25 Years of the Undertaker: 2015

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2015

With the Streak ended, what reason would the Undertaker have to return to the WWE? Throughout his career the Undertaker won championships, had tremendous matches and stood for respect both inside and outside of the ring. Bray Wyatt however called out the Undertaker and all his accomplishments and looked to prove he was greater than the Undertaker. If there is one thing the Deadman can’t stand it is disrespect. Bray versus the Undertaker was a story out of horror comic book. These two mystical characters could only lock horns at Wrestlemania. The Undertaker would prove he remained the Phenom and improved his Wrestlemania record to 22-1. Despite no longer being undefeated, the fact the Undertaker has 22 victories remains impressive.

The Undertaker was not done however and he returned his sights on the man who ended his Streak. Brock Lesnar in his championship rematch is where the Undertaker planned his attack of revenge. The Undertaker resorted to less than honourable tactics by hitting Lesnar with a low blow. The two would meet at Summerslam and the Undertaker in fact tapped out, but with the referee unable to confirm this and a premature ringing of the bell, the Undertaker once again hit Lesnar with a low blow and slapped on Hell’s Gate for the submission victory. Lesnar was set to take a “Go to Hell Tour” in which he invited the Undertaker to come along for the trip as the two would enter Hell in a Cell for the second time. This was slated to be the final match between the two. If you look back at 2002 you see how far this feud has come in which Lesnar remains the only man other than Mankind to prove to have the Undertaker’s number. Lesnar would prove to be too much and defeat the Undertaker in their final encounter.

Following this match, the Wyatt family returned, perhaps for unfinished business from Wrestlemania. Bray and his family capture the body of the Undertaker and later his brother Kane in an effort to symbolically capture their souls. The Brothers of Destruction would return and decimate the Wyatt Family. At Survivor Series last night, on the 25th anniversary of the Undertaker’s debut, the Undertaker and his brother defeated the Wyatt Family once and for all.

What is next for the Undertaker? Perhaps we won’t see him until Wrestlemania next year. It’s been a great thrill for me as a fan to look back and reflect on the career of my favourite superstar in WWE history.

Hat tip, thank you Taker!

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25 Years of the Undertaker: 2013

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2013

In 2013, Paul Bearer had passed away. Throughout these reviews we have seen how integral Bearer was to the success of the career of the Undertaker. The Undertaker and Kane ended up paying tribute to Bearer, but this emotional moment was interrupted by CM Punk. Punk had won a Fatal Four-Way match to earn an opportunity to end the Undertaker’s Streak. CM Punk and Paul Heyman would mock Bearer further enraging the Undertaker.

At Wrestlemania 29, the Undertaker proved he could still have a fantastic match and CM Punk certainly played a role in the stealing the show. CM Punk demonstrated his respect for the Undertaker by wearing the colours of the Phenom. The Undertaker improved to 21-0 at Wrestlemania.

Fans believed we would not see the Undertaker until the next year’s Wrestlemania but Kane who was a tag team champion with Daniel Bryan enlisted the help of his brother in combating the dominant Shield. The Undertaker’s presence whether as a partner or opponent simply brings out the best of those sharing a ring with him and after the match Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Daniel Bryan all proved they could hang and be main eventers in this new generation of superstars. After a match with Dean Ambrose, the Undertaker was attacked by the Shield and left laying and we not see the Undertaker for the remainder of the year.

25 Years of the Undertaker: 2011-2012

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2011

The Undertaker would return for one match in 2011. As the Undertaker returned on RAW, his return was interrupted by the return of Triple H. Both men looked at each other and looked at the Wrestlemania sign. Both men locked up at Wrestlemania in a brutal, no holds barred match. Triple H threw everything he could at the Undertaker in an effort to end the Streak. Undertaker was clearly battered but he held onto “Hell’s Gate” as Triple H tapped out. The sight at the end of this match was bewildering however as Triple H walked away but the Undertaker had to be carted off not to be seen again until the following year.

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2012

The Undertaker, dawning a new look, would return issuing a rematch to Triple H. Despite coming out the winner in their previous match, the Undertaker was not satisfied with how he left the match. In a match dubbed the “End of an Era” these two gladiators would do battle in their final match against one another in a match they both made historic: Hell in a Cell. Shawn Michaels was named the Special Guest Referee. Michaels had the power to help end the Streak, something he could not do as an active superstar. Despite a Superkick into a Pedigree, the Undertaker would improve to 20-0 and come out victorious as the Era involving all these men came to an end. The Undertaker would be on the 1000th episode of RAW but appearances by the Undertaker were becoming a rare occurrence at this point in his career. It appeared as though the Undertaker was only going to come around Wrestlemania season to defend his Undefeated Streak.

 

 

25 Years of the Undertaker: 2010

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2010

The Undertake entered this year as the World Heavyweight Champion however he was constantly hounded by a challenger who was not interested in taking the Undertaker’s title. Shawn Michaels was hell bent on getting a rematch at Wrestlemania. Michaels had failed at the Royal Rumble to earn a match with the champion Undertaker. Michaels made his presence known in the Elimination Chamber as he costed Undertaker the title.

The Undertaker declared that he would now accept Shawn Michael’s challenge on one stipulation, that Michael’s career would be on the line. Michaels obliged and we went to Wrestlemania with the rematch of the Match of the Year. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were able to put on another classic but in the end the Streak improved to 18-0 and Shawn Michaels was forced to retire.

As Michaels career was over, the Undertaker remained an active superstar on the roster. Injuries to the Undertaker began to pile up and would begin to affect how consistently we would see the Undertaker in the ring. Kane would eventually take credit for eliminating the Undertaker from the WWE and would be the new phenom. The Undertaker returned to challenge Kane, who was now the World Heavyweight Champion. Kane, however, would defeat his brother at three straight pay-per-views. At Night of Champions Kane would pin the Undertaker in the middle of the ring. At Hell in a Cell, Kane would win with the assistance of Paul Bearer who appeared to be aligned with the Undertaker but would end up betraying him  Lastly, at Bragging Rights, the Nexus would help Kane bury the Undertaker in a Buried Alive match. The Undertake rarely lost, let alone three straight times. Was this signifying the end of the legendary Undertaker?

25 Years of the Undertaker: 2009

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2009

In 2009, we could discuss the Undertaker winning his 7th World Championship or his feud with up and comer CM Punk or that he would successfully defend this title in one one one and multi-man matches but there is one match that will define the year the Undertaker had.

At Wrestlemania XXV, the Undertaker finally stepped in the ring with Shawn Michaels. Both men’s career dated back to the late 80s and early 90s for their debuts and they led the WWE in the New Generation and Attitude Era. Michaels ended up retiring due to a match with the Undertaker and when he returned in 2002 it appeared as though their paths would never cross again as they both took on the newcomers in the locker room.

Shawn Michaels declared his intention of ending the Streak because to that point he had not lost to the Undertaker. To this point this match was billed as Mr. Wrestlemania versus the Wrestlemania Streak.

The match was third from the top. After some remarkable entrances the bell rung and the match began. There was an exchange of blows and submissions to start. With Michaels outside, the Undertaker would execute his patented over the top rope dive however he crashed head first into the camera man and at this point fans believed the match may be over and the Streak could be ended on a referee stoppage. Once both men returned to the ring, the action picked up. Michaels would kick out of a chokeslam, a Last Ride and a Tombstone leaving fans in awe. The Undertaker would kick out of two Superkicks that were believable enough to think the Streak was over. Shawn Michaels resorted to a “high risk” maneuver and attempted a Moonsault and the Undertaker caught Michaels and turned it into a Tombstone defeating Shawn Michaels to go to 17-0. Watching this match live took out all the energy out of me. This is easily my favourite professional wrestling match that I’ve seen live. The fact that both men had lengthy careers and could go out on that night and deliver for fans made this match a spectacle and everything that fans love about wrestling.

 

25 Years of the Undertaker: 2008

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2008

With his sights set on the World Heavyweight Champion Edge and wanting revenge and to reclaim his title, the Undertaker was a motivated man in 2008. The Undertaker entered the Royal Rumble seeking to win the match for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately, the Undertaker entered at #1. The man who drew #2 was Shawn Michaels and once again we got a preview of what a match could look like between the two icons. The Undertaker would eventually be eliminated by Michaels himself.

The #1 Contendership for the World Heavyweight Title was still up for grabs as Wrestlemania XXIV drew near. The Undertaker would enter a match he had yet to participate in: the Elimination Chamber. The Undertaker would dominate the likes of Big Daddy V, Great Khali, MVP, Finlay and Batista to earn his title match at Wrestlemania.

The Undertaker and Edge wound up being the main event at Wrestlemania. Edge vowed to retain his title and end the Streak. The Undertaker would defeat Edge and win the World Heavyweight Championship for the second straight year at Wrestlemania improving his record to 15-0. The feud between Edge and the Undertaker would continue well into the summer. Edge who was allied with Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero made the Undertaker’s title reign miserable. Vickie forced the Undertaker to vacate the title and in a TLC match for the vacated title Vickie imposed the stipulation that if the Undertaker lost he would have to leave the WWE. Eventually, Vickie brought the Undertaker back, not as a favour to the fans but to destroy Edge who had turned against her in a Hell in a Cell match.

Later in the year, the Undertaker hadn’t forgotten what Vickie Guerrero had put him through and vowed revenge for all she had to put him through. When it appeared as though the Undertaker would extract him revenge the Big Show attacked the Undertaker. Undertaker and the Big Show would square off in a series of pay-per-view matches for remainder of the year. Also during this time, the Undertaker would appear on Smackdown squaring off against younger talents but the list of new challengers was dwindling leaving the question to be asked, what else was there for the Undertaker to prove in the WWE?