Monday, November 16, 2020

Undertaker Month Part III: From The Top Of My Head

For the past three Mondays, I've written about The Undertaker because, at the Survivor Series this coming Sunday, the wrestler will celebrate thirty years as a character on WWF/E television.

In the first post, I wrote about The Undertaker's debut thirty years ago and how it reminds me of a life-long friend. In last week's post, I wrote about the day I met The Undertaker. In today's post, I'll just shoot the breeze and write about some things from the thirty years that will come at me as I sit here for the next few minutes.

His First Title Win
I was a huge Hulk Hogan fan when I was a child. I was so much of a Hulkamaniac that I didn't think the guy would ever lose. So, imagine my surprise when I watched The Undertaker beat him for the WWF Title at the 1991 Survivor Series. 

The rematch took place a few days later at Tuesday in Texas and there is something from that short reign that stood out to me. 

The way Taker carried the belt to the ring was brilliant. He just held it by the strap as he walked, in his zombie-like state, to the ring. 

My Favourite Match
Even though Hulk Hogan was my fave as a child, Shawn Michaels eventually took his place. Michaels and Taker had some classic matches over the years. Their Hell in a Cell match from October 5th 1997 is my favourite wrestling match of all time, though. I loved that bout. 

In very close second is another Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels match - the one from WrestleMania XXV. 

I watched that match in an online chatroom. After seeing it, I could not wait until the DVD was released and spent months waiting to see it again. It's a classic, but the 1997 meeting means a little bit more to me.

The Foley HIAC Match
I cannot write about The Undertaker and the Hell in a Cell match without mentioning the time Taker wrestled Mankind inside, outside - AND ON TOP OF! - the cell at the 1998 King of the Ring. 

The infamous match saw Mick Foley thrown from the top of the cell and onto a table. If that wasn't enough, he took another bump from the roof of the cage and into the ring minutes after that.

I recall phoning my friend the following morning and telling him he had to watch it. I let him borrow the cassette later that day.

I also remember sending a friend a copy of the match on a video many years later when she had read one of Mick Foley's novels. 

Paul Bearer and the Day Before WrestleMania XX
You cannot really talk about The Undertaker's career in the WWF without mentioning Paul Bearer - his sidekick for some of the run. 

I wrote about Bearer back in early 2013 when he passed away, but thought I would share it once again.

The Undertaker was returning to his original persona at WrestleMania XX and, on the Saturday morning before he did, I found myself on Percy Pringle's (Paul Bearer) website. I noticed that there was one user in the chatroom of the website so clicked on it. 

It was Percy.

So, a day before Taker and he were to reprise their on-screen partnership at WrestleMania XX, I found myself spending a few minutes chatting to Paul Bearer. 

When we were talking, I thought it best not to ask if he was going to return to the WWF. I knew I wouldn't get a straight answer and didn't want to ruin our chat by bringing it up. We did talk about the WWF, but it was just me talking to him about when we met in Cardiff and how fourteen year old me was blown away seeing him in a tracksuit rather than the suit he would always wear in his role of Bearer.

If I recall correctly, he told me he would try to buy shot glasses from every city he visited and would check whether he had one from Cardiff. 

We never did get to chat again, but I did email and tweet him a couple of times in the years following the day before Mania XX.

The Doppelganger
In early 1994, Taker took some time off. He was written out of WWF after losing to Yokozuna in a casket match. By the summer, WWF had brought in a fake Undertaker to build to the real one coming back to take on the fraudster at SummerSlam '94.

The match was dreadful. However, I remember it for a couple of things.

Firstly, Taker came back with new gloves (purple instead of grey) and his entrance in Chicago that night was one of my favourites as it introduced an upgrade to his theme tune. 

The other thing about that match is I watched it at a bar in Malta. I had spent hours a few days before trying to find a place that had Sky Sports.

No comments:

Post a Comment