The Undertaker

Hade Vansen: The Forgotten Wrestler Who Almost Faced The Undertaker At WrestleMania 25

The Undertaker had a classic match at WrestleMania 25. But originally, he was going to face off against a new dark character named Hade Vansen.

Hade Vansen was brought into WWE with the promise of a huge storyline that would have propelled him into a WWE main eventer immediately, though the storyline was dropped after just one promo on Smackdown. Perhaps most peculiar of all, the promo wasn’t even that bad! Vansen seemed to be a rather dark and ominous character, leading people to assume that he was being teed up as the next challenger to The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak. Things didn’t turn out that way however and Vansen ended up becoming just another forgotten name in WWE’s vast history.

Who Is Hade Vansen?

In May 2007, Hade Vansen signed a developmental contract with WWE. Around this time WWE were thinking about setting up offices in the UK and they were signing up a lot of British talent, including Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre and, of course, Hade Vansen.

After spending a year in WWE’s developmental promotion FCW, Hade Vansen was called to a Smackdown TV taping to discuss a storyline that Hollywood Movie Star and WWE scriptwriter, Freddie Prinze Jr, had developed for him. The story was a main event level storyline with The Undertaker leading into Wrestlemania 25. Freddie Prinze Jr. told Vansen that he had presented this big idea to Stephanie McMahon and not only had she approved the storyline, but she loved the idea and that Vansen would begin recording promos immediately.

The Story Begins

On the December 12th 2008 episode of Smackdown, a mysterious stranger hacked into the Smackdown TV feed and put on a seemingly pirated video message. In the video, Hade Vansen claimed he had dedicated his life to the darkness. He claimed he was “punishment made flesh” and said he has found others like him. “Your immortal power is all that I require,” Vansen said, “Now the prophesy shall be realized, your annihilation shall not be in vain, you will live on, I shall be your vessel.” A clear threat to the Deadman.

As the story goes, Vansen wanted to be the new Phenom of WWE. The promo was dark and mysterious and set fans at the time wondering who this mysterious person could be. A popular fan theory of the time even proposed that Vansen could be the third brother of The Undertaker and Kane (though the British accent may have needed to be explained away). The plan was for these kind of promos to air on both Raw and Smackdown with Vansen hacking into both shows. When Vansen would have debuted, he would not be alone, but would have a cult of “X-Men style mutants” with him. Speaking in the eBook, Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling’s Revival, Vansen spoke of the idea Freddie Prinze Jr. came to him with, “They were going to put me in a big storyline with The Undertaker. I was going to lead a gang of X-Men style mutants. Every week, I would send one of these guys after The Undertaker. After he had beaten them all, he would eventually face me at WrestleMania 25. It was f****** incredible. Freddie was really excited about the idea.”

These X-Men style mutants would consist of other developmental wrestlers who were under the control of Hade Vansen and they would repeatedly attack The Undertaker week after week. Eventually, The Undertaker would take out these mutants one by one until only Hade Vansen was left standing, culminating in a match at Wrestlemania 25 between The Undertaker and Hade Vansen, for the control of the Deadman’s immortal powers…

Obviously none of that happened though.

The Story Ends Before It Begins

After the first promo from Hade Vansen aired on Smackdown, the whole thing was scrapped. Legend has it that Vince McMahon took a look at what could have been the new Phenom of WWE and decided against the whole thing. The reason why was never discovered, was Hade Vansen too green? Was he too small at just 5’11? Nobody knows.

The strange thing is that it wasn’t just the end of the storyline, it was the end of Hade Vansen altogether. Just a few weeks after that promo aired, Vansen was released by WWE. Thankfully, Vansen took his fall from grace very well, speaking in the eBook, Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling’s Revival, “I wasn’t devastated. When Freddie first told me about The Undertaker feud, although half of me had fireworks going off inside, the other half thought: ‘Hang on a minute, this is too good to be true, you’re not at Wrestlemania yet, boy! So when they said they had nothing for me, I decided to shrug my shoulders, have a cup of tea, and move on.”

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