WrestleMania is right around the corner. Among the matches scheduled at "The Greatest Spectacle in Sports Entertainment" is a contest between The Undertaker and Roman Reigns. One participant fans seem to love regardless of who he faces and what side of the heel/babyface coin he lands on. The other competitor fans seem to despise with a great passion. Just by listening to the crowd reactions on Raw and WWE Network PPV's, it shouldn't be too hard figure out which is which.
Sadly, there are rumours circulating that this could be The Undertaker's farewell match. He's clearly regressed in terms of his physical abilities and having faced nearly everyone worth facing, there aren't a lot of iconic matches left to put "The Deadman" in. If this is his last, re-examining his career is something many fans will do.
It's difficult not to look back on the indelible mark The Undertaker left without realizing what he does for the business of professional wrestling as a whole. He's been a staple of the WWE for 25 years and he's helped countless Superstars along his way. If nothing else, there may be no wrestler in the business more respected. But, respect doesn't always translate into admiration.
Despite what Roman Reigns says, being "the guy" is a label that should be given to the Undertaker. When you become that guy, you'll make a lot of friends and create a few enemies. Keeping reading to see who in the wrestling business likes The Undertaker and who doesn't.
15 Love: Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon has gone on record in the past saying that his favorite wrestler ever is The Undertaker. The reasoning has to be a mix of potentially the greatest WWE character ever created and portrayed by a superstar and the fact that The Undertaker had a huge sand in saving the WWE during the Monday Night War with WCW.
The Undertaker's character has made McMahon an awful lot of money. The Undertaker as a person has been seen as the conscious of the locker room for years. When you have a group of performers as opinionated and egotistical as many WWE performers can probably be, having someone like The Undertaker in your corner has to make things exponentially less stressful.
14 Love: Shawn Michaels
There was a time when The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were not on the same page. Michaels was a handful back in the day and being the voice of the WWE lockerroom, there were times that The Undertaker had to step in and set Michaels straight.
One such example was before WrestleMania XIV when there was concern that a pouty and aggravated Michaels wasn't going to do the right thing and drop the belt. The Undertaker made it clear that wasn't an option and literally scared Michaels into doing the right thing.
Today, Michaels looks back on that time and realizes how much admiration he has for the Undertaker. They've become closer since Michaels return many years ago and Michaels being a changed man has allowed the two to put the past behind them and do some great work together.
13 Hate: CM Punk
CM Punk doesn't have a ton of "wrestling buddies." There also aren't a lot of CM Punk supporters left in the wrestling business. Those who are, seem to publicly get behind Punk after they've left or been unceremoniously terminated from their WWE contracts. It could be because at every possible opportunity, Punk has blasted the WWE.
No one represents what the WWE is more than The Undertaker. For all the reasons Punk complained about his treatment during his time in wrestling, The Undertaker sets the bar for those who feel scrapes, bumps and bruises are deserving of time off. People like Punk often find resentment in performers like The Undertaker. After all, The Undertaker now works when he wants. Punk had to quit to feel that freedom.
Punk also doesn't hold a lot of respect for The Undertaker. In an interview with Opie Radio, he admitted he held no regard or passion for his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania. That's not something you often hear said of "The Deadman."
12 Love: JBL
It's common knowledge that JBL and The Undertaker are good friends. Just last week on an episode of "Bring it to the Table" on the WWE Network, JBL once again admitted that The Undertaker was one of the groomsmen at his wedding.
You'd never hear JBL mention it during his time as a wrestler however as JBL was very much into following kayfabe (keeping in character). The Undertaker and JBL had some of the most prominent matches on SmackDown during the original Brand Split and developed a close friendship out of working together for so long.
11 Love: Savio Vega
Also part of the BSK, Savio Vega was later added to the group thanks to his connection to Rikishi and Yokozuna. He's quick to tell people that whenever he's asked about the BSK, he responds "If I told you, I’d have to kill you."
Vega credits The Undertaker going to bat for him on a number of occasions, most notably when his contract ended and the left the WWE to go to Puerto Rico. The Undertaker offered to get a two-year contract renewal on the table should Vega want to stay and while Vega respectfully declined, never forgot how much he appreciated that.
Oddly enough, The Undertaker also apparently had a fear of cucumbers. Vega called it the Deadman's kryptonite. He was one of a few people who used to rib 'Taker about it.
10 Hate: Vince Russo
I suppose Vince Russo isn't a real professional wrestler. But, because he placed the WCW Championship belt around his own waist as the head writer on WCW programming, we'll say he qualifies.
It's also not so much that Russo hates The Undertaker, it's that he can't understand why The Undertaker dislikes him, which in and of itself is a bit baffling. Russo left for WCW claiming that he was the driving force behind the success of the "Attitude Era." He did everything he could to bury the WWE and at the time, and The Undertaker was one of WWE's main draws.
Russo has publicly said kind things about The Undertaker, but he's also claimed that The Undertaker withheld the truth and didn't tell Russo everything out of fear 'Taker would lose his place on the WWE roster. I'm pretty sure that isn't something The Undertaker was worried about.
9 Love: The Godfather
The Godfather was a member of the BSK. He and The Undertaker went way back prior to their days together in the group and The Godfather met some of his closest friends in the business thanks to being part of The Undertaker's and Yokozuna's crew.
Godfather describes the BSK crew as a bunch of guys that hung out together, rode together, listened to the same type of music and did the same things at night. Their favorite game in the group was to play dominoes. You'd have to be close if everyone in the group got matching tattoos. That's exactly what the Godfather did.
8 Love: Brock Lesnar
The Undertaker was undefeated at WrestleMania. The only person that "The Deadman" hand-picked to end that streak was Brock Lesnar and Lesnar understands the level of respect that brings with it.
Lesnar and The Undertaker may have appeared to have issues when Lesnar left the WWE the first time around. In the prime of his wrestling career and in the process, sort of abandoned the WWE and its fans after they invested a lot into him, The Undertaker was none too pleased. But, any friction that appeared on camera at events like UFC PPV's after Lesnar had gone on to try his hand at other things were works done to build heat for Lesnar's eventual return.
These two have the utmost respect for each other.
7 Hate: The Kliq
I've included The Kliq as an entry because it has to be recognized that there is a difference between what The Kliq was as a group and what some of the previous members of The Kliq are now.
The Kliq was a behind-the-scenes wrestling group led by Shawn Michaels that became so powerful, it disrupted the comings and goings of the everyday life behind the WWE curtains. A domino that is rumoured to have fallen from The Kliq's creation was a group partially run by The Undertaker called the Bone Street Krew (BSK).
While it's come out now that the tension between the two groups has been over exaggerated, this was a time in which The Kliq members (Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and Triple H) were not exactly easy to get along with. They sort of marched to the beat of their own drum and that they had to still answer in many respects to the Undertaker probably didn't sit well with them.
6 Love: Henry Godwinn
As Henry Godwinn describes his relationship to The Undertaker,
"I worked against Undertaker one night on Monday Night Raw. We beat the stuff out of each other. After that night, he took me under his wing. I started riding with Paul Bearer and him. Then my partner came up, and me, him, Paul and Taker were together all the time."
The Undertaker even rapped a song about Godwinn after he coined Godwinn's nickname Hillbilly Love. How can you not love one of the most feared and respected wrestlers of all time when he raps about your name. I can't even picture it. While this may come off as a strange relationship, it goes to show that you can never truly know ho will find a connection with whom in the workplace. The Undertaker and Henry O. Godwinn? Sure, why not?
5 Love: Mick Foley
There are few wrestlers who owe their household name success to other wrestlers the way Mick Foley does to The Undertaker. Sure, Foley was a popular wrestler and had been in the game for years, but his match as Mankind versus The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell in 1998 made Foley one of the most over superstars of the "Attitude Era."
At a time when physiques like the one Foley carried around and characters like Mankind had shorter life spans, Foley was able to parlay that one match into becoming the "Hardcore Legend Mick Foley" and to this day works with the WWE in many capacities. The respect that was earned that night and in countless battles since has made these two close friends.
4 Hate: Diamond Dallas Page
Time has the ability to heal all wounds. That said, there was a time that Diamond Dallas Page was not a fan of The Undertaker. He viewed him as the reason that Page was unable to get over in the WWE when he made his debut.
Page has told the story publicly that he didn't understand the heat placed on him as part of the WCW brand that almost put the WWE out of business. When Page arrived, the WWE and The Undertaker set out to make an example of him, stifling his creativity and basically banning him from doing any of the things that made him so popular in WCW, including the Diamond Cutter sign. In many ways, Page holds The Undertaker responsible for his failed tenure in the WWE.
3 Love: Jake Roberts
Jake "The Snake" Roberts and The Undertaker were close. Back in the days of traveling together on the road, there were countless stories of these two in action. From getting each other out of trouble to working as a team to pick up the ladies, or trying to outdrink the other, most of their stories involved a strip club or bar where the two had some fun at the expense of others.
Jake also feels a lot of pride in being able to help The Undertaker learn the ropes when he first entered the WWE. The Undertaker sought out Roberts and asked to be his travel companion. From that day on, The Undertaker was a sponge soaking in the learning.
2 Love: Kane
They played brothers on television but became extremely close friends in real life. How can you not when so much of your lengthy career in the WWE is spent in a storyline with one character? That was the case for Kane.
Glen Jacobs (Kane) understands that if not for The Undertaker, Kane doesn't become what he becomes and Jacobs doesn't have the extended career he has. He views 'Taker as a true mentor and calls him one of the most helpful wrestlers to the younger generation backstage. This friendship may scare the hell out of people but it is one that has stood the test of time. The Undertaker and Kane or The Brothers of Destruction
1 Hate: The Guilty Wrestlers of Wrestler's Court
This one is a bit more playful in nature, but The Undertaker was the judge and jury of a kangaroo court formed as a way to self-police the locker room called Wrestler's Court. If you were summoned, you had broken an unspoken rule backstage and had to answer to him.
As part of the proceedings, grievances were aired by the locker room which you had to defend and, more often than not, the offended party was handed down a punishment by "The Deadman" himself. If the verdict didn't go your way, it meant a lot of future problems in your WWE career. While some like Edge and Christian were able to bribe themselves out of trouble, others might not have been so lucky.