He was known as “The Phenom” and “Conscience Of The WWE” for nearly the decades of his awe inspiring performances as The Undertaker. Tonight Mark Calloway entered into the Hall Of Fame.
The man who created magic on a yearly basis at WrestleMania with the legendary “Streak,” gave his final goodbyes at the grand stage as he entered the WWE’s Hall Of Fame. It was only fitting that the head of WWE, Vincent Kennedy Mcmahon, be the one person to induct him. After all, he has admitted that the persona of “Taker,” has been his greatest creation to date.
BIRTH OF A LEGEND AT SURVIVOR SERIES 1991
There have been Hulk Hogans, The Rocks, and Steve Austins, who have made Vince into the billionaire he is today, but none of them stayed as loyal to his company as Mark Calloway. Entering the then WWF at the annual Survivor Series ppv in 1991, Undertaker struck a chord with audiences with his “Deadman” character putting fear into children and demanding respect from the adults.
At the time, Undertaker came from the competition and in a few years, WCW would come calling with big money deals for the men who were the veterans of the day in Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Roddy Piper, and Bret Hart. All men who were apart of this debut event of The Undertaker. A year later, Taker would defeat Hulk Hogan in what is known as his last real championship run during the tail end of his peak popularity.
THE 1980’S WRESTLING BOOM
Born in 1965, Taker would see the rise of professional wrestling in the 1980’s through legends such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Andre The Giant, and Randy Savage. No one knew that he would become just as iconic, but for different reasons. He may have never got to the popularity heights of Hulk Hogan, but Undertaker would garner attention from generations of fans with his decades plus stint with the company.
Unlike his 80’s predecessors, Undertaker would remain with the company despite the huge exodus of stars who made some serious coin under Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. In 1996, things were really looking like slim pickings for the then WWF when they lost “New Generation stars” in Razor Ramone and Diesel to WCW. The two men would use their real names of Scott Hall(who recently passed away) and Kevin Nash.
NEW WORLD ORDER OF WRESTLING
The two men who were helping to shape a new generation of pro wrestling in the WWF at the time, would end up teaming with Hulk Hogan. As the saying goes, the rest was history as for the first time ever, WWE was losing in a ratings war. One constant that the company could rely on was Undertaker. Now the argument has always been that perhaps Taker knew he would lose his aura jumping ship. There would have been no way Vince Mcmahon would allow him to enter into another league with his prized persona. Just as it was with Vince Mcmahon suing WCW for having elements of Razor Ramone and Diesel appear in a WCW ring.
As the business broke away from tradition in the mid 1990’s, so did The Undertaker. He would transform into a more palatable persona that feuded with his “brother” Kane in 1998. Undertaker at this time was now the respected veteran that was in position to help elevate the status of new stars such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock. His match with Steve Austin at Madison Square Garden where he challenged for the WWE Championship gained a ppv rating that rivaled the hey day of ppv shows that included Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in the late 80’s.
Undertaker would also pioneer new matches such as the casket match, inferno match, buried alive match, and the infamous “”Hell In A Cell.” Who could forget the legendary moment of seeing Mick Foley aka Mankind getting thrown from the top a cage?
With The Undertaker helping to solidify the top stars of the “Attitude Era,” a new “Ruthless Aggression” was taking over the company with the likes of super athletes such as Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle. Undertaker would evolve once again by having more athletic matches with skill and revisit his classic feud with one of the greatest pro wrestlers in history in “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels.
The two men would be the pioneers of the dangerous “Hell In A Cell” match. They would somehow surpass the greatness of their 1997 match with one of the greatest match performances in history at the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania. It showed that despite the generation that was around when Hulk Hogan was in is prime as WWF Champion, they showed what experience and skill could provide audiences.
The two men would face each other again at the following WrestleMania. This time around, it would be the last dance for the legendary Shawn Michaels. It turned out to be his retirement match. He would stay retired for the most part besides a one off cash grab in a Saudi ppv match a few years ago.
THE AGE OF BROCK LESNAR
The Undertaker’s “Streak” became a huge drawing card for WrestleMania, but all good things have to come to an end. Brock Lesnar who was billed as “The Next Big Thing” in 2002, finally became that when he ended the biggest streak in WrestleMania history. For those who were not around for the days of Goldberg’s WCW streak or Andre The Giant’s decades plus winning streak, this was a moment in time. Even long time wrestling fans of the Bruno Sammartino era of the 1970’s, saw the night similar to how Bruno lost his title to dead silence because of mere shock.
Brock Lesnar in 2002 ran through legends like Hulk Hogan and The Rock, but this time around was different. He had just come back a couple of years after a successful stint in UFC. He had won that MMA league’s championship and was even confronted by Undertaker at an event. With all that said, it was still surprising to see Undertaker go down with “The Streak” because Lesnar had losses this go round to John Cena and HHH.
All this changed the trajectory of Brock Lesnar that we see today. He would go on to smash John Cena for the championship and then go on a monstrous run with the title. At this year’s Mania, he faces his rival Roman Reigns who has yet to defeat him at this big stage. Many people believed that maybe another star if given the opportunity could have been made, but that is arguable since Lesnar reignited his career to the next level after that night.
HALL OF FAME CAREER
Tonight, it was reported that The Undertaker had the biggest ovation since Hulk Hogan was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It is quite understandable as Undertaker is one of the biggest stars in history. Vince Mcmahon himself felt compelled to induct the icon and rightfully so. He appeared in awe of his fans adoration for the entertainment he has provided them over the years.
Fans noticed the motivational speaking skills of The Undertaker as some referred to his acceptance speech as something you would see at a TED Talk. Regardless, the people listened as Undertaker left the moment saying “Never Say Never.”
Check out the reactions below.
— WWE (@WWE) April 2, 2022
Taker turns the HOF into TED talk.
— SpeciaL n00b (@misterNgan) April 2, 2022
A well deserved standing ovation for Mark "The Undertaker" Calaway, the greatest character in professional wrestling history.
— Raphael Wilson (@089968Raph__) April 2, 2022
Seeing literally everyone in the arena jump up on their feet when Vince said “and now..” gave my whole body chills. The love we have for Taker is too much
— DreamR. (@vivaladream2) April 2, 2022
IMO, Taker is the greatest pro-wrestler of all time.
— PopotoOfWar (@Greydi_of_Pax) April 1, 2022
Greatest character and ring presence, absolutely.
— Buzz Stryker (@BuzzStryker2) April 1, 2022
— Wrestle Elite (@wrestle_elite1) April 2, 2022
— Mark's Wrestling videos And pics (@MarksWrestling1) March 31, 2022