6 wrestlers who are close to The Undertaker in real life
For over three decades, The Undertaker has invoked fear in the eyes of the WWE Universe with his charisma and aura that changed the ambiance of every arena he has stepped in. Even though The Deadman is feared by the masses, he still receives great respect from his fans and peers.
Many people argue that the seven-time WWE world champion is the greatest to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots, and it's not hard to fathom why. Very few people have been as loyal to the business and to WWE as The Deadman has.
Despite playing the mystical character for well over two decades, fans still erupt with excitement when they hear the gong echoing throughout the arena followed by a blackout. The Deadman feuded with many greats over the years, including The Nature Boy, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels, and he went on to establish a close relationship with most of them.
The Undertaker kept his mystique intact for so long that many fans still don't know much about the man behind the character. Today, we take a look at the six wrestlers The Undertaker is close to in real life.
#6 Brock Lesnar
For someone who restricts themselves to watching what WWE shows us on their weekly shows, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar might seem like a wrong entry. The two men had a memorable rivalry spanned across a couple of years, which saw The Beast conquer 'The Streak' at WrestleMania 30. The Phenom was able to get his revenge by hitting a low blow to get a rare submission victory over the former UFC Champion at SummerSlam 2015. The trilogy concluded with Lesnar overcoming The Prince of Darkness inside Hell in a Cell later that year.
While many think that the two men have a sour relationship, especially due to The Undertaker being concussed during his WrestleMania match with Lesnar, that is not the truth. As per rumors, Brock Lesnar was against breaking the streak and even accompanied Taker to the hospital post their WrestleMania bout. The two men are good friends, and it was the amazing chemistry these two have in real life that translated into a legendary rivalry.
#5 Shane McMahon
The first McMahon in this article is none other than Shane McMahon, someone who The Undertaker knows very well. The two have been working together since the Attitude Era, even forming a faction called The Corporate Ministry. Fast forward to 2016, Shane O'Mac returned to WWE after a lengthy absence and had his first rivalry with The Undertaker.
Shane revealed that it was The Phenom's idea to have the match. Taker and Shane always got along well and The Phenom wanted to work with the latter again before his career came to an end. This resulted in an epic Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 32.
Shane O'Mac stated in an interview prior to the match that he and The Phenom share a friendship that goes back 25 years. He also mentioned that they had a lot of fun together in their long friendship.
#4 Ric Flair
WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair and The Undertaker have been friends for a long time. They met back in their days with the now-defunct WCW, had their first match in the early '90s, and they've been close to this day. The Phenom even attended The Nature Boy's wedding to Wendy Barlow in 2019 with his wife, Michelle McCool.
Ric Flair credits his bout with Taker at WrestleMania 18 as a major factor that helped him regain his self-confidence after the way his last days in World Championship Wrestling transpired. Flair revealed that he was very nervous before the match, but since he and The Prince of Darkness were close friends, he had no problem letting The Phenom know about this.
In a 2019 interview, Ric Flair named The Undertaker as one of the top three superstars in the history of the business. These two stars are on Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling for many fans and they'll go down as two of the best to ever do it.
#3 John Bradshaw Layfield
John Bradshaw Layfield and The Undertaker's long tenure in WWE has seen them become friends over the years. JBL's first match on Monday Night RAW was against The Phenom on 1 April 1996. Both stars also grew up in Texas.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Layfield spoke about his friendship with Taker when asked if The Deadman wrestled his last match at WrestleMania 34:
"I don't know if it was his last match. I met with him beforehand. He was the groomsman at my wedding. We are good friends. I wrestled him probably more than anybody else in my career. Probably more than anybody else in his career, as well. So, I know him very well."
JBL was also a member of The Deadman's Ministry of Darkness faction during the Attitude Era. After JBL unexpectedly won the WWE Championship, he successfully defended it against The Undertaker at SummerSlam in 2004. The feud and victory added some credibility to JBL's title reign. Taker reportedly wanted to lose to JBL clean, but the match ended after he was disqualified for attacking JBL with the WWE Championship.
In The Last Ride series on the WWE Network, JBL shed more light on his friendship with the real-life Mark Calaway. He revealed that he and The Phenom have been friends for a long time and Taker was also a groomsman at his wedding.
#2 Kane: The Undertaker's kayfabe brother
Although this was an obvious choice, this article would've been incomplete without The Undertaker's "brother" Kane. The Brothers of Destruction have known each other for three decades, so it's not surprising that the two share a close friendship.
The two forces wrestled each other even before the Kane character existed. Glenn Jacobs, the man behind the mask, fought The Undertaker as Unambom, Isaac Yankem DDS, and Fake Diesel before emerging as The Phenom's evil half-brother.
At WrestleMania 14, Jacobs wrestled Taker for the first time as Kane. The two stars went on to have more matches over the years and they even united together to form a destructive tag team.
In 2018, The Brothers of Destruction collided with D-Generation X at WWE Crown Jewel in a losing effort. That was most likely their last match together. 'Taker and Kane have been in WWE for a very long time, and they'll go down as legends.
The Phenom even supported Kane on his run for mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee in 2018.
#1 Vince McMahon
Former WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and The Undertaker share an inseparable bond that spans for decades. McMahon is the mastermind behind The Phenom's character and Mark Calaway is responsible for its success.
He became one of the biggest stars in the history of the business, and one of the most successful. Taker main evented WrestleMania several times, captured the world championship seven times, and won the 2007 Royal Rumble match.
He also feuded with his boss several times, most notably at Survivor Series 2003 where he was buried by Vince, literally. Behind the scenes, Mark and Vince are very, very close.
During The Last Ride: Chapter 2 WWE Network special, when asked what Vince McMahon meant to him, The Phenom stated:
"I love Vince McMahon to death. I would take a bullet for the man—honestly, I would. Yes, he's my boss. He's my friend. He's been like a dad. A brother. He's been like it all to me."
The former Chairman of the Board also had some good things to say about his longest-tenured in-ring competitor.
"Undertaker, Mark Calaway is the most loyal performer I've ever dealt with. He is the kind of man you would want -- literally and figuratively -- in the foxhole with you," McMahon said.
However, when McMahon was asked to reveal what The Phenom means to him, he got so emotional that he couldn't even answer the question. There's no doubt that The Undertaker was Vince McMahon's greatest creation and the latter is the best option to induct the former into the WWE Hall of Fame someday.