The Undertaker is one of the most legendary competitors to ever step foot inside a professional wrestling ring. The reaction from crowds every time he enters an arena is incomparable to anything else in WWE history. Between his in-ring persona, his backstage leadership, and his pure dedication to WWE, The Undertaker has earned the respect of almost everyone in the industry.
Despite his legacy, The Deadman has not always been on the best terms with everyone he has competed against. While most respect The Undertaker, he has certainly proven over the years that his respect must be earned from his fellow superstars. Here are five competitors who won The Phenom over, and five who he didn’t care for.
10 Loved: Kane
The Undertaker’s relationship with Kane has spanned over 20 years since the latter debuted with WWF. Over that time, the two have been opponents and allies, maintaining their gimmick as brothers, and using that to fuel their narrative.
As recently as November 2018, The Phenom and the current real-life Mayor of Knox County Tennessee have stood together inside the ring. Not only have the two seen more interaction than any other tandem on the roster, much of Kane’s wrestling style, including his signature chokeslam and Tombstone Piledriver finisher, is derived from The Deadman’s arsenal.
9 Hated: Shawn Michaels
Just as impressive in tenure as The Undertaker’s relationship with Kane is his storied rivalry with Shawn Michaels. The two first saw in-ring action against one another in 1997 and displayed amazing chemistry. The same 2018 match mentioned in the last entry of this list saw the two continuing to stand in opposition despite the passage of time.
While the two legends always provided amazing matches and likely mended their fences in later years, it is well known that The Undertaker despised HBK early on in his career. He viewed Michaels’ backstage politicking as a detriment to the promotion and stood as an enforcer backstage. Infamously, Taker was allegedly prepared to step in following WrestleMania XIV should Michaels fail to drop the title to Stone Cold as planned.
8 Loved: Mick Foley
One of the most popular moments in WWE history was the infamous Hell in a Cell match between Mankind and The Undertaker at the 1998 Royal Rumble. While this match highlights their fierce rivalry, it is just one of many where the two legends brought out the best of one another in the ring.
Both men have expressed their mutual admiration time and again in interviews. Both superstars were known to give their all in every match, and neither saw their fair share of championship gold with WWE. The fact that they have enjoyed so many iconic matches is a testament to their relationship, and it is a joy to watch the result of their chemistry.
7 Hated: CM Punk
If you know anything about The Undertaker or CM Punk, it is that Punk is the antithesis of everything Taker stands for. Punk’s character became a kayfabe breaking machine. He arrogantly boasted of being the best and fighting for headlines. While he was ultimately fired from WWE, Punk has stated that he had little enthusiasm for the promotion at the time of his departure.
By comparison, The Undertaker is well known for his loyalty to Vince McMahon. He is perhaps even more well known for seldom stepping out of character.
Aside from storyline issues, rumor has it that The Deadman once questioned Punk’s image outside the ring while holding the championship gold. Not fully known as fact, it is believed that his disappointment with Punk’s refusal to dress more fittingly led to The Undertaker’s 2009 championship run.
6 Loved: JBL
John Bradshaw Layfield saw a lot of transformations during his time with WWE. His most well-known gimmicks were the cowboy “Blackjack Bradshaw,” tough guy “Bradshaw” with Farooq in both the Acolytes and the APA, and finally the financially savvy “JBL” gimmick which would round out his career.
JBL and The Undertaker frequently sat over Wrestler’s Court backstage, but they also spent a significant amount of time together in the ring, either as allies or rivals. Their chemistry was uncanny, and it was clear the two always admired one another.
5 Hated: Mabel
While this animosity would be squashed before Mabel debuted the “Viscera” character as part of The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness, The Deadman and Mabel had a tough time together through the latter’s initial run with WWF.
Mabel became a dominant heel after his 1995 King of the Ring victory, leading to feuds with Diesel and The Undertaker. During both storylines, the big man managed to seriously injure his opponents. In the case of The Undertaker, Mabel fractured his orbital bone, sidelining The Deadman for two months.
This injury would limit Mabel’s remaining time with the promotion and create a tense environment with one of the company’s top talents.
4 Loved: Bret Hart
In a classic story of true talent respecting true talent, these two men dominated the main event scene in the '90s and maintained a strong level of respect and admiration throughout their careers. Long after Hart retired and The Undertaker transitioned to a very limited role, Taker could still be observed supporting his fellow legend.
Inside the ring, the two enjoyed some very storied matches. In the ring, Hart’s technical skills were a perfect contrast to Taker’s brawling “big man” style. Add in storylines involving Shawn Michaels, and WWF had the perfect storm to play out some of its top talents. The Undertaker would build relationships with both men, although seemingly favoring Hart of the two.
3 Hated: DDP
If you’ve managed to forget that Diamond Dallas Page and The Undertaker ever met in the ring, you’ve done yourself a favor. During The Invasion storyline, the future fitness guru and the Deadman feuded, with the former stalking Taker’s wife
During the angle, The Undertaker essentially buried the former WCW star. He gave very little back to DDP in the feud and even involved a spot where his wife got a pin over DDP. According to Bob Holly, a big source of the animosity between the two was that Page liked to plan matches completely and The Undertaker was opposed to this. DDP himself has stated that the styles of the two did not sync.
2 Loved: Brock Lesnar
Until 2014, very little was as precious in professional wrestling as The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. That all changed unexpectedly when Brock Lesnar officially ended the 21-0 record amassed by The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX.
There is a lot of debate on who decided to end The Streak. Many believe that Taker chose himself that it was time to use his legacy to take The Beast Incarnate to the next level by putting him over on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Regardless of how this came about, Lesnar and Taker's numerous rivalries highlight great intergenerational chemistry and emphasize the working relationship they have shared over the past 17 years.
1 Hated: Hulk Hogan
If The Undertaker is known for anything, it is his respect for professional wrestling. Even in appearances today, Taker will take bumps and leave everything he has in the ring any time he performs. Over the years, he has demonstrated a lack of respect for anyone who does otherwise.
While Taker and Hogan enjoyed a main event rivalry over the WWF Championship in the early '90s, they wouldn’t share the spotlight again until 2002, when Hogan claimed the WWE Undisputed Championship. During their championship match at Judgment Day that year, Big Evil set up Hogan for a chokeslam at the finish, which Hogan refused to fully commit to.
The result is considered by many to be one of the worst displays of that move of all time, and Taker is noted to give Hogan some words in the ring. Undoubtedly, they were bright and full of joy.