Friday, March 20, 2009

The Dead Man Undertaker

Height: 6 foot 10 1/2
Weight: 299 pounds
From: Death Valley
Signature Move: Chokeslam; Tombstone; Last Ride
WWE Debut: Nov. 22, 1990
Career Highlights: WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, World Tag Team Champion, WCW Tag Team Champion, Hardcore Champion, undefeated at WrestleMania (16-0)

From the moment his signature gong fills the air, The Undertaker captivates WWE fans by his mere presence. The Deadman from Death Valley is usually a man of few words, but he can intimidate even the toughest WWE Superstars with just one glance. His somber persona has been a terrifying trademark of WWE for nearly two decades and no list of WWE all-time greats can be considered complete without Undertaker.

First seen at the 1990 Survivor Series, Undertaker was introduced as the final member of Ted DiBiase’s “Million Dollar Team.” Since then he has come to be a multiple time WWE and World Heavyweight Champion, and maintained a WrestleMania undefeated streak that stands at an impressive 16-0. The Deadman has defeated such Superstars as Randy Orton, Triple H, “Sycho” Sid, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Bret “Hitman” Hart and Jake “The Snake” Roberts to earn his many titles and keep his WrestleMania streak intact. In October 2007, The Deadman also became the first man to break free from The Great Khali’s Vise Grip to defeat the 7-foot-3, 420-pound colossus as well.

Throughout his time in WWE, Undertaker has notoriously disappeared for months at a time; often thought dead and “resting in peace,” The Phenom always mysteriously returns to the ring to seek vengeance against those who have sent him away. From Yokozuna to Kane to Edge, Undertaker always finds a way to claim the souls of those who have wronged him.

In addition to his solo success, Undertaker has been quite the team player throughout his career. From his lengthy relationship with manager Paul Bearer to spearheading the Ministry of Darkness (which included the recruitment of Superstars such as the Acolytes, The Brood, Mideon & Viscera), The Phenom has been successful in every venture. He has even earned multiple World Tag Team Championships, standing alongside the likes of The Rock, Stone Cold, Big Show and his own brother, Kane.

In fact, the Big Red Monster is the ally-turned-adversary (and often back again) that Undertaker continuously comes to crosses with. Kane made his WWE debut by costing his brother the first-ever Hell in a Cell Match, and while their relationship is always turbulent, they have seen eye-to-eye on many occasions as well. They’ve been opponents at multiple WrestleManias, but they’ve also held the World Tag Team Championship together; a true theme for brothers in all walks of life.

The Undertaker also has many firsts to his credit. Aside from being the originator of the Tombstone Piledriver, he has also taken part in the inaugural Hell in a Cell Match – against Shawn Michaels in October 1997 – as well as the first-ever Casket Match, which saw him defeat Kamala at Survivor Series 1992.

Undertaker had never beaten Edge, so his perfect WrestleMania streak was in dire jeopardy going into WrestleMania XXIV. The Rated-R Superstar proved that he was up to the task of withstanding The Phenom’s mightiest blows, including a Tombstone Piledriver and Last Ride, until Undertaker locked Edge in his mysterious submission hold. Edge finally tapped out, relinquishing both his World Heavyweight Title and unbeaten record against The Phenom. The win boosted Undertaker's astounding WrestleMania streak to 16-0.

Five-time World Champion Edge ended the legendary WWE career of Future Hall of Famer Undertaker at One Night Stand in San Diego on June 1, 2008, after a carefully laid-out plan with SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero. However, a pre-wedding betrayal by the Rated-R Superstar caused Guerrero to have a change of heart, reinstituting The Phenom and opening a new era of dominance by The Deadman.

Throughout it all, Undertaker has remained one of WWE’s most popular Superstars, almost cementing his place as a Future Hall of Famer.

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