The Undertaker. One of the most celebrated perfomers not just in WWE history, but in wrestling history. His presence and his ability to evolve in the ring has made him a rarity in the wrestling business: both decorated in championship, and respected among his peers and many, many fans. Over the course of what will be a quarter century, he has created countless moments that will be talked about long after he's gone.
But what is the greatest Undertaker moment of all time?
Earlier this week, we put that question to you, and thankfully, you've come up with enough moments to make a top 25, one for every year of his career. Not every year of his career will be represented, mind you, but every era of the Phenom's career is covered. With that...
The 25 best Undertaker moments ever.
(as chosen by you, the Cagesiders. So... you know, don't blame me if you don't like the list. Also, to ease on the lag, I'll include only links to some of the early moments in the countdown.)
As the old saying goes, war is hell, kids. And sometimes war is hell. In a cell.
October 2002. Brock Lesnar was about six months into his mastery of WWE, tearing through the roster, left, right, and center. That kinda sorta included the Undertaker, with whom Lesnar went to a no contestu for the undisputed WWE Championship at Unforgiven.
Then Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar bring up the Undertaker's past (keep in mind, this is 2002, so this isn't exactly Kane-Taker-Paul Bearer past we're talking about. I mean Biker Taker might have cheated on someone or something or other. Best you not be bothered with the details) and family, and that was pretty much escalation. The two met in a Hell in a Cell match, with the Undertaker's left hand being put in a cast as a result of a Lesnar assault in the weeks leading up to the match.
And you guys... this. Was. Brutal. Undertaker bled. Brock Lesnar bled. Paul Heyman bled. PAUL E. DANGEROUSLY BLED. The near half-hour battle ended with an F-5 by Brock to Undertaker, but it would serve as a precursor to the many wars the two would have over the next decade.
24. Not yours.
In late 1991, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and the Undertaker were BFFL, you guys (That's best friends for life for the older Cagesiders). Two men with nary a conscience between them could do a lot of damage in the WWF. That all changed in February 1992 when "Macho Man" Randy Savage defeated Roberts—yet again. Roberts, fuming at being defeated by the man he tried to poison with a cobra, was going to take it out on Savage when he got to the back. Just one problem: it was Miss Elizabeth that went through the curtain first, and The Undertaker did Jake a solid, taking the chair from him before doing the unthinkable.
Jake a few weeks later was a guest on The Funeral Parlor and wanted to know where The Undertaker stood. The Undertaker, who rarely spoke to begin with, uttered two simple words: not yours, making him a babyface for the very first time. Even still, the Undertaker, who took a beating along with manager Paul Bearer, was a scary grown ass man, and he was gonna kill the Snake.
Which he did at Wrestlemania VIII.
Shawn Michaels had a pretty long and illustrious career himself. Like The Undertaker, he was one of the most decorated performers in wrestling history. He would also leave as one of the most respected, but it took a hell of a second act to get the respect part. Michaels was pulling four-star-or-better bouts right to the very end when The Undertaker ended Shawn Michaels' career at Wrestlemania XXVI.
The next night, Shawn had to make that retirement speech, saying goodbye for the last time after a long and illustrious career. His moment of goodbye was intruded by an unexpected guest: The Undertaker. Not one to brag about his accomplishments more than necessary, he didn't come out to gloat about his retiring Michaels. Not even close. Actually, all he did was simply tip his hat to the man he beat. Honestly, that spoke more than any words ever could.
Probably the second best feud of 2008 was the one between The Undertaker and Edge. Starting late the previous year when he cost Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship, the nearly year-long war included Undertaker's first submission win at Wrestlemania, Edge sending the Deadman through four tables at Extreme Rules: One Night Stand, and a jilted wife. No, seriously. That last part is what led to the first Hell in a Cell match of the PG era.
As payback for Edge cheating on then-Smackdown GM/storyline wife Vickie Guerrero with the wedding planner (a young Alicia Fox), Vickie reinstated the Undertaker and booked her estranged hubby and his biggest rival in a Hell in a Cell match. It had no business being good; after all, WWE had just begun its PG initiative for its programming. But...surprise, surprise, it was actually pretty good. Though it did feature a spear through the cell, the running spear using the announce tables, and a chokeslam through a stack of tables, the one spot most everyone remembers happened after the match ended.
Seeing that Edge refused to die like a good boy, Undertaker turned around, went back in the cell, and using a little ladder to get extra height, chokeslammed him through the ring. And through the Earth, sending him to the fiery depths of HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. In a cell. In no uncertain terms, the message was this: you mess with the Undertaker, you die.
The Undertaker has never been one to chase championship, even though by 2007, he had won quite a few (four WWE Championships, seven tag titles with four different partners, and a hardcore championship). But sometimes you stumble upon opportunity, and when you do, you better make the most of it.
After a thrilling final confrontation, The Undertaker won the 2007 Royal Rumble match, giving him the right to challenge for one of three world championships. He could have gone with Bobby Lashley and give some much needed credibility to the ECW Championship, or after John Cena's WWE Championship in what would have been a dream match for the ages.
But he chose Batista and the World Heavyweight Championship. The bout, if we're being honest, had no business being any good. Undertaker was getting up there in years, and Batista wasn't exactly seen as an outstanding worker. But the hoss-on-hoss violence was off the charts, even for a Wrestlemania and may be the hidden gem on what was an up-and-down show. In the end, one tombstone piledriver was all it took for Undertaker to claim his first world title in nearly five years, and his first Wrestlemania championship win in a decade. It was well deserved for a man known as the conscience of the WWE.
By the fall of 1999, the Undertaker as a character had been... dare I say it? Stale. You can thank one Vincent James Russo for contributing to that, or you can also thank the times changing, where cartoonish gimmicks were no longer the order of the day. So when the phenom took some time off to heal nagging injuries, we didn't think a whole lot of it. He'll soon return better and more evil than ever, and so forth and so on.
Well... not quite.
It wouldn't be until May 2000 that we got the return of the Deadman... looking not at all like the Deadman we remembered. And he's on a bike. Coming out to a Kid Rock song. Ladies and gentlemen, The Undertaker: American Bad Ass. Oh, and as a friendly reminder, he was still the baddest mofo in the building, taking out any and every member of the McMahon-Helmsley regime within a 100-foot radius. So, yeah, he cost The Rock the WWF Championship. But if the Undertaker's kicking ass, you gonna interrupt him. Hell no, you're not. Also, that crazy pop though.
Just before Survivor Series 2009, RAW was in Madison Square Garden, a venue even by that point the WWE held shows less frequently (thanks James Dolan!). The show's main event was a three-team match featuring D-Generation X, Jeri-Show, and the WWE's two world champions The Undertaker and John Cena.
As these things usually do, the match goes into a FINISHER RUSH! (seriously, I hope this is a thing for WWE 2K17, where a six-man match just devolves into a huge finisher rush as soon as someone hits a button) with (and here's how you know it was 2009) John Cena ending with an Attitude Adjustment and getting a three for his team. Undertaker thanks John with a Tombstone Piledriver because fuck you, that's why. It would have been kinda cool if the moment led to something, and maybe it was supposed to. Or maybe it was a one-off for the Garden crowd. We'll never know. But no one outshines the Undertaker.
The two biggest mysteries surrounding the 1990 Survivor Series were what was in the egg and who was the fourth man on the Million Dollar Team. One of these mysteries would be solved about a half hour into the show. After the Dream Team of Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, and the Hart Foundation were introduced, out came the Million Dollar team of Ted DiBiase and Rhythm ‘n Blues.
But who's the fourth man? He's gotta tell us right now!
DiBiase divulges. He was accompanied by Brother Love, weighs 320 pounds, from Death Valley, the Undertaker...
OMG WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THAT? THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU! YOU ARE NOT REAL! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!
That and mouths agape. And eyes covered. That pretty much about runs the gamut of reaction for the first sight of the Undertaker, who was indeed a grown-assed man. 6'10", 320 pounds. And just to make this point perfectly clear, here's what happened in the first two minutes of the match: Bret Hart got a few shots in, all ineffective. Undertaker hits a choke drop (similar to one Scott Hall adopted a few years later). Jim Neidhart tries. He gets a few shots in, also ineffective. Koko B. Ware charges, necks himself on the top rope, then gets turned upside down and dropped straight down on his head. Thanks for playing, Koko.
Later, the Undertaker WALKS THE TOP ROPE. THE MAN, WHO MAY NOT EVEN BE ALIVE (SERIOUSLY, LOOK HOW PALE HE IS), IS WALKING THE TOP ROPE. IT'S NOT FAIR! He goes halfway across the ring and delivers an axe handle smash to Dusty Rhodes, eliminating him. Rhodes went after Undertaker's manager Brother Love, and Undertaker's human emotion (i.e. protecting his Brother) is what it took to eliminate him from the match.
But right away, the WWF wasted no time in making their latest big man a dominant force. Little did they know he would be a dominant force for a generation.
So... protip, you guys. Don't piss off the Undertaker. It never ends well.
Example #3115: September 2009. The Undertaker was a victim of a Montreal Screwjob rehash when CM Punk defeated him at Breaking Point. Turned out it was all a conspiracy that was hatched among then world champion Punk, Long, and referee Scott Armstrong. Needless to say, when the Undertaker finds out about it, he's gonna be a pissed off mortician.
At the behest of Mr. McMahon, Teddy Long issued an apology for his involvement in the conspiracy. Then he left the building as fast his feet could carry him because the Deadman was gonna come for him, and he probably was going to kill him.
Unfortunately, he wasn't fast enough. Long got to the limo... only to find out that The Undertaker was in the driver's seat. When Teddy Tag Team found out, it was too late.
Buckle up, Teddy. Since the doors were locked, there was no way out. Of course, if Long was of sound body and mind, he could have figured out that the window was cracked just enough for the smoke coming from the limo to air out, and he could have found a way to escape from there. Now he was gonna have to suffer the fate of going one-on-one... WIT DA UNDATAKAH. And he's in the fast lane now, boy. On the highway to hell.
So, protip, you guys. Don't piss off the Undertaker. It never ends well. Also, if you must kill the Deadman, make sure he's the most dead before bragging about it.
Royal Rumble 1998 is remembered for four things. In no particular order, Steve Austin winning his second Royal Rumble match in a row, Mick Foley going three times in said Rumble, Shawn Michaels suffering a career-altering back injury, and Kane lighting the casket the Undertaker was enclosed in on fire.
People rushed in to rescue the Undertaker from his fiery grave, but it ultimately proved fruitless. There wasn't a charred body to be found. There was no body to be found. The Undertaker had vanished into the night. Or did he really burn?
We got our answer a few weeks later when Paul Bearer tolled the bell ten times for his former comrade. Soon, the lights went out, and the bell tolled. And tolled. And tolled. Fourteen times. Then lightning. Then the iconic situp. The Undertaker has returned. And he is the most pissed. He wasn't gonna raise a hand to his brother, but trying to burn him alive was about all he could stand, and he can stand no more. He was gonna throw hands with his younger brother, and nobody was gonna hold him back. It was on. SO. VERY. ON.
As mentioned earlier, The Undertaker is one of the most accomplished performers in WWE history. But more than a decade and a half in, the Undertaker surprisingly had never won a Royal Rumble. He did come close in 2003, finishing second only to Brock Lesnar.
In 2007, Undertaker, entering at #30 (a number that had never won in the Royal Rumble match) was alone with twice-Rumble winner Shawn Michaels. Usually "final two" battles are done in a couple minutes. But this took way more than a couple of minutes, as the surefire Hall of Famers battled it out as if it were a Wrestlemania main event (something the two would share just two years later). At the end of the battle, which was long enough to pass for a main event on RAW, it was The Undertaker that sent Shawn over the top and to the floor, giving him his only Royal Rumble win, and the first from #30.
2002 was a weird ass year for wrestling, you guys. It was a year that included the return of Hulk Hogan to the WWE, a place he hadn't been since the early 1990s. His nostalgia run peaked with a WWE Championship win at Backlash just over a month after his epic with The Rock at Wrestlemania X8. With former champion Triple H tied up with Chris Jericho, Hogan would feud with... The Undertaker. What year is this?
Anyways, Undertaker assaults Hogan with a tire iron, ties him up, and does a victory lap on Hogan's bike around the TD Garden... with Hogan tied to the bike. What was supposed to be a pretty serious moment (after all, Undertaker's doing this pretty evil shit to Hulk) turned out to be one of the more hilarious bits in WWE history. I mean, seriously, that's the kind of stuff you only see in cartoons or action movies. And all things considered, it was one step above what happened when Hogan tried to ride on Undertaker's bike.
The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels rarely crossed paths with one another in WWE canon. They're about as opposite as opposite can be. Undertaker: brooding, quiet, methodical. Shawn Michaels: brash, flamboyant, aggressive.
When Michaels as the guest referee for the 1997 Summerslam main event cost the Undertaker the WWF Championship, it set off a war that Michaels had no chance of winning. After all, rare is the man who came out ahead against The Undertaker. The two met in a grueling bout the next month at Ground Zero: In Your House, but it went to a no contest meaning this feud must continue. Don't think anybody would have gotten upset at that.
But their Ground Zero fight was so out of control, they had to be contained to ensure a winner at Bad Blood. The means of doing this: Hell in a Cell, the brainchild of Jim Cornette that combined elements of Memphis-style cage matches and War Games. With no one able to interfere or enter the cage, the two were free to settle their issues any way they saw fit. Though the idea was to keep the combatants inside, they still managed to get out... much to the detriment of Michaels.
With Undertaker on the doorstep to victory, the lights go out and out comes Paul Bearer with... THAT'S GOTTA BE... THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE! THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE! And Kane was a grown-ass man. Even towered over Taker by a couple inches. Undertaker, incredulous at first, tries to put up a fight, but it's useless. Kane drops Undertaker with his own tombstone piledriver. The deadman never had a chance. Shawn takes advantage and escapes certain death to become the #1 contender for the WWF Championship.
Worst. Family reunion. Ever.
So... protip, you guys. Don't try to burn the Undertaker alive. It generally doesn't work out for you.
One person that could have used this advice was one Randall Keith Orton of St. Louis, Missouri. No Mercy 2005 ended with Randy and his father Cowboy Bob locking the Undertaker in a casket, dousing it with gas, and setting it on fire. You remember what happened the last time someone tried this, right?
Well, Randy obviously did not. A few weeks later, just as Orton celebrated being the sole survivor for the Smackdown vs. RAW match at Survivor Series (his third sole survivor win in a row, a feat to the best of my knowledge has not been repeated), BONG.
Orton knew. Smackdown stars insist on hoisting Orton up in celebration. Lightning bolt. Fire. Smoke. We have another Undertaker resurrection. And he looks the most pissed. The Ortons escape. The rest of the bottom half of the Smackdown roster did not think to do the same. And of course Undertaker punches his way through, chokeslamming and tombstoning anyone within a 25-foot radius. Some stood and fought. Fools, these people are. The message was clear: the Ortons were next. And they were gonna die.
The Undertaker and Mankind feuded off and on for two years by the time the second Hell in a Cell match on PPV came around at the 1998 King of the Ring.
And these two weren't playing around. Both men started atop the cell, and less than two minutes in, Undertaker just casually throws Mankind off the cell like he just threw a bag of leaves to the other side of the yard. The match was stopped for about ten minutes to attend to Mankind's potentially catastrophic injuries. The match was all but assumed to be over. But as they were wheeling him out, Mankind was like... nope. Throw him off the cell, will ya? That act of aggression will not stand, by God.
So Mankind climbs back up. Undertaker climbs back up. They meet in the middle, and eventually, Undertaker has Mankind by the throat. And Undertaker chokeslams Mankind.
Through the roof.
Now, this is the true holy shit moment of the match. While the throw off the cell was planned, the chokeslam spot: not so much. Let's be honest. The roof didn't have much of a chance with 600-plus pounds combined, but for that result to come about... yeah. A fall that far should have killed Mick Foley. But he hung around for a few minutes more before ultimately being dropped onto thumbtacks, chokeslammed onto thumbtacks and tombstoned--thankfully not on thumbtacks.
Let the record show that Mankind is a tough son of a bitch. Let the record also show that the Undertaker is a tough son of a bitch.
10. End of an era.
Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and the Undertaker don't have a hell of a lot in common. They've been in the business for a long time, they both got wildly popular in the 1990s, and are three of the most accomplished men in wrestling history. They all took different paths to the pinnacle of the wrestling industry, but while they rarely crossed paths, they all intersected at the same point.
The last intersection for the trio was Wrestlemania XXVIII, where Triple H attempted--for the third time--to end the Undertaker's undefeated streak. And it was gonna be a historic one too: had Undertaker won, it would be his 20th Wrestlemania win in a row. Nobody else is at 10.
9. Shawn Michaels kicks out of the Tombstone Piledriver.
Kane did it and we weren't surprised. Edge did it the year prior at Wrestlemania and we weren't surprised.
This is about as good an example of a false finish done right. Shawn attempted a hurancanrana, but that in and of itself is a dicey proposition, and he found out the hard way. Taker hung on, grabbed Shawn, and brought him back in to drop him in the tombstone piledriver.
Shawn kicks out. Barely.
Reliant Stadium loses its collective marbles. Undertaker's face... well, look at it. He couldn't believe it. After all, in the rare case that anyone kicked out of the tombstone, it would indeed be at two, but only Undertaker had the opponent beat for ten seconds or so after referee had been knocked out. Arguably not since the late 1990s during his battles with Kane had anyone kick out of an immediate pin following a tombstone. And needless to say, the 70,000 plus in Houston reacted accordingly.
8. Undertaker crucifies Stone Cold.
So the Undertaker in late 1998 was kinda weird. Not the good kind of weird either. He started to embrace a more satanic side, reunited with Paul Bearer after being separated from him for more than two years, and began to form his own cult.
In December 1998 following a match, Stone Cold Steve Austin got up close and personal with a shovel--closer than anyone should be allowed. Undertaker then took the unconscious body to his own very large logo. Symbol. Thing. That looked very much like a cross for some reason. A few druids tie up Austin, then raise him into the rafters. When it was done, druids chanted, Undertaker spoke in tongues, and a few people threw up in their mouths a little bit.
See, it doesn't take more than an elementary knowledge of symbolism to put two and two together: we just witnessed the crucifixion of Wrestling Jesus. One more reminder that if Vince Russo's booking it, it ain't sacred in his book.
7. The dead rises again at Wrestlemania XX.
At the 2003 Survivor Series, Mr. McMahon with an unlikely assist from Kane buried Biker Undertaker alive. For all intents and purposes, it seemed that the era of Big Evil was over. While it was a pretty decent three and a half year run, it wasn't the Undertaker we all knew and love.
But he would soon return. First a couple of brief gongs at the Royal Rumble. A weird video, a la The Ring would play during and following Kane's matches. Smoke. Purple light. Thunder. Lightning. Rain. Kane sitting up for no reason. A casket. An urn. Even as many counted the days to his eventual return, Kane refused to believe it was real.
March 14, 2004. Paul Bearer's shrill voice, something that hadn't been heard on WWF programming in four years. Then the druids, something that hadn't been seen since the late 1990s. Gong. Gong. The thunder rolling.
The dead had indeed risen in the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden. The Undertaker has returned. Oh, and that eye roll returned too. Ok, his trademark long hair didn't quite return. But unfortunately for Kane, the rest of the Deadman made the trip to New York City.
The match was brief, all of seven and a half minutes. It was far from the Undertaker's best. But let's be honest: hardly anyone cared. The Deadman was back. Paul Bearer was back. Oh yeah, the tombstone piledriver was back. It was like 1990 all over again.
6. Undertaker 1, What chants 0.
The Undertaker is one of the most respected individuals in pro wrestling history. The "What?" chant, birthed from a 2001 Steve Austin-Christian phone conversation, is one of the most annoying in wrestling history. While it served its purpose, by 2002, it was starting to wear out its welcome, with most every heel granted with the chant during their promos.
Well, the Undertaker, always ready to adapt to most any situation, had a solution for that.
"I tell ya what, why don't ya say 'What?' if you like to sleep with your own sister."
A few in the audience: "What?"
Awkward pause for the moment to sink in as the people that said "What?" just realized they got owned by the baddest dog in the land. And that the real Undertaker wouldn't say anything like that.
5. The elimination of the (new) century.
I know this is weird for newer fans, but in 2002, Undertaker was pretty much a bonafide midcarder for a lot of the year. Yes, he also spent part of that year as the WWE Undisputed Champion (something we'll be coming back to shortly), but in the beginning of the year, the artist formerly known as the Deadman was far outside the title picture. But he could get back in had he won the Royal Rumble, something that he had never done in his 11 years with the company to this point.
The Undertaker entered the 2002 Royal Rumble at #8 and would proceed to run off six eliminations in a row: Goldust, Al Snow, Rikishi, Billy Gunn, and both the Hardy Boyz. If he could eliminate the eleventh entry Maven, he would tie the record for most consecutive eliminations in a Royal Rumble. Unfortunately, the road to the record books would take a detour. The eliminated Hardy Boyz wanted to get some retribution for their elimination, but it was not to be. But that diversion would be the opening that Maven needed... for an unlikely elimination.
Maven with a picture perfect dropkick to the Undertaker's back sent Ol' Booger Red over the top and to the floor. It was at this moment Maven's career--and perhaps life--had peaked. The former Tough Enough winner had eliminated The Undertaker from the Royal Rumble. And it was at that moment Maven knew... he fucked up.
Undertaker went back in and put a beating on Maven. And somewhere during this beating, this happened.
See that? That's the Undertaker--albeit illegally--eliminating Maven from the Royal Rumble. Official WWE canon says Maven was never eliminated from the Rumble. But then again, official WWE canon says Randy Savage didn't eliminate himself from the 1992 Royal Rumble, even though we clearly saw him do so. (GIF via How Much Does This Guy Weigh, which breaks down this very moment further here.)
4. Climb the ladder, kid! Make yourself famous!
In May 2002, The Undertaker won WWE's top prize for the first time since 1997 by defeating Hulk Hogan in a terrible, terrible match (it's terrible, everyone). He ruled the yard with an iron fist. Or something. But one young man, little more than a gnat compared to the Undertaker would not go away, challenging him time and time again. That man: career daredevil Jeff Hardy.
On July 1, 2002, Big Evil looked to get rid of that gnat once and for all in a match that not even he had any familiarity with: a ladder match. Jeff Hardy, though he had rarely won a ladder match, had it down to a science by 2002 (for further proof of this, see him at say... No Mercy 1999. Wrestlemania 2000. Summerslam 2000. Wrestlemania X-Seven. Invasion).
Let's be honest. WWE probably wasn't going to change their top prize three weeks before a PPV. It just wasn't gonna happen. But boy did they take us on a ride. Hardy used every trick in his ladder match toolbox to defeat the Biker Phenom. He refused to die, even though what led him to this point led many to believe he had a death wish. Jim Ross' iconic "CLIMB THE LADDER, KID! MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS!" near the end of the bout got home viewers to believe--if only for a moment--that maybe, just maybe, Jeff Hardy might do this.
Two steel chairs to the back and a chokeslam off the ladder killed that dream. Undertaker grabs his championhsip belt and he's back on his bike. But amazingly, Jeff Hardy said he was not done yet. He was gonna keep fighting. Undertaker turned around and was ready to beat on him some more.
Or was he?
Just as Undertaker is ready to unload, he pats Hardy on the back and leaves him be. A rare nod of respect from the Deadman. A star-making performance for Jeff Hardy. Well, what could have been, actually. Unfortunately, Jeff's demons got the better of him, and it would be a few more years before Jeff truly became the singles star he was destined to be.
3. Two icons save Wrestlemania 25.
Ok, the Money in the Bank opener was good. And Hardy versus Hardy was good. But Wrestlemania 25 was seen overall as one of the worst in the show's history. It would probably be in the same category as IX and XI if it weren't for a couple of old guys turning back the clock.
In February 2009, Shawn Michaels, free from his interminable feud with John "Bradshaw" Layfield, won a fatal-four way match for essentially the second biggest spot on the Wrestlemania card: the right to face the Undertaker and end his undefeated streak. It was a Wrestlemania match made in heaven. Two men more associated with Wrestlemania's history than just about anyone on Earth (Undertaker for his streak; Michaels for his stellar performances) were to meet in a singles bout for the first time since the casket match that took four years of Shawn's career.
Not surprisingly, they showed the young kids (and everyone else) how to steal the show. For about a half hour, the two had the Reliant Stadium crowd eating out of their hands. By most people's accounts, this is a five-star classic. Others may think it's overrated, and that's fine. It's hard to dispute that this was far and away the best match on an otherwise disappointing show, especially considering what followed. The bout would be the runaway winner in the 2009 Match of the Year Slammy and serve as the basis for the just-as-awesome sequel the next year.
2. You having a laugh, Brock?
Do... do you even need a description for this? Really? Just look at this. Look at it. LOOK AT IT!
1. As God as my witness, he is broken in half!
So... the Undertaker, you guys. He's a pretty vicious son-of-a-bitch when he wants to be.
In June 1998, it was pretty clear that Mankind and Undertaker were pretty much tired of each other's shit; the two have been feuding off-and-on for two years, and now these two were gonna settle it in the most barbaric of matches available in the then-WWF: Hell in a Cell.
So... King of the Ring 1998 in Pittsburgh. Mankind made his way out first. With a chair. Sure, might as well protect yourself in Hell in a Cell, except Mankind threw said chair on top of the cage. Then climbed the cage. Undertaker made his way out next, and all he could do is stare. He took off his trademark robe, and he starts climbing too. Quickly, we see Mankind's plan come to motion. He wanted to knock Undertaker off the cage before he even made it up. But the Phenom fights his way to the top of the cage. Time for Plan B.
Mankind beats Undertaker with the chair. The cage collapses under the weight of a pair of 300 pound men. Mankind tries to suplex Undertaker but he fights his way out. A couple of punches staggers Mankind. Then, the iconic moment. Like a sack of potatoes, Undertaker casually tosses Mankind off the cell to the Spanish announce table below.
"GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! THAT KILLED HIM!"
"Oh my God!"
"AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, HE IS BROKEN IN HALF!"
It became more than a match at that moment. The Undertaker really might have killed a man on PPV. It was only later when we learned that while the injuries suffered from that night were very, very, very, very, very real, this portion of the match was planned. It was a one-of-a-kind moment that certainly could have ended worse. You decided that this moment was the defining moment in the legendary Undertaker's career.
My apologies for the delay in getting this countdown out. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did putting it together. And by me, I mean we. So... you like the list? Give out about it in the comments, then check out these past Cageside Countdowns.