Undertaker to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame in April
Mark Calaway, better known as The Undertaker, will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, it was announced Friday.
One of the legends of professional wrestling, Calaway has had many extended title reigns throughout his career in WWE and was involved in some of the most memorable moments in the industry’s existence.
He made his televised debut as The Undertaker at the 1990 Survivor Series, creating an iconic character whose influence extended far beyond the squared circle. His WrestleMania win streak and ring walks became must-see.
“That’s one reason why The Undertaker had the longevity that it did,” Calaway told ESPN in 2020. “Because all they got was The Undertaker.
“I think what really helped me [stay viable] was that I did protect that character. I didn’t give them anything other than the character. You didn’t see me doing movies as something else. I had opportunities to do that other stuff, but I passed. I knew wrestling. I knew WWE. I knew Vince [McMahon]. That was my passion, and to this day [it still is]. I knew I couldn’t be [The Undertaker] here and then go do something else. I don’t think people would have accepted it and stayed intrigued in the character.”
The Undertaker held the WWE and world heavyweight championship on multiple occasions. He was a seven-time tag team titleholder, partnering with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Big Show and Kane. He feuded with Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, John Cena, Mick Foley and every other standout of the Attitude Era.
His win streak of 21 matches at WrestleMania was ultimately ended by Brock Lesnar, but his most memorable moment may have been throwing Foley off the top of Hell in a Cell at King of the Ring in 1998.
As with many other gimmicks in wrestling, The Undertaker reinvented himself numerous times after entering the WWE as a mortician. His ability to pivot the character kept fans intrigued and stood out even in the locker room.
“There will never be another Undertaker,” Edge told ESPN in 2020. “There will never be an enduring character like that. If you just heard that character on paper, you’d go, ‘Well, that would never work.’ Well, guess what? He took it and made that thing work, with some great booking and great opponents throughout the years, but also some pretty rough opponents too.
“He still managed to plug his way through all of that and make this enduring character. By reinvention, by retooling a style, by not staying stagnant and comfortable in something that worked, and always reaching to try and find the next thing to do in terms of a metamorphosis.”
The Undertaker’s last match came against AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36. It was a cinematic “Boneyard match” that was filmed without fans during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Wrestling isn’t about the moves,” Calaway told ESPN. “It’s about telling the story. You use wrestling moves to tell that story, but that’s not what it’s all about.”
WrestleMania 38 takes place on April 3 in Dallas. Hall of Fame inductees are typically honored during the event.