Monday, 15 November 2010
Twenty years ago.
He came from the shadows of time; from the graveyards of the mind to make an impact in the World Wrestling Federation.
He came dressed in a black coat and a black wide brimmed round crowned hat - a mortician brought from the old west into the modern world of wrestling. Slow and cautious with cold calculating eyes The Undertaker seemed impervious to pain.
Accompanied by Paul Bearer and a magic urn The Undertaker took on an imposing persona.
Over those twenty years he has possibly Tombstoned every Superstar on the rosters. Taken every belt on offer and more (with the exception of the Cruiserweight Belt, obviously).
Until a couple of years back two things had not been acheived at the Royal Rumble. Neither The Undertaker nor anyone who entered at number 30 had won the Royal Rumble.
The Undertaker drew no.30 and defeated Shawn Michaels to win that year's Royal Rumble.
And noted too for various types of matches from the early Body Bag to Buried Alive, Coffin matches, Boiler Room Brawls (remember the deranged Mankind), Concrete Crypt and the notorious Hell In A Cell.
And the classic Inferno Match with his brother Kane.
To sustain a character for twenty years is no mean feat.
To do that a character has to evolve and when I look back I am still surprised at the way that the Undertaker has evolved. Whether as heel or hero, The Undertaker, is still as fascinating to watch.
Nor has The Undertaker been truly defeated. He's been put in the coffin and buried alive and taken the 3 count - but has not rested until the perpetrator has been 'laid to rest'.
And that is a key part to the persona of the man.
Another part is the fact that The Undertaker has appeared at 18 Wrestlemanias and won on each occasion. An impressive tally.
Of course, this has not been a career without injury but each time that he has 'rested' The Undertaker has returned bigger and stronger.
Many critics say that his time as the 'American Bad Ass' biker was a mistake. Maybe, but he was still the Undertaker in human form and his transformation was like someone revealing their true character.
Today, there is a touch of the Ministry era but without the Acolytes.
Of course, over the years there have been others who have come from the Darkside like Papa Shango, Manotor, Damien DiMento, The Boogeyman and the white clad Malachi. All of these were unable to stay the course.
Over the years The Undertaker has dispatched the good, the bad and the ugly of the wrestling world. Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Bret Hart, Edge, Randy Orton - one hell of a long list of Superstars. Some like Razor Ramon just ran away rather than fight the 'Dead man' or 'The Phenom'.
Outside of the ring The Undertaker has appeared in graphic comics and a couple of novels.
I have heard that there was a poster that was designed similar to a poster for 'A Few Dollars More'. Wonder if that was why Clint posed the way he did on the cover of 'Unforgiven'? An Undertaker pose.
Such is the legacy of The Undertaker that the legend will live on long after he rests in peace.