GONG...Mark William Calaway, born March 24, 1965, is the longest-tenured performer in WWE history, working under the name The Undertaker for over twenty years with the company without officially leaving at any point (he is the last performer who appeared on the very first Monday Night Raw and still works for the company as an in-ring talent). He is one of the most memorable and recognizable superstars in the company's history.His career — which you can read about in greater detail over at his Wikipedia page — is most notable for "The Streak": in twenty-one appearances at WrestleMania, The Undertaker had never lost a single match, and every year since WrestleMania 17, "The Streak" was a huge part of the build-up to the annual event, until Brock Lesnar finally defeated him at Wrestlemania 30.He and his "half-brother"are the last twoholdovers from WWE's "Rock 'n' Wrestling" era of high-concept, comic book-style wrestling gimmicks, something last seen in WWE with the Boogeyman. Undertaker shed the "dark-side" gimmick for a more true to Real Life one between 2000 and 2003, but he returned to it in 2004; even though an undead "zombie wrestler" with mystical powers sticks out like a sore thumb in today's somewhat more realistic WWE, fans still adore his gimmick anyway.When WWE crafted its controversial "50 Greatest Superstars of All Time" DVD set, the company polled its roster to create the list. Undertaker was #2 on the list — #1 was Shawn Michaels.Not to be confused with The Coroner.
The Ace: The Undertaker is the ultimate McMahon wet dream: he's big and strikes an imposing figure, but also has the in-ring chops and mic skills to back up the hype. Hell, during his heyday back in the late '90s, the man was unbeatable, and he was capable of going toe-to-toe with just about every wrestler and style out there.
A Father to His Men: While he's known for demanding respect backstage from the rest of the locker room, he also gives it back in return. There are numerous stories of him keeping prima donna talent in check, giving insight to newer talent, and when the WWE started enforcing a dress code (in which wrestlers must wear business casual attire), he adhered to it despite getting exemption from it.
All American Face: Specifically during his "BikerTaker" / "American Bad-ass" run, especially during his last year or so before reverting back to the Deadman gimmick.
He proved to be a very non-standard example of this during the 1993 Survivor Series, where — despite being undead — he decided to stick up for America by joining the All Americans Survivor Series team.
Amplifier Artifact: The urn that Paul Bearer carried with him brought The Undertaker power when he was down and out in matches earlier in his career. The contents of the urn have never fully been explained, though it could be interpreted as something like a Soul Jar. When it was finally opened in 1994, green fog came billowing out of it. It's been brought back a few times since; most notably in 2004 with his return to the Deadman gimmick, and in September 2010 with the return of Paul Bearer. CM Punk used it to his own advantage in their WrestleMania XXIX feud after Paul Bearer's death, even pouring the contents all over The Undertaker on Raw.
His largest, however, was probably Shawn Michaels. Until WrestleMania 25, Taker never managed to beat Shawn in a singles match.
Well, to be fair, a lot of that was due to interference. In the very first Hell in a Cell match, for instance, he beat the crap out of Michaels and was probably going to win...and then Kane made his debut.
Also, Shawn's back injury that kept him out of the ring for four years and completely miss the business' biggest boom, the Attitude Era? It happened while fighting The Undertaker.
'Taker's also the one who ended up retiring Shawn for good in 2010.
In real life, Brock Lesnar. Brock was unhappy with Taker's refusal to lose to him cleanly at Unforgiven 2002 (necessitating a Hell in a Cell rematch) while Taker did not appreciate Brock's attitude. Even today, it's still going as evidenced by the two having a brief stare-down after a UFC bout. Many interviews today show Brock either does not fully respect Taker or just skewers his perspective on how his animosity with Taker is.
Given how reports indicate that Undertaker had pegged Brock as the one to break his streak in 2010, before Brock had even returned to the WWE, and Brock had gone to the hospital with Undertaker (who suffered a concussion in their match), it seems they had given up any animosity towards each other.
The Artifact: Born way back in 1990, the Undertaker gimmick is the last and greatest surviving example of the WWF "cartoon" era of silly, high-concept characters. How many other stars on the WWE roster could or did share the ring with Doink the Clown without looking out of place? This isn't to say that Undertaker didn't change with the times during his career, even dropping his kayfabe entirely during his American Badass years.
Having built up enough credibility to go fully back into the Deadman gimmick, he is still pulling it off in an era that has all but phased out "cartoon"-ish characters.
It helps that the Deadman gimmick is A. one of the most well loved of the cartoony gimmicks, and B. pretty badass.
To Shawn Michaels, prior to their epic WrestleMania XXV matchup:
Taker: "When I take center ring at WrestleMania, and I stand before my peers and all of the world, you then will realize that I am the most dangerous entity that has ever stepped foot in this ring. Shawn, you should have been more careful in what you wish for, because now you have opened Hell's gates."
In response to Kane declaring himself "The Devil's favorite demon";
Taker: "Have you forgotten, that the house that the devil lives in, I built? Brick by fiery brick! And when I come callin', the devil still answers with "sir"."
In response to Triple H denying his challenge for a rematch at WrestleMania and claiming he doesn't want it;
Taker: "You can lie to yourself. You can lie to Shawn. But you will not lie to me."
Bald of Awesome: Since spring 2012 (a bit earlier in Real Life; he wore a wig when he first returned for the WrestleMania build-up until cutting his hair in kayfabe). Surprisingly to many fans, he pulls the look off, thanks in part to Costume Porn.
Bash Brothers: With Kane. Their tag-team name is even "the Brothers of Destruction".
Becoming the Mask: During the early part of 1999, The Undertaker was running a cult-like stable called the Ministry Of Darkness and was terrorizing the WWF. To sell the angle, many people were proclaiming that "Mark" had gone off the deep end and let the "Undertaker" persona overtake who he was.
A very, very easy way to piss off WWE Smarks is to disrespect The Undertaker in any way, shape, or form.
During the American Badass era, The Undertaker's wife Sara was used many times by his foes (i.e. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Diamond Dallas Page, Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar) to try to weaken or distract the Deadman. This only served to make the imminent beatdowns more severe. To quote him, "Mess with my family, and I will hurt you."
Big Damn Heroes: The Monster Heel has just beaten everybody and seems absolutely unstoppable, not even John Cena can beat him! There he is, standing in the middle of the ring, the broken bodies of the roster surrounding him, how can anyone possibly... *gong* *Crowd proceeds to lose their shit*
Combined this with The Dreaded on the 1000th episode of RAW to keep SIX MEN from attacking Kane until his entrance was finished, at which point the two proceeded to demolish them. The crowd chanting "This Is Awesome" only adds to the moment.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Triple H are about to beat up Lita. Cue Taker and Kane calmly walking down to the ring to stop it from happening.
Real life example: After the Montreal Screwjob Mark Calaway threatened to beat up Vince McMahon and quit if amends were not made, alluding that the other wrestlers were so upset there might not even be a WWF in 24 hours. See Papa Wolf below.
Buried Alive: Several times throughout his career. In fact, only one Buried Alive match in which he has participated ended without him being buried alive - it even happened in (well, after) the first one with Mankind even though Undertaker won the match.
WWE tends to gloss over his Biker gimmick nowadays.
His first WrestleMania match with Triple H got this as well it would seem, aside from a Continuity Nod given by HHH the day after WrestleMania 27, anyway. Not that acknowledging the fact that the two had been in the ring together before would have really hurt the build-up much.
Can't Beat You At ''WrestleMania'', Still Need You: This was found to be the real reason why Triple H initially refused to face him at WrestleMania 28, after being confronted by Shawn Michaels. Seeing how close Hunter came to beating him at WrestleMania 27, and putting the responsibilities of a COO above all else, Hunter refused to face him due to the threat of losing one of WWE's biggest attractions should he be defeated.
Card-Carrying Villain: During his heel Ministry persona. Also, him referring to himself as "Big Evil" when he was a heel during his Biker days certainly qualifies.
Carmina Burana: "O Fortuna" played at the start of his entrance for his match with Kane at WrestleMania XIV before his regular music started.
Cheap Pop: The crowd reactions say it all every time that gong goes off. The entire arena practically explodes. Few sounds in WWE today will get that kind of a reaction. Fewer still can say they've been getting it for twenty-two years straight. Taker started getting cheered by the fans in 1992, and even when he formed the Ministry in 1998, he was still getting cheered because the fans loved him as a face or a heel. And when the gong went off again in 2004 at Wrestlemania XX after nearly six years away? Forget it. The Garden let loose with a response we haven't heard for him since, though that's not for lack of trying.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: During one storyline in the early-to-mid-nineties Kama stole The Undertaker's urn of power. The Undertaker said that he now had to rely on his Creatures of the Night (his special nickname for his fans) to provide him with the power he needed to win the match.
The Creepy Undertaker: What his gimmick is on the lower end of the supernatural scale. Fans eventually stopped thinking he was creepy but many were genuinely frightened when he made his first appearance. Other wrestlers may not have ever gotten over it.
Costume Porn: Even moreso at WrestleMania. His costumes at WrestleMania 14 and 15 are good examples.
Dark and Troubled Past: Paul Bearer revealed Undertaker's dark and troubled past after he refused to rejoin Bearer upon winning the WWF championship in 1997. He revealed that Undertaker's parents were killed in a fire (though who caused it has been retconned a couple times in kayfabe since), and that his Dead Little Brother Kane was Not Quite Dead. Undertaker explained his side of the story in another promo, which can be viewed here.
Darker and Edgier: If it was even possible to make the Undertaker character Darker and Edgier than he already was, it was done towards the end of the 90's with the formation of The Ministry Of Darkness. This of course coincided with the WWF itself becoming Darker and Edgier, with the Attitude Era in full force.
Defeating the Undefeatable: When he originally appeared, he had this going on. Even today, he rarely loses clean. Additionally, he had his WrestleMania Streak, which remained unbroken until his 22nd appearance. In fact, ending said Streak has literally been stated time and time again to be a greater accomplishment than winning a world title - which something everybody in this business aims to do. Ending the Streak was considered to be a one-way ticket to the WWE Hall of Fame; the issue was actually pulling it off... that is, until Brock Lesnar finally put the Deadman's streak to rest at Wrestlemania XXX, and it still took three successful F-5s to keep him down for good.
Dented Iron: The reason he rarely wrestles anymore. Triple H notes this on the 2/6/12 RAW as to why he won't wrestle Undertaker again—he knew that Taker was getting old and battered and he didn't want to fight that Undertaker; he'd rather have the memory of the man who he fought in last year's WrestleMania rather than put him down like a dying dog.
Determinator: Maybe CM Punk put it best when he said: "I know what it takes to put Undertaker down. I don't know what it takes to keep him down." Then there's the fact that he's still wrestling at all, putting on top-card matches at WrestleMania while rapidly approaching the age of 50 and having sustained a host of injuries throughout his long career.
Brock Lesnar found out how to keep him down: Not one, not two, but threeF-5s.
Hilariously invoked, and before the Internet had really spread the nature of kayfabe to a wider audience, on ''Celebrity Deathmatch's "Halloween Episode I" ; 'Taker had a Villainous Breakdown when his opponent proclaimed to know his deepest, darkest secret and then chanted in a completely juvenile neener-neener voice, "Your real name is Mark!"
Averted in an angle in 2002 during his BikerTaker persona. Paul Heyman (the manager of then-rival Brock Lesnar) paid off a woman to claim Taker had an affair with her, to strain the relationship between him and his pregnant wife Sara (who was his pregnant wife in real life) as a mental roadblock heading into a world title match with Lesnar. In an effort to give it some real gravitas, both women referred to him as "Mark" throughout the angle.
Completely averted in a WrestleMania X8 access interview where he was introduced as Mark Calaway and spoke candidly about himself, his career and some of the rumors at the time such as having to discipline Shawn Michaels (when he first retired) and The Big Show (on how he can be the best athlete in the world but can slack off.)
He was used as this in the Corporate Ministry, which was a bit of a demotion from his earlier position as leader of the Ministry Of Darkness.
Even before that he implied he was taking orders from a "Higher Power", which following the creation of the Corporate Ministry was revealed to be Vince McMahon.
He was also The Dragon to Vince again during the early days of the brand extension during his Big Evil run, until Vince decided to take a break from television appearances and Taker pulled a Heel-Face Turn.
The Dreaded: The tell-tale GONG alone is enough to cause those in the ring to straight-up lose their shit. Not even Vince McMahon, the boss himself, would ever willingly piss off the Undertaker (probably because the one time he did, Kane and Undertaker broke his leg).
Era-Specific Personality: His original western Undertaker / zombie gimmick lasted until around 1996 when Paul Bearer abandoned him after the Boiler Room Brawl against Mankind at SummerSlam 96, his Lord of Darkness era went from about late 1996 to fall 1998, his Ministry Of Darkness persona lasted until late 1999 (though not without Villain Decay by the time the Corporate Ministry formed), the American Badass lasted from his return in spring 2000 to Survivor Series 2003 when he was Buried Alive by Kane and his current Composite Character resurrection of the Deadman gimmick has lasted since WrestleMania XX in 2004.
Referenced in 2011 with the "Last Outlaw", which emphasizes the western part of his character.
Et Tu, Brute?: Paul Bearer turning his back on The Undertaker and siding with Mankind after their Boiler Room Brawl match. Undertaker would pay Paul Bearer back in 2004 by burying him with cement.
And then at Hell in a Cell 2010, Paul paid Undertaker back for that, siding with Kane in a Shocking Swerve.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In 1998, when Kane was introduced and Paul Bearer was revealed to be Kane's father, The Undertaker was on the receiving end of a lot of beatings and insults. But when Paul Bearer called Taker's mom a whore on live TV... thatcrossed the line, and the Taker really beat the crud out of him. (Insult the Lord of Darkness all you want, but leave his mother out of it.)
March 17, 1998, although it's unclear if he knew she was hurt or demanding to resolve an issue, Undertaker arrives just as Kane was about to cause more harm to Sable after her match with Luna Vachon.
Interestingly, during his Ministry and Big Evil Heel runs, he no longer had these standards, as he tormented andattacked women with no problem, including hoisting Ken Shamrock's "sister" Ryan on the Ministry's symbol.
Finishing Move: His main finisher is the Tombstone Piledriver, but other staple moves include The Last Ride powerbomb, the Hell's Gate submission hold, the Chokeslam, the Flying Clothesline, and the Tightrope Walk.
During the Biker gimmick, he would occasionally use a Triangle Choke as a finisher.
Five Moves of Doom: Played with in a 2010 storyline where Kane has stolen his power. He used some of his regular sequences of moves such as snakes eyes to big boot or a chokeslam only to have them be countered or ineffective.
Genius Bruiser: Was a Fulbright Scholar who left college a few credits short of what he needed to graduate to pursue "this dream of wrestling," as he explained on his 2001 home video release Undertaker: This Is My Yard.
Genre Savvy: On the the 4/1/2013 edition of Raw, while cutting a promo he was interrupted by a bunch of druids and Paul Heyman dressed as Paul Bearer. Undertaker stormed up the ramp to confront Heyman, only to stop and start attacking the druids, correctly predicting that CM Punk was disguised as one (An angle that's been done many a time). Unfortunately, while the idea was there, it didn't quite work out as the first two druids he attacked weren't Punk, giving enough chance for an attack from behind.
Ghostly Glide: Said to have this power as part of his gimmick, and in at least one WrestleMania event "floated" to the ring via a moving platform concealed under fog.
Gimmick Matches: He originated a number of them - Hell in a Cell, Buried Alive, and Casket matches.
Hero Killer: He's one of the most notorious heels in the industry, and a match against the Undertaker has a long-standing reputation of being almost certain doom for whatever poor babyface has got himself into it.
He's Back: Undertaker has had a lot of comebacks like this in his career, the biggest one perhaps being his return to the darkside at WrestleMania XX.
Happens once or twice a year now because of his part-time schedule to aid the wear-and-tear he has taken over his long career. He takes time off between Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble, then again in the spring-to-summer months after WrestleMania.
After 2010, his appearances were limited to WrestleMania.
He would go on to subject Triple H to this at their WrestleMania XXVIIIHell In A Cell Match. After a long beatdown that had shades of their match last year, along with multiple sledgehammer strikes to the Undertaker's face (and a Sweet Chin Music from Shawn Michaels that Hunter chained into a Pedigree but that's beside the point), 'Taker finally got a hold of the sledgehammer, clobbered Hunter with it, and did the Tombstone Piledriver for the win.
Though it should be noted that this trope could apply to the match in general, considering Triple H himself set the stipulation, and is known for having the most victories in Hell In A Cell.
Humanoid Abomination: Strictly Kayfabe speaking. Let's see, he uses Mindscrew warfare, warps the lines between fantasy and reality, screws with the laws of physics and logic on a regular basis, has unearthly control over lighting, sound weather and visuals, seems to be impervious to pain or immune to conventional physical harm, resides in the Uncanny Valley, can drive people he's feuding with insane or to hallucinate by employing standard Cosmic Horror Story tropes. If The Undertaker isn't an Eldritch Abomination himself, he definitely is in league with one.
Human Sacrifice: Starting after Undertaker rejoined Paul Bearer and shortly before the Ministry Of Darkness was in full swing, when he attempted to embalm Steve Austin alive. He would then do a sacrificial blood-letting ritual to Dennis Knight, turning him into Mideon and making him insane. After this, he normally 'sacrificed' people by tying them to his "T" symbol, sort of a non-violent crucifixion. He's been known to do this a couple times since returning to his zombie persona in 2004.
I Did What I Had to Do: Invoked by the Deadman himself. The main event of the King of the Ring was not the legendary Hell in a Cell, rather it was WWE Champion "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in a First Blood match. Kane threatened to set himself on fire if he lost, and when it looked like he was losing Taker proved that blood is thicker than water and interfered in the match, accidentally hitting Austin when he was aiming for Mankind; who had run in to attack Kane after the Hell in a Cell match where he was thrown off the top of the Cell (which Undertaker was in Real Life very reluctant to do, and done at Mick's insistence), through the roof on the cell (a chokeslam that went horribly wrong, and was by far the worst incident in the match) and slammed onto thumbtacks twice. Undertaker's interference angered Vince McMahon, and when questioned about it Undertaker was adamant that he...well, did what he had to do, despite threats from Vince.
This was also Undertaker's explanation for burying Paul Bearer in cement in 2004, since Bearer had become a weakness (he'd been feuding with Paul Heyman and the The Dudley Boys at the time, who had kidnapped Bearer in order to blackmail Undertaker).
The Last Thing You Ever See: Often during promos before a Buried Alive match Undertaker would promise that the last thing his opponent will ever see is shovels of dirt.
The Leader: Here's a fun thing to do: Go to Google, type in "Locker Room Leader" and look at the name to pop up in the suggestions area. He's like a father figure to everyone in the locker room, even people older than him. Ric Flair recalls their WrestleMania match in both his book and his Hall of Fame induction and says Undertaker referred to him as "kid" during a spot despite Ric being 20 years his senior.
Was the leader of the Ministry Of Darkness as well.
Lightning Bruiser: Compared to other similarly sized wrestlers, Undertaker is very agile (more so when he was younger). For instance, he can tightrope-walk along the very narrow and slick-looking top rope of the ring without upsetting his balance while holding his opponent in an armlock. He also often dives clear over the top rope to land on someone outside the ring, most notably during his first match against Shawn Michaels, where he took out over half the roster. When you see a 6'8" man bearing down on you from 8 feet in the air - run.
He's 6'8, pushing 300 lbs., getting very close to being fifty and his body has broken down to the point where he can only wrestle a handful of times a year (mainly at the Big Four PPVs, and later being phased out of working all but WrestleMania)...and can still dive over the top rope to the floor when the time calls for it. Suffice to say, the crowd and announcers still lose their shit when he busts out the suicide dive.
Long Runner: Debuting in 1990, he's wrestled every big name wrestler for the past two decades, from Hulk Hogan to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to John Cena and most everyone in between. And smarks have been expecting him to retire since 2000. Hence the nickname "The Last Outlaw" in 2011.
Pretty much the only big name wrestlers that he hasn't wrestled are those who have never worked for WWE, most notably Sting.
And even then, 'Taker started out in the NWA just as it was transitioning into WCW as 'Mean' Mark Callous, and did in fact have a match or two with Sting back then.
Made of Iron/How Much More Can He Take: This is ultimately his gimmick during the actual wrestling parts of shows. Undertaker takes vicious amounts of punishment, sometimes even another wrestler's signature move(s), only to do the famous sit up. Undertaker occasionally even no sells chair shots, especially shots to the back from someone not known for strength.
What kind of punishment didn't Triple H inflict on him at WrestleMania XXVII? Taker suffered countless steel chair attacks, sledgehammersto the face, three Pedigrees, and even his own Tombstone Piledriver. Every kickout was as decisive as it could be, with Triple H wasting no time between each pin and the preceding move. It got to the point where, as Undertaker was (perhaps for the first time ever) trying and failing to sit up as he's known for, Jerry Lawler (on commentary) made a remark that it looked like Undertaker's nervous system was pretty much FUBAR. It seemed like if Undertaker breathed too hard, he would have dropped dead. And probably still kicked out of a pinfall attempt.
The following WrestleMania was (somehow) even worse. Triple H laid some vicious chair shots on Undertaker to the point that the viewers could clearly see the bruising on his back. On top of that, a sledgehammer alongside a Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combo wasn't enough to put The Deadman away. Undertaker even remained as the only competitor standing after the match, despite taking more damage than he did at the previous WrestleMania (when Triple H was able to walk out of the ring, while Taker left on a stretcher, despite winning).
Manly Tears: In WrestleMania 30, the Taker can be seen shedding some tears after his first losing match of the yearly event.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Totally magic in his original zombie gimmick, totally mundane as the American badass and big evil. The maybe line is during the Ministry of Darkness and the Last Outlaw gimmicks.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: Mark Calaway is a rather private person, but is noted as being quite gracious to fans who ask for pictures or autographs. Apparently his sole proviso is that he doesn't want to be approached if he's with his wife and kids.
The switch to "Bikertaker" was also partly because of Calaway's personal discomfort with the demonic angle of The Undertaker (though he did say on the "This is My Yard" DVD that while he enjoyed the Ministry Of Darkness gimmick, he regarded it as a low point when it merged with The Corporation, creating the Corporate Ministry, because being Vince McMahon's Dragon was a part of something "not derived from The Undertaker"). He switched back to the Dead Man gimmick for the fans' sake.
Mirror Match: Undertaker vs. Underfaker at SummerSlam 1994. The story behind it was after Undertaker lost a casket match to Yokozuna at Royal Rumble 1994, he 'crossed over' into the afterlife. A few months later, "The Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase claimed to have brought back The Undertaker and placed him in his Power Stable, the Million Dollar Corporation. This 'Underfaker' was really just a look alike, played by Memphis regular Brian Lee, real name Brian Harris. Paul Bearer would deny that this was the real Undertaker, and he brought the real Undertaker to fight the fake one at SummerSlam 1994. Besides the fake one being a little shorter and slimmer than the real one they did look a lot alike.
The resemblance worked against the event, unfortunately. The live audience couldn't tell what was going on, and is pretty much dead the entire time. It's obvious both of them are growingly desperate to somehow salvage the match as it continues, but Undertaker's ultimate opinion on it years later would be that it was a good idea on paper that just didn't work in execution.
My God, What Have I Done?: Undertaker was genuinely afraid for his opponent's life when he accidentally sent Mankind (Mick Foley) through the roof of the cell during their Hell In A Cell Match. He reported afterwards as feeling nothing but concern for Foley after the occurence. He still managed to avoid breaking character, however.
At least until Mick gets up off the stretcher and runs to the Cell to climb it. Again. The match itself doesn't show it but some DVDs that discuss the match has a shot of Undertaker legitimately shocked.
My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Undertaker is known to dramatically sit up after taking a big beating and being flat on his back. He used to rise due to the power of the urn but does it automatically since the demise of the urn.
Although this was hilariously subverted by The Rock. When he was about to do the People's Elbow, Taker sat back up. What does The Rock do? He stops, kicks him back down, and then does the elbow.
No Sell: Part of Undertaker's gimmick is to no-sell shots that would fell lesser wrestlers, which fit well with his superhuman zombie gimmick. Sometimes, anyway.
This was especially true early in his career. He hasn't no-sold moves much since he started his Biker gimmick, when he was at his most human. These days though, the depressing thing is the possibility that the reason he still doesn't no-sell as much is because he can't, now that his body is in bad shape.
While his selling would never be confused with that of, say, Ricky Steamboat, if you look closely, there are times when his facial expression suggests that he is thinking, "What the hell have I gotten myself into here?" A good example of this is when he is outside the ring during is his match with Festus on the April 11, 2008 SmackDown.
Not My Driver: He pulled this on Stephanie McMahon in 1999, on Triple H and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in 2001, and years later in 2009, did it again to Teddy Long.
Not So Stoic: He has his rare moments, not counting his run as the Bikertaker. One can first see this during the storyline in which Kane is introduced. For the first time we saw Undertaker's human side, as he told his side of the story about the fire that claimed his parents.
Not even he could resist cracking a smile at Kaneassisting D-Von Dudley in doing the WHASSSSUUUP and yes, this was before he was wearing the half-mask.
Oh Crap: When the funeral bell rings and the arena goes dark for the Dead Man's entrance, it's a rare opponent who can keep from fudging their undies.
Related to his Dead Man Walking gimmick, we have the No Sell after a finishing move... where Taker simply sits up. It's rare to have an opponent not need a new wardrobe when they turn around to see him either sitting up, or on his feet and ready for more.
In the build-up to Backlash 2001, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Triple H were in the ring, celebrating the horrible treachery which got them their WWE Championship and WWE Intercontinental titles. In walk 'Taker and Kane. "The Rattlesnake" and "The Game" drop their beers, grab their belts and hightail out. Even in his mortal state, the Deadman scares everyone.
The Undertaker has a real life one at the infamous Hell in a Cell against Mankind. Not from the first fall, but upon seeing Foley climb off the stretcher, smiling, and running to the cage to climb back up. It's not shown during the match itself for more than a half a second on the King of the Ring 1998 VHS tape and DVD, but some video (such as Eve of Destruction) shows Taker is legitimately shocked. The Oh Crap can be interpreted as either Kayfabe that Mankind wants more, astonishment that he was able to get up or a real life concern of what else can happen.
Our Zombies Are Different: His original gimmick was most like a Type V, with Paul Bearer having brought him back from the dead, however he is a master at mind games, is not a slave and displays powerful supernatural abilities.
This gets a bit weird when you look at one of the books written by George Napolitano in the early 90s, which claimed the Undertaker was half human and half vampire and that he would do impressions of Dracula backstage.
Out of the Inferno: Undertaker has occasionally "walked through" a wall of flames on the stage during promos to get his point across.
"I would walk through the fires of Hell to face you, Kane."
There's also the Inferno Match with Kane when he jumped out of the ring as it was surrounded by flames and clotheslined Kane.
In the 2010 Elimination Chamber PPV, he did get set on (non-Kayfabe) fire by his entrance pyro. He still competed.
Something similar happened to Undertaker at some point in 1998, when Kane's ring pyro went off right in his face instead of 'Taker's ring fog. He didn't appear fazed, but one could guess someone was probably fired over that; it's one of the few times anyone who saw him backstage would describe him as livid. If you play the footage at less than normal speed, you can barely see him flinch.
Papa Wolf: In character occasionally, mostly to face a monster heel or during the Invasion storyline. In real life however he was very much this.
It was part of his debut at Survivor Series 1990. He had eliminated Dusty Rhodes from the Million Dollar Team (Ted DiBiase/Taker/Rhythm and Blues [Honky Tonk Man and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine]) vs. the Dream Team (Dusty/Koko B Ware/The Hart Foundation [Bret/Neidhart]) match. Dusty attacked Brother Love outside the ring, and UT, who was still the legal man for his team, left the ring to make the save for his manager...getting himself counted out in the process.
When the Montreal Screwjob occurred Taker hunted for Vince McMahon and first said if he didn't get his ass out of his office he would beat the door down and kick it. When Vince did answer the door he was basically told, "If you want to still have a company tomorrow you better apologize to Bret Hart." He also said something along the lines of "Also, I'm quitting if you don't."
It's rumored (denied by Shawn Michaels, confirmed by Jim Cornette, alluded to by Taker) that, at WrestleMania XIV, Michaels was threatened and told not to pull any funny business, with Undertaker even reportedly taping his fists after his match, where Shawn could see.
Undertaker's claim that The Big Show is one of the best if not the best athletes in the business, however he will get on his case if TBS is out of shape because of how good he can be when healthy.
And he stopped Batista from getting WWE divas fired for rejecting his advances.
Parts Unknown: Played with; the American Badass averted this entirely, but the Deadman is billed as being from "Death Valley." Death Valley is a real desert/town in California, but the lack of a state attached to the billing gave it the feeling of a Parts Unknown-style hometown. Later character moments have broken this somewhat, suggesting that the character's hometown is indeed Death Valley, California. At times, announcers announcer Jim Ross has talked about Taker's opponents "trying to cut down this big California redwood."
Physical God: The Undertaker has been portrayed as being equivalent to a dark god of sorts since WrestleMania XX, and has been, in Kayfabe, considered virtually unstoppable.
Especially at WrestleMania.
Popularity Power: The Undertaker has consistently been one of the most popular and respected wrestlers in WWE for years.
Power Stable: The Ministry Of Darkness, which eventually merged with The Corporation to become the Corporate Ministry.
In his early days in the USWA in Dallas as the Punisher, he was a member of General Skandor Akbar's Devastation Inc.
Precision F-Strike: During Fully Loaded 2000Kurt Angle kicks out of a pin after a one handed slam. Undertaker turns to the referee and very clearly mouths "fuck you" as the ref protests and Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler discuss the language Taker was using.
Pride: Kane and Paul Bearer have cited it as Undertaker's greatest weakness back in their 2010 feud with him. And considering his demands for a rematch with Triple H at WrestleMania XXVIII from a match he won, simply because he refused to let the image of his Pyrrhic Victory be his lasting memory, they may have had a point.
It should be noted that The Rock is an exception to the rule; most attempts to avert the trope in this matter lead to ineffectual and often frantic efforts to make the Phenom stay down, generally ending in his getting up anyway, oftentimes with a big mitt wrapped around his opponent's throat for their troubles.
This is also how the Last Ride is frequently set up; his opponent has him trapped in the corner and stands on the first rope punching Taker repeatedly...until Undertaker grabs them by their tights. You'd think they would learn to stop doing that by now.
Of course, that would be like Ric Flair doing his Flair Flip into the corner onto the apron followed by him running to the other corner and climbing up and not expecting his opponent to slam him down to the mat. In other words, that kind of Once per EpisodeGenre Blindness is necessary for the match to work.
Pyrrhic Victory: He was barely able to defeat Triple H at WrestleMania 27, making his undefeated streak 19-0. But by the end of the match, he couldn't even get up to do his darkness salute. He was carried out in a stretcher. One has to wonder how much that took out of him. To put it in perspective, Triple H may have lost but he was still able to walk backstage on his own two feet when it was done.
Mostly averted in WM 28. He was able to leave on his own after failing to get up several times and then helped up by Shawn Michaels (who was the Special Guest Referee), and then helped to carry Triple H out with Michaels.
The Quiet One: Rarely talks, although he was more vocal in his Attitude Era & biker days. Said to be like this in real life as well.
Real Life Writes the Plot: In recent years, periods of time when Undertaker's not on TV are due to nagging injuries catching up with him. You can catch instances of this in the late '90s if you're watching for it, with many of his matches made short with an emphasis on grappling to avoid aggravating the injuries that eventually sent him off for the sabbatical before his big return and the reveal of the "American Badass" gimmick.
Also, the retool to BikerTaker was in part inspired by the fact that Mark Calaway is an avid biker in real life.
The "Sara" tattoo on his neck was often edited out of promotional photos (and the videogames, since 2008) before he eventually had it removed, due to the separation from his wife, Sara, in 2007.
The Hell's Gate is a mixed-martial-arts grapple called the Gogoplata; 'Taker is a huge MMA fan.
The "vegetative state" storyline was a direct result of an injury suffered while wrestling Rey Mysterio Jr. Undertaker had his orbital socket broken by one of Rey's knee braces.
Further, Kane's win in the Buried Alive match was due to Undertaker having an arm injury. And it was originally going to happen at Survivor Series.
Red Baron: Lots of them - The Deadman, The American Badass, The Lord of Darkness, The Phenom, The Demon Of Death valley, The Last Outlaw.
Redemption Demotion: Averted; whether he's face or heel, he's still one of the toughest wrestlers on the roster.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Kane. Kane being the red one and 'Taker being the blue. Even used in their intros with colored lighting.
Rise from Your Grave: After every Buried Alive match he's been in, though for most of them, presumably off camera. Usually accompanied by an iconic lightening strike when the audience does get to see it.
Shock and Awe: The indoor lightning strike is one of his most used tricks, though only to intimidate, never offensively. Kane on the other hand, when mimicking The Undertaker's powers did strike a worker with a lightning bolt to prove he was more evil than The Undertaker.
Shovel Strike: Did this to Steve Austin at the beginning of the Ministry Of Darkness angle. He also does this fairly regularly during Buried Alive matches.
Soundtrack Dissonance: In NBC's 1-hour recut highlights of WrestleMania XXVII, Undertaker's entrance is redubbed with "E.T." by Katy Perry. Yes, that Katy Perry. Granted, the more sexual parts of the lyrics were omitted to fit the video.
In his early days when cutting promos with Paul Bearer, if you watch closely you can tell that he sometimes has a hard time maintaining the stoic act while Bearer is going on in his shrill voice and making hilarious facial expressions. Paul Bearer said in an interview years later that several times he was purposely trying to see if he could get Undertaker to laugh.
We may never know how many takes they had to do for those promos with Paul Bearer due to Undertaker giving in and laughing.
Team Dad: Outside the ring, he is the unquestioned leader of the company's locker room, and often confronts other wrestlers whenever they act like assholes. Most famously, he was the one who confronted Vince over the Montreal Screwjob and forced him to apologize to Bret Hart, then at WrestleMania XIV put Shawn Michaels on notice not to screw "Stone Cold" by taping his fists threateningly so Shawn could see it.
Technopathy: An extension of his power over lightning, The Undertaker can manipulate electronics. This is usually limited to messing with the lights, displaying images on the Titan tron or playing with the sound system but he has also made motor vehicles move without drivers.
Teleporters and Transporters: He seems to be able to appear and disappear in the absence of light. Shut caskets, buried in dirt or even an arena whose lights were off of a few seconds.
Tempting Fate: As stated in The Worf Effect below, WWE loves to try and put new guys over fast by putting them in a storyline with The Undertaker. Unfortunately, the only person this seems to have worked with was Mankind (and to a lesser extent, The Great Khali, at least for a while). There is a long list of people who were supposed to feud with him who either disappeared almost instantly or never appeared at all (Nathan Jones, Hade Vansen, Mordecai). The lesson here seems to be: If you're an up-and-comer and they want you to feud with The Undertaker, resign and save them the trouble of future endeavoring you.
10-Minute Retirement: On the next Raw after the final defeat of the Corporate Ministry, Vince McMahon announced that Undertaker got released from WWE. Eight months later, in comes Undertaker in his American badass persona.
That Makes Me Feel Angry: During the build-up to WrestleMania 25, instead of being afraid of him, other wrestlers were actively arguing over who would compete against him, determined to break "The Streak." His reactions made it clear he was not used to this.
Trademark Favorite Food: Cold cuts apparently, according to an old WWF magazine that might or might not be kayfabe.
Some fansites also list steak as his favorite food.
Tranquil Fury: Occasionally in character, but most notably in real life, according to Chris Jericho, after he received third degree burns from his own pyro before the Elimination Chamber match, he was in the training room with Vince McMahon and very calmly informed Vince that if he ever saw that pyro guy again, he would kill him.
"Punk escaped Hell In A Cell relatively in one piece, all he lost was his title. At Bragging Rights, I will take his soul. Rey Mysterio Jr, your tenacious heart is legendary, you courage unquestionable, but make no mistake about it, I will show you no mercy. And that brings me to Batista. Batista our battles from the past are epic but even your strength and your rage will not be enough to save your soul."
Building up to his match with Kurt Angle at Fully Loaded 2000:
"I'm gonna kick your teeth so far down your throat you'll be able to chew your own ass out for pissin' me off."
Undertaker: Well duh. The gimmick began as an idea from Vince on the Western undertakers, before the character changed to the Phenom, Deadman, Bikertaker roles in later years.
Unnecessary Roughness: When Undertaker started using the Hell's Gate submission hold, it was presented as this, to the point where he was eventually banned from using the move (a ban which would come back to haunt him down the road in a match against CM Punk). However, there's also numerous segment and post-match attacks such as Tombstoning Vickie Guerrero 2-3 times and burning Edge virtually to Hell with his powers.
He defeated Kamala in a casket match at Survivor Series 92, and went so far as to hammer nails into the casket after the match was over. Commentator Bobby "The Brain" Heenan asked if Kamala could breathe in there.
Unrelated Brothers: While half-brothers in kayfabe, The Undertaker and Kane are not related in real life.
The Un Twist: The 2/21/11 promos from January to said date showed a man walking around a cabin in the middle of the night in the rain. The IWC deduced immediately that it was The Undertaker making his returnnote (the other guess was Sting jumping ship to WWE, something he hasn't had an interest in doing in over 10 years; this would get Jossed a few weeks later, anyway. When the day came, Smarks were surprised, but for a muchdifferent reason.
Unwilling Suspension: When the Ministry Of Darkness used to hang people from Undertaker symbols above the stage as a 'sacrifice'. Undertaker later did this to Orlando Jordan in 2004 as part of a Call Back angle with JBL.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Most WWE wrestlers these days have personas that could conceivably exist in the real world, whereas the Undertaker wouldn't be remotely out of place as a Kinnikuman character. No one bats an eye.
Urban Fantasy: Depending on the era, Undertaker could come across as this depending on how many other supernatural gimmicks were going on at the time and who he was feuding with.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Undertaker and Kane, who have both feuded with each other and wrestled as a tag team (the "Brothers of Destruction") since Kane's debut.
He cut a promo in 2009 saying that the few things he enjoys include fighting alongside and against Kane.
Kane granted the latter part of that wish in earnest and pretty much curb-stomped him the following year, thanks to Real Life Writes the Plot with a little help at one point from The Nexus.
Verbal Tic: As pointed out by the many posters in the Comments section of this video, Calaway tends to say "you know" a lot when he's nervous.
Weapon Stomp: Played this trope straight in his WrestleMania XXVIII match against Triple H. Hunter's last hope towards the end of the match was to use his sledgehammer to fend off Undertaker's Heroic Second Wind. As he reached for it, a black boot pinned the hammer to the mat. Triple H looked up and probably saw his professional wrestling career flash before his eyes as Undertaker simply shook his head.
Welcome to Hell: Started his promo on Kane and Paul Bearer on the March 2, 1998 Raw with these three words.
Wham Line: The buildup to his and Triple H's rematch at WrestleMania XXVIII has been a succession of these week after week. First was a wordless one after 'Taker's return (which was surprising on its own), when Hunter patted him on the shoulder to signify the refusal of his challenge. Then came Hunter finally giving in and setting the match...in Hell In A Cell. Then after that, it was the reveal of Shawn Michaels as guestreferee. Let's just say they went overboard trying to make up for the buildup (or lack thereof) for their match last year.
Wham Episode: WrestleMania XXX's Streak match between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. Twenty-one victories in, Brock Lesnar conquered the Streak, handing Taker his first-ever WrestleMania loss twenty-three years into Undertaker's career.
What, Exactly, Is His Job?: After Taker's return at Judgment Day 2000 to kick off the Bikertaker gimmick, he often wore shirts that had the words "Deadman Inc." on them. It was never explained what "Deadman Inc." was supposed to be.
What Happened to the Mouse? / Bittersweet Ending: His 2013 run ended with him going up against one of the members of The Shield, Dean Ambrose, to avenge his brother, Kane. Although he did win the match (handing them their first loss) the group subsequently ganged up on him and put him through a table. He wasn't seen for the rest of the year.
There's also Undertaker's decision to bury Paul Bearer in cement in 2004, presumably because Bearer was "a weakness". This is probably why Bearer betrayed Undertaker and sided with Kane when he came back in 2010.
Why Won't You Die?: Undertaker's opponents generally react in this way to his superhuman durability at WrestleMania, especially since WrestleMania XXVII, when (and this is probably an understatement) Triple H handed Undertaker his ass for nearly the entire match. Three Pedigrees. A chair to the skull. Spinebuster through the announce table. Triple H even used Undertaker's own Tombstone Piledriver at one point. Undertaker kicked out every single time, and eventually, Triple H was so taken aback that he looked absolutely terrified, like he'd seen a ghost... even though Undertaker was prone on the mat and looked like a strong breeze might kill him.
The Worf Effect: WWE loves having new guys beat Taker into a pulp to make them look like major threats. It rarely works, mostly due to the fact that that they have a bad tendency to do this with guys that really have little in the way of talent (Vladimir Kozlov, The Great Khali, etc.) and the fact that Taker is probably the only guy in the company no one wants to see lose, especially once his appearances became sporadic to the point of being a sort of "special occasion". Because of this, most of his Worfings aren't losses. He'll get beat up but once it's time for a real match he'll usually win.
The supposedly unbreakable plexiglass seen in structures such as the Elimination Chamber and Michael Cole's "coal mine" have repeatedly proven breakable by the Undertaker.
Worthy Opponent: Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley. Nobody's ever gotten as close to ending the Streak as Shawn Michaels did at WrestleMania XXV (at least until WrestleMania XXVII), and with Mick Foley, it's kinda obvious.
One could argue this to be the case with Hulk Hogan as well, as the two have traded wins and losses and are at 2-2 each. The kicker is that all four matches were championship bouts.