Did you know that The Undertaker is not an actual formerly-dead person who the WWF discovered at the gates of hell in 1990? He’s a real, actual human being who wrestled as Mean Mark Callous in the USWA and WCW for a while before becoming The Dead Man. If you’re unfamiliar, here are a few of his pre-Undertaker videos, complete with brilliant analysis from the world’s foremost brain trust: YouTube commenters.
Mean Mark cuts a promo on Dutch Mantel: This appears to be some Mid-South work after Mean Mark and his manager Dutch Mantel split up.
Mark Callous vs. Jerry Lawler: This was part of a USWA tournament where the match ends in a shmoz before it really gets started. What you see here, though, is the athleticism that made The Undertaker great. He’s still hitting that flying clothesline 30 years later.
Mean Mark and Teddy Long promo: In 1990, Mark was one half of a tag team called the Skyscrapers with Teddy Long as his manager. They’re getting ready for a Chicago Street Fight here with the Road Warriors, and Long cuts a promo where he takes a moment to say “Free James Brown” because Teddy Long is the greatest. The match ended with Long coming in the match and demanding that it be turned into a tag match, then realizing it was already a tag match and his brain exploding.
Mean Mark, the Paul Heyman Guy: You know how, in the early ’90s, every WWF manager had like six clients? Well, in WCW at the time, every wrestler had four managers. Here, Mean Mark and Teddy Long acquire the services of one Paul E. Dangerously to back him and showcase his devastating Heart Punch, which every wrestler taller than 6-foot-9 used as a finisher.
Mean Mark vs. Brian Pillman: Here’s the thing: The Undertaker gimmick gets a ton of credit for making Mean Mark’s career what it is, but people don’t realize that he could go in the ring. Here he is in a relatively fast-paced match with Brian Pillman, who was one of the best guys in the ring. Mark is right there with him the whole time. Sadly, though, no Heart Punch.
The Craziest Goddamn Finisher: So, Mean Mark used the Heart Punch to paralyze his opponents, but that didn’t end the match. He’d then get on the top turnbuckle, walk the ropes to the middle of the ring and land a flying elbow to the other side of the ring. That shouldn’t be possible.