Throwback Thursday: Happy Birthday, ‘Deadman’! A WWE Network Tribute to The Undertaker

March 24, 2016 by Brock Allen

WWE Network Throwback Thursday - Logo

As we gear up for the epic “Hell in a Cell” showdown at WrestleMania to determine not only who controls Monday Night RAW but the very fate of The Undertaker’s career, Throwback Thursday on turns Throwback Tribute to take a look back at that legendary career on the WWE Network, in celebration of the Deadman’s 51st birthday today!

WWE - The Undertaker with Birthday Cake

For further reading on the Undertaker’s career check out Throwback Thursday: “The Phenom” vs. “The Beast” and Throwback Thursday: 25 Years of The Undertaker. For more Taker on the Network, check out the Undertaker: 25 Phenomenal Years section, The Undertaker’s Gravest Matches, Legends with JBL: The Undertaker’s Greatest Rivals Pt. 1 & Pt. 2, WrestleMania Rewind: Unfinished Business, Monday Night War: Foundations of War, and WWE 24: WrestleMania 30.

Tag Team Match (WATCH)
The Skyscrapers (“Dangerous” Danny Spivey & “Mean” Mark Callous (sub. Sid Vicious)) w/Teddy Long vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) w/Paul Ellering
NWA-WCW Clash of the Champions X: Texas Shootout ? Febraury 6, 1990

Undertaker’s earliest match on the Network is the NWA-WCW TV debut of “Mean” Mark Callous. After Sid Vicious was injured at COTC IX, suffering broken ribs and a punctured lung, “Mean” Mark Callous was selected to fill the spot. The team was short-lived, however, as Spivey quit WCW prior to the “Chicago Street Fight” at WrestleWar ’90 over money and perceived liberties the Road Warriors were taking with Callous.

WWF World Heavyweight Championship (WATCH)
The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. Hulk Hogan(c)
WWF Survivor Series 1991: The Gravest Challenge ? November 27, 1991

WWE - The Undertaker Choking Hulk Hogan

After debuting (24:10) at Survivor Series 1990 The Undertaker plowed through 1991 undefeated, working with the likes of Ultimate Warrior, Sid Justice, and Roddy Piper before challenging the WWF kingpin Hulk Hogan. With the help of Ric Flair, Undertaker won the first of an eventual 7 World titles and ended Hulk Hogan’s 3rd WWF World title reign at 248 days. Undertaker’s loss six days later at This Tuesday in Texas would be the first, on TV, of “The Dead Man’s” WWF career.

“Casket Match” (WATCH)
Special Guest Enforcer: Chuck Norris
The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. Yokozuna w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji
WWF Survivor Series 1994 ? November 23, 1994

One of Undertaker’s most bitter foes was the late Yokozuna. After a “Casket Match” at Royal Rumble 1994 the Undertaker disappeared until SummerSlam. After disposing of the fake Undertaker, “The Phenom” sought to settle the score with Yokozuna. A solid match, this put the feud to rest once and for all and set up the coming feud with the Million Dollar Corporation.

“Boiler Room Brawl” (WATCH)
The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. Mankind
WWF SummerSlam 1996 ? August 18, 1996

WWE - The Undertaker in Boiler Room Brawl Match

Though Undertaker waged wars with some of wrestling’s biggest names – Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels, among others – it is “The Phenom’s” wars with Mankind that elevated “The Dead Man’s” status to a whole other level. This battle altered the course of “Big Evil’s” career for the better and was only the end of the beginning between these two Hall of Fame talents. A brutal, physical war, this was unlike anything seen before in the WWF.

Single Match (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. The Rock
WWF Monday Night RAW #280 ? September 29, 1998 (AIRED: October 5, 1998)

Two weeks before Undertaker and Kane would do battle for the vacant WWF World title, with Stone Cold Steve Austin as referee at Judgment Day: In Your House 25, Undertaker and The Rock went to war on Monday Night RAW in an instant classic that further established both men as the cream of the crop in World Wrestling Federation.

WWE Undisputed Championship – “Ladder Match” (WATCH)
Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker(c)
WWE Monday Night RAW #475 ? July 1, 2002

WWE - The Undertaker Respecting Jeff Hardy

In another instant classic, Undertaker and Jeff Hardy waged an all-out war for the Undisputed title in one of the single greatest World title matches in the history of Monday Night RAW. Though Undertaker won the match and retained the Undisputed title, it was Jeff Hardy who retained the high ground, impressing Undertaker and the fans by never giving in and never backing down. This would mark the beginning of the end for “The American Bad Ass” gimmick.

“2007 Royal Rumble Match” (WATCH – 1:38:59)
WWE Royal Rumble 2007 ? January 28, 2007

Though one of WWE’s biggest stars, The Undertaker had competed in only 7 Rumble matches prior to 2007 and had not claimed victory. Becoming the first man to win from the number 30 position, The Undertaker made history and set in motion one of the most intriguing “Streak” matches to date against World Heavyweight Champion Batista at WrestleMania 23.

World Heavyweight Championship (WATCH – 3:09:13)
The Undertaker vs. Edge(c)
WWE WrestleMania XXIV ? March 30, 2008

WWE - The Undertaker Diving Outside the Ring at WrestleMania

After winning an “Elimination Chamber Match” in February to earn the WrestleMania XXIV title shot against Edge, The Undertaker walked into WrestleMania as an underdog. Having won the title the year before few fans believed the same would happen again. In one of the greatest “Streak” matches of them all The Undertaker and Edge pulled out all the stops and delivered a dramatic, pulse-pounding match worthy of “The Showcase of the Immortals”.

“No Holds Barred Match” (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. Triple H
WWE WrestleMania XXVII ? April 3, 2011

After retiring Shawn Michaels the previous year at WrestleMania XXVI many felt the last best chance for ending “The Streak” was over. But when talks broke down between WWE and Sting, and the dream Undertaker/Sting match was scrapped, Triple H stepped up to fill the void and produced one of WrestleMania’s greatest matches. Though “The Streak” survived (barely) fans were left to ponder “The Dead Man’s” fate as “The Phenom’s” nearly lifeless body was carted out of the Georgia Dome.

Singles Match (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk w/Paul Heyman
WWE WrestleMania 29 ? April 7, 2013

WWE - The Undertaker vs. CM Punk at WrestleMania

In the last victory in the two decade history of “The Streak” The Undertaker avenged the legacy of the recently deceased Paul Bearer by taking back the legendary urn from CM Punk. Though behind the scenes Punk felt handcuffed by working with the aging “Outlaw” it did not show. This match stole the show and became an instant classic “Streak” match.

Final Thoughts

Whether as “The American Bad Ass”, “Big Evil”, or “The Demon of Death Valley”, The Undertaker is one of the most respected, admired, beloved Superstars in the history of professional wrestling. Though Undertaker turns 51 years old today “The Phenom’s” career is timeless. A career that will burn in the hearts of wrestling fans for ages to come and live forever on the WWE Network.

Happy birthday, Deadman!

WWE - The Undertaker Celebrating In-Ring at WrestleMania

That’s it for another week of TBT – thanks again for reading! Are you a WWE Network subscriber? If so, check out the matches, see them for yourself, and let us know what you think. And don’t forget to tune into the WWE Network April 3rd to see Undertaker battle Shane McMahon.

Until we meet in two weeks, see ya at ringside!

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9 Comments left on this article...

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  1. Anan says:

    Saw and enjoyed all the above matches.

    No so great:

    Royal Rumble 2007 – For me, this picked up when the final four were in the ring and soared higher when it was down to Taker vs HBK in what I saw as a preview for their WM25 match two years later (minus the blood of course.)

    vs Hogan – From a match standpoint, not the best. Hogan was not the best in ring worker and due to his character, Taker wasn’t able to fully display his obvious in ring talents. Hogan, the Champion id everything he could, but Taker took it all, unfazed. I didn’t like that Flair interfered (though I understand why he did) because he didn’t need to as Taker clearly was on his way to winning and Hogan getting up immediately after the first Tombstone, no selling it in typical Hulk Hogan fashion. I did like Taker not being fazed by anything, his dominance, and the sequence where Hogan shoulder blocks that directly went into a Taker flying clothesline.

    The rest were, in their own ways, great.

    Some honorable mentions that did not make the list (some of these may have been on a previous list centering on Taker or some other topic):

    vs Mankind – Buried Alive 96

    vs Kurt Angle – Smackdown 2003, NWO 2006, NWO Rematch on Smackdown 2006

    vs Bret Hart – RRumble 96, SSlam 97, One Night Only 97

    vs HBK – HIAC, Casket match, WM25, WM26

    vs Kane WM14, Inferno Match

    vs Cena – Smackdown, June 2004

    vs Randy Orton – WM21

    vs Batista – WM23

    P.S. Sting’s birthday recently passed too. Maybe a Throwback Thursday on Sting in honor/celebration of his birthday? Then again, we’re close to his HOF Induction, which is next Saturday.

    • Brock Allen says:

      Hello, @Anan. First, yes, some of the matches you mention as Honorable Mentions have been featured in past TBTs. Secondly, my schedule was packed as of late I was only able to produce bi-weekly TBTs for the month. In researching dates I saw that Taker’s birthday fell on one of the days. If possible I like to do birthdays that are on the same day as the article is published. I often do birthday articles that are a few days before or after but I do prefer to be spot on. I made the decision, based on WrestleMania and the excitement for the big match, to focus on Taker. In September, leading into the Night of Champions event, I did do an article focusing on Sting’s greatest title matches. It can be found here:

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. John says:

    Undertaker-Hardy match will always be one of my favorites

  3. Mark Markson says:

    I love when I scroll through these. I thought it said casket match vs Chuck Norris. 😀

    Man, I hope Vince doesn’t check this site. “Casket match vs Chuck Norris? I believe I have Takers match for Wrestlemania 33!”

  4. Jeff Copeland says:

    The American Bad-Ass”
    “The Baddest of Them All”
    “The Best Pure Striker in WWE/Sports-Entertainment History”
    “Big Evil”
    “The Cornerstone of the WWF/E”
    “The Deadman”
    “The Demon from/of Death Valley”
    “The (Grim) Reaper (of Lost Souls)”
    “The Instrument of Destruction”
    “The Last Outlaw”
    “The Lord/Prince of Darkness”
    “The Master of Mind Games”
    “The Phenom” “The Red Devil
    “The Weaver of Nightmares”

    HE IS THE LEGEND THE ICON THE Reason i became a wrestling fan and still a fan 16 years later my fav of all time HAPPY BIRTHDAY To

    THE UNDERTAKER!!!!! 😀 🙂 xD

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