The Deadman is arguably the most iconic figure in the history of the WWE. A common backstage rumor is that The Undertaker is Vince McMahon's favorite character and his most beloved creation. The man under the black hat, Mark Calaway, is also well-known for being one of the most respected wrestlers in the business by both the brass, the boys, and the boisterous fans alike. Besides his in-ring chops, Calaway made himself into a kind of backstage general--a revered authority figure who often hands down judgements in Wrestler's Court or provides helpful tips to any curious rookie. Simply put, The Undertaker is the man in the WWE.
Despite this, there are certain things that 'Taker has yet to accomplish in McMahon's empire. While he's mostly done it all, from winning the Royal Rumble to holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on multiple occasions, a few elusive accomplishments remain. While it's unlikely that The Undertaker will achieve any of these things with the small amount of time he has left in the business, it is still fun to think about how his career might have been different if he'd won the Intercontinental Championship in 1996 or the European Championship sometime in 1998.
15 15. Win the Intercontinental Championship
With just a year in the company under his belt, The Undertaker captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the 1991 instalment of the Survivor Series. Although the win was a controversial one (thanks to Ric Flair and a well placed steel chair), The Undertaker still got a win over none other than Hulk Hogan. Following This Tuesday in Texas, when Hogan reclaimed the title, The Undertaker entered a championship drought that would last until 1997.
Prior to the conclusion of that drought, The Undertaker vied for the Intercontinental Championship on a few occasions. The closest The Deadman came to capturing the IC strap occurred at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog in May 1996. There, during a simmering feud, The Undertaker and Goldust wrestled in a Casket match, which is one of The Undertaker's specialties. Unfortunately, Goldust managed to defeat The Undertaker in eight minutes. Subsequently, The Undertaker was never again a serious challenger for the Intercontinental Championship.
14 14. Win the United States Championship
From 2004 until 2010, The Undertaker was the undisputed king of SmackDown. As such, he held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on multiple occasions and turned out instant classics with the likes of Edge, Batista, CM Punk, and Booker T. There was one SmackDown title that always eluded The Undertaker, however. As a championship belt most closely associated with undersized technical maestros like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Shelton Benjamin, the United States Championship seems like an unlikely prize for The Phenom.
As it turns out, the closest The Undertaker has ever come to winning the U.S. title in the WWE (he did wrestle Lex Luger for the title in WCW while wrestling under the name "Mean" Mark Callous) title took place at No Mercy in 2006. At that Pay-Per-View, The Undertaker lost via disqualification to the then U.S. champion Mr. Kennedy. The Kennedy-Undertaker feud would continue, but the U.S. title was never part of the picture.
13 13. Win the European Championship
Given that The Undertaker has spent the majority of his career either as a contender for the WWE's top prize or as a gloomy loner interested only in big money feuds, it's not surprising that he has rarely competed for the WWE's secondary and tertiary titles. That being said, 'Taker did hold the WWE Hardcore Championship for 58 days at one point. Although he never competed for the European Championship, a title run was certainly within the realm of possibility for The Deadman around 2001-2002.
According to the likes of Jim Cornette and others, the European title began its life as a simple way to get The British Bulldog over. However, at One Night Only in Birmingham, England, Shawn Michaels politicked to take the title from The British Bulldog just so he could eventually bequeath the belt to D-Generation X stablemate Triple H. Following this, the European Championship mostly passed between technically proficient light heavyweights and quasi-comedy acts. Looking back, it's probably for the best that The Undertaker never won the European Championship.
12 12. Win Multiple Royal Rumble Matches
The fact that The Undertaker won the Royal Rumble in 2007 alone puts him in an elite category. Most WWE Superstars go their whole careers without ever winning the WWE's premiere Battle Royal event. But, when compared to the company's other timeless attractions, The Undertaker's lone Royal Rumble victory seems a little lonely. After all, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and even Batista have all won the match more than once. Even Roman Reigns, who has only won the event once, has been in the final four or two on multiple occasions.
In fact, The Undertaker's participation in the event has been historically spotty. It's been years since his last appearance, and unlike his fictional brother Kane, 'Taker isn't always portrayed as a thoroughly dominant entrant. Unlike WrestleMania or Survivor Series, the Royal Rumble is not The Undertaker's best Pay-Per-View.
11 11. Win the King of the Ring
The title of "King of the Ring" isn't the prize it used to be. None of the last three winners (William Regal, Sheamus, and Bad News Barrett) found entry into the main event scene. Heck, since at least the late nineties, the winners of the King of the Ring have barely cracked the upper mid-card. In truth, the last noteworthy winner was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in 1996.
As for The Undertaker, he's only participated in two tournaments--1991 and 1995. On both occasions he lost in the Quarterfinals, first to Sid Justice and then to Mabel. That's a pretty poor record for one of the WWE's greatest wrestlers. On the other side of the coin, the King of the Ring Pay-Per-View has been very kind to The Undertaker. In 1998, he famously defeated Mankind in a brutal Hell in a Cell match, while in 1997 and 1999 he successfully defended the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Faarooq and The Rock.
10 10. Have a Meaningful Tag Team Title Reign
Throughout his career in the WWE, The Undertaker has held tag team gold seven times. This might sound impressive, but never once did any of these teams hold the belts for more than fifty days. The closest The Deadman came to a meaningful tag team title reign was when he and Kane, the so-called Brothers of Destruction, held the WCW Tag Team titles for 49 days. Although fondly remembered by the fans, The Brothers of Destruction were not a highly decorated team. Their run as WWE World Tag Team Champions only lasted a combined total of 41 days.
Still, The Undertaker's time with Kane can at least be construed as a somewhat successful partnership. The Undertaker's other championship teams, which included partners like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, and Big Show, barely held the titles for more than a week. It's safe to say that The Undertaker's legacy has little to do with his tag team work.
9 9. Hold the World Heavyweight Championship for 200 Days
Despite his reputation, The Undertaker is far from the most decorated wrestler in WWE's history. For the majority of his career, The Undertaker has wrestled without a title. Blame it on The Deadman's apathy towards material things all you want, but it is interesting to note that men like Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista, none of whom come close to having The Undertaker's vaunted reputation backstage or online, have all held as many if not more titles than 'Taker. Even more importantly, when they were champions, these men had long reigns. The same cannot be said for The Undertaker.
During his fourth wave resurgence in the late 2000s, The Undertaker captured the World Heavyweight Championship on three different occasions. Although the belt lost a lot of prestige following its move to SmackDown in 2005, The Undertaker still wore the big chunk of gold with pride. However, his longest reign, which lasted only a mere 140 days, did little to further elevate The Deadman. Indeed, this reign is mostly noteworthy because it stopped CM Punk's momentum right at the moment when he was starting to close in on the main event scene.
8 8. Hold the WWE Championship for 150 Days
As with his later reigns as World Heavyweight Champion, The Undertaker's time as the WWE Champion never seemed all that special. The Deadman never had the belt long enough to be anything but a transitional champion. His longest reign, which consisted of 133 days between March and August of 1997, was overshadowed by the Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels feud and the rise of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Furthermore, although he won the belt at WrestleMania, thereby extending his streak, The Undertaker's match against Sycho Sid was a real stinker.
The Undertaker's greatest era of championship dominance only lasted 63 days in 2002, when, as The American Badass, he ran roughshod over RAW until finally losing the belt to The Rock. Although this reign was short, The Undertaker did have classic championship matches with Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam. These contests undeniably helped the two younger men to get over as main event talents.
7 7. Have More Than One Five-Star Match
To be fair to The Undertaker, most WWE wrestlers don't have a single Five-Star Match to their name. Legendary wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, the founder of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, is well-known for his match rating system, which has a history of favoring Japanese wrestling matches, especially matches produced by either All Japan Pro Wrestling or New Japan Pro Wrestling. In North America, most Five-Star Matches have occurred in either NWA-WCW or Ring of Honor. In short, the WWE typically does not produce the kind of match that Dave Meltzer considers "great."
In 1997 however, Meltzer handed out the award to The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels for their match at Badd Blood, which was the first ever Hell in a Cell match. Oddly enough, The Undertaker and Michaels have won Meltzer's "Match of the Year" honors twice for their two WrestleMania matches in 2009 and 2010. However, wrestlers like Samoa Joe, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Stan Hansen, and Manami Toyota have earned more -FiveStar Matches than The Undertaker.
6 6. Win the ECW Championship
The WWE's relaunch of Extreme Championship Wrestling, which lasted from 2006 until 2010, was a disaster of epic proportions. Although the brand served as an entry point for talents like CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and The Miz, the WWE version of ECW was just a reminder of why the original article was so much better. As such, by 2007, the ECW Championship had less prestige than secondary titles like the Intercontinental title and the U.S. title.
Besides giving a platform to younger talents, WWE's ECW also served as a regeneration station for slightly over-the-hill grapplers and perennial mid-carders. This is why Kane, Chavo Guerrero, Big Show, Mark Henry, Christian, and Matt Hardy all held the title at one point. By 2008, the title and the entire brand needed some new blood and energy. An ECW title run for The Undertaker may have helped tremendously, or it could have damaged The Deadman's legacy a little. Either way, The Undertaker never once enjoyed ECW championship gold.
5 5. Win Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Wrestler of the Year Award
Like the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Pro Wrestling Illustrated is one of the cornerstones of the pro wrestling world. Long known as an "Apter Mag" thanks to the work of writer, photographer, publisher, and all-around wrestling gadfly Bill Apter, Pro Wrestling Illustrated is a respected publication that tends to look upon the WWE favorably. Since 1972, the magazine has handed out the Wrestler of the Year award to mostly WWE and WCW wrestlers. Past champions include Kurt Angle, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Lex Luger, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Seth Rollins.
Surprisingly, despite his very popular babyface run from 1994 until 1998, The Undertaker has never been named the Wrestler of the Year. Even his brilliant heel run between 2001 and 2003 wasn't enough to impress the men behind Pro Wrestling Illustrated. The closest 'Taker has come to winning the honor was in 1997, when he was named second runner-up behind Austin and Luger.
4 4. Win PWI's Most Popular Wrestler Award
Again, it's worth mentioning that Pro Wrestling Illustrated is generally a pro-WWE publication. Unlike Dave Meltzer and numerous pro wrestling 'zines (the best of which is The Atomic Elbow), PWI isn't gaga for Japanese puroresu. Be that as it may, PWI has never awarded The Undertaker its prized Most Popular Wrestler honor. While men like Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Dusty Rhodes, Sting, and John Cena have all won the award multiple times, The Undertaker hasn't even won one. In 1992, The Undertaker was the second runner-up behind The Ultimate Warrior and Sting. Two years later, he was in the same spot behind Bret Hart and Sting. In 1996, 'Taker earned third runner-up honors behind Sycho Sid, Savage, and Shawn Michaels.
The closest The Undertaker has ever come to winning PWI's Most Popular Wrestler award was in 2007, when he was named the first runner-up behind John Cena.
3 3. Win PWI's Tag Team of the Year Award
As stated earlier in this article, The Undertaker has never been a member of a highly successful or even legendary tag team. Even The Brothers of Destruction was but a flash in the pan considering his overall career. Given this, it isn't surprising that The Undertaker has never won PWI's Tag Team of the Year Award. After all, how could any of The Undertaker's teams compare to the likes of The Road Warriors (winners in 1984 and 1985), The Fabulous Freebirds (1981), Harlem Heat (1995 and 1996), and The Dudley Boyz (2001 and 2009)?
That being said, some of the teams who have won the award are a little suspect. For instance, Billy and Chuck won in 2002, while Kofi Kingston and R-Truth won in 2012. Surely, The Brothers of Destruction were better than those teams, right? Unfortunately, The Brothers of Destruction only earned first runner-up honors in 2001.
2 2. Win More Than One Buried Alive Match
The Buried Alive match, in which one wrestler must dump his opponent six feet under and bury them in order to win, should be one of The Undertaker's specialties. Indeed, the match was tailor-made for The Deadman. Somehow, The Undertaker and/or management never got the memo, because The Undertaker's record in Buried Alive matches is 1-4. At In Your House 11: Buried Alive, The Undertaker lost the first ever Buried Alive match to Mankind. Then, between 1998 and 2010,The Undertaker lost subsequent Buried Alive matches to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, and Kane.
The Undertaker's only Buried Alive win came during the September 9, 1999 episode of SmackDown, when he and the Big Show defeated The Rock 'N' Sock Connection for the World Tag Team Championship. Unlike the Casket match, which The Undertaker has mostly owned throughout his career, the Buried Alive match may be The Deadman's Achilles heel.
1 1. Wrestle John Cena at WrestleMania
Along with Sting, who has sadly retired, many fans have clamored for years to see a John Cena versus The Undertaker match at WrestleMania. Now that the celebrated streak is over, would such a match still attract millions of wrestling fans? The answer is a most definite: "Yes!"
For well over a decade now, John Cena has been the most pushed man in the entire WWE. He's not only close to reaching Ric Flair's historic record of sixteen different World Championship reigns, but he's headlined more WWE Pay-Per-Views than Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. For his part, The Undertaker has rarely ever tangled with Cena, which would make a WrestleMania match that much more special. With The Undertaker running out of 'Mania matches, perhaps 'Taker and Cena will tangle next year in Orlando at WrestleMania 33.
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