REAL NAME: Mark Calloway
BORN: Houston, TX
6',10", 328 pounds
ALIASES/ NICKNAMES: Mean Mark, The Master of Pain, The Punisher, the American Bad Ass, Cain the Undertaker, the Phenom
WWE Superstars have come and gone over the last 15 years but the Undertaker has remained a constant. Although he has not competed non-stop, his presence has always been felt since he made his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series.
The Future Phenom, Mark Calloway, began his wrestling career in 1989 in Texas and wrestled primarily for the USWA during the early months of his career. Managed by Skandar Akbar, Calloway wrestled as the Master of Pain and defeated Jerry "The King" Lawler for the USWA Heavyweight title in April 1989. Then in October, renamed the Punisher, Calloway was awarded the USWA Texas title by forfeit.
By the end of 1989, however, Calloway had left Texas for WCW, where he was initially known as "Mean Mark" Callous. Mean Mark replaced Sid Vicious and joined Danny Spivey as part of the Skyscrapers who were feuding with the Road Warriors. After the Skyscrapers' run as a team ended, Callous found himself in singles competition, battling Johnny Ace, Brian Pillman and even earning a shot at United States Champion Lex Luger at the 1990 Great American Bash.
By the fall of 1990, Calloway was on the move again, heading from WCW to their main competition, the WWE. He would debut at the 1990 Survivor Series as Ted Dibiase's suprise teammate. Managed at the time by Brother Love, the Undertaker would make quite an impact, eliminating Koko B. Ware and Dusty Rhodes before being counted out.
Brother Love's tenure as the Undertaker's manager didn't last long as soon Paul Bearer (formerly Percy Pringle) was seconding the Undertaker. Bearer led the Undertaker to the ring at Wrestlemania VII where he defeated Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, the first of 'Taker's many Wrestlemania victories.
The Undertaker would continue to impress over the summer of 1991, with victories over Animal in a King of the Ring tournament in September 1991 and, via countout, Hacksaw Jim Duggan at Royal Albert Hall in October. He would feud with the Ultimate Warrior and form an "unholy alliance" with Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
The Undertaker rose through the ranks quickly and was granted a title shot at the 1991 Survivor Series. On November 27th, 1991, just over a year after his WWE debut, the Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan (with help from Ric Flair) to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The Undertaker's first reign as champion lasted less than a week when Hogan regained the title in the special This Tuesday in Texas broadcast. The title was held up however and the Undertaker was granted a late spot in the 1992 Royal Rumble, which was to decide the new champion. (Ric Flair won the Rumble and thus, the championship.)
His alliance with Jake the Snake came to an end when the Undertaker put a stop to Jake's attempts to hit Miss Elizabeth with a chair after a match on an edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. This altercation led to a match at Wrestlemania, one that sent Jake reeling from the WWE and the Undertaker into solid fan favourite status.
The next major superstar that the Undertaker had to face was Kamala, who he faced at both SummerSlam '92 and at the 1992 Survivor Series, the latter event saw the Undertaker defeat Kamala in a casket match. Kamala's defeat was so devastating that his manager, Harvey Whippleman, swore revenge and got a small measure of it when Giant Gonzales attacked the Undertaker at the 1993 Royal Rumble. But the Undertaker would come out on top in this battle of the big men as he defeated Gonzales by DQ at Wrestlemania IX and in a "Rest in Peace" match at SummerSlam 93.
The next target for the Undertaker was Yokozuna who had become WWE Champion. However, 'Taker's quest for the championship was denied when Yokozuna defeated him in a casket match at the 1994 Royal Rumble, with help from the Headshrinkers, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jeff Jarrett and many others.
After a bizarre light show and display, the Undertaker disappeared from the WWE for many months. Ted Dibiase claimed he had been in contact with the Undertaker but the version he produced was not the real Undertaker but rather Brian Lee. The real Undertaker returned and battled and defeated the "Underfaker" at SummerSlam '94.
After finally defeating Yokozuna in a casket match at the 1994 Survivor Series (with actor Chuck Norris as the special referee), the Undertaker continued to battle Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Corporation, including IRS (Mike Rotunda) at the Royal Rumble, King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania and Kama (in a casket match) at SummerSlam '95.
He would have to face another big man in Mabel. Their feud started at the 1995 King of the Ring, when Mabel defeated the Undertaker en route to winning King of the Ring. Mabel would further anger 'Taker when he planted a legdrop across the Undertaker's face, forcing "the Phenom" to wear a protective "Phantom of the Opera"-like mask. The Undertaker quickly gained his revenge, with another Casket Match victory at the December In Your House.
With Diesel (aka Kevin Nash) en route out of the WWE, he would have to cross paths with the Undertaker before he left as a battle of two of the tallest men in the organization. After a scuffle at the end of the 1996 Royal Rumble, Diesel interfered during the Undertaker's World title match against Bret Hart, costing the 'Taker the title. A month later during Diesel's cage match title shot against Hart at the In Your House VI pay-per-view, the 'Taker broke through the floor of the cage and pulled Diesel under the ring. The subsequent attack was enough to ensure Diesel did not win the WWE title. In one of Diesel's last WWE appearances, the Undertaker defeated him at Wrestlemania XII.
After a brief feud with Goldust, the Undertaker began battling Mankind (Mick Foley), who would receive help from a very unexpected source. During the Boiler Room Brawl at SummerSlam, Paul Bearer turned on the Undertaker and gave the urn, and the victory, to Mankind. But the war between the Undertaker and Mankind would continue to rage throughout the rest of 1996.
Despite not winning the 1997 Royal Rumble or the "Final Four" match (also featuring Hart, Steve Austin and Vader), the Undertaker found himself challenging Sycho Sid (Vicious) for the World title at Wrestlemania XIII and winning the championship.
The Undertaker was a dominant champion, retaining the title against Vader, Mankind, Austin and Faarooq among others until a title defence at SummerSlam. Shawn Michaels, acting as special referee for the cage match between the Undertaker and Bret Hart, would cost 'Taker the WWE Championship due to errant chairshot. Although Michaels would continue to feud with Hart, he would find himself under fire from the Undertaker as well. The two would meet in the first ever "Hell in a Cell" match at Badd Blood.
In the weeks leading up to Badd Blood, Paul Bearer had warned the Undertaker that Kane, the brother long thought dead in the house fire that claimed the 'Taker's parents, was very much alive and coming for revenge. In the midst of the Hell in a Cell match, when 'Taker seemed to have victory within his grasp, Kane made his appearance, busted into the Cell and attacked the Undertaker, allowing Michaels to get the win. Despite the distraction from Kane, the Undertaker continued his quest for the World title but came up short in a casket match at the 1998 Royal Rumble against Shawn Michaels.
But the meeting with Kane was inevitable, despite the Undertaker's promise to never fight his own brother. The two brothers did in fact meet at Wrestlemania XIV with the Undertaker defeating Kane, then repeating the task in an Inferno match at Unforgiven. The Undertaker would, at the 1998 King of the Ring, compete in one of the most famous matches of his career: the Hell in a Cell match against Mick Foley. 'Taker won the match but it was Foley's fall of the cage that all will remember.
The Undertaker would then make his way back towards the WWE Championship, held by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Ironically, a month prior to their meeting at SummerSlam, the two would win the WWE Tag Team Championship together. Austin would retain the WWE at SummerSlam.
In helping Vince McMahon in his attempts to dethrone Austin, Kane and the Undertaker would both pin Austin at Breakdown with the title being held up. A subsequent match between the two brothers to decide the fate of the title would be declared a no contest ... by Special Referee Austin at Judgment Day. With the title still held up, the Undertaker would take part in the Survivor Series tournament, defeating Kane but losing to The Rock.
In 1999, the Undertaker formed "The Ministry" with Faarooq and Bradshaw, who would be known as the Acolytes. Soon after, Mideon (the former Dennis Knight) and Viscera (formerly Mabel) would come to join the Ministry, and they would clash with Vince McMahon's Corporation, even burning an Undertaker symbol of the front lawn of the McMahon home.
The Big Boss Man did little to stop the Ministry onslaught during his Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XV. The Ministry would stoop to any level, even kidnapping Stephanie McMahon and preparing a "Black Wedding" between Stephanie and the Undertaker that only Steve Austin could stop. Afterwards, the Undertaker began talking about a "Higher Power" that turned out to be Vince McMahon himself, as the Corporation and Ministry merged to form the "Corporate Ministry."
At Over the Edge, the Undertaker defeated Steve Austin to become the World Champion. After Austin regained the title, the Undertaker began to team with The Big Show. After two reigns as tag team champions, the pair seemed to split up, but the Undertaker went down with an injury before the angle could be fully realized. The Undertaker suffered a groin injury, followed by a torn pectoral muscle which kept him out of action for a lengthy period of time.
The Undertaker would return at Judgment Day during the Rock/Triple H Iron Man match but he would return not in the decade-long guise of the "Dead Man" or as the Phenom but atop a motorcycle as the "American Bad Ass". After battling Triple H and Kane once again, the Undertaker received a World title shot against Kurt Angle at the Survivor Series. It seemed as though 'Taker had defeated the champion but it was Kurt's brother, Eric. Kurt Angle was hidden under the ring and rolled up the Undertaker for the win.
After the Undertaker defeated Triple H at Wrestlemania X-7, he reunited with his brother Kane to defeat Edge and Christian for the WWE Tag Team Champions, but soon lost them to Austin and Triple H. In August, Kane and 'Taker defeated Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire for the WCW Tag belts, then unified those titles with the WWE Tag Team Championship, with a defeat of Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon at SummerSlam. Soon, 'Taker and Kane found themselves under attack from Kronik, leading to a victory at Unforgiven.
After helping the WWE turn back the challenge of the Alliance, the Undertaker would turn on announcer Jim Ross in November, forcing the announcer to kiss Vince McMahon's ass. After a reign as Hardcore Champion, the Undertaker challenged Ric Flair to a match at Wrestlemania X-8 but when Flair refused, 'Taker attacked David Flair and Arn Anderson. Almost immediately after the Undertaker defeated Flair at Wrestlemania, Flair drafted him as the #1 pick to the Raw brand.
The Undertaker challenged Triple H, then Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship. At Judgment Day, the Undertaker defeated Hogan to win the title. Taker defended the title against Triple H, Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle before losing the title to the Rock at Vengeance.
After feuding with the Un-Americans, the Undertaker jumped to Smackdown and right into a feud with Brock Lesnar which involved a double-DQ at Unforgiven and a Hell in a Cell Match at No Mercy. The next week on Smackdown, however, the Big Show attacked the Undertaker, allowing 'Taker to take time off to heal his elbow, among other injuries.
But when the Undertaker returned in early 2003, he went right after the Big Show who played mind games with 'Taker, delivering a series of boxes which set up an attack by the Show. After defeating the Show at No Way Out, 'Taker found himself battling both the Big Show and A-Train until receiving some help from Nathan Jones. The Undertaker, however, still found himself in a handicap match at Wrestlemania XIX, but still defeated the Big Show and A-Train.
Although he would team with Brock Lesnar against the FBI and John Cena, the Undertaker would be defeated by Lesnar at No Mercy due to interference by Vince McMahon. Looking for revenge, the Undertaker would challenge McMahon to a "Buried Alive" match at the Survivor Series. Instead of gaining revenge, 'Taker would be buried alive at the Survivor Series when McMahon was aided by Kane.
After disappearing for several months, the Undertaker would make his presence felt, starting at the 2004 Royal Rumble and would begin playing mind games with Kane, leading up to another match between the two brothers at Wrestlemania XX. Reunited with Paul Bearer, the Undertaker would defeat Kane and return to Smackdown. While feuding with Booker T, the Undertaker would find himself being "courted", so to speak by Paul Heyman, who demanded the Undertaker join him or risk the life and well-being of Paul Bearer, kidnapped by the Dudley Boyz.
The Undertaker defeated the Dudleyz at the Great American Bash but turned on Paul Bearer, causing him to be "buried" in cement. He would not join Heyman, however, and set his sights on WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield setting up a title match at SummerSlam. JBL won when he hit the Undertaker with the title belt but 'Taker chokeslammed the champion through the roof of his limo. A rematch a month later saw JBL defeat 'Taker in a "Last Ride" match when Heidenreich interfered.
Unsuccessful in future title matches, the Undertaker took out his frustrations on Heidenreich and later Luther Reigns. With a victory over Randy Orton at Wrestlemania XXI, the Undertaker improved his already stellar Wrestlemania record to 13-0, amid rumours that this could be his last run in the WWE.
Instead of retiring after Wrestlemania XXI, as many expected him to, the Undertaker continues to be active on the Smackdown roster and continues to be part of the roster's main event. With Randy Orton having been drafted to Smackdown, the two will continue to clash as soon as Orton's injuries have heeled. Meanwhile, Orton has been a thorn in the Undertaker's side, costing him two matches against JBL.
In addition, the Undertaker can claim credit for driving Muhammad Hassan from the organization, after giving him a last ride through the stage at the 2005 Great American Bash. The match should have made the Undertaker the number one contender to the World Championship. Instead, Orton's interference the next week on Smackdown meant that the Undertaker had to wait for his next shot at the championship.
That opportunity, however, would have to wait as ‘Taker would first seek his revenge. But it would be Randy and his dad "Cowboy" Bob who’d deny him at Summerslam, leaving the Dead Man defeated. They’d team up to defeat him again, this time in a casket match at No Mercy. The feud would continue, with Orton twice "killing" the Undertaker, only to find ‘Taker return again and again to torment him. The Undertaker finally avenged his losses by beating Orton in a Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon.
Undertaker went on to feud with Mark Henry, culminating in another victory at WrestleMania 22. Another monster heel would enter the picture when The Great Khali arrived and would destroy ‘Taker at Judgment Day.Undertaker, however, squared the series winning a Last Man Standing match on Smackdown.
For the next several months, Undertaker and Mr. Kennedy would engage in a feud that would see the two wrestle against each other in singles matches and in tag matches.
A Royal Rumble victory allowed Undertaker to choose which title he’d go after, and he decided upon Batista’s World Heavyweight Crown. But first to establish some heat between the two, Undertaker and Batista partnered in tag matches until finally ‘Taker walked out on Batista and later brawled with him backstage on TV shortly before WrestleMania 23. ‘Taker kept his winning streak at the biggest pay-per-view in tact as he defeated Batista and won the belt.
An arm injury, however, kept his title reign short, and the WWE saw fit to have ‘Taker lose but still keep him strong by having him fight Batista to a draw in a steel cage on Smackdown before Mark Henry showed up to attack ‘Taker. That gave Edge the golden opportunity cash his Money in the Bank, and defeat a nearly unconscious ‘Taker for the championship.
Undertaker would be out of action for about four months before returning and defeating Henry at Unforgiven. He'd gain another victory over "The World's Strongest Man" on Smackdown.
Undertaker again faced off with his old nemesis Batista for the heavyweight title, but could not get the duke. Batista took their Cyber Sunday contest, and again at Survivor Series, where he won a Hell in a Cell match with unsolicited help from Edge.
Edge’s interference earned him the Undertaker’s wrath, with the Dead Man taking his first pound of flesh by tombstone piledriving Edge’s benefactor, SmackDown General manager Vickie Guerrero. He also interfered in a televised championship match between Edge and Batista, which ended in a no contest. Edge, however, retained the upper hand, winning the World Heavyweight belt after beating Batista and Undertaker in a three way at Armageddon, with the assistance of his two “Edgeheads.”
Undertaker’s championship hopes, though, still burned and he earned a title shot at WrestleMania 24 after winning a the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match at
No Way Out. Edge and his cronies did all they could to slow Undertaker’s momentum, but he kept coming until finally defeating Edge at WrestleMania 24. The victory boosted his winning streak there to 16-0 and earned him his sixth world title win. At their Backlash rematch, Undertaker submitted Edge by triangle choke-hold and left him to be carried out of the ring on a stretcher.
Vickie Guerrero, however, stripped the belt from 'Taker, claiming his submission hold was illegal. He and Edge met again for the now-vacated title at Judgment Day, but in spite of Undertaker winning by count-out, the championship remained vacant. Edge finally won back the belt at One Night Stand in a brutal tables, ladders, and chairs match, which also resulted in 'Taker's banishment from the WWE.
That only lasted a few months, though, when Guerrero re-instated Undertaker as a way to get back at Edge for his straying. Undertaker destroyed Edge in a Hell in the Cell match at SummerSlam, afterwards choke-slamming him off a ladder through the ring. Guerrero tried to make peace with 'Taker, but he responded with a promise to send her after her "husband" Edge straight to Hell. Undertaker attempted to put Guerrero in a casket at Unforgiven, but Big Show came to her rescue, leading 'Taker into believing he was there to help him before sucker punching him and beating him down.
This would lead up to No Mercy, where Big Show got the duke by referee stoppage after slamming Undertaker's head into an exposed turnbuckle, punching him in the face, and then the back of his head, knocking him out. 'Taker, however, would get his revenge at Cyber Sunday, defeating Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. Big Show, however, refused to go quietly and challenged Undertaker to a Casket match. Big Show would interfere in a couple of Undertaker's matches leading up to the big event, but it was for naught as 'Taker again got the duke at Survivor Series. He also took their fourth meeting of the series in a steel cage on SmackDown. But Big Show got a measure of payback at the Royal Rumble, pulling 'Taker out of the battle royal with him. Undertaker and Big Show continued duking it out in tag matches leading up to February's Elimination Chamber match. Neither, however, came out on top of that match at
No Way Out, as Triple H walked away with the WWE Championship.
Heading into WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels defeated JBL for the right to challenge 'Taker's undefeated streak at the WWE's biggest pay-per-view. If Michaels didn't at first seem like much of a risk to the far more physically imposing Undertaker's winning streak, he certainly made himself look like a potentially great threat in the weeks to come. On Raw, he beat the previously undefeated Vladimir Kozlov, who had defeated the Undertaker cleanly the previous week on SmackDown. Then Michaels began engaging the Dead Man in a series of head games, taunting the Undertaker, barely escaping his grasp when he came for him, and even Super-kicking him a couple times for good measure. The Undertaker was clearly becoming frustrated by Michaels continuously getting the upper hand on him.
The two finally went head-to-head at WrestleMania 25, an epic match in which both men kicked out of the others' finishing moves. But after nailing his second Tombstone of the night, Undertaker walked away with the victory and his undefeated streak intact at 17-0.
- compiled by John Milner and Richard Kamchen
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