, which said that Hassan refused to appear on the show until The Great American Bash due to the way he had been treated by the media and WWE fans.[72]

It was revealed in late July 2005 that UPN had pressured WWE to keep Hassan off of their network, effectively removing him from SmackDown!.[73] Undertaker defeated Hassan at The Great American Bash to become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship. After the match, the Undertaker delivered a Last Ride through an open stage ramp onto a concrete floor to Hassan after the match. It was reported that Hassan sustained serious injuries and had to be rushed to a nearby medical facility, writing Hassan off of television.[74] Several days later, hosted a video of a kayfabe announcement from Theodore Long, where he reiterates the stipulation that Hassan would no longer appear on SmackDown!. It was revealed that Hassan was going to receive a major push, eventually winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Batista at SummerSlam, thus breaking Randy Orton's record of being the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history.[75][76]

Aftermath of The Great American Bash[edit]

At The Great American Bash, The Undertaker became the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, a position that JBL felt he should have. As part of the feud, on the following episode of SmackDown!, The Undertaker lost the number one contenderhip to JBL, once again due to interference from Orton.[77] With this, The Undertaker resumed his feud with Orton. At SummerSlam, Orton defeated The Undertaker in a WrestleMania rematch.[78] The storyline intensified as the two taunted each other with caskets, leading to a handicap casket match at No Mercy, in which The Undertaker lost to Randy and his father "Cowboy" Bob Orton.[78] After the match, the Ortons poured gasoline on the casket and set it on fire. When the charred casket was opened, however, The Undertaker had once again vanished. He returned at the Survivor Series, emerging from a burning casket.[79] The Undertaker returned on SmackDown! in early December to haunt Orton and set up a Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon.[80] After winning the match,[79] Calaway took a brief hiatus from professional wrestling.

The Undertaker retaining his undefeated streak at WrestleMania 22

In January 2006 at the Royal Rumble, The Undertaker returned during Kurt Angle's celebration of his World Heavyweight Championship defense against Mark Henry on a horse-drawn cart, signaling for a title shot. As part of their storyline feud, The Undertaker lost his match with Angle at No Way Out after a thirty-minute bout. Undertaker cornered Angle after the match and told him he was not finished with him; however, during a rematch on SmackDown!, Henry attacked The Undertaker from behind, costing him the title. This led to The Undertaker challenging Henry to a casket match at WrestleMania 22, and Henry – like Orton a year before – vowed to end Undertaker's WrestleMania winning streak. The Undertaker defeated Henry to become 14–0 at WrestleMania. During a rematch on the next episode of SmackDown!, The Great Khali made his debut and assaulted The Undertaker to transition into a new storyline.

The Undertaker was not heard from until the May 5 episode of SmackDown!, as Theodore Long delivered a challenge from The Undertaker to Khali for a match at Judgment Day.[81] The Undertaker lost to Khali,[82][83] and he did not appear again until the July 4 episode of SmackDown!, when he accepted Khali's challenge to a Punjabi Prison match at The Great American Bash.[84] However, Khali was removed from the match and was not medically fit and was replaced by then ECW World Champion Big Show, over whom The Undertaker gained the victory.[85] In the storyline, Teddy Long replaced Khali with Big Show as punishment for an attack on The Undertaker shortly before the match.[82] Khali was then challenged to a Last Man Standing match at SummerSlam after interfering in The Undertaker's match with then World Heavyweight Champion King Booker.[86] Khali refused the challenge for SummerSlam, though Long made the match official for the August 18 episode of SmackDown! instead. The Undertaker won the match by striking Khali with the steel stairs, delivering several chair shots, and finishing him with a chokeslam.[87]

The Undertaker's next match was with then United States Champion Mr. Kennedy at No Mercy, but was disqualified in the match after he hit Kennedy with the championship belt.[88] On the November 3 episode of SmackDown!, The Undertaker reunited with Kane to reform the Brothers of Destruction for the first time in five years, defeating the reluctant opposition team of Mr. Kennedy and Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP), with whom Kane was feuding with at the time.[89] As part of the storyline, Kennedy defeated The Undertaker in a First Blood match at Survivor Series after interference from MVP,[88] but finally defeated Kennedy in a Last Ride match at Armageddon.[88] The two continued to feud into 2007 as Kennedy cost The Undertaker two World Heavyweight Championship opportunities for a championship match at the Royal Rumble.[90][91]

World Heavyweight Champion (2007–2010)[edit]

The Undertaker won his first Royal Rumble match in 2007,[91] in doing so becoming the first man to enter the Rumble at number 30 and win the match.[92] He then began a storyline with Batista, whom he defeated at WrestleMania 23 to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. At Backlash in a Last Man Standing match, they had a rematch that ended in a draw when neither man was able to answer the ten-count, resulting in The Undertaker retaining the championship. On the May 11 episode of SmackDown!, The Undertaker and Batista fought in a steel cage match that ended in a draw when both men's feet touched the floor at the same time. After the match, Mark Henry made his return and assaulted an already exhausted Undertaker, after which Edge ran to the ring and cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, forcing Undertaker into a second title defense. Although he kicked out of two quick pin attempts, Undertaker was pinned by Edge after a spear and lost the title.

The Undertaker, after defeating Edge at WrestleMania XXIV

During Calaway's rehabilitation, Henry bragged about his assault on Undertaker, until vignettes began playing promoting The Undertaker's return. The Undertaker returned at Unforgiven, defeating Henry.[93] Batista and The Undertaker reignited their feud at Cyber Sunday with the fans choosing the special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Batista retained the title.[94] They battled again inside a Hell in a Cell at Survivor Series, where Edge returned and interfered to help Batista retain the World Heavyweight Championship.[95] In response to this, The Undertaker delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to General Manager Vickie Guerrero on the next SmackDown!, sending her to the hospital. Returning Assistant-General Manager Theodore Long declared a triple threat match for the title at Armageddon, which Edge won.

At No Way Out, The Undertaker defeated Batista, Finlay, The Great Khali, Montel Vontavious Porter, and Big Daddy V in an Elimination Chamber match to become the number one contender for Edge's World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIV, where he defeated Edge with the Hell's Gate submission hold, to win his second World Heavyweight Championship in his 16th WrestleMania win.[96] In a WrestleMania rematch, The Undertaker defeated Edge once again at Backlash to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.[97] Vickie Guerrero banned the Undertaker's Hell's Gate submission hold and stripped him of the title. The Undertaker battled Edge for the vacant title at Judgment Day, which he won by countout. Guerrero ordered that the title remain vacant, because titles cannot change hands in this way. Edge and The Undertaker faced each other again for the vacant championship at One Night Stand in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, which The Undertaker lost after interference from La Familia. As a result of the stipulation, Undertaker was forced to leave WWE.

The Undertaker, after defeating Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXV

On the July 25, 2008 episode of SmackDown, Vickie Guerrero reinstated The Undertaker, and scheduled Edge to face him at SummerSlam in a Hell in a Cell match,[98] which the Undertaker won. After the match, The Undertaker performed a chokeslam on Edge from the top of a ladder and through the ring canvas.[99] Following this match, Guerrero tried to make a peace offering with The Undertaker on SmackDown by apologizing, but The Undertaker told her that he is not the forgiving kind. At Unforgiven, as The Undertaker approached the ring to "take Guerrero's soul" and take her in a casket, Big Show, who appeared at first to aid the Undertaker, betrayed and assaulted him.[100] As a result of this altercation, The Undertaker and Big Show faced each other in a match at No Mercy, where Show knocked The Undertaker out with two hook punches in the forehead and a punch to the back of Undertaker's head.[101] At Cyber Sunday, The Undertaker defeated Big Show in a Last Man Standing match after applying the Hell's Gate.[102] At the same time, The Undertaker was engaged in a short feud with Jeff Hardy, who interfered during his match with Vladimir Kozlov. Hardy defeated The Undertaker in an Extreme Rules match the following week on SmackDown due to the interference of Big Show. The Undertaker then went on to defeat Show at Survivor Series in a casket match, to end the feud.[103] At No Way Out, The Undertaker was part of the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match along with Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Big Show, Vladimir Kozlov and Edge; however, he was unsuccessful at winning the match as he was the runner-up behind Triple H. He then became embroiled in a long time feud with Shawn Michaels over his WrestleMania undefeated streak and the fact that The Undertaker had never defeated Michaels in a singles match previously. The feud culminated in a match at WrestleMania XXV which The Undertaker won.[104] Their match was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike and is now considered by many to be one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time. On the April 24 episode of SmackDown, after losing a match against Big Show by knockout, Undertaker attacked Show. Following this, Undertaker took another hiatus from the WWE.

After the four-month hiatus, The Undertaker returned at SummerSlam in August by attacking CM Punk, who had just won the World Heavyweight Championship from Jeff Hardy in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.[105] At Breaking Point, The Undertaker faced Punk in a submission match. The Undertaker had originally won the match with his Hell's Gate submission hold, but the match was restarted by SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, who ruled that the ban placed on the move by Vickie Guerrero was still in effect. Punk went on to win the match with his anaconda vise when referee Scott Armstrong called for the bell, despite Undertaker never submitting in a recreation of the Montreal Screwjob, which took place in the same venue in 1997.[106] On the September 25 episode of SmackDown, Theodore Long officially lifted the ban, after being released from a casket The Undertaker had placed him in.[107] The feud between the two continued and at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, The Undertaker won the World Heavyweight Championship from Punk in a Hell in a Cell match.[108] The Undertaker successfully defended the title against CM Punk on SmackDown, in a fatal four-way match at Bragging Rights, and in a triple threat match at Survivor Series.[109][110] He faced Batista at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs for the championship, and won when the match was restarted by Long, after Batista had originally won after utilising a low blow.[111]

The Undertaker defending his World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble in January 2010

After successfully defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Rey Mysterio at the Royal Rumble,[112] The Undertaker lost the title at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, where a pyrotechnics malfunction momentarily engulfed The Undertaker in flames on three occasions during his ring entrance., butHe was able to continue with his scheduled match, with first- and second-degree burns on his chest and neck that, according to a WWE spokesman, "looked like a bad sunburn".[113] The Undertaker lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Chris Jericho after interference from Shawn Michaels;[114] Jericho has told on multiple occasions how the pyrotechnician responsible was immediately escorted from the arena, and relieved of his employment with WWE, at the behest of The Undertaker.[115][116]

The Undertaker then accepted Michaels' rematch offer, after initially declining, at WrestleMania XXVI in a Streak vs. career match, where Undertaker was victorious and Shawn Michaels was forced to retire. After a hiatus (which included wrestling two matches on Raw), he returned to SmackDown on May 28, defeating Rey Mysterio to qualify for a spot in the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view to compete for the World Heavyweight Championship.[117] During the match, The Undertaker suffered a concussion, broken orbital bone, and broken nose; he was visibly bleeding profusely on camera by the end of the match.[118] To cover for the injury, Kane revealed that Undertaker had been found in a vegetative state;[119] Mysterio took his place in the match and won the World Heavyweight Championship. While attempting to learn which wrestler had attacked The Undertaker, Kane defeated Mysterio to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Kane and Mysterio continued to clash as they accused one another of being the assailant behind the attack.[120]

At SummerSlam, The Undertaker returned to confront Kane and Rey Mysterio, only to be overpowered and hit with a Tombstone Piledriver by Kane. With Kane revealed as his attacker, the two feuded for the next few months over the World Heavyweight Championship. After losing to Kane at Night of Champions, Paul Bearer returned as Undertaker's manager on an episode of SmackDown.[121] However, Bearer turned on him at Hell in a Cell to help Kane win once again. The feud ended at Bragging Rights when The Nexus helped Kane defeat Undertaker in a Buried Alive match. In reality, he needed surgery for a torn rotator cuff.[122] The Buried Alive match between Undetaker and Kane was supposed to happen at Survivor Series, but as his shoulder injury was getting worse, the call was made to move the match to Bragging Rights.

Defending and ending of the Streak (2011–2014)[edit]

After the 2011 Royal Rumble, promotional videos began airing, showing The Undertaker entering and standing within a Western-style old house on a rainy desert. Each promo ended with the date 2–21–11 being "burned into" the screen. On the February 21 episode of Raw, The Undertaker returned, but before he could speak, Triple H also returned and confronted him. The two challenged each other to a match at WrestleMania XXVII, which was later made a No Holds Barred match and which The Undertaker won by submission. However, he had to be carried away from the ring on a stretcher.[123]

The Undertaker vs Triple H at WrestleMania XXVIII

On the January 30, 2012 episode of Raw, The Undertaker returned after a ten-month hiatus to confront Triple H.[124] On the February 13 episode of Raw, Triple H refused The Undertaker's challenge for a WrestleMania rematch.[125] After The Undertaker accused Triple H of living in the shadow of Shawn Michaels on the February 20 episode of Raw, Triple H accepted the challenge on the condition that it would be a Hell in a Cell match; Michaels was later inserted as special referee in the match. At WrestleMania XXVIII, The Undertaker, while debuting his new look, a mohawk, defeated Triple H to extend his streak to 20–0. After the match, Undertaker and Michaels carried Triple H to the entrance stage, where the three embraced.[126] Later in 2012, The Undertaker appeared on the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23 to help Kane, who had been confronted by Jinder Mahal, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Hunico, Camacho, and Drew McIntyre. The Brothers of Destruction overcame and dominated the six other wrestlers.[127][128]

The Undertaker's next television appearance was on Old School Raw on March 4, 2013, where he opened the show by performing his signature entrance. CM Punk, Randy Orton, Big Show, and Sheamus fought in a fatal four-way match to determine who would face him at WrestleMania 29, which Punk won.[129] After the real-life death of Paul Bearer on March 5, 2013, a storyline involving Punk regularly spiting The Undertaker through displays of flippancy and disrespect towards Bearer's death began.[130] Punk interrupted The Undertaker's ceremony to honor Bearer on Raw, stealing the trademark urn and later using it to attack Kane, humiliate The Brothers of Destruction and mock Bearer.[131][132] Undertaker defeated Punk at WrestleMania 29 to extend his Streak to 21–0 and then took back the urn.[133] The following night on Raw, Undertaker came out to pay his respects to Bearer, but was interrupted by The Shield, who attempted to attack Undertaker before Kane and Daniel Bryan made the save.[134] Undertaker wrestled his first Raw match in three years on the April 22 episode, teaming with Kane and Bryan against The Shield in a losing effort.[135] Four days later, he wrestled his first SmackDown match in three years, defeating Shield member Dean Ambrose via submission. Afterward, Undertaker was attacked by Ambrose and the rest of The Shield, who hit him with a powerbomb through the broadcast table.[136]

The Undertaker approaching the ring at WrestleMania XXX in 2014

On the February 24, 2014 episode of Raw, The Undertaker returned to confront Brock Lesnar and accepted his challenge for a match at WrestleMania XXX.[137] After 25 minutes and three F-5s, Lesnar won the match by pinfall, ending The Undertaker's Streak in what was described as "the most shocking result in WWE history".[138][139] Following the match, Undertaker was hospitalized with a severe concussion which he suffered in the first minutes of the bout.[140]

In December 2014, in an out-of-character interview, Vince McMahon confirmed that it was his final decision to have Lesnar end the Streak, and that The Undertaker was initially shocked at the decision. McMahon's reasons for making the decision were that it would significantly enhance Lesnar's formidability to set up the next WrestleMania event and that there were no other viable candidates to fill Lesnar's role.[141]

Resurgence (2015–present)[edit]

The Undertaker before facing Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31

In February 2015, Bray Wyatt began a series of cryptic promos which led to Fastlane, where Wyatt challenged Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania 31, which Undertaker accepted.[142][143] At the event on March 29, Undertaker defeated Wyatt after two Tombstone Piledrivers.[144]

At Battleground in July, Undertaker made his return by attacking Brock Lesnar as Lesnar was on the verge of defeating Seth Rollins during his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, which caused the match to end in a disqualification win for Lesnar.[145] The next night on Raw, Undertaker explained his actions as revenge – not for Lesnar breaking the Streak, but rather the constant taunting he allowed Paul Heyman to engage in. Later that night, after Undertaker and Lesnar brawled throughout the arena and had to be separated, a rematch was scheduled for SummerSlam in August. At the pay-per-view, Undertaker defeated Lesnar in controversial fashion; Lesnar put Undertaker in his Kimura lock and the timekeeper rang the bell after seeing the Undertaker supposedly indicating submission; since the referee hadn't seen a submission and never stopped the match, the match continued. The confusion allowed Undertaker to surprise Lesnar with a low blow before trapping him in Undertaker's submission hold, Hell's Gate, in which Lesnar passed out.[146] At Hell in a Cell, The Undertaker was defeated by Lesnar in a Hell in a Cell match after Lesnar hit him with a low blow and delivered the third F-5 of the match.[147]

Afterwards, Undertaker was given a standing ovation by the crowd after his defeat from Lesnar, he was entirely ambushed and captured by the Wyatt Family, who then carried him away from the ring.[148] After ambushing and capturing Kane away on the following Raw, Wyatt explained that he had claimed their souls, mocking Undertaker and Kane in the process and stole their demonic powers,[149] until the Brothers of Destruction returned on the November 9 episode of Raw, and attacked The Wyatt Family, setting up a tag team match at Survivor Series,[150] where The Brothers of Destruction defeated Wyatt and Harper after Undertaker delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to Harper for the pinfall victory.[151]

On the February 22, 2016 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon placed his son Shane McMahon, who returned to WWE for the first time since 2009, in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 32 against The Undertaker with the stipulation that if Shane wins, he gains control of Raw.[152] Vince later decided that should The Undertaker lose the match against Shane, it would be his final match at WrestleMania.[153] After weeks of mind games and physical confrontations between the pair, at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon via pinfall in their Hell in a Cell match.[154]

The Undertaker went undrafted in the 2016 WWE draft.


The Undertaker was voted the greatest WWE wrestler ever in a 2013 Digital Spy poll.[155] In naming him the second greatest wrestler ever, IGN described The Undertaker as, "one of the most respected wrestlers, and characters, in the business; treated with actual reverence. Like a cherished, invaluable artifact".[156] Luis Paez-Pumar of Complex wrote that The Undertaker character is "easily the best gimmick in the history of professional wrestling".[157] Luke Winkie of Sports Illustrated listed The Undertaker as the fifth greatest wrestler of all time.[158]

Wrestler Big Show named The Undertaker as the greatest professional wrestler of all time,[159] while Mark Henry and WWE chairman Vince McMahon have called him their favorite.[160][161] WWE Hall of Famer and company executive, Jim Ross, said: "Without question, The Undertaker is the greatest big man in the history of wrestling... There is no greater WWE star ever than The Undertaker".[162]

Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition mentioned Undertaker as having the most consecutive victories at WrestleMania.[163]

In November 2015, Telegraph journalist Tom Fordy called The Undertaker "the world's greatest sportsman".[164]

Personal life[edit]

Calaway married his first wife, Jodi Lynn, in 1989. They had a son, Gunner Vincent (born 1993). The marriage ended in 1999. Calaway married his second wife, Sara, in St. Petersburg, Florida on July 21, 2000. In 2001, Sara made televised appearances with the WWE (then known as the WWF) as part of a feud between Calaway and Diamond Dallas Page, in which she was acknowledged as being Calaway's wife. The couple had two daughters together: Chasey (born November 21, 2002) and Gracie (born May 15, 2005). In 2007, he and Sara were divorced, and he became romantically linked to former wrestler Michelle McCool, whom he married on June 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.[165] The couple's first child, Kaia Faith Calaway, was born on August 29, 2012.[166]

In the 1990s, Calaway started his own posse that consisted of fellow wrestlers Yokozuna, Savio Vega, Charles Wright, The Godwinns, and Rikishi. The faction was called The Bone Street Krew and each member had the initials of the faction tattooed onto themselves, with Undertaker's being prominently shown on his stomach.[167]

Calaway invests in real estate with business partner Scott Everhart. Calaway and Everhart finished construction on a $2.7m building in Loveland, Colorado, called "The Calahart" (a portmanteau of their last names).[168] Calaway and his ex-wife Sara established The Zeus Compton Calaway Save the Animals fund at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences to help pay for lifesaving treatments for large-breed dogs.[169]

Mixed martial arts and UFC involvement[edit]

Calaway is a boxing fan and carried the Flag of the United States while leading Team Pacquiao to the ring during the Pacquiao vs. Velázquez fight in 2005.[170] He was also in attendance at the Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson fight in 2002.

Calaway is a mixed martial arts fan and has attended several Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) shows, including a show where Calaway verbally confronted then UFC fighter Brock Lesnar after Lesnar lost to Cain Velasquez. His striking gloves and Hell's Gate submission (a modified gogoplata) were also inspired by mixed martial arts. During a Calaway interview conducted by an internet show after UFC 121, Lesnar walked past him staring. Calaway answered Lesnar's stare by saying "You wanna do it?"[171]

He was close friends of actor Tony Longo and remains close friends with mixed martial artists Pat Miletich, Jeremy Horn, and Matt Hughes.

Other media[edit]

Calaway made his film debut as Hutch in the 1991 film Suburban Commando. He had guest roles on Poltergeist: The Legacy and Celebrity Deathmatch. In 2002, Calaway appeared out of character on the Canadian sports show Off the Record with Michael Landsberg.

Undertaker were a short series of comic books written by Chaos! Comics that were based on The Undertaker.

On August 1, 2K Games introduced a special "Phenom Edition" for WWE 2K14 would include Undertaker-themed extras, including the "American Badass" playable character.

Calaway has appeared on 61 different pay-per-view posters, which, as of 2015, is the highest of any WWE superstar.[172]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Suburban Commando Hutch
1999 Beyond the Mat Himself Documentary
2015 The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown! The Undertaker Voice
2016 Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon The Undertaker Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee[173] The Undertaker
1999 Poltergeist: The Legacy Soul Chaser Demon 2 episodes
1999 Downtown The Undertaker Episode: "The Con"
1999 Celebrity Deathmatch The Undertaker Voice
Episode: "Halloween Episode I"
2001 America's Most Wanted[174] The Undertaker
2003 Jimmy Kimmel Live![175] Himself
2015 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon[176] The Undertaker

In wrestling[edit]

The Undertaker executing the Tombstone Piledriver on Edge.
The Undertaker performing the Chokeslam on Edge
The Undertaker performing the Last Ride on Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX
The Undertaker locking in Hell's Gate on Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX
The Undertaker jumping down from the top rope to strike Heidenreich with Old School

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1 ^ Won during The Invasion.

2 ^ The Undertaker's third and fourth reigns were as WWF Champion and WWE Undisputed Champion, respectively.


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External links[edit]