The Undertaker

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Template:Infobox Wrestler

Mark Calaway (also spelled incorrectly as either Callaway or Calloway), better known by his ring name, The Undertaker, is an American professional wrestler, currently performing for the SmackDown! brand of World Wrestling Entertainment. He was born March 24, 1965 in Houston, Texas.

As The Undertaker, Calaway has experienced considerable success. In addition to multiple title reigns, he is undefeated at the flagship WWE pay-per-view, WrestleMania, having won all of his thirteen matches. He is also one of the few wrestlers to have been consistently pushed throughout his career, and the only wrestler to have pinned Kevin Nash, Kane, The Big Show and Giant Gonzales - four of the tallest men in wrestling history. Calaway is generally seen as a company loyalist and prominent "ambassador" for WWE. He is one of the company's longest-serving employees, having wrestled for WWE for over fifteen years.

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Early career

Before becoming a wrestler, Calaway had intended to become a professional basketball player. Mark Calaway began his wrestling career in 1984 by training and wrestling at the Dallas Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas, with Fritz Von Erich's World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). He would later go on to wrestle in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA), winning the USWA Heavyweight and USWA Texas Heavyweight Championship before signing with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in late 1989. During the mid to late 1980s, Calaway used a number of wrestling names: The Commando, The Punisher, Texas Red, The Master of Pain, and "The Punisher" Dice Morgan.

Mark Calaway's professional wrestling career and shot at fame began properly with a short stint from late 1989 until late 1990 in the National Wrestling Alliance's Jim Crockett Promotions, which by the end of his run had become World Championship Wrestling (WCW). While there, he was known as "Mean" Mark Callous. He wrestled as part of the Skyscrapers tag team along with "Dangerous" Dan Spivey and then as a singles wrestler. His most famous match in WCW was against Lex Luger for the NWA United States Title (Mid-Atlantic version) at the 1990 Great American Bash, which he lost. At the end of 1990, WCW declined to renew Calaway's contract, thus he went to seek work with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment

Calaway debuted in the then-World Wrestling Federation on November 22, 1990 at Survivor Series 1990 as Kane the Undertaker. The name Kane was dropped soon afterward (but was later recycled as the name of Calaway's "brother"). The appearance of The Undertaker was modelled on that of morticians from old Western movies, with the character being supposedly impervious to pain and possessing supernatural powers such as teleportation and manipulation of flames and lightning. It was also at this time that Undertaker switched managers from Brother Love to Paul Bearer.

The Phenom

Throughout 1991, The Undertaker's popularity began to quietly grow, despite being a heel. After an "undefeated" year and high-profile feuds with Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan, he defeated Hogan at the 1991 Survivor Series in November, with assistance from Ric Flair, to win his first WWF World Heavyweight Championship. He would lose the title a week later to Hogan at This Tuesday In Texas.

After losing the belt back to Hulk Hogan in 1991, he turned face and went on to have spats with Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, Kamala and Giant Gonzales. In 1994 he feuded with then WWF Champion Yokozuna that presented two of the best known Casket Matches in WWF history at the 1994 Royal Rumble and 1994 Survivor Series. At the Royal Rumble in 1994, thanks to interference by over a dozen heel wrestlers, Yokozuna sealed Undertaker in the casket. The Undertaker's "spirit" appeared from inside the casket and warned he would return, then rose from behind the TitanTron. This began Undertaker's first hiatus.

An Undertaker "clone" (often referred to by wrestling fans as "the Underfaker") appeared after WrestleMania X led by Ted DiBiase and played by Brian Lee. This led to the resurrection of the real Undertaker and a match at SummerSlam, which the real Undertaker won. This match was regarded by many as being terrible and it is said that Vince McMahon was so angry that he fired Brian Lee that night back stage. His popularity rising, Undertaker then battled such villains as Kama Mustafa, Goldust, King Mabel, Mankind and King Kong Bundy on and off from 1995 to 1997. His feud with Mankind saw the invention of the Boiler Room Brawl.

Undertaker nearly won the match, but Bearer hit him with the urn, allowing Mankind to pick up the win with The Mandible Claw. Bearer had betrayed The Undertaker, and became Mankind's new manager. The feud carried over to "Buried Alive", which debuted the Buried Alive Match, in which The Undertaker defeated Mankind. However, a number of wrestlers attacked The Undertaker after the match and buried The Undertaker. At Survivor Series, Undertaker defeated Mankind. But The Executioner came and beat The Undertaker down so he couldn't get hold of Bearer. At the "It's Time" event saw The Undertaker defeat The Executioner and take out Mankind. His feud with Mankind and Bearer over, and The Undertaker pursued the WWF Championship.

He managed to finally win a second WWF Championship from Sycho Sid at WrestleMania. After this victory, his former manager Paul Bearer reappeared, threatening The Undertaker by uttering the word "fire" a number of times to control him. Bearer finally revealed that The Undertaker burned his family's house, killing everyone inside but his brother. He said that Undertaker's brother was still alive, waiting for revenge all these years. Undertaker responded by saying that it wasn't his fault, it was his brother's. Meanwhile, a number of wrestlers pursued Undertaker's title, including Bret Hart. At SummerSlam, referee Shawn Michaels accidentally hit The Undertaker with a steel chair shot meant for Bret Hart, who dodged it. Michaels had no choice but to make the three-count in favor of Hart, costing Undertaker his WWF Championship. This led to The Undertaker challenging Michaels into the first Hell in a Cell Match at Bad Blood, which saw the debut of Undertaker's brother Kane, brought in by Paul Bearer.

This match was overshadowed by a 1998 match with Mankind at King of the Ring. In an enduring image in professional wrestling history, The Undertaker threw Mankind off the roof of the 25 foot cell onto the Spanish announcers' table below, would then chokeslam Mankind through the roof of the cell by accident into the ring and eventually finish the match by driving Mankind's back first into a pile of thumbtacks. All this match was done with Undertaker sporting an unfaked broken foot.

In 1999, Undertaker turned heel once more and formed the Ministry of Darkness. Eventually it would merge with Corporation to form the Corporate Ministry. The merger occurred after a spot where Undertaker had Stephanie McMahon, in one of her earliest on-screen appearances, bound to a crucifix, prepared to marry her to take control of the WWF/WWE. Stone Cold Steve Austin broke the wedding up. Some time after Fully Loaded 1999, when the Undertaker lost to Austin, the Ministry disbanded.

The Undertaker started aiming for the WWF Tag-Team Championship, teaming with The Big Show. The team feuded with the likes of Kane,Road Dogg, X-Pac and The Rock. The Undertaker was scheduled to be at Unforgiven, contending for the WWF Championship. However, he suffered a groin injury, knocking him out of action for several months. The last angle he worked on for over seven months showed him losing interest in working for the World Wrestling Federation.

The American Bad Ass

The Undertaker's gimmick was modified when he returned in 2000 at Judgment Day, in line with wrestling's change to a more realistic approach. His gimmick became that of an intimidating biker, first referred to as the "American Bad Ass" due to his new entrance music, the Kid Rock song of the same name and later changing it to Limp Bizkit's song "Rollin'". Unlike many gimmick changes with little to no explanation, this was generally well-received by fans.

Judgment Day 2000 saw the new Undertaker taking out all the members of The McMahon-Helmsley Faction. He went on to continue targeting WWF Champion Triple H, the leader of faction. At King of the Ring, Taker teamed up with The Rock and Kane and went on to defeat the team of Triple H, Shane McMahon and Mr. McMahon. Afterwards, he teamed up with Kane for the WWF Tag-Team Championship. They defeated Edge and Christian to earn the rights to face them the next week for their tag titles. However, Kurt Angle interfered in the match to help Edge and Christian retain the titles. At Fully Loaded, Taker pinned Angle following his new finishing move, The Last Ride.

Kane turned on the Undertaker by giving him two Chokeslams in Undertaker's match against Chris Benoit. Kane refused to explain his assault. At SummerSlam, Taker took off Kane's mask but Kane managed to hide his face. Kane allied with Chris Benoit for the next couple of weeks as Undertaker allied with The Rock. At Unforgiven, Undertaker was about to win the WWF Championship when he got the Chokeslam on Benoit. But Kane took Undertaker out, allowing The Rock to score the pinfall victory over Benoit.

Undertaker took a hiatus and returned after few weeks to challenge Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series. Undertaker gave Angle The Last Ride and thought he won the match, but the referee recalled the match as the man he pinned was not Kurt Angle, but his real-life look-alike brother, Eric Angle. Kurt had been hiding under the ring and while Undertaker argued with the referee Angle came out from under the ring and rolled up the Undertaker for the win. Angle later explained it all at the next night's Monday Night Raw. Undertaker demanded a rematch and got it at Armageddon in a 6-Man Hell in a Cell Match.

In 2001, The Undertaker reunited with Kane as the Brothers of Destruction and contested for the WWF Tag-Team Championship. The two turned out to be a successful duo, defeating Rikishi and Haku in a brutal First Blood Match. They would then get a shot at the Tag Titles at No Way Out, facing champions Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian in a Tables Match. The Brothers of Destruction dominated the entire match, and nearly had the match won until Rikishi and Haku interfered.

The Undertaker defeated Triple H at WrestleMania X-Seven, a match that came about because of HHH boasting of all the men he had beaten and Undertaker saying that HHH hadn't beaten him yet. Afterwards, Undertaker and Kane continued to focus on Intercontinental Champion Triple H, who would soon make a surprise alliance with WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. After the duo injured Kane's arm in a Hardcore Match against Rhyno, the pair was granted an opportunity to face Steve Austin and Triple H at Backlash if they first defeated Edge and Christian in a no-disqualification Match. Despite interference by Steve Austin and Triple H, Undertaker and Kane managed to win the WWF Tag titles and the right to face Steve Austin and Triple H. At Backlash, Triple H pinned Kane after using a sledgehammer, making himself and Austin the new WWF Tag Team Champions.

With Kane injured, Undertaker began targeting Steve Austin and his WWF Championship. On an episode of RAW, Undertaker was told by police officers that his wife Sara had been involved in a car accident. Undertaker arrived home, only to find out that it was all a set up by Austin. At Judgment Day, Undertaker lost to Austin after Triple H interfered, allowing Austin to pin The Undertaker and retain the championship.

As part of the infamous 2001 Invasion angle, the Undertaker's next opponent was Diamond Dallas Page. Page, a former WCW champion, was so eager to be a part of the Invasion that he allowed himself to be portrayed as a lecherous stalker, obsessively following the Undertaker's wife Sara. At SummerSlam, Undertaker and Kane defeated Diamond Dallas Page and his partner Chris Kanyon in a Steel Cage Match to unify the WCW Tag-Team Championship and WWF Tag-Team Championship into the World Tag-Team Championship. They were the first team to hold both the WCW and WWF tag team titles.

The Undertaker continued to fight for the World Wrestling Federation, with his brother Kane there to assist him. Undertaker was seen considerably upset at Chris Jericho and The Rock feuding, when they were meant to be on the same side. At Survivor Series, Undertaker was scheduled to team up with Kane, The Rock, Jericho, and Kurt Angle to take on The Alliance's Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon, and surprise WWF defector Kurt Angle. Big Show was chosen in place of Kurt Angle. At Survivor Series, Undertaker helped eliminate Shane McMahon and took out the four remaining members. However, Austin eliminated Undertaker the Stone Cold Stunner. The Rock would win the match for Team WWF.

After the Alliance was defeated, the Undertaker turned heel again by forcing commentator Jim Ross to kiss Vince McMahon's buttocks. This was the beginning of a new persona for the Undertaker, who now called himself Big Evil. Undertaker stated that there are many people out there that doesn't know the meaning of respect. He continually repeated the fact that he had been in the WWF for eleven years and went onto feud with Rob Van Dam. At Vengeance, The Undertaker won a match against Van Dam to capture the WWF Hardcore Championship. He went on to feud with the Big Show, but Show failed to capture the Hardcore Title.

At the Royal Rumble, rookie Maven had surprisingly eliminated The Undertaker by dropkicking him from behind over the top rope. Undertaker did not take this well and went on to beat Maven into a bloody pulp. Maven challenged Undertaker to a match for the Hardcore Title. Undertaker lost thanks to interference from The Rock. Afterwards, Undertaker challenged the legendary Ric Flair to a match at WrestleMania X8. Flair declined, so Taker assaulted Flair's son David Flair. Flair finally accepted and Vince McMahon made the match a No Holds Barred match. Undertaker won with a Tombstone Piledriver despite interference from Flair's long-time friend Arn Anderson.

Undertaker defeated Steve Austin at Backlash to win the #1 contender spot to the WWE Championship, thanks to referee Ric Flair. Later on the night he helped Hulk Hogan win his title match against WWE Champion Triple H. This led to a feud between the Triple H and Undertaker. At Insurrextion, Triple H defeated The Undertaker. After weeks of mind games which involved Taker's prized motorbike, Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan at Judgment Day after using a steel chair and performing a second Chokeslam.

Undertaker renewed his feud with Triple H, which involved Kurt Angle. At King of the Ring, The Rock made his return. He was planning to help Triple H, but accidentally caused Triple H's loss. The Undertaker was a fighting champion. Unlike stereotypical heel champions, he placed his title on the line, anytime and anywhere. One of his notable title matches was on RAW, facing Jeff Hardy in Undertaker's first Ladder Match. After the match, he raised Jeff's arm as a sign of respect, turning face once again. Undertaker would lose his title at Vengeance to The Rock, who pinned Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat Match.

After pinning Test at SummerSlam, The Undertaker started going for the WWE Championship again, now held by Brock Lesnar. The title match at Unforgiven ended in a double-DQ. The feud carried over to No Mercy. Undertaker decided the match would be inside Hell in a Cell. His feud with Lesnar involved his wife Sara. Despite Taker entering the ring with a broken arm and finishing the match a bloody mess, he managed to overpower Lesnar, until Lesnar countered his Tombstone into the F-5. This was seen as one of the rare examples of the Undertaker losing a match cleanly, something Undertaker has been derided for not doing throughout his career.

After the match, Big Show injured the Undertaker by attacking him from behind. The two fought to settle their differences at No Way Out. Despite interference by A-Train, Undertaker managed to win via submission. After the match ended, Show and A-Train proceeded on beating The Undertaker. Nathan Jones would then come in Taker's aid, saving him from assault by Big Show and A-Train. The Undertaker began to train Nathan Jones to wrestle, but due to a lack of crowd response to Jones, as well as obviously lacking many of the basic wrestling skills, Jones was left out of the match with A-Train and Big Show (Which was initially a tag match with the Undertaker) and Taker defeated them alone, with minor assistance from Jones at the end. Jones later quit the WWE.

The return of the Dead Man

At Survivor Series 2003, Undertaker lost his Buried Alive Match against Vince McMahon when Kane interfered. At Wrestlemania XX, he would return in the Deadman Undertaker gimmick, again accompanied by Paul Bearer, to defeat Kane. This gimmick could be best described as a hybrid of the classic Undertaker and American Bad Ass gimmicks. Three months later, Paul Bearer was kidnapped by The Dudley Boyz at the direction of Paul Heyman, who then took "control" of Undertaker in the storyline. At the June 2004 WWE PPV The Great American Bash, Undertaker buried Bearer in cement after winning a handicap match against the Dudley Boyz, as a means of removing his "weakness" so that Heyman or others could no longer control him. Fans were later told that Bearer was merely "seriously injured".

After defeating The Dudley Boyz, he challenged WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield to a championship match. After losing at SummerSlam, Undertaker chokeslammed Layfield through the top of his limousine. At No Mercy, Undertaker and Layfield competed in a "Last Ride" match. Undertaker lost after Heidenreich interfered. This led to a match against Heidenreich at Survivor Series, which Undertaker won.

After taking care of Heidenreich, Undertaker focused on the WWE Championship again. Along with Eddie Guerrero and Booker T, he challenged Bradshaw to a championship rematch. The match turned into a Fatal Four Way, which Taker nearly won before Heidenreich interfered once again.

This led to the signing of a Casket Match between Undertaker and Heidenreich at Royal Rumble 2005. Undertaker would taunt Heidenreich with caskets, which Heidenreich was revealed to be afraid of. In a SmackDown! Handicap Match against Heidenreich and Paul Heyman, Undertaker sealed Heyman in one of the caskets brought to the ring by Undertaker's druids.

Despite interference from Gene Snitsky (which was cancelled out by Kane, who was hiding in the casket), Undertaker sealed Heidenreich in a casket for the victory at the 2005 Royal Rumble

The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton at WrestleMania 21 after Orton challenged him on RAW, claiming that he would defeat Undertaker and thus end his WrestleMania winning streak. It was billed as "Legend vs. Legend Killer" and included interference from Orton's father, legendary wrestler "Cowboy" Bob Orton. In actuality, Calaway is believed to have requested this match due to his antipathy towards the original plans for him, which would have seen him teaming with Kane to face Gene Snitsky and Heidenreich.

Following WrestleMania 21 The Undertaker took a two month hiatus from wrestling, linked to the birth of his second daughter with wife Sara, Gracie Calaway, in late May 2005. He returned for the June 30 episode of SmackDown! in the SmackDown! Championship six-way elimination match. However, he was met by Muhammad Hassan, who tried to use a chair on him. He took the chair and hit Hassan instead, getting disqualified. Hassan was counted out as he ran to the back away from him. On the July 7 episode of SmackDown!, general manager Theodore Long put Muhammad Hassan in a match against The Undertaker at The Great American Bash, and Hassan's manager Daivari in a match that night against the Undertaker. Daivari was squashed easily, after which Hassan began to pray on the ramp, summoning five masked men to the ring. The masked men beat up the Undertaker. Afterwards, Hassan placed the helpless Taker in his Camel Clutch submission. At The Great American Bash, The Undertaker defeated Muhammad Hassan following a chokeslam, despite further interference from the masked men. Following the match, The Undertaker fought off Daivari and the masked men and chokeslammed Hassan onto the stage before removing a floor panel and giving Hassan a Last Ride through the hole to the ground below. As a result of the win, The Undertaker became #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, held by Batista. However as Batista lost his match against JBL via DQ on that same night JBL felt he should remain #1 contender. On the following SmackDown!, Undertaker lost a #1 contender match against John "Bradshaw" Layfield due to inteference by Randy Orton. With this, Taker resumed his feud with Orton.

At SummerSlam, Undertaker and Randy Orton had a WrestleMania rematch, which Randy Orton won when Bob Orton distracted the Undertaker. After weeks of buildup involving Undertaker and the Ortons taunting each other with caskets, Undertaker lost to Randy Orton and "Cowboy" Bob Orton in a Handicap Casket Match at WWE No Mercy. After the match the Ortons poured gasoline on the casket and set it on fire. WWE.com reported that after the charred casket was opened it was discovered that the Undertaker had vanished. The Undertaker made a dramatic return at the 2005 Survivor Series, emerging from a burning casket while Randy Orton was celebrating being the sole survivor of the main event match.

Despite an attack involving the late Eddie Guerrero's lowrider on the November 30, 2005 SmackDown! special, Undertaker returned on the Friday SmackDown! show to haunt Orton and to set up a Hell in the Cell match between Orton and the Undertaker at WWE Armageddon, which Undertaker won via Tombstone Piledriver.

WrestleMania winning streak

The Undertaker has won every match he has wrestled at WWE's flagship pay-per-view, WrestleMania, consisting of wins over:

  1. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka (WrestleMania VII in 1991)
  2. Jake "The Snake" Roberts (WrestleMania VIII in 1992)
  3. Giant Gonzales (WrestleMania IX in 1993)
  4. King Kong Bundy (WrestleMania XI in 1995)
  5. Diesel (WrestleMania XII in 1996)
  6. Sycho Sid (WrestleMania 13 in 1997)
  7. Kane (WrestleMania XIV in 1998)
  8. Big Boss Man (WrestleMania XV in 1999)
  9. Triple H (WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001)
  10. Ric Flair (WrestleMania X-8 in 2002)
  11. A-Train and Big Show (WrestleMania XIX in 2003)
  12. Kane (WrestleMania XX in 2004)
  13. Randy Orton (WrestleMania 21 in 2005)

Wrestling facts

Nicknames

  • The Man From The Dark Side, Advance Man for the Grim Reaper
  • The Reality of Death, The Emissary of Death,
  • The Reaper, The Phenom, The Deadman, The Pale Destroyer
  • The Lord of Darkness, The Prince of Darkness, The Personification of Evil, The Minister of Darkness
  • The American Bad Ass, Deadman, Inc., Original Deadman
  • Big Evil, Big Dog, The Red Devil, Your Worst Nightmare, Booger Red

Managers

Finishing moves

Signature moves

Personal life

Calaway is of Irish and Native American descent. He met his wife, Sara, at a WWF autograph signing in Texas, and eventually married her in a ceremony in which his best man was his 1994 "clone", Brian Lee. He currently lives on a ranch in Texas with Sara (whose name he has tattooed on his throat - Calaway claims that this was the most painful tattoo he ever received) and their two daughters. He collects Harley-Davidson motorcycles and enjoys listening to heavy metal music, with his "American Bad Ass" persona closely reflecting his personality.

Championships and accomplishments

Championship succession

Template:Start box | colspan = 3 align = center | WWE Championship |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Hulk Hogan | width = 40% align = center | First | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Hulk Hogan |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Sycho Sid | width = 40% align = center | Second | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Bret Hart |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin | width = 40% align = center | Third | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Hulk Hogan | width = 40% align = center | Fourth | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
The Rock |- | colspan = 3 align = center | WWE Hardcore Championship |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Rob Van Dam | width = 40% align = center | First | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Maven |- | colspan = 3 align = center | WWE World Tag-Team Championship |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Mankind & Kane | width = 40% align = center | First w/ Stone Cold Steve Austin | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Mankind & Kane |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
X-Pac & Kane | width = 40% align = center | Second w/ Big Show | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
X-Pac & Kane |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
The Rock & Mankind | width = 40% align = center | Third w/ Big Show | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
The Rock & Mankind |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Edge & Christian | width = 40% align = center | Fourth w/ The Rock | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Edge & Christian |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Edge & Christian | width = 40% align = center | Fifth w/ Kane | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin & Triple H |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Diamond Dallas Page & Chris Kanyon | width = 40% align = center | Sixth w/ Kane | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley |- | colspan = 3 align = center | WCW World Tag Team Championship |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire | width = 40% align = center | First w/ Kane | width = 30% align = center | Succeded by:
Booker T & Test |- Template:End box

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