Mark Calaway, better known as The Undertaker, has been the heartbeat of WWE for over two decades. He's been a loyal subject to Vince McMahon, a locker room leader, and outright living legend in the sports entertainment industry.
Calaway was born in Houston, Texas before growing up dead and hailing from Death Valley. The Undertaker made his official WWE debut at the 1990 Survivor Series as a member of Ted DiBiase's “Million Dollar Team.”
The rest of the story is written in the record books, as that night in Hartford would mark the beginning of the grandest WWE legacy. The Undertaker would become a devout member of the WWE roster, never straying from his ties to Vince McMahon. Over the course of Calaway's WWE career, his Undertaker character would undergo some changes: from the Lord of Darkness to a Satanic-like dark priest to the American Bad Ass (the humanized version of The Undertaker) and back The Deadman.
However, the thing that remains true, no matter which gimmick Calaway is playin,; is his undying (no pun intended) passion and devotion to his craft and to the WWE. There is no replacing or duplicating The Undertaker. The Undertaker would put together a magnificent career, going on to become a seven-time WWE/World Champion and setting forth a string of dominance that will probably never been seen again with twenty-one consecutive victories at WrestleMania.
When “the streak” officially ended at the hands of Brock Lesnar, the WWE Universe went into a state of complete shock and now that it is over, the future of The Undertaker remains unclear. Whether or not he will return again is anybody's guess.
The aging and ailing Calaway has already given more than enough of himself to the fans, so should he choose to call it a career, there should be no ill will. Calaway may be content in Texas with his family (that includes former Diva Michelle McCool) and have no desire to get back into the ring.
The following article will take a look at the most mysterious character in the WWE as we present the top 15 little-known facts about The Undertaker:
15 Miscellaneous WrestleMania Facts
The WrestleMania winning streak possessed by The Undertaker is the most impressive streak in WWE history. The following are a few little facts involving 'Taker and 'Mania:
WrestleMania IX: The third of twenty-one consecutive wins came via DQ when The Undertaker battled Giant Gonzalez and Gonzalez used a chloroform-soaked rag to knock The Undertaker unconscious.
WrestleMania XIX: This handicap match against Big Show and A-Train was scheduled to be a tag-team bout with young superstar Nathan Jones slated to team with 'Taker, but plans were changed and the match became a two-on-one encounter.
WrestleMania XXIX: The rumor here is that The Undertaker hated working his match with CM Punk, due to the size mismatch, not Punk's ability (This was in a column written by former WCW announcer Mark Madden).
WrestleMania XXX: Following his heartbreaking defeat, The Undertaker was said to have collapsed backstage and was rushed to the hospital where he was accompanied by Vince McMahon, who opted to miss the evening's main event.
WrestleMania X and XVI: The only two times since his arrival in WWE in which The Undertaker was not featured on the card.
14 Avid Fan of Real Fighting
The Undertaker has made a success living from pro wrestling, but outside of the wrestling world 'Taker is an avid fan of the non-scripted stuff. In 2005, 'Taker carried the American Flag to the ring as he led Team Pacquiao into the Pacquiao vs. Velazquez fight.
The Undertaker also enjoys the mixed martial arts scene, where he has been noticed in attendance at several UFC events. The most famous being at UFC 121 where Brock Lesnar was defeated by Cain Velasquez. In a post-fight interview being conducted with 'Taker, Lesnar would walk by and stare down The Deadman, which prompted 'Taker to ask: “you wanna do it?” Who would have thought that Lesnar would be back in WWE one day and conquer the streak?
13 Basketball Past
Many years before The Undertaker made the wrestling ring “his yard,” he was a standout on the hardwood as a high school basketball player. Following high school, 'Taker attended Texas Wesleyan University where he continued to pursue basketball and was a member of the collegiate team during the 1985-86 season. However, the lure of professional wrestling would soon overtake all other recreational activities enjoyed by 'Taker, as he would leave basketball behind and take the first steps on his journey towards immortality.
12 Suburban Commando
The main star of the Hollywood classic feature film known as Suburban Commando was already a legend of professional wrestling. That legend of course was Hulk Hogan. However, the film also featured a future legend, The Undertaker. The young 'Taker was signed on to play the role of Hutch, an immensely strong villain who sets out to destroy Shep Ramsey (The character portrayed by Hogan). This cinematic catastrophe was the first, and last, time 'Taker would grace the big screen, having not returned to feature films since.
11 "Kane" The Undertaker
The Undertaker is a name synonymous with greatness, but it wasn't always simply “The Undertaker.” In 1990, upon his debut in WWE, The Phenom was known as Kane “The Undertaker.” However, the name did not last long and the Kane portion was soon dropped. This opened the door for another superstar years later to use the name Kane, when Glenn Jacobs debuted as Kane, half-brother to The Undertaker. It's a good thing that WWE decided to drop the Kane part of 'Taker's name. The Undertaker alone sounds so much more menacing and morbid.
10 Brother Love
When you think about The Undertaker, another name usually comes to mind: Paul Bearer. The longtime manager of The Deadman played an pivotal role in the development of The Undertaker character, especially early on in his career. Bearer was a ghostly looking man with a high-pitched voice, who would be seen holding an urn whenever on camera. The very urn which was known to be the secret of The Undertaker's powers. However, the historic pairing of 'Taker and Bearer was not the original direction the WWE was heading. The very first manger of The Undertaker was Brother Love, a red-faced preacher-type character, perhaps best known for his time in WWE as host of The Brother Love Show.
9 USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion
The USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship was a title established in 1988 that combined the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship with the AWA World Heavyweight Championship when Jerry Lawler defeated Kerry Von Erich in a unification match.
The second man to hold the newly christened championship was a man known as The Master of Pain, when he defeated Jerry Lawler in an impromptu match for the title. The Master of Pain would drop the belt back to Jerry Lawler just a few weeks later.
You should have figured out by now that The Master of Man is the man we have been discussing throughout this list, The Undertaker. The USWA Unified Heavyweight Championship was the first official wrestling title held by 'Taker and beating a legend like Jerry Lawler for the gold was a nice touch.
8 "Mean" Mark Callous
The Undertaker is a WWE-lifer but many often forget that he was in fact a member of the WCW roster once upon a time. While his stint in WCW was neither very long nor very memorable, 'Taker worked under the ring name “Mean” Mark Callous in 1989-90. WCW opted not to renew his contract and with that, the days of “Mean” Mark Callous were over. The Undertaker was soon signed to the WWE and never looked back. What a major blunder on the part of WCW. The Phenom was all theirs, but they just didn't realize his potential.
7 Problems with HBK
The relationship shared between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels nowadays is built greatly on respect, with 'Taker being the man who ended Michaels' career at WrestleMania XXVI. However, this was not always the case. In the '90s when HBK was seemingly running the show in WWE, 'Taker was growing increasingly frustrated with the arrogant superstar.
Tensions boiled over during the build-up to WrestleMania XIV where Shawn Michaels was to defend the WWE Championship against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. With Michaels' erratic behavior, there was legitimate concern that he would not be willing to drop the belt to Austin. This is when 'Taker took matters into his own hands by threatening to knock out HBK should he choose not to conduct business properly. Everything turned out fine, as Austin won the WWE Championship that night. Meanwhile, HBK entered into his first retirement.
6 More Problems with HBK
Keeping with 'Taker and HBK, we now look back at their in-ring history as the these two storied careers have crossed paths in the most hellacious of circumstances. It was 'Taker and HBK who introduced the world to the Hell in a Cell match, when they did battle in 1997 inside the structure, a match in which HBK was victorious.
In 1998, the two would have another epic encounter as they faced off in a casket match for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. The match in which Shawn Michael injured his back, subsequently costing him years of his career, but a match where once again Michaels was victorious.
You might be wondering what the fact is here. Well, it wasn't until WrestleMania XXV when The Undertaker was finally able to defeat Shawn Michaels in a singles match, having never done so in his career. Of course, the two would go at one last time at WrestleMania XXVI, in the retirement match of Shawn Michaels.
5 Angle Choke Out
This is a rather interesting story involving The Undertaker, Kurt Angle, and Vince McMahon.
The story goes (according to Kurt Angle's book), that Vince McMahon once jumped Angle backstage and brought him down to the floor, all in good fun. Following this, McMahon would often remind Angle that he was only guy backstage ever able to take Angle down.
Then on a plane ride, Angle decided to seek his revenge by tackling McMahon in the aisle. This would continue for a while with McMahon looking to retaliate the take down. During one of their playful scuffles, the noise was loud enough to wake up The Undertaker who had been fast asleep.
When he awoke and noticed what was going on, 'Taker proceeded to interject and choke out Kurt Angle, as he was unaware that McMahon and Angle were just messing around.
The Undertaker is a golfer, an admitted bad golfer, but a golfer nonetheless. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, 'Taker (out of character) spoke about his golf game when asked what he does when he is not busy being The Undertaker:
“I spend a lot of time with my family, my children. I also work on my horrible golf game. I love golf, but I'm awful. For some reason, I go out there and make myself miserable because I'm so bad at it.”
There is just something weird about picturing The Deadman in a polo-shirt and shorts on a golf course.
3 Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
This next story involves some strange bedfellows and involves movie star couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, as well as the bed of The Undertaker:
While filming a movie, Pitt and Jolie rented a compound in Cedar Creek, Texas which is located outside of Austin. The compound was owned by none other than The Undertaker himself, who rented his home to the couple. The house came equipped with a wrestling ring and a master bedroom said to be larger than most houses due to the custom-sized large bed, which was requested by The Deadman.
2 Real Estate Investor
The Undertaker is certainly well-off financially and one would expect that he has invested his money into certain business endeavors. Well, 'Taker has invested a lot into real estate and, along with business partner Scott Everhart, has established The Calahart (a portmanteau of their surnames) which is a multimillion dollar building located in Loveland, Colorado. This is another aspect of The Undertaker that is hard to imagine as a wrestling fan. The Phenom as a businessman? However, 'Taker is human (for real) and these are just the every day dealings of human beings.
1 The Eggman
The 1990 Survivor Series marked the emphatic debut of The Undertaker in the WWE and is a moment locked forever inside the vault of wrestling’s greatest debuts. The thing is, it almost never happened.
In the months leading up to Survivor Series, a giant egg was on display at WWE events and was being promoted a great deal on television. When the event rolled around and the egg began to hatch, out came a man in a giant turkey costume known as the Gobbledy Gooker. The reaction from the live crowd was overwhelmingly negative, as all the hype virtually led to utter nonsense.
The original plan for this egg was to debut a new superstar under the moniker, The Eggman. The man who was supposed to hatch from that egg was going to be The Undertaker, but somewhere along the line the plug was pulled from that idea.
Could you imagine if The Undertaker had been The Eggman instead? The only good thing I could think of coming from that gimmick would have been the entrance music. “I Am The Walrus,” by The Beatles – focusing only on the part where John Lennon sings: “I am the eggman...”