30 Memories of The Undertaker | Honorable Mentions

With this being the 30th anniversary weekend of The Undertaker’s debut at Survivor Series, the staff has shared their memories of his time. Over the past few days, we here at ProWrestlingPost.com have come together to share their thoughts on The Undertaker. We present to you 30 Memories of The Undertaker. In fact, it’s more than 30. Our staff kept remembering more and more. So here are our honorable mentions…

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30 Memories of The Undertaker | Honorable Mentions
The Undertaker’s Mind Games With Randy Orton

Alex Podgorski: This isn’t one particular moment but a collection of moments during the Undertaker’s feud with Randy Orton back in 2005. Orton tried to convince everyone (including himself) that he wasn’t scared of the Undertaker. But claiming such is basically an open invitation for ‘Taker to find creative ways to really mess with your head. throughout 2005, Undertaker showcased his ‘supernatural powers’.

From ‘possessing’ Josh Matthews, to causing lightning bolts to strike various objects close to Orton, to pretending to be a wax dummy, Undertaker showed just how creative he could be in scaring his opponents. Sure, it was kitschy and beyond the realm of realism. But there was something mesmerizing about a wrestler having these sort of supernatural powers. It was as if a comic book or sci-fi creature had entered the world of wrestling, and it was a marvel to behold.

The Undertaker’s Entrance at WrestleMania 20

The Undertaker’s entrances (as the ‘Deadman’ character) have always been a key part of his persona. The darkening of the arena, ominous funereal dirge, and the smoke and pyro effects, all came together in this magnum opus of an entrance. And while his individual entrances and theme music compositions have changed over the decades, there was one that, to this day, stands head and shoulders above the rest.

At WrestleMania XX, the Deadman character returned to WWE after a four-year absence. The American Badass character, with the biker aesthetic, hard rock music, and more human-like aspects of the Undertaker, were gone. On that night, the Undertaker of old returned. As the arena darkened, the delightful histrionic voice of Paul Bearer echoed throughout the arena. As Bearer appeared, he was flanked by torch-bearing druids who entered to the sound of ominous chanting.

Then the gong went off. And 18,500 fans in Madison Square Garden lost…their….minds. As the Undertaker slowly made his way down the aisle as he had before, the entire arena chanted ‘UN-DER-TA-KER’ in unison. There was something special in that entrance. The fan response to it highlighted just how much people loved that old character.

30 Memories of The Undertaker | Honorable Mentions
The Undertaker Tombstones Mark Henry

The Undertaker’s gimmick was always centered on his supernatural durability. It always took a monumental display of strength and determination to beat him. And when that didn’t work, he had to be beaten by overpowering numbers. But despite his size, the Undertaker’s gimmick was never about displaying supernatural strength. That gimmick was reserved for the likes of Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena. So when the Undertaker decided to showcase his own crazy strength, it was a big shock.

In the lead-up to his above-mentioned match with Kurt Angle, The Undertaker wanted to show Angle what he was capable of. Angle already had some knowledge of what ‘Taker could do, so ‘Taker decided to surprise Angle. After choke slamming a 400-plus-pound Mark Henry – which didn’t really impress Angle all that much – Undertaker did his throat slash gesture. As Mark Henry struggled to get back up, everyone doubted Undertaker would pull this off. Especially Angle, who laughed at what Undertaker was trying to do.

Then Undertaker pulled it off. With Michael Cole saying – AND I QUOTE – ‘NO F***ING WAY!’ And the look on Angle’s face that followed was priceless.

30 Memories Of The Undertaker
Photo/@wwe

What Changed My Mind

Pete Moon: The year is 2008. 15-year old Pete Moon watches the repeat of the previous nights The Daily Show every day after school. Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is a guest on the show. He’s there promoting his new documentary “Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden.” Jon Steward asks Morgan what surprised him most about his journeys in the Middle East. Spurlock says that what surprised him most was the TVs. Not only did far more people have access to TV than he expected, but a surprising number of people watched pro wrestling. The biggest pro wrestler to them? The Undertaker.

Learning that The Undertaker was so popular in The Middle East blew my mind. In my experience, it had always been so easy to dislike The Undertaker. Surely that, along with his American patriotism, would have made him despised over there. If he’s able to reach people on the other side of the world, he must be doing something right.

I immediately went to Youtube to start watching the matches I had missed. As I saw the matches start dating earlier and earlier I realized that the man had been working the same character, largely unchanged, for almost 20 years. I saw that, despite how otherworldly he sometimes seemed, his struggles seemed sort of relatable. If you could look past the hokey magic shenanigans, his matches were usually some of the strongest on the card. I also went looking for what other wrestlers had to say about The Undertaker. The overwhelming praise as a locker room leader and a genuinely kind human being filled in everything else I needed to know about the man. From that point on I made an effort to watch his Wrestlemania match every year.

30 Memories of The Undertaker | Honorable Mentions
American Badass

When I saw The Undertaker return to TV as a biker, I felt it was a step backward. WWF spent so much time building up The Undertaker’s mythos just for him to become a biker? It made very little sense to me at the time. Making matters worse, a kid at my school who I didn’t get along with absolutely loved this incarnation of The Undertaker. I took up hating on Biker Taker out of spite.

Photo/WhatCulture

Like many, I got excited when The Invasion kicked off. The potential dream matches seemed to book themselves. While I waited for the inevitable arrival of Sting to vanquish this incarnation of The Undertaker, I couldn’t help but feel the time had passed. But as the weeks wore on, it seemed less and less like we’d ever see Sting in the WWF. Besides, Taker looked like he was transitioning into a tag team role with Kane. Coupled with his expanding waistline, I thought this was signaling The Undertaker winding down his career. In his next major feud, I thought he’d beat Ric Flair at Wrestlemania X8 and then retire. But that didn’t come to pass. Instead, he beat Ric Flair, then challenged and defeated Hulk Hogan for the Undisputed Championship. It was another short-lived championship reign for Taker, lasting just over two months before dropping it to The Rock.

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That draws to a close our 30 Memories of The Undertaker. We have loved remembering our favorite memories. And we’ve enjoyed sharing those memories with you even more. We hope that you have enjoyed this series. Keep your eyes peeled for our next limited series!

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