The Undertaker has been the one constant in the WWE since his debut in 1990. It's incredible to think that his first match was against legends like Dusty Rhodes (eliminating him in their Survivor Series match). He has had so many memorable matches with just about everybody (except Sting) throughout his illustrious career. Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, CM Punk, Hogan, Brock Lesnar and even a great match with Triple H.
Mark Calaway (his real name) was one of the few bright lights in the WWE during its darkest hours. During the New Generation Era, fans were subjected to some horrific gimmicks and mediocre talent, but we always knew Undertaker, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were there to save the day. Calaway even had to carry Mabel to a few brutal matches. In fact, being a big man has led to many dull matches with footnotes like Giant Gonzales and even a fake Undertaker. But he has remained a professional throughout, always seeking to elevate talent and provide the best possible show.
The Rock wrote in his book about how grateful he is to Calaway for putting him over cleanly in a pivotal match. It was a very big push for The Rock to get the win and he was shocked that Calaway decided to make it a clean 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring. Many veterans are desperate to protect their image and would prefer to lose via DQ or some other muddled WCW-type finish.
How did he become The Undertaker anyways?
Well, Calaway was initially wrestling for the WCW as Mean Mark. WCW management said they loved his intimidating look and skills but didn't know what to do with a guy who 'never smiled'. Turns out Vince McMahon knew exactly what to do, and exaggerated that quality into a gimmick that has lasted 25 years!
Calaway has said he continues to wrestle because he truly loves it, and couldn't imagine not appearing at WrestleMania. However, he wants to hang up the boots when he feels he can't preform at a high enough level. Fans will be waiting to see what kind of performance he can give at SummerSlam in his Lesnar rematch. Their meeting at WrestleMania XXX was a bit depressing. Fans want to be in awe, not pity.
Still for a man who has been such a staple in the WWE, we know far less about the man than other stars. He's very private, always keeping the mystique of his persona. All we know for sure is he's the most respected wrestler among his peers in the history of the business. Taker's word is gospel to his fellow wrestlers.
He is human and like all wrestlers, he has some fascinating stories from his life in the business. Here are the top 10 weird real life stories of the Deadman!
10 Cucumbers Are His Mortal Enemy
There is only one thing that the Lord of Darkness fears, and you would never guess it (if I didn't give it away already). Yes, cucumbers! Strange isn't it. Bill Moody (Paul Bearer) has told a few crazy stories about this strange phobia.
During a gas stop, Moody desparately had to use the bathroom, but that mean 'ol Undertaker ordered him to fill up the tank first. Well Moody couldn't hold it any longer and emptied his own tank all over his leg and pants. Moody swore revenge and instantly went to 'Taker's kryptonite: the long green machine. He waited until 'Taker was getting dressed and ready to 'rassle before he filled The Deadman's signature hat up with the dreaded vegetable; all the way to the brim. 'Taker saw this and promptly vomited.
Moody tells of another time when cucumbers adorned Undertaker's plate at a local waffle house. What happened? You guessed it; vomit.
What happened as a child? Force fed cucumbers? Or did one go where a cucumber should never go? We'll never know because I am never going to ask him!
9 He Hung Out With Jake Roberts... For A Reason
Jake Roberts recalls first meeting him.
“I was there when he first got in there in the WWE. He comes to me, and says, ‘Hey I hear you know where all the good strip joints are at…’ And I’m like, ‘In the world? Yes. I know them all.’ And he’s like, ‘Well, I’ll travel with you!’. I said, ‘Oh boy, why don’t you go back to playin’ basketball because you’re not gonna be able to hang with me…I’ll kill ya…’
And a few weeks later, he was in pretty bad shape with alcohol poisoning. (Laughs) Yeah, but it was a ‘chemical’ world, so I was cheating, man. He didn’t know it. I wasn’t gonna tell him! He rolled with me for quite a while. We’re great friends and I’d like to think that I helped him more. I think if you asked him he’d tell you that he learned a lot from me. I love the guy.”
Roberts said after Calaway's alcohol poisoning he had to get his stomach pumped yet still wrestled that night! Apparently he didn't even need his usual makeup to look white as a deadman.
This story rings very true as Calaway and Roberts did some great heel work together torturing The Ultimate Warrior.
8 He Was 'Judge' Of 'Wrestler Court'
Wrestling is a tough life and living on the road with so many of your colleagues can get stressful and heated. To solve backstage issues there used to be a 'wrestler's court' and Calaway was the judge. Mr. Gimmick Bryan Adams even played the prosecution.
Randy Savage explained the locker-room dynamic.
"You don’t want to make the boys mad at you, but at the same time you need to stand up for your rights. And the boys will listen. The boys are great. If you treat the boys right, you respect them, the boys will run through walls for you. Wrestling is a fraternity, and the boys will work their butts off for you as long as you respect them and don’t lie. You can’t walk all over anyone or everybody will walk all over you. Here’s the deal… there are no tough guys in wrestling. If you come in and act like you’re a tough guy, you’re in trouble the second you walk through that dressing room…”
Calaway obviously had huge respect to be considered 'Judge' and his leadership must have been very important to the WWE. You have to wonder what 'Taker's signals would be for guilty and not guilty.
7 He Used To Hang Around Jenna Jameson
When Jameson was just 16, she worked at a tattoo parlor Calaway frequented. Jameson was very impressionable at the time, buying into the big man's scary in-ring work and stated that 'the character he played was not an act'. They hung out together for years after that.
Jameson recounts a time in which Calaway told her 'I'm going to kick your boyfriend's ass and take you away with me'.
Jameson took this so seriously that she immediately got her boyfriend and took off, never seeing Calaway again.
6 He Loves Strip Clubs
We're not sure what the wrestlers did to deserve it, but at one point Vince laid down the law and temporarily banned strip clubs.
Kevin Nash loved strip clubs and also had no problem flaunting authority. He decided to sneak out to one anyway. I'm not sure how a seven foot famous wrestler 'sneaks' in but Nash can be crafty.
While trying to find a quiet spot to enjoy naked women and expensive beer, Nash looked over at another gigantic man and instantly recognized Calaway. They congratulated each other on 'listening' and tried to remain as inconspicuous as only two gigantic wrestlers can.
5 He Took Acid With Justin Credible
Justin Credible worked the WWE during its New Generation era as Aldo Montoya. It was a terrible gimmick in a time of terrible gimmicks. Credible was very low on the totem pole but he praised Calaway for how he still socialized with him and made him feel like one of the boys.
He told one story of sitting behind Calaway on a long flight to Europe. Calaway, being the generous veteran, gave him some acid on a piece of paper. Soon enough Credible was flying as high as the plane. When Calaway noticed this, he turned around and hissed at him like a cat! Credible said this was terrifying of course, but he appreciated it as a friendly gesture. He also mentioned that every other wrestler called him 'Aldo' but Calaway made sure to call him by his real first name, Peter.
I'm just glad Vince didn't see how scared Credible was and give Calaway a hissing cat gimmick.
4 He Choked Out Kurt Angle
McMahon and Angle had been a good-natured contest running in which they would try and surprise each other with a wrestling takedown. McMahon had one up on the Olympian and Angle plotted his revenge.
During a flight to Europe (safe) Angle got him back, evening the score, but McMahon wouldn't wait for the flight to end to strike. This time however, it turned into a play-scuffle in the aisle of the plane. Unfortunately for Angle, Calaway was woken up by their scuffle and thought McMahon was in serious trouble. He leapt onto Angle and applied a vicious choke hold.
How about tag-team angle with Undertaker and McMahon?
3 He Had His Own 'Clique' That Didn't Abuse Power
Shawn Michaels' 'kliq' was infamous for bullying other wrestlers and having Vince's ear. Bret Hart and Bam Bam Bigelow are two of the many wrestlers who have spoken out about their tyranny.
Calaway formed his own backstage group called the Bone Street Krew. This was possibly made as more of a joke, in response to HBK's posse, but it got serious enough that tattoos were involved! If you ever see 'Taker's abdomen you will clearly see the very large B.S.K Pride emblazoned proudly.
Members of this alternate group were Yokozuna, Godfather, Savio Vega, Crush, Paul Bearer, & Rikishi.
In a real fight between BSK and the Kliq I'd put every dollar I had on Taker's posse.
2 He Can Stop A Car-Jacking With His Eyes
Calaway was riding with Bruce Prichard (Brother Love) during one of their endless road trips, but it wasn't going so well. They found themselves in a very rough part of town and for some reason, stopped to ask for directions. The situation turned hostile and Prichard feared they were about to get mugged or worse. That is until the would-be thug noticed Calaway in the car staring at him. Even sitting cramped in a rental car, The Deadman is an intimidating force. Calaway gave the look of death and they were on their merry way.
1 He Made Sure Michaels Lost To Austin
The Undertaker has been the 'rock' of the WWE. He stuck it out through the dark times of the mid-90s and was a huge part of its Attitude Era success and return to glory. A crucial point in the Attitude Era was Austin defeating Michaels for the World Championship at WrestleMania XIV. However, many were worried Michaels would weasel out of it like he did to Bret Hart the year prior. Calaway was the leader of the locker room and was going to make sure everything went according to plan. Here's the story told my HBK himself.
“Mark (Undertaker) went to everybody and told them, ‘If this doesn’t go down the way it should, I’m going to have a big problem and Shawn is going to have a big problem. I’ll go over there and beat the heck out of him.’ But he never had to say anything to me. My whole intention at WrestleMania XIV was to drop the belt to Steve, but I was going to make everybody sweat it out and make them think I wasn’t. Obviously, I got that accomplished. That’s extremely unprofessional, but that’s exactly who I was and what I was doing.”
There you have it. One way or another The Undertaker is arguably the most important wrestler in-ring and backstage in WWE history. We're rooting for him to have one more great 'Mania match and end his career on a high note.