Today, Mark Calaway celebrates his 55th birthday – but we know him better as The Undertaker.
It has been almost 30 years since The Deadman debuted in WWE, in-fact November 22 of this year will be the anniversary.
From the very moment he made his way out at Survivor Series, fans in the arena and around the world couldn’t believe what had appeared.
In a time where WWE were creating wacky characters such as the Gobbledy Gooker and Papa Shango, The Undertaker stood out immediately as someone that had a serious presence, and it wouldn’t be long before he ascended to the top.
In-fact it only took Taker a year to win the WWE Championship, and even though his first run was very brief – six days long – it was quickly established that this character didn’t need a world championship to create a legacy.
Once Taker became a babyface after turning on his ally Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, he was pitted against the biggest monsters that WWE could find.
Kamala, Giant Gonzalez, Yokozuna, King Kong Bundy, he even faced an Imposter Undertaker in 1994 – The Deadman faced them all and his popularity was ever-growing.
The late 90s saw Taker become the ‘Lord of Darkness’, feuding with Mankind and his former manager Paul Bearer, winning the WWE Title for a second time at WrestleMania 13, but his biggest storyline ever saw another big name introduced – Kane.
He ended up being a thorn in the side of his ‘brother’ for many years but also an ally, and it was in the late 90s where Undertaker turned to the dark side by creating the Ministry of Darkness, creating a more gothic side to the character.
It didn’t last particularly long though, as in the year 2000, The Undertaker became more humanised, and returned from injury dressed in denim and driving a motorbike, entering to Limp Bizkit’s ‘Rollin’ song.
A far cry from his Deadman persona, but it was something Taker wanted to do as it resembled his real-life character.
Despite challenging for the World Title multiple times, this was probably a couple of years that were less memorable for Taker, who had to endure a terrible stalker storyline against Diamond Dallas Page during the ‘Invasion’ in 2001.
He defeated Hulk Hogan in 2002 during his ‘Big Evil’ phase to win his third WWE Championship, but after becoming a good guy again and taking on Vince McMahon, Taker was ‘buried alive’ by Kane and went missing for months.
What returned was a hybrid of all his old forms, but ultimately The Deadman had come back, and after beating Kane at WrestleMania, he went back to facing all the dastardly heels on SmackDown – including THAT infamous moment with Muhammad Hassan in 2005.
Taker would have to wait until 2007 to hold another world title again, defeating Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23, and it was around this time that he began taking more and more hiatuses away from WWE.
His undefeated WrestleMania streak became a prominent talking point since 2009, when he faced Shawn Michaels for the first time at Mania.
His matches with HBK in 2009 and 2010 received much praise, and from 2011 onwards he would generally only compete at WrestleMania, defeating Triple H twice and then CM Punk in 2013.
But then the shocking moment happened in 2014 – The Streak was ended at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
The sense of invincibility of The Deadman on the Grandest Stage of Them All had ended, and many thought he was coming to the end of his in-ring career.
Six years later though, and he’s proven fans wrong.
He came back for revenge on Lesnar in 2015, which saw one of the best brawls EVER to occur on Raw, but he would lose that feud, and then came back for Mania again to defeat Shane McMahon.
Fans really thought Taker had decided to end his career after WrestleMania 33, where he was defeated by Roman Reigns, leaving his hat and gloves in the ring in the process.
But he continued to compete, defeating John Cena at WrestleMania 34, Rusev at Greatest Royal Rumble, losing to Triple H at Super ShowDown, and a quite frankly terrible match with Goldberg in Saudi Arabia last year.
As we approach The Deadman’s 27th WrestleMania match next week, it seems only fitting that we wish him a happy birthday for all the years of dedication and entertainment he’s given to WWE fans across the globe!
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