FINISHING MOVE:TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER, LAST RIDE, HELL’S GATE, CHOKESLAM
SIGNATURE MOVES: OLD SCHOOL, SNAKE EYES, BIG BOOT, SUICIDE DIVE OVER THE TOP ROPE
"Funeral Dirge" by Jim Johnston (November 19, 1990 – January, 1991)
"Funeral March" by Jim Johnston (January, 1991 – January 22, 1994)
"Grim Reaper" by Jim Johnston (August 29, 1994 - November 13, 1995)
"Graveyard Symphony" by Jim Johnston (November 19, 1995 – July 20, 1998; January 11, 1999 – March 22, 1999)
"Dark Side" by Jim Johnston (July 26, 1998 – December 13, 1998)
"Ministry" by Jim Johnston (March 28, 1999 – September 23, 1999)
"The Unholy Alliance" by Jim Johnston (August, 1999 – September, 1999; used while a part of the Unholy Alliance)
"American Bad Ass" by Kid Rock (May 21, 2000 – December 4, 2000)
"Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" by Limp Bizkit (December 10, 2000 – May 6, 2002; March 30, 2003)
"Dead Man" by Jim Johnston (May 19, 2002 – September 19, 2002)
"You're Gonna Pay" by Jim Johnston (September 22, 2002 – November 16, 2003)
"Rest in Peace" by Jim Johnston (March 14, 2004 – February 21, 2011; January 30, 2012–present)
"Ain't No Grave" by Johnny Cash (March 7, 2011 – April 3, 2011)
A DEAD MAN RISES
Perhaps no wrestler in the history of WWE is as respected and revered as The Undertaker. The youngest of five boys, Mark Calaway almost decided to pursue a career in basketball before he found his calling inside the squared circle.
Little did he know that how much of an influence he would have on the industry. In his early days, Calaway wrestled for WCCW and Continental Wrestling Association, under various gimmicks. He even wrestled under a mask! However, he would find his footing subsequently in WCW, where he became ‘Mean Mark’ Callous, and allied himself with Paul Heyman.
Who can forget his debut at Survivor Series 1990, as part of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team? While his original manager at the time was Brother Love AKA Bruce Prichard, The Undertaker would find the greatest success when allied with Paul Bearer. This creepy character always carried an urn around, and this combination was an integral part of WWE’s programming in the 90s.
At WrestleMania VII, The Undertaker would defeat Jimmy Snuka to embark on what came to be known as ‘The Streak’. The Undertaker remained unbeaten at WrestleMania from that point right up until 2014, when he suffered a loss at the hands of Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX.
AN UNMATCHED LEGACY
The Undertaker is known as one of the greatest big men of all time. At a time when big heels were only brought in to feud against the babyfaces and slip under the radar, The Undertaker proved his mettle as a worker and a performer, growing not just in terms of character but also as an in-ring performer, over the years.
As the product evolved, so did The Undertaker’s character. While he made his debut as a heel, fans quickly got behind the man and his character. He became a babyface in a feud with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, when he saved Miss Elizabeth from Roberts’ evil designs and intentions.
Over the years, The Undertaker has become a part of pop culture because of his unique character and his longevity. Certain moves have become synonymous with him such as the Chokeslam, The Last Ride, Hell’s Gate, and of course, The Tombstone Piledriver. Another signature move of his is ‘old school’, a move he adopted from Don Jardine.
The Undertaker has been part of several memorable segments and programs through his WWE career. Whether it involved him conducting a dark ceremony to get married to Stephanie McMahon, or tossing Mankind off Hell in a Cell, or even being buried alive, the segments that he was part of will live on in the annals of sports entertainment for a good many years.
THROUGH HELL’s GATE
Much to the delight of his fans, The Phenom has believed in having his character evolve with the passage of time. During the Attitude Era, he donned the attire of a Priest, leading the Ministry of Darkness. He subsequently adopted a biker gimmick, one that received mixed reactions from fans. However, it was with the ‘Dead Man’ persona that he found the most amount of success.
What made The Undertaker so respected, so cherished and indeed such an eminent figure in sports entertainment was the degree to which he would protect his character. Unlike most of his contemporaries from over the years, very few ‘shoot’ interviews of him exist.
The degree of respect that he commands to this very day is a direct consequence of how serious the man was, with regard to his gimmick. This is why he was the locker room leader for years on end, in WWE. He was also the judge in Wrestler’s Court, with JBL acting as his second.
There is very little that The Undertaker has not accomplished in WWE. In addition to his WrestleMania record, he’s held the top prize in the company multiple times. He’s also been a multiple time Tag Team Champion and even a Hardcore Champion, on one particular occasion.
The Undertaker also won the Royal Rumble in 2007. He seemingly retired from the ring in the year 2017, when he suffered a loss to Roman Reigns. Already on a part time schedule, The Undertaker would leave his hat, trench coat and gloves in the middle of the ring, seemingly to signal the end of his career.
BEYOND THE RING
At present, The Undertaker is married to Michelle McCool. He’s been married twice before, the first time to Jodi Lynn and later with Sara, someone whom we all know from her program with Diamond Dallas Page. He also has interests in real estate with his business partner, Scott Everhart.
Even though The Undertaker has seemingly done it all, fans often speak about scenarios that did not transpire with regard to him. One such unfulfilled fantasy match involves the WCW icon Sting, whose dark persona often mirrored that of The Undertaker’s own.
The Undertaker’s legacy is one that will live on in the hearts of fans, irrespective of when he wants to hang his boots and walk into the sunset. Long live The Phenom!