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Posted by admin on March 17, 2008


The Undertaker

Mark William Calaway (born March 24, 1965)[citation needed] is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name The Undertaker. He is signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), wrestling on its SmackDown! brand.[3]

Calaway began his wrestling career with World Class Championship Wrestling in 1984. He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1989. When WCW did not renew Calaway’s contract at the end of 1990, in November of that year he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), which became WWE in 2002. Currently, Calaway is one of the senior performers in WWE, having joined in 1990. He is one of only two wrestlers to have appeared on the very first episode of Raw who are still with the company today. The other is Shawn Michaels.[4]

He is undefeated at WrestleMania with a 15-0 record and is a five-time world champion (four-time WWE Champion and one-time World Heavyweight Champion).[5][6] He was also the winner of the 2007 Royal Rumble.[7]

Career

Early career

Mark Calaway made his debut in 1984 in Dallas, Texas based World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) under the ring name “Texas Red”. He wrestled his first match against Bruiser Brody.[citation needed] In 1988, he left WCCW and wrestled for several territories under several gimmicks. On April 1, 1989, in the United States Wrestling Association, he was booked to win his first professional wrestling title, the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Jerry “The King” Lawler, under the ring name “The Master of Pain”.

World Championship Wrestling (1989–1990)

His first mainstream exposure was in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). While there, he was known as “Mean” Mark Callous and wrestled as part of the Skyscrapers tag team along with “Dangerous” Dan Spivey managed by Teddy Long. During his time in the Skyscrapers, he and Spivey were involved in a feud with the Road Warriors,[8] but Spivey left before the feud came to an end. Calaway then took on the guidance of Paul E. Dangerously and muscled his way through Brian Pillman and Johnny Ace. His most famous match in WCW was against Lex Luger for the NWA United States Championship at The Great American Bash, which he lost when Luger pinned him after a clothesline. WCW declined to renew Calaway’s contract, and he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in late October 1990. During that time, he also toured New Japan Pro Wrestling.[citation needed]

World Wrestling Federation/ Entertainment (1990–present)

Debut and WWF Championship (1990–1991)

Calaway made his WWF debut on November 22, 1990 at Survivor Series as the mystery partner of Ted DiBiase‘s Million Dollar team.[9] Approximately one minute into the match, Undertaker eliminated Koko B. Ware with his finisher, the Tombstone Piledriver. He also eliminated Dusty Rhodes before being counted-out. After Survivor Series, Calaway was called “Kane the Undertaker” at several shows[citation needed] until “Kane” was dropped from his name, and he reverted to simply “The Undertaker”. The appearance of Undertaker was modeled after a mortician from old Western movies, with the character being supposedly impervious to pain and possessing supernatural powers, such as teleportation and manipulation of flames and lightning. It was at this time that the Undertaker switched managers from Brother Love to Paul Bearer.

He made his WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania VII, squashing “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka.[10] After a year of B-main events with Ultimate Warrior in body bag matches, Randy Savage,[9] and Hulk Hogan, he was booked to defeat Hogan to win his first WWF Championship at Survivor Series.[11] In the storyline, WWF President Jack Tunney ordered a rematch for This Tuesday in Texas six days later, where Undertaker dropped the title back to Hogan.[11]

Early feuds (1992–1995)

After Undertaker’s ally Jake “The Snake” Roberts lost a match to Randy Savage,[12] Roberts tried to attack Savage’s manager/wife Miss Elizabeth with a steel chair when the Undertaker stopped him, turning him face. The Undertaker defeated Roberts at WrestleMania VIII.[10] He then feuded extensively in storylines with wrestlers managed by Harvey Wippleman throughout 1992 and 1993, most notably Kamala,[11][13] whom he faced and defeated in the first televised coffin match in WWF history at Survivor Series, and Giant Gonzales, whom he defeated by disqualification at WrestleMania IX and by pinfall at SummerSlam.[10][13] In November 1993, he challenged then-WWF Champion Yokozuna to a casket match at the Royal Rumble. At the Royal Rumble, Yokozuna sealed Undertaker in the casket with the assistance of several other heel wrestlers, winning the match. The Undertaker’s “spirit” appeared from inside the casket on the video screen, warning that he would return.[14] This began Undertaker’s first hiatus. In reality, he had a back injury that was getting worse and needed time off.

After WrestleMania X, Ted DiBiase introduced the Undertaker back to the WWF. This Undertaker, however, played by Brian Lee, was dubbed “Underfaker” by the fans and led to the resurrection of the real Undertaker and a battle at SummerSlam between the two, where the real Undertaker won the match after three Tombstone Piledrivers.[14] At Survivor Series, Undertaker had a rematch against Yokozuna, once again in a casket match, with Chuck Norris as a special guest enforcer to keep anyone from interfering in the match. Despite interference from King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Irwin R. Schyster, the Undertaker won the match by delivering a running big boot to Yokozuna, which pushed Yokozuna into the casket, and then closing the lid.

Throughout most of 1995, the Undertaker feuded with members of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation. At WrestleMania XI, while Undertaker was facing King Kong Bundy, Kama Mustafa stole the Undertaker’s source of kayfabe power, the urn, and disrespected the Undertaker by converting it into a large gold necklace.[15] As part of the angle, the two faced each other in a casket match at SummerSlam, which the Undertaker won.[16] Several weeks later, as part of his storyline, the Undertaker was assaulted by Yokozuna and King Mabel,[17] which led to a legitimate injury of his eye orbital bone, forcing Undertaker into a period of absence for surgery.

Lord of Darkness (1996–1998)

See also: Hell in a Cell, Brothers of Destruction, and Ministry of Darkness

The Undertaker returned in 1996, wearing a Phantom-like ghostly Grey upper facemask.[16] At the Royal Rumble, the Undertaker was unmasked in a WWF Championship match against Bret Hart. In the storyline, Diesel interfered in the match to cost the Undertaker the championship,[18] and one month later, while Diesel was facing Hart in a steel cage match, Undertaker came up from under the ring to drag Diesel underneath, allowing Hart the victory.[18] This feud culminated in a match between the duo at WrestleMania XII, in which the Undertaker was victorious.[10]

His next feud commenced the very next night, when Mankind made his debut, interfering in the Undertaker’s match with Justin Hawk Bradshaw.[19] For the next few months, Mankind ambushed and cost the Undertaker several matches.[18] The Undertaker faced Mankind for the first time in a match at the King of the Ring, which Mankind won.[18] The Undertaker’s storyline with Mankind grew more intense, and they began taking their battles into crowds, backstage areas, and in the boiler rooms of different arenas. As a result, the first ever Boiler Room Brawl match was booked between the two at SummerSlam. During the match, when Undertaker reached for his urn, Paul Bearer hit him with it, turning on the Undertaker and allowing Mankind to “incapacitate the Undertaker with the Mandible Claw, giving him the win.[18] After Bearer’s betrayal, the Undertaker took his storyline rivalry with Mankind to a new level, resulting in a Buried Alive match at In Your House 11: Buried Alive. Undertaker won the match after a Chokeslam into the open grave, but after interference from The Executioner, as well as the help of several other superstars, The Undertaker was ultimately “Buried Alive”.[18] As a result, a match was booked for the upcoming Survivor Series, again pitting the Undertaker against Mankind, with a unique stipulation. Hanging 20 ft above the ring was Paul Bearer, enclosed in a steel cage. If Undertaker won the match, he would be able to get his hands on Bearer. Even though Undertaker won the match, interference from The Executioner enabled Bearer to escape the Undertaker’s clutches.[20]

The Undertaker then shifted feuds and briefly turned his attention to The Executioner, who, in storyline, had become a thorn in his side since his arrival. At the following pay-per-view, the Undertaker defeated the masked Executioner.[20] Towards the end of 1996, the Undertaker began feuding with another of Paul Bearer’s minions, Vader, culminating in a loss to Vader at the Royal Rumble after interference from Bearer.[20] After this loss, the Undertaker’s character began to focus his attention on the WWF Championship.

At WrestleMania 13, The Undertaker was booked to win his second WWF Championship from Sycho Sid in a No Disqualification match.[21] After the event, Paul Bearer attempted to rejoin with the Undertaker, using the threat of revealing ‘Taker’s “biggest secret”. In the storyline, Bearer announced that Undertaker was a murderer, who as a child had burned down the family funeral home business (where Bearer worked), killing his parents and his younger brother. Undertaker claimed there was no way for Bearer to have that information, but Paul announced that he was told this by Undertaker’s brother Kane, who was still alive but horribly burned and scarred. Bearer raised Kane after the fire, having him institutionalized. Now, Kane was waiting for revenge after all these years. In defense, Undertaker responded that Kane, a pyromaniac, had been the one to set the fire and could not have possibly survived.

His next major storyline began at SummerSlam in 1997 when referee Shawn Michaels accidentally hit Undertaker with a steel chair shot meant for Bret Hart, costing the Undertaker his WWF Championship.[21] Although the chair shot was accidental, Michaels taunted the Undertaker in the following weeks.[22] The feud culminated at In Your House: Badd Blood, where the Undertaker challenged Michaels to the first ever Hell in a Cell match. During this match, Undertaker’s storyline brother Kane made his debut, ripping off the door to the cell and giving Undertaker a Tombstone Piledriver, Undertaker’s trademark finisher, allowing Michaels to pin him.[21] As the angle progressed, Kane, with Paul Bearer, challenged the Undertaker to fights, but was refused consistently by the Undertaker. The Undertaker’s final encounter with Michaels was in the return of the casket match at the Royal Rumble, where Kane cost the Undertaker the win by trapping him in the coffin, padlocked the casket lid, and set it ablaze. The Undertaker, however, had disappeared when the casket lid was reopened.[23] After a two-month hiatus, Undertaker returned to continue the angle and defeat Kane at WrestleMania XIV.[23] The two had a rematch, the first ever Inferno match, one month later at In Your House: Unforgiven, where The Undertaker was booked to win by setting Kane’s right arm on fire.[23]

Undertaker’s longtime feud with Mankind was renewed afterwards, when Mankind cost the Undertaker a number one contenders match against Kane.[24] As a result, Undertaker and Mankind faced each other in a Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring. During the match, Undertaker legitimately threw Mankind off the roof of the sixteen foot cell onto the Spanish announcers’ table below, in what was a preplanned move. He later chokeslammed Mankind through the roof of the cell into the ring and finished the match by chokeslamming Mankind onto a pile of thumbtacks.[23] The Undertaker was able to compete in the match even while sporting a bone spur in the heel of one of his feet.[citation needed]

In July 1998 at Fully Loaded, Undertaker and Steve Austin were booked to defeat Kane and Mankind to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.[23] Undertaker and Austin’s reign as tag champions lasted for only two weeks, as Kane and Mankind regained the titles on an episode of RAW.[24] Undertaker then became the #1 Contender for the WWF Championship at SummerSlam, now held by Austin. Shortly before SummerSlam, however, Undertaker revealed that he and Kane were together as brothers. Despite this revelation, Undertaker told Kane that he did not want him to interfere in the match with Austin, and even though Undertaker lost the match, he handed Austin his belt back after the match in a show of respect.[23] In September, the storyline continued, and Undertaker began to show heel characteristics, becoming a tweener, when he and Kane revealed the fact that they were in cahoots to rid Austin of his title for Vince McMahon. At Breakdown: In Your House, Undertaker and Kane were booked in a triple threat match with Austin for his WWF title. Undertaker and Kane pinned Austin simultaneously after a double chokeslam,[23] so the title was vacated by Mr. McMahon, whose leg was then kayfabe broken in response by the brothers. This led to a match at In Your House: Judgment Day between the two brothers for the title, with Stone Cold as the Special Guest Referee. Near the end of the match, Paul Bearer seemingly to assist Kane by handing him a steel chair to hit Undertaker with, but as Kane had his back turned, both Bearer and Undertaker hit Kane with the chair. Undertaker went for the pin, but Austin refused to count the fall, attacked the Undertaker, and counted out both brothers.[23] Finally, Undertaker turned heel the next night on RAW is WAR for the first time in over six years, reconciling with Paul Bearer and claiming that he and Bearer would unleash their Ministry of Darkness on the World Wrestling Federation. As pare of this new angle, he admitted that he had indeed set the fire that killed his parents, for which he had previously blamed Kane.[24]

After Survivor Series, Undertaker turned his attention back to a feud with Austin for costing him the title at Judgment Day, viciously hitting Austin in the head with a shovel during a title match with The Rock, returning the favor for what happened a month earlier. With this twist in the angle, Vince McMahon scheduled a Buried Alive match between Undertaker and Austin in December 1998 at Rock Bottom: In Your House. In the weeks leading up to Rock Bottom, the Undertaker character became increasingly demonic and satanic, attempting to embalm Austin alive, trying to have Kane committed to a mental asylum, and having his druids chain Austin to his symbol and raising it high into the arena.[24] Undertaker, however, lost the match after Kane interfered.[25]

Ministry of Darkness (1999)

In January 1999, Undertaker returned, remaining a monster heel and forming the Ministry of Darkness, explaining that he was taking orders from a “Higher Power.” Eventually, the Ministry merged with Shane McMahon‘s Corporation heel stable to form the Corporate Ministry.[26] During this time, The Undertaker was booked to defeat Austin for his third WWF Championship at Over the Edge with help from Shane McMahon, the special referee.[27] Two weeks later, it was revealed on RAW that Vince McMahon had been the Undertaker character’s “Higher Power” all along. After Undertaker dropped the WWF title back to Austin one night after King of the Ring,[26] his relationship with the McMahons dissolved, and the Corporate Ministry disbanded.

Undertaker then began a storyline where he teamed with The Big Show in a tag team known as The UnHoly Alliance, which held the WWF Tag Team Championship twice. He was then scheduled to perform at Unforgiven, contending for the WWF Championship, but a groin injury knocked him out of action for the remainder of the year and part of the next. On screen, his absence was explained by The Undertaker quitting.

American Bad Ass/Big Evil (2000–2003)

Undertaker as his "American Bad Ass" gimmick at WrestleMania XIX.

Undertaker as his “American Bad Ass” gimmick at WrestleMania XIX.

Undertaker was due to return to action for WrestleMania 2000, but a legitimate biceps injury in February 2000 delayed his return until May 2000. When he returned at Judgment Day, Undertaker’s gimmick was dramatically modified in line with wrestling’s change to a more realistic approach. His gimmick became that of an intimidating biker, known as the “American Bad Ass”, and he began using the Last Ride (Elevated Powerbomb) as his finishing move, as opposed to the Tombstone Piledriver, which had become synonymous with the Undertaker over the years. Upon his return, his storyline called for him to take out all the members of the McMahon-Helmsley Faction, which quickly turned him face again. He also targeted their leader, WWF Champion Triple H. At King of the Ring, Undertaker teamed with The Rock and Kane to defeat the team of Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon.[28] Afterwards, he was booked to team with Kane to contend for the WWF Tag Team Championship. They defeated Edge and Christian, earning the right to face them the following week for the tag titles, which Edge and Christian retained. Kane turned on The Undertaker by chokeslamming him twice on the August 14 episode of RAW.[29] This led to another match between the two at SummerSlam, which ended in a no-contest as Kane ran from the ring area after The Undertaker removed Kane’s mask.[28]

Undertaker was then booked to challenge Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series.[30] Angle, however, defeated Undertaker following interference from Kurt’s real life brother Eric Angle. Undertaker demanded and was awarded a spot in the Six-Man Hell in a Cell match for the WWF Championship at Armageddon. During the match, Undertaker, who did not win the match, performed a move where he threw Rikishi off the roof of the cell.[30]

In 2001, Undertaker reunited with Kane as the Brothers of Destruction, challenging for the WWF Tag Team Championship once again. As part of the angle, they received a shot at the title at No Way Out, facing Edge and Christian and then-champions the Dudley Boyz in a Tables Match. The Brothers of Destruction dominated almost the entire match but were not the winners.[30] Undertaker was then booked to defeat Triple H at WrestleMania X-Seven, where he improved his WrestleMania winning streak to 9-0.[10] He and Kane continued a storyline that focused on Triple H, who formed a “surprise alliance” with WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. After Austin and Triple H kayfabe injured Kane’s arm, the Brothers of Destruction were granted an opportunity to face Triple H and Austin. After Undertaker and Kane acquired the WWF Tag Title from Edge and Christian,[31] Triple H pinned Kane after attacking him with a sledgehammer at Backlash, where the Brothers of Destruction dropped the titles.[32] With Kane injured, Undertaker feuded briefly Steve Austin for his WWF Championship, but at Judgment Day, Austin retained his title against the Undertaker.[32]

As part of the 2001 Invasion angle, The Undertaker’s next nemesis was Diamond Dallas Page, who was obsessively following The Undertaker’s wife Sara.[32] At SummerSlam, WCW Tag Team Champions Undertaker and Kane defeated Page and his partner Chris Kanyon in a steel cage match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.[32] At Survivor Series, Undertaker began a storyline where he took on The Alliance‘s Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon, and Kurt Angle while teaming up with Kane, the Rock, Chris Jericho, and the Big Show. Angle pinned the Undertaker due to interference by Austin.[32] After the Alliance was defeated, The Undertaker turned heel once again by forcing commentator Jim Ross to kiss Vince McMahon’s ass.[33] This was the beginning of a new persona for the Undertaker, as he cut his long hair short and called himself “Big Evil”. At Vengeance, the Undertaker was booked to defeat Van Dam to capture the WWF Hardcore Championship.[34]

The Undertaker during his "Big Evil" persona

The Undertaker during his “Big Evil” persona

Undertaker’s next angle began at the Royal Rumble in 2002 when Maven eliminated him by dropkicking him from behind. Subsequently, The Undertaker eliminated Maven in return and brutally assaulted him backstage.[34] On an episode of SmackDown!, The Rock mentioned The Undertaker’s elimination at the Royal Rumble, angering The Undertaker. The Undertaker responded by costing The Rock the #1 contendership for the WWF Undisputed Championship.[35] The storyline continued when The Rock cost The Undertaker his match with Maven for the Hardcore Championship.[36] The two faced off at No Way Out, where The Undertaker lost due to interference from Ric Flair.[34] This began a storyline with Flair, who declined a challenge to wrestle Undertaker at WrestleMania X8,[37] and, as a result, Undertaker assaulted his son David Flair.[38] Ric Flair eventually accepted the match after the Undertaker threatened to inflict the same punishment on Flair’s daughter.[38] A no disqualification stipulation was added to the match, and The Undertaker defeated Flair.[10]

After the angle with Flair, Undertaker defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin at Backlash to win the #1 contendership for the WWF Undisputed Championship. Later that night, his storyline called for him to help Hulk Hogan win his title match against the Undisputed Champion Triple H.[34] The Undertaker was then booked to defeat Hogan for his fourth world championship at Judgment Day.[39] Undertaker soon turned face after a Ladder match with Jeff Hardy, whose hand he raised after the match as a sign of respect.[40] Undertaker, however, dropped the title at Vengeance to The Rock in a Triple Threat match that also involved Kurt Angle.[39] The Undertaker was then switched from RAW to SmackDown!, alongside former RAW talent Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero. Undertaker was booked to challenge Lesnar in a title match at Unforgiven that inevitably ended in a double-DQ.[39] Their feud carried over to No Mercy in a Hell in a Cell match. Undertaker performed in the match with a legitimate broken hand and eventually lost to the champion.[39]

Undertaker then suffered a kayfabe injury after the Big Show threw him off the stage in Memphis, sparking a feud.[41] The Undertaker returned at the Royal Rumble in 2003.[42] He immediately continued his feud with Big Show and defeated him via submission at No Way Out. A-Train entered the angle by attempting to attack Undertaker after the match, but Nathan Jones came to his aid.[42] The storyline resumed as Undertaker began to train Jones to wrestle, and the two were scheduled to fight Big Show and A-Train in a tag team match at WrestleMania XIX.[10] Jones, however, was removed prior to the match, making it a handicap match, which Undertaker won with the help of Jones.[42]

Over the remainder of the year, he was booked to have two WWE Championship opportunities. The first, on the September 4 SmackDown!, against Kurt Angle, ended in a no contest, due to interference from Brock Lesnar.[43] The second, at No Mercy, was a Biker Chain match between Undertaker and Lesnar, which Lesnar won with the help of Vince McMahon.[44] This resulted in a storyline feud with McMahon, culminating at Survivor Series where Undertaker lost a Buried Alive match against McMahon when Kane interfered.[44] The Undertaker disappeared for some time following the match, with Kane claiming that he was “dead and buried forever.”[45]

The Phenom (2004–2006)

In the storyline leading up to WrestleMania XX, Kane was haunted by vignettes proclaiming an Undertaker return. The first was during the Royal Rumble when Undertaker’s bells tolled, distracting Kane and allowing Booker T to eliminate him.[44] At WrestleMania XX, the Undertaker, accompanied by Paul Bearer and in his “Deadman” persona, returned and defeated Kane.[46] Three months later, Bearer was kidnapped by the Dudley Boyz at the direction of Paul Heyman,[47] who then took “control” of Undertaker.[48] The angle added a new twist at The Great American Bash where Undertaker was forced to fight a handicap match against the Dudleys, and if he lost, Heyman would bury Bearer in cement. The Undertaker won but buried Bearer anyway, explaining that Bearer was merely a liability now and that he had no use for him anymore.[46] Fans were later told that Bearer was “seriously injured,” but in reality, he was simply removed from WWE programming due to health reasons. The Undertaker also remained a face.

After defeating the Dudley Boyz, Undertaker began a new storyline feud by challenging then WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL) to a title match at SummerSlam, which Undertaker lost when he disqualified himself.[46] At No Mercy, Undertaker and JBL were booked to compete in the first ever “Last Ride” match, although Undertaker lost after Heidenreich interfered.[46] After a brief program with Heidenreich,[49] Undertaker turned his focus to the WWE Championship once again. Along with Eddie Guerrero and Booker T, he challenged JBL to a championship rematch at Armageddon in a Fatal Four-Way, in which Undertaker was unsuccessful, again due to Heidenreich’s interference.[49] This led to a Casket match between Undertaker and Heidenreich at the Royal Rumble, where Undertaker sealed Heidenreich in a casket for the victory to end the storyline.[49]

The Undertaker making his entrance during an episode of SmackDown!.

The Undertaker making his entrance during an episode of SmackDown!.

Soon afterward, Randy Orton challenged The Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania 21, in an angle where Orton claimed that he would end The Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak.[50] Even with help from his father “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Randy failed, and the Undertaker improved his WrestleMania record to 13-0.[49] Following WrestleMania, Undertaker took a two month hiatus from wrestling after the birth of his second daughter in late May 2005. He returned for the June 16 episode of SmackDown! but lost to JBL, thanks to interference from Randy Orton.[51] After The Great American Bash, Undertaker became #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, a position that JBL felt he should have. As part of the feud, on the following SmackDown!, Undertaker lost a #1 contender match against JBL, once again due to interference from Orton.[52] With this, Undertaker resumed his feud with Orton. At SummerSlam, Orton defeated Undertaker in a WrestleMania rematch.[53] The storyline intensified as the two taunted each other with caskets, leading to a casket match at No Mercy, in which Undertaker lost to Randy and his father “Cowboy” Bob Orton.[53] After the match, the Ortons poured gasoline on the casket and set it afire. When the charred casket was opened, however, Undertaker had once again vanished. He returned at the Survivor Series, emerging from a burning casket.[54] Undertaker returned to SmackDown! in early December to haunt Orton and set up a Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon.[55] After winning the match,[54] Calaway took a short hiatus from wrestling, presumably due to controversy associated with the match, as Bob Orton was diagnosed with hepatitis but was allowed to bleed during the match without Calaway knowing of his condition.[56]

In early 2006 at the Royal Rumble, Undertaker returned during Kurt Angle‘s celebration of his world title defense against Mark Henry on a horse drawn cart and kayfabe destroyed the ring with lightning bolts.[54] As part of their storyline feud, Undertaker lost his match with Angle at No Way Out after a thirty minute bout. Undertaker cornered Angle after the match, and after a stare down, told Angle that he had his number and that he was not finished with him yet.[54] The Undertaker had his No Way Out rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship against Angle on SmackDown! when Henry attacked Undertaker from behind, costing him the title.[57] This began an angle between the duo, as Undertaker then challenged Henry to a Casket match at WrestleMania 22, and Henry, like Orton a year before him, vowed to end Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak.[58] Undertaker defeated Mark Henry to become 14-0 at WrestleMania, keeping his storyline undefeated streak alive.[10] During a rematch on the next edition of SmackDown!, The Great Khali made his debut and assaulted the Undertaker, signaling the end of one storyline and the beginning of a new one.[59]

The Undertaker retaining his undefeated streak at WrestleMania 22.

The Undertaker retaining his undefeated streak at WrestleMania 22.

The Undertaker was not heard from until the May 5 edition of SmackDown!, as Theodore Long delivered a challenge from Undertaker to Khali for a match at Judgment Day.[60] Undertaker was booked to cleanly lose to Khali,[61][62] and he did not appear again until the July 4 edition of SmackDown! to accept Khali’s challenge to a Punjabi Prison match at The Great American Bash.[63] Khali, however, was removed from the match due to elevated liver enzymes and was replaced by ECW Champion The Big Show, over whom The Undertaker gained the victory. In the storyline, Teddy Long replaced Khali with Big Show as punishment for an attack on Undertaker shortly before the match.[61] Khali was then challenged to a Last Man Standing match at SummerSlam after interfering in Undertaker’s match with World Heavyweight Champion King Booker.[64] Khali refused the challenge for SummerSlam, though Long made the match official for the August 18 episode of SmackDown! instead. Undertaker won the match by striking Khali with the steel stairs, delivering several chair shots, and finishing him with a chokeslam.[65]

Brothers of Destruction reunion (2006–2007)

See also: Brothers of Destruction

The Undertaker’s next match was with WWE United States Champion Mr. Kennedy at No Mercy but was disqualified in a match after he hit Kennedy with the championship belt.[66] On the November 3 edition of SmackDown!, Undertaker reunited with Kane to form the Brothers of Destruction for the first time in five years, defeating the reluctant opposition team of Mr. Kennedy and MVP, with whom Kane was feuding with at the time.[67] As part of the angle, Undertaker defeated Kennedy in a First Blood match at Survivor Series after interference from MVP,[66] but finally defeated Kennedy in a Last Ride match at Armageddon by delivering a chokeslam and Tombstone on the roof of the hearse, sticking him in the back, and driving the hearse out of the ring.[66] The two continued to feud into 2007 as Kennedy cost Undertaker two World Heavyweight Championship opportunities for a championship match at the Royal Rumble.[68][69]

Pursuit of the World Heavyweight Championship (2007–present)

Undertaker won his first Royal Rumble match after Shawn Michaels attempted Sweet Chin Music, and Undertaker ducked and lifted Michaels over the top rope for the victory.[69] He became the first man to enter the Rumble at number 30 and go on to win the match.[70] He then began an angle with Batista, whom he defeated at WrestleMania 23 to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. On the next SmackDown!, Batista entered the ring and declared that he wanted a rematch in the form of a Last Man Standing match at Backlash. The rematch ended in a draw when neither man was able to answer the ten-count after Batista speared Undertaker off the entrance stage, causing the steel pillars to fall on top of the two men, resulting in the Undertaker retaining the Championship.

On the May 11 SmackDown! taping, Undertaker had a steel cage match with Batista that was booked to result in a draw when both men’s feet touched the floor at the same time. After the match, Mark Henry returned and assaulted the defenseless Undertaker. Immediately after the assault, Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank title shot, and Undertaker dropped the World Heavyweight Championship to Edge. As Undertaker laid in the ring, druids appeared and carried him to the backstage area. In reality, Calaway had suffered an arm injury that required surgery, but WWE did not want to break the Undertaker’s character by having him forfeit the title. During Calaway’s rehabilitation, Henry squashed local jobbers and bragged about his assault on Undertaker, until vignettes began playing promoting Undertaker’s return.

The Undertaker returned at Unforgiven, successfully defeating Mark Henry with a Last Ride from the corner and again on SmackDown! two weeks later with a Chokeslam.[71] Batista and Undertaker re-ignited their storyline feud at Cyber Sunday where the fans chose Guest Referee Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Batista retained the world title after two Batista Bombs.[72] They battled again inside Hell in a Cell at Survivor Series where Edge returned and interfered by giving Undertaker a con-chair-to and pulling an unconscious Batista on top of Undertaker for the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.[73] In response to this, Undertaker delivered a Tombstone piledriver to General Manager Vickie Guerrero, on the next SmackDown!, storyline-wise sending her to the hospital. Returning Assistant-GM Theodore Long declared a Triple Threat match for the title at Armageddon. Edge won the match by pinning Batista, who had been given a Tombstone Piledriver which led to Undertaker being hit with a chair while he attempted the pinfall.

On the January 4, 2008 edition of SmackDown!, the Undertaker competed in a Beat the Clock challenge, attempting to become the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble against Mark Henry with Matt Striker as the Special Guest Referee. Undertaker eventually hit Henry with a Chokeslam and pinned him, but Striker pulled his hand away and exited the ring before the three-count, resulting in The Undertaker not beating the clock.[74] Later in the night the Undertaker, along with Batista, interfered in Rey Mysterio‘s match, helping him defeat the champion himself, Edge, to become the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. But despite this, Mysterio failed to defeat Edge at The Royal Rumble. Undertaker, in a complete turn from his win in 2007, drew number 1, and was eliminated by the man who he eliminated for the win the year prior, Shawn Michaels.

A month later at No Way Out, Undertaker defeated Batista, Finlay, The Great Khali, Montel Vontavious Porter and Big Daddy V in a SmackDown/ECW Elimination Chamber, to become the number one contender for Edge’s World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIV.[75]

In wrestling

The Undertaker about to perform the Tombstone Piledriver on Ric Flair at WrestleMania X8

The Undertaker about to perform the Tombstone Piledriver on Ric Flair at WrestleMania X8

The Undertaker performs Old School (an arm twist ropewalk chop) on Heidenreich.

The Undertaker performs Old School (an arm twist ropewalk chop) on Heidenreich.

Gimmicks

Over the seventeen years that Mark Calaway has been wrestling for World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the World Wrestling Federation), his “Undertaker” character has gone through a number of personality changes.

Championships and accomplishments

1. ^ Won title during The Invasion and also held the WWF World Tag Team Championship at the same time
2. ^ Fourth reign was as WWE Undisputed Champion

WrestleMania Winning Streak
Wrestler: WrestleMania: Year: Notes:
Jimmy Snuka VII 1991 [10]
Jake Roberts VIII 1992 [10]
Giant Gonzales IX 1993 Won via disqualification[10]
King Kong Bundy XI 1995 [15]
Diesel XII 1996 [10]
Sycho Sid 13 1997 For the WWF Championship in a No Disqualification match[21]
Kane XIV 1998 [23]
The Big Boss Man XV 1999 Hell in a Cell match[86]
Triple H X-Seven 2001 [10]
Ric Flair X8 2002 No Disqualification match[10]
The Big Show & A-Train XIX 2003 Handicap match[10]
Kane XX 2004 [46]
Randy Orton 21 2005 [49]
Mark Henry 22 2006 A Casket match[10]
Batista 23 2007 For the World Heavyweight Championship[87]

Personal life

Mark Calaway is the son of Frank and Catherine Calaway and is one of five brothers with David, Michael, Paul and Timothy. He graduated from Waltrip High School in 1983, where he was a member of the basketball team. Calaway first married Jodi Lynn in 1989, and they had a son Gunner, born in 1993, before the marriage ended in 1999. Calaway met his second and current wife, Sara, at a WWF autograph signing in San Diego, California.[88] He eventually married her in a ceremony in St. Petersburg, Florida on July 21, 2000. Mark and Sara currently have two daughters together: Chasey, born in 2002, and Gracie, born in 2005.

As a wedding gift to Sara, Calaway had his wife’s name tattooed onto his throat and has said this is the most painful tattoo he has ever had. In 2007, this tattoo started being removed from all WWE photos showing Undertaker’s throat, most notably on the cover of the November issue of WWE Magazine and in pictures throughout. Undertaker has several other tattoos: a gravedigger, which he refers to as “Original Deadman”, skulls, a castle, and a wizard. When talking about his body art, he has said that there is kind of a medieval thing going-on on his arms. He also has a dancing skeleton on the back of his neck. He also has a tattoo on his stomach that says BSK Pride.[89]

Aside from wrestling, Calaway has many hobbies and interests. He collects Harley-Davidson and West Coast Choppers motorcycles and purchased his first brand new motorcycle after defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship at the 1991 Survivor Series. Calaway has also had a custom motorcycle built for him by Jesse James, the founder of West Coast Choppers. He is a massive fan of Nick Cave and all his musical endeavors (The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds). He also enjoys listening to bands like ZZ Top, AC/DC, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Black Label Society. Calaway also enjoys country music and blues music.[citation needed]

As an avid boxing fan, Calaway was also the person who carried the Flag of the United States while leading Team Pacquiao to the ring during the Pacquiao vs. Velázquez fight in 2005.[90] This was also confirmed by fellow wrestler Batista in a televised interview for the Philippine news program TV Patrol World. Calaway is also an avid Mixed Martial Arts fan and has attended several Ultimate Fighting Championship shows.

As The Undertaker had been absent from the WWE due to his 2007 arm injury, Calaway began getting into real estate with his partner Scott Everhart. Calaway and Everhart finished construction on a $2.7m building in Loveland, Colorado. The building, filled with upscale office space, is named the “The Calahart”, a portmanteau of their last names. Calaway has said that being a TV star certainly helps him in the real estate business, and he was quoted saying “by no means does it seal the deal, but people do want to sit down and talk with you. It helps us get to meet a lot of people and know what we’re trying to get accomplished.”[91]

Other media

Calaway appeared as a guest star in the 1991 film Suburban Commando.[92] He also appeared on episodes of Poltergeist: The Legacy[93] and Celebrity Deathmatch in 1999.

A number of spin-offs have covered The Undertaker’s character. Chaos! Comics released an Undertaker comic.[94] In 2005, Pocket Books released a novel, Journey into Darkness, which dealt largely with Kane but also featured Undertaker as his brother, although they are not related in real life.[95]

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