Today is the 51st birthday of Mark William Calaway. He is known to millions around the world as the legendary pro wrestler known as The Undertaker.
Born in Houston, Texas, Mark was the youngest of five boys and was a two sport athlete in high school. He attended Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas on a basketball scholarship before transferring to Texas Wesleyan University two years later. He was a center for the school's Rams in the 1985-86 season. The sports management major dropped out to focus on a career in sports. He considered playing basketball in Europe before settling on professional wrestling.
After training under Don Jardine (the original Spoiler), Calaway made his professional wrestling debut in 1984 for Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling as Texas Red. He debuted in a losing effort against Bruiser Brody.
After a four-year stint, he joined the Continental Wrestling Association (later the United States Wrestling Association). He would wrestle under several gimmicks before settling on the masked Master of Pain in early 1989, an recently released ex-convict. Success came to him immediately under the management of Dutch Mantel. After his second match, he challenged Jerry Lawler to a bout, and would dominate him until Mantel called him off. Lawler, then the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion,agreed to face him for the title, and on April 1, The Master of Pain won it. He would lose it just three weeks later to Lawler. Late in the year, Calaway as The Punisher won the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship when Eric Embry forfeited the title.
Calaway had a brief stint in WCW as Mean Mark Callous, a name devised by fellow Texan Terry Funk. Callous, as described by Jim Ross, had a fondness for pet snakes and the music of Ozzy Osbourne. Callous would be briefly one half of the Skyscrapers with Dan Spivey (Callous replaced Sid Vicious). They were to feud with the Road Warriors, but Spivey left WCW just before Wrestlewar '90. A replacement Skyscraper, Mike Enos, would team with Callous, would lose to the Road Warriors. Callous would be briefly managed by Paul E. Dangerously. His most notable bouts were a win over Johnny Ace at Captial Combat '90 and a losing effort to Lex Luger for the NWA United States Championship at The Great American Bash. After wrestling at a WCW Worldwide taping in early September, Callous left WCW. During his brief WCW run, Calaway competed for New Japan Pro Wrestling as Punisher Dice Morgan, and returned to the USWA to compete in a tournament for the vacated USWA world title. He defeated Bill Dundee in the first round before losing to the tournament's eventual winner, Jerry Lawler. Following the tournament, Calaway signed with the WWF.
On November 19, 1990, Mark made his WWF debut at a WWF Superstars taping as Cain the Undertaker, a mortician with a trench coat and a mostly gray outfit with black Stetson hat. Calway was portrayed as being impervious to pain. The Cain part was in direct reference to the Cain and Abel biblical story, with Cain killing Abel.
During the bout, the Cain part of Cain the Undertaker was seemingly dropped from commentary; The Undertaker name eventually stuck. The Undertaker would also soon switch managers too; initially managed by Brother Love, he would soon take on the histrionic, ghostly (and as it turned out, real) mortician/funeral director Paul Bearer. He would always carry an urn, which would be used to revive The Undertaker when he was down in the bout. When Undertaker defeated his opponents-usually jobbers-he would put them in a bodybag and carry them to the back.
In April 1991, he quickly defeated Superfly Jimmy Snuka at Wrestlemania VII. His first major feud came later in the year when he attacked The Ultimate Warrior and locked him in an airtight casket on the set of Paul Bearer's Funeral Parlor. Late in the year at Survivor Series, The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan to win the WWF Championship for the first time. He would lose it back to Hogan a week later; the controversial finish of the two bouts would result in the WWF Championship being vacated, with the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble to be declared champion. Ric Flair, who had a hand in the two title matches late the previous year, would win the Rumble and the title. The Undertaker, despite getting an advantageous draw for the match, finished a disappointing 14th.
In February 1992, Jake "The Snake" Roberts was waiting to attack Macho Man Randy Savage with a steel chair. Little did he knew it was his manager and wife Miss Elizabeth was about to come through the curtain. The Undertaker took away the chair, essentially turning him face. In their first face-to-face confrontation following the attack gone wrong, Roberts wanted to know whose side The Undertaker was on. The Undertaker's reply: "Not yours!" Jake attacked both Undertaker and Bearer, but Undertaker would run Roberts off. This led to a Wrestlemania VIII match which The Undertaker would go on to win.
Undertaker would feud with wrestlers managed by Harvey Whippleman over the next year and a half, including Giant Gonzalez, Kamala, and Yokozuna. In January 1993, The Undertaker would win the first-ever Monday Night Raw main event over Damien Demento. That April, he defeated The Giant Gonzalez by disqualification. His feud with Yokozuna would extend into early 1994, when he was defeated in a WWF Championship casket match. Several other Whippleman-led wrestlers helped in Yokozuna's win. Post-match, The Undertaker appeared in the casket on the video screen and would levitate, warning that he would be back. In reality, it was a write-off to heal nagging injuries.
In the months following his absence, WWF programming would have vignettes of people claming to have seen The Undertaker. After Wrestlemania X, Ted DiBiase brought back The Undertaker...sort of. It was a doppelganger Undertaker (Brian Lee, often referred to as "Underfaker"), leading to a feud with the real Undertaker at Summerslam. The real Undertaker, now wearing purple, defeated his doppelganger with three tombstone piledrivers. Later in the year, he avenged his casket match defeat at the Royal Rumble by beating Yokozuna in a casket match at Survivor Series. Undertaker would feud with the Million Dollar Corporation for most of 1995, most notably King Kong Bundy and Kama, who stole the Undertaker's urn and melted it into a necklace.
The Undertaker's look changed a bit in late 1995 after he returned from a broken orbital bone injury, as he temporarily wore an upper-face mask, similar to one used in Phantom of the Opera. He was unmasked by the 1996 Royal Rumble, where he unsuccessfully challenged Bret Hart for the WWF Championship. Diesel interfered, leading to a feud between the two. The feud culminated at Wrestlemania XII, with the Undertaker winning.
Undertaker's next feud would come just one day later. During a match with Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw, Undertaker would be ambushed by Mankind, a mentally deranged schizophrenic who enjoyed abuse and lived in a boiler room. Their battles would spill into backstage areas, into crowds, even into boiler rooms, with one such battle occurring in an actual boiler room at Summerslam. As Undertaker was set to win the bout, Paul Bearer hit him with the urn, incapacitating him and allowing Mankind to win the match. The heinous act by Undertaker's longtime associate only intensified the rivalry; Undertaker and Mankind met in a Buried Alive match at the aptly named In Your House: Buried Alive in October. Though Undertaker won the bout, several wrestlers helped in burying the Undertaker alive.
But he didn't stay buried for long; Undertaker returned at Survivor Series against Mankind. Undertaker won, and with it the right to get his hands on Paul Bearer. Undertaker never got to collect as The Executioner drew attention on the Undertaker, allowing him to escape. The Executioner was quickly disposed of at In Your House: It's Time in an Armageddon rules match.
Undertaker and Vader feuded in early 1997, with Vader defeating Undertaker at the Royal Rumble. The two were in the final men eliminated in the show's titular match by Stone Cold Steve Austin, albeit illegally. At In Your House: Final Four, Undertaker, Vader, and Austin would all be a part of a four-corners elimination match for the vacated WWF Championship, but it would Bret Hart, the fourth man in the match, that would win it. He would lose the title to Sid the next night, who would then lose it to The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 13.
Later that spring, Paul Bearer tried to bring The Undertaker back to the fold by holding over his head a dark secret: The Undertaker as a child burned down the family home/business, killing his parents and his half-brother Kane. Undertaker denied all this, despite Paul Bearer bringing evidence that Kane was indeed alive. Undertaker blamed said fire on Kane, who was a pyromaniac, and claimed that no one could have survived that fire.
While dealing with that drama, The Undertaker feuded with Shawn Michaels. At Summerslam, an errant steel chair shot by referee Michaels cost him the WWF Championship to Bret Hart. They fought to a double countout at In Your House: Ground Zero, setting up the first ever Hell in a Cell match at In Your House: Badd Blood. With the Undertaker on the verge of winning, Undertaker's long-assumed-dead half-brother Kane made his debut, ripping the cell door from its hinges and giving the Undertaker a tombstone piledriver, leading to a Shawn Michaels win.
Undertaker and Shawn would meet again in the 1998 Royal Rumble event in a casket match. In the weeks leading up to the event, Undertaker refused to raise a hand against his younger half-brother, and have seemingly began to patch things up the week before the match. It was an elaborate ruse: Kane chokeslammed Undertaker into the coffin, locked it, and set it on fire. When the fire was put out and the casket reopened, there was no Undertaker to be found. Undertaker would eventually fight his brother Kane at Wrestlemania XIV and a month later in the WWF's first ever Inferno match, with Undertaker winning both.
He soon renewed his rivalry with Mankind, with the longtime adversaries facing off in a Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring. In the match's opening moments, Undertaker threw Mankind off the cell onto the Spanish announce table below. A few minutes later, Undertaker chokeslammed Mankind through the cell, legitimately knocking him unconscious. Mankind would finish the match, but he would be chokeslammed on thumbtacks and suffer a tombstone piledriver.
Late in the summer, it was revealed that The Undertaker and Kane were working together as brothers; despite that, Undertaker wanted nothing to do with Kane in his WWF Championship match against Stone Cold Steve Austin at Summerslam. Austin would win the bout; post-match, Undertaker handed the WWF title belt to Austin. It turned out though that Undertaker and Kane were not only working together, they were working with Vince McMahon to get the WWF title off Austin. They did so at Breakdown when the two simultaneously pinned Austin. The title was vacated with Undertaker and Kane to fight each other for the title at Judgment Day, with Austin as the referee. Paul Bearer turned on Kane that night, and Undertaker, seemingly on the verge of the WWF title, was flipped off by Austin when he had Kane pinned. Austin hit Undertaker with the chair, then counted both men out. The title remained vacant. The next night, Undertaker revealed he had reconciled with Paul Bearer and he was to unleash a "Ministry of Darkness" on the WWF. Oh, and he also admitted he really did set the fire that burned the funeral home.
The Ministry of Darkness came with an updated persona for The Undertaker. Now something of a dark priest, he had embraced a more satanic, wicked side to him, claiming that he is taking orders from a "higher power". He would recruit minions into his Ministry to do his bidding using magic and incantations and the like. The Brood (Gangrel, Edge, and Christian), the Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq), Mideon, and Viscera would all be recruited into the fold. With his army in place, The Undertaker set out to control the WWF (The Ministry was largely a way to keep the Undertaker on WWF programming, as he had undergone a hip replacement surgery around this time). This ran up against Vince McMahon's stable, The Corporation. Undertaker would defeat two members of the group in the early spring of 1999, The Big Boss Man at Wrestlemania XV in a Hell in a Cell match, and Ken Shamrock at Backlash.
Backlash ended with Stephanie McMahon kidnapped by the Ministry of Darkness, forcing Vince McMahon into a reluctant alliance with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin rescued Stephanie from the unholy wedding ceremony, leading to Austin and Undertaker feuding over the WWF Championship. Soon after, Shane McMahon took over the Corporation and merged it with the Undertaker's Ministry alliance to form the Corporate Ministry. It was Shane that helped The Undertaker defeat Austin for the WWF Championship at Over the Edge. A couple weeks later, it was revealed that Vince McMahon was the "higher power". Undertaker would retain the WWF Championship against The Rock at King of the Ring, but lose it to Austin the next night. After Austin won the return bout at Fully Loaded in a first blood match, the Corporate Ministry disbanded.
He would take on The Big Show in an "unholy alliance" in the latter half of the summer. The Unholy Alliance would win the WWF Tag Team Championship twice in their brief time together, but during that time The Undertaker suffered a groin injury. He mostly stayed away from the ring, forcing Big Show to fight all his battles for him, while Undertaker made snarky remarks at the announce table. After refusing to participate in a casket match on a Smackdown in September, Undertaker was removed from a WWF Championship match at Unforgiven by McMahon; Undertaker retorted by saying maybe he wouldn't be participating in anything, essentially walking out on the company. It was in reality a write-off for so the Undertaker could heal his groin injury. While healing the groin, he tore a pectoral muscle. Undertaker would be out for about eight months. In a 2015 interview with Sports Illustrated, Calaway's friend Kevin Nash revealed that during his time away, he nearly jumped to WCW.
When Calaway returned in May 2000, he looked very different from the Undertaker of old: once the embodiment of the supernatural and macabre, he became a biker, wearing leather jackets, bandanas, and sunglasses, and riding to the ring via motorcycle. The dark entrances would be replaced by popular songs of the time, including Kid Rock's "American Bad Ass" (from which his new gimmick originated) and "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" by Limp Bizkit.
In his return, he took out the McMahon-Helmsley faction, essentially turning him face. The Undertaker and Kane would form an alliance, but it wouldn't last as Kane eventually turned on Undertaker after they failed to win the WWF Tag Team Championship from Edge and Christian. It set up a bout between the two, resulting in a no contest when Kane's mask was removed.
After failing to win the WWF Championship from Kurt Angle late in the year, Undertaker and Kane reunited in 2001. Known as The Brothers of Destruction, the two combined would eliminate half of the field in the Royal Rumble match (Kane by himself had 11, a single match record until 2014). At Wrestlemania X-Seven, The Undertaker defeated Triple H. That story continued into the spring when Triple H formed an alliance with Stone Cold Steve Austin, the WWF Champion at the time. Eventually, the four men would hold the three major championships in the WWF (Austin as WWF Champion, Triple H as Intercontinental Champion, Undertaker and Kane as tag team champions), setting up a winner-take-all bout at Backlash. Triple H with the help of a sledgehammer defeated Kane to claim the tag titles for himself and Austin. Undertaker would briefly feud with Austin in May, but failed to win the WWF title at Judgment Day.
In the summer, The Undertaker's wife Sara (they were presented as married in storyline, though at the time in reality, the couple had not married yet) would be stalked by Diamond Dallas Page as one of the branching storylines of the Invasion. The Brothers of Destruction would feud with Page and Chris Kanyon, with Kane and Undertaker defeating two-thirds of the former Jersey Triad to unify the WWF and WCW Tag Team Championship. Late in the year, The Undertaker and Kane would team with The Rock, Chris Jericho, and The Big Show to defeat The Alliance (Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon, and Rob Van Dam) at Survivor Series, ending the Invasion storyline.
Following the Invasion, the Undertaker became a villain once again when he forced Jim Ross to kiss Vince McMahon's ass. He tweaked his look a bit, cutting his hair short and calling himself "Big Evil". In December at Vengeance, The Undertaker defeated Rob Van Dam for the WWF Hardcore Championship. At next month's Royal Rumble, The Undertaker was shockingly eliminated by Maven when he was dropkicked from behind. Maven then endured a brutal assault. The elimination would be storyline fodder for about two months, with The Rock, who had lost a #1 contender's match thanks to Undertaker, defeating him at No Way Out (thanks to Ric Flair). That led to The Undertaker demanding Flair to fight him at Wrestlemania X8. Flair refused, so Undertaker turned his attention to Flair's son David, and brutally assaulted him. After threatening to do the same to his daughter, Flair accepted. At Wrestlemania X8, Undertaker would defeat Flair in a no disqualification match.
In April, The Undertaker defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin to become the #1 contender for the Undisputed WWF Championship. After helping Hulk Hogan win said title at Backlash from Triple H, Undertaker targeted Hogan and the title. Undertaker would win the Undisputed Championship at Judgment Day. The Undertaker had to have lost the title the next night to Rob Van Dam, but the match was restarted and Undertaker went on to retain the championship. He would feud with Jeff Hardy for a few weeks, culminating in a ladder match on the July 1, 2002 RAW in a ladder match. Undertaker retained; he turned babyface again when he raised Hardy's hand out of respect.
After losing the Undisputed Championship to The Rock in a triple threat match, Undertaker, along with Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit, were all moved to Smackdown (in an interesting bit of trivia, Undertaker was on the Smackdown brand for the remainder of the brand extension era). The Undertaker would feud with Brock Lesnar in the fall; the two went to a double countout at Unforgiven, then would lose to Lesnar in a Hell in a Cell match at No Mercy, where Undertaker competed with a broken hand. He would be written off for a bit after Big Show threw him off the stage, which set up his first feud of 2003. Undertaker defeated Big Show on consecutive PPVs, the latter via triangle choke at No Way Out. A-Train attacked Undertaker post-match, who was then saved by Nathan Jones. There was a storyline where Jones would serve as the Undertaker's protégé, and the two were to team to face Big Show and A-Train at Wrestlemania XIX. Despite Jones being removed from the match, Undertaker went on to win.
After feuding with John Cena and Kurt Angle through the summer months, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar renewed their rivalry, culminating in a biker chain match at No Mercy for the WWE Championship. Lesnar retained with help from Vince McMahon. That led to Undertaker feuding with his boss, culminating in a Buried Alive match at Survivor Series won by McMahon when Kane interfered. The Undertaker disappeared from WWE programming following that, with Kane claiming that the Undertaker was dead and buried forever.
This, of course, was not true. Beginning with the 2004 Royal Rumble, Kane was haunted by vignettes promoting the Undertaker's impending return. Usually it began with the tolling bells. It would escalate to smoke, rain, the old urn, even the Undertaker's symbol being lit on fire. At Wrestlemania XX, The Undertaker, in a hybrid of some of his previous looks, returned with longtime manager Paul Bearer. He defeated Kane at the event. After briefly feuding with Booker T, he would feud with the Dudley Boyz, who kidnapped Bearer on Paul Heyman's orders. Heyman "took control" of the Undertaker, with the promise of Bearer being buried in a "concrete crypt" if Undertaker didn't play ball. Undertaker met the Dudleys in a handicap match at the Great American Bash and was ordered to lay down. Undertaker would go on to win the match, and shockingly, he would be the one to cover Bearer in cement.
In the summer, Undertaker chased the WWE Championship, taking on champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield. The two had a pair of PPV bouts, with Undertaker losing them both (via disqualification at Summerslam, and in a Last Ride match at No Mercy when Heidenreich interfered). After disposing of Heidenreich at Survivor Series that November, he turned his attention again to the WWE Championship. Undertaker would lose a fatal four-way title match at Armageddon, again with interference by Heidenreich. The feud finally ended in the 2005 Royal Rumble, with Undertaker defeating Heidenreich in a casket match.
Undertaker's major feud in 2005 was with Randy Orton. It began when Orton challenged The Undertaker's 12-0 Wrestlemania run. Despite interference from Randy's father, Cowboy Bob Orton, Undertaker extended his streak to 13-0 at Wrestlemania 21. The feud picked up two months later when Undertaker returned from hiatus. JBL defeated Undertaker in a bout on Smackdown thanks to Orton. Despite the setback, The Undertaker became the #1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at The Great American Bash, but he wasn't able to keep it; JBL won the rematch a few days later on Smackdown. The Undertaker turned his attention back to Orton, who would defeat him at Summerslam. At No Mercy just over a month later, the Ortons defeated The Undertaker in a handicap casket match; post-match, they poured gas on the casket and set it on fire. Just as the case was in 1998, the charred remains of the casket had no Undertaker inside. The Undertaker returned at Survivor Series (in a burning casket, no less) and played mind games with Orton in the following weeks before defeating him at Armageddon in a Hell in a Cell match.
After a brief hiatus, The Undertaker returned at the 2006 Royal Rumble event, challenging Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship. The two met at No Way Out, with Angle winning after a nearly 30-minute contest. The two fought again on Smackdown, but this time, Mark Henry attacked the Undertaker from behind, costing him the match. This set up a casket match at Wrestlemania 22, won by Undertaker. The two rematched on Smackdown, but the debuting Great Khali assaulted the Undertaker. The two met at Judgment Day in May in a match, which Khali would win. Undertaker would not appear again for more than a month, returning in July when he accepted the challenge of a Punjabi Prison match. The match would go down at The Great American Bash, but not with the intended participants; Khali was not medically fit to compete and would be replaced by The Big Show. Undertaker would go on to win the bout. The feud continued until just before Summerslam 2006 when Undertaker defeated Khali in a last man standing match. The Undertaker feuded with Mr. Kennedy late in the year, with Kennedy defeating Undertaker by disqualification at No Mercy and in a first blood match at Survivor Series. Though Undertaker defeated Kennedy in a Last Ride match at Armageddon, the feud continued into the new year.
In January 2007, The Undertaker made history by becoming the first man to win the Royal Rumble after drawing #30, the latest possible number to draw for the match. With his choice of world title match at Wrestlemania as a result of the win, The Undertaker chose Batista's World Heavyweight Championship. Undertaker defeated Batista for the title at Wrestlemania. The feud would continue into the spring, with the two going into a pair of draws in rematches at Backlash and the May 11, 2007 Smackdown (the first in a last man standing match where neither man could answer the ten count; the second in a steel cage match where both men's feet hit the floor at the same time). After the cage match, Mark Henry assaulted The Undertaker, then Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
After The Undertaker defeated Mark Henry at Unforgiven, he turned his attention to Batista's World Heavyweight Championship. The two met at Cyber Sunday with fan-selected Stone Cold Steve Austin as the referee; Batista won the match and retained the title. They would meet one last time in a Hell in a Cell match at Survivor Series. Batista retained the title again when Edge interfered. In retaliation, then-Smackdown general manager Vickie Guerrero received a tombstone piledriver. Assistant GM Teddy Long made a triple threat match for the title at Armageddon with Batista, Undertaker and Edge, with Edge winning the bout and the title.
After winning a #1 contender's elimination chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out in 2008, Undertaker extended his Wrestlemania win streak to 16 with a submission win over Edge to claim the title. He would win the rematch at Backlash, but the championship was soon vacated as his Hell's Gate submission hold was deemed a choke, and therefore illegal. Undertaker would defeat Edge for a third straight PPV at Judgment Day, but as it was via countout, no new champion was crowned. They met again at One Night Stand, this time, with Edge winning a tables, ladders, and chairs match. The loss also banished Undertaker from WWE.
Undertaker wouldn't be gone long; Vickie Guerrero would reinstate the Undertaker about seven weeks later, and Edge would face him in a Hell in a Cell match. Undertaker would defeat him at Summerslam; post-match, he chokeslammed Edge through the ring. General Manager Vickie Guerrero tried to offer peace, but Undertaker wasn't listening. Big Show, seemingly signing on to make sure Vickie got her retribution, took out Undertaker. The two would split a pair of PPV bouts (Big Show winning via knockout at No Mercy, Undertaker winning at Cyber Sunday via submission) before Undertaker defeated Big Show in a casket match at Survivor Series.
After failing to capture the WWE Championship at No Way Out in February 2009, he would reignite a feud with long-ago rival Shawn Michaels. The feud centered on the fact that The Undertaker had never been able to defeat Michaels in a one-on-one match. That would change at Wrestlemania 25 when The Undertaker defeated Michaels. The match is considered among fans and critics as one of the greatest bouts in Wrestlemania history. The Undertaker soon took a hiatus from WWE following the bout.
The Undertaker returned at Summerslam at the conclusion of the TLC match for the World Heavyweight Championship when he chokeslammed new champion CM Punk. The two met at Breaking Point with The Undertaker winning via Hell's Gate...or so he thought. Teddy Long restarted the match when he ruled the gogoplata hold was still illegal. Punk put Undertaker in the Anaconda Vise, and in a moment reminiscent of the Montreal Screwjob (in the same building, no less), Scott Armstrong prematurely called for the bell. The ban on the Hell's Gate was soon lifted by Teddy Long after Undertaker put him in a casket. Undertaker would defeat Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Hell in a Cell match at the PPV of the same name. He would have key successful defenses over Punk late in the year, including on an episode of Smackdown, Bragging Rights, and Survivor Series. He defeated Batista at TLC after he had initially lost following a low blow.
He would lose the title at Elimination Chamber in February 2010; prior to the bout, a momentary pyro malfunction caused The Undertaker to be engulfed in flames. He would suffer first and second-degree burns on his neck and chest. In a pair of 2014 interviews with Chris Jericho, who defeated The Undertaker that night for the championship, Jericho said the technician responsible was escorted from the arena and immediately fired at the Undertaker's behest.
Shawn Michaels interfered in the title bout at Elimination Chamber as a last-ditch effort to get a Wrestlemania rematch with The Undertaker. After declining for more than two months, the Undertaker accepted, but only on the condition that Shawn Michaels retire if he'd lost. Undertaker won at Wrestlemania XXVI, forcing Michaels to retire.
He largely was off WWE programming for the next two months (save for a couple of matches on RAW), but would return in late May, defeating Rey Mysterio in a qualifying match for the World Heavyweight Championship at Fatal 4-Way. In the bout, Undertaker suffered a concussion, broken orbital bone, and broken nose, and was seen bleeding profusely at the end of the bout. To cover for the injury, it was announced in storyline that The Undertaker was found in a vegetative state. Mysterio, who initially got the blame for the act, would replace Undertaker in the match and win the World Heavyweight Championship. Kane would point the finger at Mysterio, while Mysterio pointed one right back. Kane would defeat Mysterio for the title. The Undertaker returned at Summerslam, and it was then it was revealed Kane was the assailant, leading to a feud between the Brothers of Destruction. Despite Paul Bearer briefly returning by Undertaker's side, Undertaker was duped by Bearer again when with the help of Nexus, Kane defeated The Undertaker in a buried alive match.
While taking time away to heal injuries, promo vignettes began airing showing Undertaker entering and standing within a Western-style old house on a rainy desert, with the promo ending with the date of "2-21-11". February 21, 2011 would be the return of the Undertaker. It would also be the return of Triple H. The two met at Wrestlemania XXVII; despite Undertaker winning via submission, he was carried off on a stretcher.
It would be ten months before The Undertaker made an appearance on WWE programming again. Undertaker tried to bait Triple H into a rematch at Wrestlemania XXVIII, but Triple H did not budge. After The Undertaker accused Triple H of living in Shawn Michaels' shadow, Hunter accepted, but only on the condition that it was a Hell in a Cell match. Undertaker debuted a new look at Wrestlemania XXVIII, and despite having Triple H's BFF Shawn Michaels as the referee for the match, The Undertaker won, giving him 20 Wrestlemania wins without a loss. The three embraced post-match.
After making a cameo appearance at RAW 1000 in July, The Undertaker appeared on a special Old School RAW in March 2013. CM Punk won the right to challenge the Undertaker by winning a fatal four-way match. Following the legitimate death of the Undertaker's longtime manager Paul Bearer the next day, Punk would disrespect the Undertaker's and Bearer's legacy, even stealing the ceremonial urn. Undertaker would defeat Punk at Wrestlemania 29, extending his Wrestlemania streak to 21-0.
The next night, as the Undertaker honored his late manager, The Shield interrupted with intentions on assaulting him. They were thwarted off by Kane and Daniel Bryan, setting off a brief feud with the trio. Undertaker teamed with Team Hell No in a losing effort on RAW on April 22, and defeated Dean Ambrose via submission on Smackdown a few days later. Post-match, The Shield powerbombed Undertaker through the announce table.
The Undertaker returned in February 2014 to accept Brock Lesnar's challenge for a Wrestlemania XXX bout. In April, after 25 minutes, three F-5s, and one severe concussion, Lesnar defeated The Undertaker, ending The Undertaker's Wrestlemania winning streak at 21. The result has been described by some as "the most shocking in WWE history". Undertaker was hospitalized with said severe concussion following the bout. In a December 2014 interview, Vince McMahon confirmed he made the call to end the streak to enhance Lesnar's formidability in the leadup to Wrestlemania 31.
That result would spark a feud the following year. After defeating Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 31, Undertaker returned at Battleground, costing Brock Lesnar his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Seth Rollins. That would lead the two to face off at Summerslam. Lesnar had Undertaker beaten with a Kimura lock, but as the referee did not see it, the match was restarted, and Undertaker choked out Lesnar with the Hell's Gate. They met one last time at Hell in a Cell, with Lesnar again defeating Undertaker with a third F-5.
As The Undertaker was taking a final bow, he was ambushed and carried away by the Wyatt Family. Kane would receive the same fate the next night on RAW, setting up a feud between the Brothers of Destruction and the Wyatts. At Survivor Series, Undertaker and Kane defeated Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper.
Currently, Undertaker's acting as Vince McMahon's proxy in his feud with Vince's son Shane, who had recently returned to the company for the first time since 2009. Shane McMahon and the Undertaker are scheduled to meet at Wrestlemania 32 in a Hell in a Cell match, with the caveat that if Shane wins, he would get control of RAW, and the Undertaker could never compete at Wrestlemania again.
Calaway, a combat sports enthusiast (and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu), is married to former wrestler Michelle McCool. It's his third marriage; he was married to Jodi Lynn from 1989 to 1999 (the couple had one son, Gunner Vincent, now 22), and to Sara from 2000 to 2007 (they had two daughters together, Chasey, age 13, and Gracie, age 10). Calaway and McCool have been married since June 2010, and the couple have one daughter together, Kaia Faith, age 3.
In the 1990s, Calaway headed a locker-room group known as the Bone Street Krew. The group included Yokozuna, Savio Vega, Charles Wright, the Godwinns, and Rikishi; each member of the group had the initials tattooed on them; Calaway had the initials tattooed on his stomach. He also invests in real estate, and owns a building with Scott Everhart in Loveland, Coloarado known as the Calahart.
The Undertaker is one of the most respected and beloved wrestlers in the history of the business. The Undertaker to date has appeared on 62 different PPV posters, more than anyone in WWE history. In a 2012 IGN list, Undertaker was named the second greatest pro wrestler of all time, behind only Shawn Michaels, describing him as a wrestler "treated with actual reverence, like a cherished, invaluable artifact". A 2013 Digital Spy poll has the Undertaker as the greatest WWE wrestler of all time. In a 2015 article for Complex UK, Luis Paez-Pumar called the Undertaker character "easily the best gimmick in the history of professional wrestling".
So... his list of accomplishments. You're interested, yeah? Sure you are. Here ya go.
- 4-time WWE Champion
- 3-time World Heavyweight Champion
- WWF Hardcore Champion
- 6-time WWF Tag Team Champion
- WCW Tag Team Champion
- 2007 Royal Rumble Winner
- 12-time Slammy Award Winner (including 4 Match of the Year wins: 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015)
- USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion
- WCWA Texas Heavyweight Champion
From Pro Wrestling Illustrated:
- 4-time Match of the Year Winner (1998, 2009, 2010, 2012)
- 2-time Feud of the Year (1991, 2015)
- 2015 Comeback Wrestler of the Year
- #2 singles wrestler in the world in the 2002 PWI 500
- #21 singles wrestler of the PWI Years in 2003
From Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
- 2-time Match of the Year Winner (2009 and 2010)
- 5-time Best Gimmick Winner (1990-1994)
- 1991 Best Heel
- 2007 Feud of the Year (with Batista)
- 5-star rated match (1997 vs. Shawn Michaels, Hell in a Cell, Badd Blood)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame Class of 2004