His Best Traits and Matches
Looking back now, I have to admit that there are some ridiculous points in his career notably the aforementioned Undertaker/Undertaker match at SummerSlam ’94 and the sacrificing people during his run with the Ministry of Darkness. In fact, in an era when athletic performers like Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero are being more appreciated and revered by people ages 16 and older, and storylines are more based in reality and ci, being this undead black magic overlord seems plain cartoon-ish and silly.
But The Undertaker has this unfazed dedication and intensity while being in character, making this silly-on-paper idea into arguably the greatest gimmick in professional wrestling history. More characters of demonic or plainly supernatural nature would follow suit, but no one can replicate this huge mystique that The Deadman has.
And his matches? Honestly there may be only a few matches in his earlier days that I may rank as 4 to 5 stars. But since 2002 (in fact, more consistently in 2006 and beyond), he has competed in some of the best matches of his career. Some good examples of those matches happened at pro wrestling’s grandest stage, WrestleMania.
Remember that WrestleMania trivia about The Undertaker I learned in 2004? If not, for a very long period, The Undertaker has never lost at WrestleMania. (That winning record would be known in professional wrestling simply as “The Streak”.) On separate ‘Mania events, he has made spectacular matches against younger talents Edge (WrestleMania XXIV in 2008) and CM Punk (WrestleMania 29 in 2010), solidifying both as main event stars. And of all the three Triple H/’Taker encounters at ‘Mania, their Hell in a Cell match at the event’s 28th edition with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee will go down as one of the best matches of the said structure and a fitting match labeled “End of an Era”.
Speaking of Shawn Michaels, if you ask me what my favorite match of all time is, it would be The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 in 2009. Their rematch after 25 has higher stakes (with Michaels retiring if he loses again, and he did lose), but their first encounter at WrestleMania was simply a wrestling classic. I’m really glad I live in a time when I witnessed such beautiful poetry in motion, two different styles and ideologies clashing for 40+ minutes. Now that’s worthy of 5 stars.
Another favorite match of mine happened last October 21, 2006 in my home country, the Philippines. That night, I finally saw The Undertaker live and he beat the crap out of Mr. Kennedy. And it’s an amazing experience seeing his entrance on TV, but seeing his solemn walk to the ring live was out of this world. I cannot even hear the ring announcer properly with all our screams at that moment.
But what is my favorite Undertaker? WrestleMania XX, of course!