We’re back with the series of the greatest WWE wrestlers of all time, and the person at No. 4 in the list is widely known to wrestlings fans as well as the rest of the world.
No. 4 — The Undertaker
Lights fade. The gong strikes. Eerie music. There’s smoke, there’s fire, it’s everywhere. Gentle screams echo through the building, the mob hold their breath in anticipation. Fear or respect? Maybe a combination of both. The gong strikes again. The stage is set. And finally, the one they’ve been waiting for makes his entrance. Dressed completely in black, with a menacing stare suggestive of the character’s constant tryst with the dark side – make way for the Phenom, the Deadman, the Undertaker!
Born in Houston Texas, Mark Calaway wasn’t like the rest of us. He was no mere mortal. He was destined for greatness. If not, why then would he quit a potentially great career in basketball and move towards wrestling? For a man who stood at 6 foot 10 inches, the guy was built for basketball! However, Calaway had other plans. He must have seen the light. Or in his case, the darkness.
Calaway’s wrestling career began in 1984, with the World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). When five years of toil bore no fruit, he joined the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1989. He spent a year with the company portraying a limited character,‘Mean’ Mark Callous. Still no recognition, still no fame. It was time to jump ship. WCW’s ‘monstrous’ loss was the WWE’s (then known as WWF) colossal gain.
When the WWE signed him in 1990, Calaway was not the only one who benefited from the transfer; the entire company was set for two decades of endless entertainment. Twenty two years down the line, there is nothing that Calaway, or his awe-inspiring in-ring character, the Undertaker, has not achieved in the WWE. A living legend in the wrestling world. Eight-time world champion, seven-time World Tag-team champion, six-time WWF Tag-team Champion and the winner of the 2007 Royal Rumble. These numbers are simply staggering! But the record that stands out the most vividly is the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at the ‘Big Daddy’ of them all – 20-0 at the grandest stage of sports entertainment, WrestleMania. Take a bow; 20 of them, in fact!
The Undertaker started out by taking on the titans of the wrestling world such as the ageless Hulk Hogan, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels, and then went on to stand toe-to-toe with the next generation of cult wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, Triple H and Kurt Angle in the Attitude Era. Taker even formed a faction known as ‘The Ministry of Darkness’ in 1999. The episode in which he kidnapped the WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon. was a classic one to say the least. Apparently, he had orders from a ‘higher power’. Undertaker was truly the devil’s favourite child (apologies to Kane) and boy did we love him! His alternate ‘American Bad-Ass’ personality was a great hit with the fans as well. Who could forget the sight of a bandana-clad Taker on a Harley Davidson circling outside the ring? Classic stuff!
Even the current generation of wrestlers have not been spared. Taker has been a thorn in the flesh of great, young athletes such as Randy Orton and even John Cena on one highly entertaining occasion. The current crop of wrestlers have nothing but respect for him. Towards the end of the last decade, Taker was the sole, consistent flagship bearer of WWE Smackdown – a show that has slowly gone downhill in recent times without the Undertaker’s enchanting presence.
Many great wrestlers have challenged Taker in a bid to end his illustrious streak at WrestleMania. Each and every one of them failed in their pursuit of glory. In the last four years, Taker faced Shawn Michaels and Triple H twice each. And every single time, he walked out (on one occasion, was carried out) victorious.
The Undertaker is an evergreen wrestler who has effortlessly stood the test of time. If his son was a WWE wrestler, he would probably be wrestling him right now! That says it all. This writer would sell either one of his kidneys to get a chance of witnessing him live (any takers?). Sure, Taker is now showing a few signs of slowing down, but to the huge relief of wrestling fans worldwide, he hasn’t called it a day yet. When that day comes, cherish the sight of the Deadman for one last time, as he stands at the far end of the arena with his back facing the fans and one fist raised high, as if to say, I’ve seen them all, and I’ve beaten them all!
Rest in Peace.
And here’s a video tribute to the wrestler who will go down as one of the greatest of all time. Take a look!
Here are the other players who have made it so far:
No. 10 – John Cena
No. 9 – Triple H
No. 8 — Andre the Giant
No. 7 — Macho Man Randy Savage
No. 6 – Bret Hart
No. 5 – Shawn Michaels
Read the detailed write-ups on all the players in this list here: