In a break from our usual nerdy posts, we dedicate a post to a man who’s name is synonymous with the sport of professional wrestling. November 19th 1990 at the Survivor Pay Per View the character known as the Undertaker debuted. Tomorrow night (November 22nd) at Survivor series 2015, the Undertaker shall be 25 years with the WWE. This post looks to celebrate his years of hard work and dedication by looking back at his top 5 matches with the company.
We start with Number 5 and a match that can’t be left out of a top 5 Undertaker match list. King of the Ring 1998 will be a Pay Per View that will forever go down in WWE history, the reason for this being one match on the card. The Undertaker Vs Mankind inside Hell in a Cell. I have touched on this match in a previous post, and I honestly can’t say enough about it, but in this article I won’t go into much detail.
Undertaker Vs Mankind, bitter rivals for years, a fed reignited, how do you bring an end to a feud that has gone on for years? Inside the cell of course. This match was amazing for so many reasons, the two men had great chemistry, the build up to the match, the match itself (a big part in why it is great) and the reaction of the crowd/emotion of the match. If you have every wondered what a near 300 pound man falling from a 16ft cell would look like, check out the video below and see why this comes in at number 5.
In at Number 4 is a match that solidified Edge as a main event star, while he had built up a great archive of matches to back this up, it was this match the done it for him, and he has even said that himself. The story line behind this match was extremely emotional. This match took place back in 2008, but the build up began in 2007, Undertaker was the World Champion, and after a grueling cage match with Batista, and a beat down from Mark Henry, Edge cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase and essentially stole the title from the Undertaker.
This match itself was brilliant, it had so much in it, the history between the two men, Undertaker’s undefeated streak (he was 15-0 going into this match), at the time Edge has a streak of his own, he was 5-0 himself. Both men had something to lose. In terms of the body of work the two men put on, it was great, back and forth, back and forth, false finishes (they kicked out of each others finishing maneuvers), suspense, drama, but ultimately the Undertaker would prevail, but not before making Edge look like a main event star.
The Number 3 match on this list is the most emotional match to be listed. This was the sequel so to speak to the Undertaker Vs Shawn Michaels match from the previous year’s Wrestlemania. To talk about the history between these two men would take up an article in itself, but a brief history of the build up. Taker and Michaels battled at Wrestlemania 25 in April of 2009, which the Undertaker won, fast forward to December of the same year, their match won “Match of the Year”, so Michaels challenged Undertaker again, he said no. Michaels cost the Undertaker the World Title, forcing Undertaker to seek revenge. In exchange for the match at Wrestlemania 26, Undertaker wanted the career of Shawn Michaels to be on the line.
So there we go, The Streak Vs The Career, the emotion in this match spoke for itself, something would be ending that night, either of which fans didn’t want to end. After 26 minutes of pure emotion, which included lots of back and forth offence from both men, false finishes, and genuine story telling in the ring, the Undertaker scored the 3 count with a Tombstone Piledriver bringing an end to the legendary career of Shawn Michaels.
Number 2, Undertaker Vs Brock Lesnar No Mercy 2002 inside Hell in a Cell for the WWE Undisputed title. This match is similar to the match vs Edge in the sense that it made Brock Lesnar a big deal, it announced his arrival as a big time star. Lesnar was the champion going into this match, trying to sly the legend with years experience. Undertaker’s wrist was “broken” by Lesnar before this match, so he wrestled the match in a cast.
What made this match so great was the intensity of it. This match was two big bulls going at it. Young vs Old, Rookie Vs Veteran, Future Vs Past. It was not the most technical match you are going to see, there is no point sugar coating that fact, but it delivers in a big way. It was a straight up fight, Lesnar and Taker took it to each other. This match is known for the blood involved. Lesnar was busted open, Undertaker was busted open (big time!!!), even Lesnar’s manager Paul Heyman who was outside the cell was busted open. It added to the intensity and drama of the match, coupled in with the false finishes. Lesnar came out on top in the end, but not before showing that he could handle the pressure of carrying the company as its champion.
Number 1 is a no brainer. If you are making a list of Undertaker’s top 5 matches, it wouldn’t be to often this match wouldn’t be number 1. The match is a masterclass in wrestling. Undertaker Vs Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25.
This match was incredible. Two seasoned veterans slugging it out on the grandest stage of them all. It was an extremely hard match to follow. It had everything a fan of pure wrestling could want, back and forth offence, excellent story telling, on point in ring psychology, plenty of false finishes. If you put together a match with these elements, you are going to have fans on the edge of their seat, and that is what this match done, it left the fans emotionally drained after it. It sucked them in and kept them hooked. As much as I would love to continue on about this match, I think it is a match that words won’t do justice, it is something you have to watch to understand how good it is, you won’t be disappointing watching it, that is a given.
There we have it, the top 5 matches of the Undertaker (well, this nerd/wrestling fans top 5). These 5 matches show how versatile the Undertaker not only as a character, but also how versatile Mark Callaway (the man behind the character) is. He has an uncanny ability to adapt his style to work with and compliment the style of any of his opponents. He has the ability to make stars out of people like he did Brock Lesnar and Edge. These 5 matches in my eyes truly show how great of a wrestler the Undertaker is.
As a huge fan of his, and as a die hard wrestling fan, it is amazing to see him still in the business 25 years later, still showing loyalty and helping new talent. For all that and the years of entertainment, we say thank you Undertaker.