What’s there not to like about The Undertaker? In his three-decade run in WWE, The Undertaker has shown the ability to change different parts of his persona and remain a top attraction.
With Tuesday being “The Dead Man’s” 55th birthday, we look back at five of his greatest moments inside the WWE. These highlights are exactly why The Undertaker is WWE chairman Vince McMahon’s greatest creation.
WWE debut at 1990 Survivor Series
After an uneventful run in WCW as “Mean Mark” Callous, Mark Callaway (real name) officially came out for the first time in the then-WWF as The Undertaker at the 1990 Survivor Series. He was the mystery partner of the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase in a 5-on-5 elimination match. He plowed through and eliminated WWE Hall of Famers Koko B. Ware and Dusty Rhodes in short order before getting counted out. A new character had never made his or her debut on a WWE pay-per-view at that point, so that showed that McMahon was heavily invested from the jump. The Undertaker didn’t disappoint, either, showing the world he was an agile big man with a unique character who had significant potential.
Beating Hulk Hogan to become WWE champion
At this time, The Undertaker had only been in the promotion for about a year. Every time he appeared on WWE television, he left a lasting impression on the fans. That resulted in netting a WWE championship match against Hulk Hogan at the 1991 Survivor Series.
Hogan was still pro wrestling’s most prominent attraction and stepping inside the ring with him was quite the accomplishment for someone who had only been in the promotion for a short amount of time.
The bout was a hard-hitting affair that saw Ric Flair come out and put a chair in the ring. The Undertaker then stuffed Hogan with his signature Tombstone piledriver to win his first WWE championship.
He lost the belt less than one week later back to Hogan, but the fact he beat someone who never took a fall says something about the belief that The Undertaker could be a major player in WWE for years to come.
Headlining his first WrestleMania to regain the WWE title
Despite being one of the most popular talents in WWE, The Undertaker still had never headlined pro wrestling’s marquee annual event, WrestleMania. That changed at WrestleMania 13 in March 1997 when he challenged Sid for the WWE championship.
The match wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination. Still, when it was said and done, The Undertaker emerged victorious to capture the WWE title for the first time since he beat Hogan in November 1991 and his sixth straight victory at WrestleMania.
Winning quite arguably the greatest match in WrestleMania history vs. Shawn Michaels
The Undertaker had never been in a match at WrestleMania that left fans talking when it was all said and done. Enter the man known as “Mr. WrestleMania,” Shawn Michaels. The buildup was exceptional with the premise of Michaels continuously reminding The Undertaker that he never beat him one-on-one.
So at WrestleMania 25, the two legends finally locked horns on WWE’s biggest stage. What went down was an all-time classic bout that is viewed by many pundits as the best match in the history of the “Showcase of the Immortals.” The Undertaker won the instant classic and pushed his streak to 17-0 at WrestleMania.
The WrestleMania streak coming to an end
You could always count on having to pay your bills, taxes, and The Undertaker winning at WrestleMania. Heading into the 30th installment of the event in April 2014, The Undertaker was looking to extend the streak to 22-0, as he faced Brock Lesnar.
But in a stunning conclusion, which left not only the pro wrestling world stunned but also the globe in shock, Lesnar hit three F5’s to end the legend’s undefeated WrestleMania run. The Undertaker is known for his incredible consecutive winning streak at WrestleMania, but everyone will always remember where they were as it came to a sudden halt.
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