There are few characters that have endured in the WWE throughout the years. It's not uncommon for the various WWE Superstars to come and go, in fact, if you stop watching the show for a year or two, you could return to a completely different roster. The Undertaker, real name Mark Calaway, made his WWE debut in 1990 and he has been a staple in the company ever since. The Deadman has gone through different phases, but he was the one constant that was always there. When he entered the WWE, it was still a landscape dominated by 1980s Legends like Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, but soon they would leave and the most difficult decade that the company would have commenced.
The 1990s were impossible for the WWE, they suffered at first from offering a product that was too cartoonish and eventually found themselves engaged in all-out ratings war with rival company WCW. The Monday Night Wars were a trying time, with the WWE losing big names like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Bret Hart to WCW, thanks to offerings of guaranteed money and larger paydays. The Undertaker never wavered and never considered leaving. Mark Calaway stood by the WWE until the bitter end and as the one man that has never left, he became a true icon in the minds of the fans and even Vince McMahon himself.
The Undertaker does not do silly skits, he does not break character. The company protects his image more than any other Superstar in history. Here we have gotten out our shoves, visited the graveyard and dug-up a collection of 15 pictures that the WWE would never want you to see of The Undertaker!
15 TNA Connection
Let's face it, the WWE doesn't like to admit that TNA even exists, much less have any of their current Superstars associated with it. It was back in 1989, just before the Undertaker went to the WCW, when Mark Calaway was known as "The Master of Pain" and Dutch Mantel was his manager.
You may know Dutch better as Zeb Colter, the 'merica lovin' and immigrant hating manager of the former WWE Superstar with the "We The People" gimmick, Jack Swagger. These days, Dutch/Zeb is the head writer for TNA and is trying to bring Impact Wrestling into a new era to compete better with the WWE. That makes this picture one that would only serve to send Vince into heated fits.
14 Dad Taker
Nothing screams "Deadman" like a dad screaming "clean up that room!", but the real life reality is that Mark Calaway isn't just a WWE Legend, he's also a loving father of four. Here we see Mark Calaway in a picture with his only son, Gunner Vincent.
All evidence, at least what we can see online, shows that Taker is very involved with all his children and appears to have a great relationship with them all. If you want to poke around you can find social media accounts for the various Calaway kids and see what a day in the life of the child of a WWE Legend is like. Spoiler alert: it's just as boring as yours.
13 Ain't No Party Like An Undertaker Party
When the WWE hypes up The Undertaker they typically like to do it with smoke, lightning mystery and dark intrigue, not with images that look like they were pulled from some random Facebook feed, showcasing their rad time at the bar last night. That is, however, what this image of Mark Calaway partying with some of the WWE crew conveys.
This one might have the caption, "just chillin' with Steph and Trips". Actually, that would be pretty great. We don't have an exact date on this photo, but Taker is out with his second wife, Sara (pictured between Taker and Steph), so it's sometime between 2000 and 2004. Do you think you would recognize Taker in his street clothes? You'd have to at least double take at the seven foot tall giant man, right?
12 School Days
We all have them, embarrassing pictures from our school days. They are often laughable, awkward and goofy. Certainly not the kind of thing that you go around broadcasting if you are trying to upkeep the reputation of a badass WWE Superstar. Mark Calaway was born back in 1965 and grew-up in Texas.
When he isn't in his Taker promo mode, you can still hear his Texas accent come out when he speaks. The Demon of Death Valley was once just a regular guy, albeit tall and athletic even in his youth. He spent a lot of time playing basketball as a kid, in fact he even had a basketball scholarship.
11 Golfing Taker
Okay, so the big, bad Taker looks like a dork in this picture, there's no denying that. In all fairness, everyone looks like a dork when they go golfing, it goes with the territory. Mark Calaway has always been a sports guy, from playing football and basketball, to golf and of course, professional wrestling.
Calaway tried to play basketball professionally over in Europe, but he had to cut his career short thanks to a knee injury. He then spent time as a bouncer and a debt collector while he was working his way into pro-wrestling. It's hard to imagine not paying right-up when a guy like Taker shows up at your door...although if he was dressed like this, you might just a laugh him off your porch.
10 Old And Nerdy
This picture of Calaway is a lot less Big Evil and a lot more Old Nerdy. The Deadman is seen here in an all-over print Hawaiian shirt that one would expect to see on any geeky tourist. We have to imagine that he's also wearing socks with his sandals. Fun in the sun Taker isn't exactly the image that the WWE uses to sell shirts, so this picture probably isn't one of Vince's favorites.
Vince McMahon may want to get Taker a Snapchat filter that lets him add eyeliner and black clothing to any picture he takes from now on. That way, they can avoid images like this that humanize the WWE's demon.
9 Just Plain Old
There's looking a little geeky with age and then there's just plain looking old. Please don't misunderstand this reality check with disrespect. We fully respect the Undertaker and everything he's left in the squared circle, including his health. That being said, we also want to call a spade a spade and when this picture was taken Calaway was looking extremely aged and perhaps even a bit sickly.
He certainly looks better now, so this was probably just a phase, but time waits for no man and the Undertaker is aging. It's a sad fact of life that we, as fans, don't want to have to face, but nonetheless he gets a little slower every year and a little easier to injure. Hopefully, when the time does come to retire, the WWE can help him celebrate his career by letting him go out with an amazing moment (one that DOESN'T include putting over Roman Reigns! Hint, hint.)
8 The Undertaker Advocate?
Brock Lesnar brought the Undertaker's WrestleMania streak to an end a few years ago, with his advocate and mouthpiece Paul Heyman by his side. There was no on-screen mention of any connection between Heyman and Taker, but there is a big one. In his days prior to joining the WWE, Undertaker was "Mean Mark Callous" in the WCW.
During his short tenure in WCW, he joined forces with manager extraordinaire, Paul E. Dangerously, known to fans today as Paul Heyman. It was Heyman that actually brought Taker to the attention of the WWE, so if you think about it, the WWE owes much of their success to the man that would go on to take ECW extreme and lead the Beast to his WrestleMania 30 win over the Undertaker.
7 Smiling Hubby Taker
Mark Calaway has been married three times, not the kind of thing that the WWE likes to promote, because it serves only to humanize a supernatural character. To be fair, the WWE did use his second wife Sara in some story arcs many years ago, but that was during the Undertaker's "American Badass" character change.
Taker is pictured here with a great big smile on his face, enjoying some wine and his time with current wife, and former WWE Diva, Michelle McCool. The duo have been happily married since 2010 and have a four-year old daughter together. Don't count on seeing pictures like this posted on WWE.com anytime soon, it kinds takes the spooky out of the deadman.
6 Romantic Taker
The Undertaker has been married three times over the years. We don't know the circumstances surrounding his divorces, but we can reasonably assume that Taker believes in love, since he keeps giving it a go. The Deadman was pictured here shopping for jewelry years ago. He may have even been shopping for an engagement ring, we can't be certain.
Regardless, there's a reason that the WWE doesn't put the Undertaker in romance angles, it just doesn't work with his character. The Undertaker is like Batman, he's a symbol of something that cannot be affected or corrupted by the same distractions that the other Superstars experience. The Undertaker is focused, driven and absolute.
Mark Calaway would join the WWE in 1990 and begin one of the most prolific careers in sports entertainment as The Undertaker. That was far from his first dabble with professional wrestling, however. Calaway actually began wrestling back in the mid 1980s for WCCW, utilizing the ring name of “Texas Red”, as a nod to his home state and his ginger hair. Calaway would find some success in the independent circuit and by 1989 he was scouted and signed by WCW.
It was a hard time for the WCW back then, they lost a lot of top talent that would go on to shape the WWE over the next decade, like Steve Austin and Mick Foley. It was the same with Calaway, he would stay with WCW for under a year, before signing to Vince McMahon's super promotion and making his in-ring debut in late 1990 as the dark and menacing Undertaker.
4 Kwik-E-Mart Taker
The Undertaker has no need for protein, coffee or snacks! He is death incarnate and exists in a plain far above these pathetic human biological needs. Mark Calaway, on the other hand, needs to drop in every once in awhile. When that happens, he's bound to be recognized and that is where pictures like this one come from.
In this photo, we see a Calaway that clearly isn't stepping into the ring anytime soon. He hasn't dyed his hair, allowing it to all go white, and he's a lot skinnier than we're used to seeing him. The Undertaker has always been a huge guy, but anyone that works out knows that if you don't keep up on your eating and your regimen, you will lose a lot of size quickly. That apparently happens to Calaway during the “offseason”.
3 The Injured Football Fan
Mark Calaway has always been an athletic guy. It's no surprise, given his build, he's a natural in the world of sports. He's also a huge sports fan, often supporting his favorite teams. This picture shows Calaway showing off his custom “Undertaker” Dallas Cowboys jersey. The Deadman got the chance to meet the team when WrestleMania was in Dallas last year.
Taker spent time that week hanging out and meeting some of his favorite athletes. This seems like a perfectly innocent picture, right? It was tweeted out by the Dallas Cowboys, not WWE. The reason for this is that not only is the vicious and mysterious Undertaker is shown here like the team's fanboy, but he's also sporting a shiner on his eye. Regardless of how that happened, both of these things make him look human and subsequently weaker.
2 The Dream That Will Never Be
If there's anything that Vince McMahon enjoys in life more than crushing the dreams of the fans, then we don't know what that thing is. Do you remember that sinking feeling in your gut when the 30th entrant to the Royal Rumble was about to emerge and then the entrance music for Roman Reigns hit? This situation is a lot like that. When the Icon Sting signed with the WWE a few years ago, we all thought that we could finally get the dream match of the century going, The Undertaker vs. Sting.
It was the fantasy match-up that we never thought could happen and thanks to the usual WWE shenanigans, it won't. When Sting came in, he should have been put right into a program with the Undertaker. These two guys aren't getting any younger, after all. Never one to give the fans what they want until they moan for years, Vince instead let him engage in battles with Triple H and Seth Rollins, the latter of which injured him into retirement. No doubt the idea was to drag out the pairing for awhile and this picture is just a reminder to the fans that the WWE waited too long.
1 Aged And Feeble
The Undertaker is one big, tough machine in the ring, but the real-life Mark Calaway had to show some weakness last year when he underwent hip surgery. There were several fans that encountered Calaway out and about with his crutches last fall. His hair was white, he was looking thin and a bit feeble to be honest. It's understandable, however, when you're recovering from a major surgery like that.
Any doubts about Taker's ability to see his own career come to a proper close were quelled when The Deadman re-appeared on WWE television looking good as new. The reports are that he returned sooner than he should have, because he's a damn soldier, but nevertheless, you can't look at The Undertaker that we saw in the Royal Rumble this year and call him feeble. Certainly, he's slowing down and aging, but he'd still mop the floor with any of us!