The Undertaker is the greatest gimmick in WWE history. Almost 25 years ago, Vince McMahon had an idea to turn Mean Mark Callous into a half-dead wrestler obsessed with graveyards. Thanks to McMahon’s brilliance and Undertaker’s sheer talent and charisma, The Undertaker has withstood the test of time and gone through drastic overhauls through the course of his Hall of Fame career. Amazingly, like any wrestler, Undertaker has withstood some absolutely insane moments, from the campy to the melodramatic to the surreal. Here are some of those moments:
This has everything, kids: lightning, burials and kidnappings. Let’s enjoy these crazy moments while celebrating The Undertaker’s 50th birthday. Yes. Fifty.
Giant Gonzalez Puts Undertaker To Sleep: I don’t know if there was another match that ended via chloroform… well… here we are. This match is really an asterisk in The Streak, as it ended with Undertaker winning via disqualification against a guy who had on a body suit with pubes painted on them. This was during the era of Undertaker just wrestling guys as big as humanly possible because YOLO. This was possibly the worst match of The Streak, and it ended as awkwardly as you can imagine. Before I move on, I want to say my piece: The Steiners vs. The Headshrinkers from WrestleMania IX was the match of the night by a mile. But I digress.
The Impostor: Some of these moments were great by sheer luck or Undertaker’s charisma and buying into the storyline. This, though, had one person to thank for its greatness: Leslie Nielsen. The story here is that Ted DiBiase had paid off The Undertaker to join his Million Dollar stable, but it was revealed that he’d actually gotten an impostor Undertaker the whole time. Gasp! So where was the real Undertaker? That was up to Mr. Naked Gun himself to investigate. The match itself was awkward and horrible, but the vignettes of Leslie Nielsen being hilarious and trying to find the real Taker made it all worth it.
Buried Alive: Undertaker vs. Mankind was one of the greatest feuds of all time. Their run in 1996 rejuvenated Undertaker’s career and really changed the course of wrestling. Undertaker went from freak show gimmick match guy to a multifaceted character with a human side. The feud also allowed him to have great matches for the first time in his career and added years to his gimmick. The great thing about the feud was that Foley and Undertaker made crappy gimmick matches great, including a Boiler Room Brawl match and this Buried Alive match. The match ends when all the heels team up and attack Undertaker — which was how most of his gimmick matches ended for some reason — and bury him alive. If that wasn’t enough, lightning (more on that later) hits the grave and we get The Undertaker’s hand coming out like some sort of horror flick. Lulz.
Everything Involving Kane: Here’s the backstory behind Kane and Undertaker: They’re brothers, and Undertaker murdered their parents by setting their house on fire. He thought Kane had been dead since then, but Kane returned to extract revenge by… costing The Undertaker a match against Shawn Michaels. We then learned that Paul Bearer is actually Kane’s real daddy. Got all that? Is this the most melodramatic wrestling angle of all-time? Why did we love the Attitude Era again?
Kane Sets The Undertaker On Fire: After Undertaker’s Casket Match with Shawn Michaels, Kane dragged Undertaker’s casket to the ramp and set it on fire. With Undertaker supposedly in the casket. Dying. On fire.