25 Years of the Undertaker: 2002

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2002

After just under a 3 year absence from watching wrestling regularly I would return to watching WWE at the 2002 Royal Rumble. The Undertaker had a new appearance and was far different that I had had last seen him in 1999. The Undertaker was entered in the Royal Rumble and targeted many in the ring and ending up resuming an existing feud he had with the Hardy Boys. Suddenly, the winner of Tough Enough, Maven entered while the Undertaker was in the ring. Fans knew that this would not end well for the young Maven believing the Undertaker would make quick work of him. Contrary to this belief, Maven dropkicked the Undertaker from behind and eliminated the him from the Royal Rumble creating the most shocking elimination in the event’s history. The Undertaker would decimate Maven after this.Following this, the Undertaker would actually end up losing the Hardcore title to Maven due to some outside interference by the Rock.

This would be the beginning of a series of notable names that the Undertaker would step in the ring with. First the Rock then Ric Flair at Wrestlemania (improving to 10-0). Next it was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in a #1 Contenders Match and then Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship which the Undertaker would win for the fourth time. The Undertaker would defend the title against Triple H and successfully retain. As he championship reign continued the Undertaker would square off against future star Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Match. The Undertaker would show his respect for Hardy. We can add Kurt Angle to this list of legends too as The Undertaker defended the title in my favourite Triple Threat match in WWE history, however the Undertaker would lose the title without being pinned.

The Undertaker had a change of heart as he began to see the mutual respect from other superstars. He however took exception with a group called the “Un-Americans.” Undertaker would defend his nation’s honour at Summerslam against Test.

The Undertaker would refocus back on the WWE Championship which was held by a young Brock Lesnar. Early in his young career, Lesnar would commence his reputation as the Undertaker’s toughest opponent to date.

If you look at the run in this year and the names the Undertaker fought you could see how he has withstood the test time as he fought past, present and future MEGA stars all in the span of a year.

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