Before we get to the evaluation a story about The Undertaker from Cagesider, ZeroIndulgence:
"On a personal note…my brother (if not in blood, definitely close enough) passed away from cancer when he was just 20 years old. This was a while ago, when Taker was still a mostly full time guy (Biker Taker days). But Taker was always our favorite wrestler. We’d watch RAW and SmackDown together every week…we’d get WrestleMania together every year and cheer on the Undertaker. His matches were always the highlight. When we knew the end was coming for my brother, we contacted WWE to set up a meeting with the Undertaker. We never expected anything to come with it…he was too old for Make A Wish, so WWE didn’t have anything to gain. But WWE was awesome…they had the entire family down to a RAW/SD Supershow in LA (remember those), set up a meet and greet with the Undertaker before the show. Undertaker spent an entire hour with my brother…just hanging out, shooting the shit. He never acted like he had better things to do or more important places to be. For that hour, he made my brother’s dreams come true…and treated him like the only thing that mattered. It was truly impressive. Fan for life."
What you loved:
- Legend - If we could carve out a second Mount Rushmore, this seems to be where Taker would go by your responses. While never "the guy" he has been a major draw for WWE, a locker room leader, and has had countless memorable moments in the wrestling business.
- Streak - It was an amazing story that WWE basically fell into. Once they realized what they had, it eventually reached an epic level that helped sell the biggest show of the year, every year.
- Gimmick - Talk about longevity, to be able to debut in 1990 and still use the same gimmick in 2014 is insanely rare in wrestling. He's had an amazing commitment to this gimmick as well. Many of you mentioned his entrance (druids! fire! fog!), so I'll add that here as well.
- Longevity - One Cagesider said it well: he is the last full-timer that appeared on the first Raw in 1993, 21 years ago. All the rest have come and gone, and 'Taker remained.
- Hell in a Cell - Helped define this match, and put on two absolute classics with Shawn Michaels and Mankind. "The toss" is something that will be a top 5 highlight for the WWE, forever.
Best comment goes to Eric B. Stephen:
"Truly iconic character, the likes of which I doubt we’ll ever see again, and was able to tweak that character to keep it relevant over time. The Streak was a great thing and became a huge deal every year. I think his streak of great WM matches from Batista to Punk, including all-time-great level matches with Shawn Michaels, may have been even more impressive than the Streak overall. Old school mentality and was a renowned locker room leader when he was a full timer who kept guys in line, including even Vince McMahon at times. ("If you want to have a company in the morning, you’ll apologize to Bret." Imagine saying something like that to your boss…) Pretty much invented and codified the Hell in a Cell match. The moment where he threw Mankind of the top was a Hogan/Andre moment for the Attitude Era generation. He was one of the best there ever was at putting other guys over even if they didn’t win the match (Jeff Hardy is a big example and he still credits that match with Taker as making him as a singles star.)"
What you loathed:
- Biker Taker - This came up quite often today, it's clear you guys like "The Deadman" over "The Biker Man." Also, Limp Bizkit entrance...I'll just leave that one alone.
- Promos - Never been amazing on the mic. He was one of those "less is more" types.
- Streak Broken - Forget the match, the winner, the build-up;, just the streak being broken kind of sucks. It's something we will never see again.
- Long Entrance - Slow walk + long ramp = painfully long entrance. It fits his character, but it's better than Ambien.
- Early Matches - Unless he had a great in-ring opponent, his matches were hot garbage when he first started. Obviously he improved over time, but it took him a few years to figure things out inside the squared circle.
Best comment goes to *Asterisk*:
"Loathe – Y’know, I don’t really think I wanna talk about this."
On to the poll! With 585 votes, Undertaker's average score is 4.7
Thanks, Cagesiders! Tomorrow's pick will be a first.