The best big man to ever step foot in the business and arguably WWE’s greatest ever creation.
You watch The Undertaker wrestle and you think “what a performer”. Then you remember he’s a 6’10 Super Heavyweight. Then you remember he’s now 47 years old. And then you remember that he’s been working WWE rings for more than two decades. When you really breakdown this guy’s career, it’s absolutely staggering. Anyone who has meant anything to that promotion over the last 20 years, at one time or another, headlined shows with The Phenom – Hogan, Hart, Michaels, Foley, Austin, Rock, Brock and Cena – to name just a few.
What’s most remarkable though about Taker’s longevity is the era in which it has taken place. He’s been a major player in WWE since the launch of Monday Night Raw and with it big weekly TV main events. Never at any time previous was the wrestling business so over exposed. Think of how tired most WWE top tier talent have become already and then compare their TV time with that of The Undertaker. He worked that draconian WWE live schedule from when it began right up to a couple of years ago, when he trimmed his work load back to…erm…one day a year. Throughout that time, he was able to adjust his wrestling style and character to remain not just relevant, but a vital part of the WWE brand.
His WrestleMania streak is one of the few things which still actually matter in an otherwise jaded WWE product. Now in the twilight of his career, you can still always count on The Dead Man to deliver on the big stage. He’s currently five for five in match of the year candidates at the last five Manias – continuing to produce some of the best work of his Hall Of Fame worthy career.
His recent return to TV provided a real momentum boost in the run up to WrestleMania and seemed to trigger business mode in WWE. That’s the sort of influence he can still have on the company. They’re never going to replace The Undertaker because they simply can’t. When you watch him wrestle, you are looking at a snapshot of an era that’s gone. In a business where most long outstay their welcome, I approach Sunday with trepidation, hoping this won’t be his last time out.
Defining Match Of The WrestleMania Era: The Undertaker vs. Mankind Hell In A Cell at King Of The Ring 1998
How do you pick just one match from a career like The Undertaker’s? It’s impossible! Given what lies ahead, I will choose a match he defined, rather than one that defined him – Hell In A Cell. Undertaker vs. Mankind at King Of The Ring 1998 took it to another level. Bloody, brutal and breathtaking, you will not find a more jarring reminder of how much the WWE product has changed. This is not a bout to be easily forgotten, nor is it something you will see again. It perhaps captures the chaotic nature of late 90s WWE better than anything else. The reason the Cell gimmick will still mean something this weekend is because this is the man the fans trust most to deliver the goods when that cage comes down.