The Demon of Death Valley is one of the greatest in-ring performers in WWE history. His dedication to his character has been second to none. Some of the best moments in Undertaker’s career came in the Attitude Era when he was the leader of the Ministry of Darkness.
However, from 2000-2003, Undertaker became the American Badass which was more of a real-life side to the Deadman’s persona. He reverted to The Deadman character in the Ruthless Aggression era, where he had some of the best matches in his career. Undertaker had considerable success in both eras which is why he the future Hall of Famer had a magnificent career.
Undertaker has reinvented himself to remain relevant in his 30-year long WWE career. The Deadman was a pivotal figure in the success of the Attitude Era and Ruthless Aggression, we analyze how he fared in both eras.
10 Better In Ruthless Aggression Era: American Badass
In September 1999, Undertaker took an eight-month hiatus after suffering a couple of major injuries which brought an end to his heel run. The Undertaker returned as the American Badass in May 2000 which was the first major reinvention of his character.
Undertaker began rolling down to ringside on his motorcycle and he became a huge part of SmackDown‘s success in the first draft lottery in 2002. During this time frame, the American Badass feuded with the likes of Brock Lesnar over the WWE Championship, which saw Undertaker have some of the best matches in his career.
9 Better In The Attitude Era: Feud With Mankind
Undertaker’s feud with Mankind was one of the most violent feuds in WWE history. Mankind proved to be a formidable foe for the Deadman and their rivalry was taken to new heights at the 1998 King of the Ring inside Hell in a Cell.
Mankind enticed Undertaker to join him at the top of the cell which proved to be a near- career-ending decision. The Deadman threw Mankind off the top of the cell onto the announce table and Chokeslammed him through the cell into the ring. Mankind was an established star that night but it was one of Undertaker’s highlights in one of the best years of his career in 1998.
8 Better In Ruthless Aggression Era: Return Of The Deadman
Whilst Undertaker did have some considerable success as the American Badass, everyone still loved Undertaker’s Deadman character. The Deadman made his long-awaited return at WrestleMania XX, against none other than his brother Kane.
Returning to his roots, Undertaker’s Deadman persona was what fans were accustomed to and were pleased to see him return with Paul Bearer. Undertaker got the better of Kane once again to extend his WrestleMania unbeaten streak to 12-0.
7 Better In The Attitude Era: Ministry Of Darkness
In late 1998, The Undertaker turned heel and realigned himself with Paul Bearer. They assembled the Ministry of Darkness stable which was one of the best stables in the Attitude Era. Undertaker recruited the likes of Bradshaw, Faarooq, Viscera, Mideon, Edge, Christian, and Gangrel to do his bidding.
Undertaker was featured in a feud with Mr. McMahon’s The Corporation stable and Undertaker wanted control of the WWE. It was great to see Undertaker as a leader as he always was a lone figure for the majority of his career. Nonetheless, Undertaker showed another layer to his character by portraying a truly demonic heel and still managed to have great matches.
6 Better In Ruthless Aggression Era: Created Stars
An ability Undertaker had in the later stretch of his career was his power to give the rub to new stars. Undertaker was still at the peak of his powers in the Ruthless Aggression era in the mid-2000s. Most notably, Randy Orton floundered as a face but his feud with Undertaker in 2005, rescued his WWE career.
Orton managed to get two victories over Undertaker at SummerSlam and in a handicap casket match at No Mercy 2005. The Deadman helped John Bradshaw Layfield get over with JBL retaining the WWE Title at No Mercy 2004. Moreover, Undertaker’s selflessness shows that he is a locker room leader and willing to elevate other superstars to main event level status like himself.
5 Better In The Attitude Era: Feud With Kane
Undertaker and Kane’s rivalry was one of the best stories told in WWE history. The two finally came to blows at WrestleMania XIV but it took three Tombstones for Undertaker to keep Kane down. The two would feud for the majority of 1998, whether against each other or side by side in both singles and tag team matches.
However, Paul Bearer turned his back on Kane at Judgment Day: In Your House, to reunite with Undertaker. Furthermore, Undertaker and Kane’s rivalry had a huge impact on the success of the Attitude Era, just as much as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s rivalry did.
4 Better In The Ruthless Aggression Era: World Champion
Undertaker revealed to Stone Cold Steve Austin in the second part of their interview on Austin’s Broken Skulls Sessions interview that he did not need to be a world champion. He made the revelation as he said that fans would find it hard to cheer for a babyface monster. Nonetheless, Undertaker got his hands on the World Championship three times in the Ruthless Aggression era.
Whilst, Undertaker did not hold the World Heavyweight Championship for long, he certainly made the title feel meaningful every time he held the gold. The Deadman was featured in one of the best triple threat matches for the WWE Championship with two of the all-time greats in The Rock and Kurt Angle at Vengeance 2002. Whoever wins a World Title from Undertaker becomes a huge deal.
3 Better In The Attitude Era: Good Promos
When the best promo guys in the business come to mind, people put the likes of The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and John Cena at the front of the queue. However, Undertaker isn’t too shabby on the mic either. His spooky promos as Ministry of Darkness were direct and had fans engaged in what he was saying.
Undertaker’s slow deliverance of his words has meaning to them and gets the storyline over. Of course, the Deadman is renowned for his magnificent in-ring skills, he deserves a lot of credit for being one of the best promo guys in the business.
2 Better In The Ruthless Aggression Era: Better WrestleMania Matches
Undertaker is synonymous with WrestleMania for his unbeaten WrestleMania record. However, the Phenom’s early matches on The Grandest Stage of Them All were forgettable. It wasn’t until the Ruthless Aggression era, where he had some of the best matches at ‘Mania in his career.
The Deadman had two outstanding back-to-back World Heavyweight Championship matches with Batista and Edge at WrestleMania 23 and 24 respectively that culminated in two World Title victories for the Deadman. Undertaker always rose to the occasion at WrestleMania during this era and Edge and Batista came out just as strong in their matches with the Phenom.
1 Better In The Attitude Era: Top Heel/Featured In Main Storylines
The most memorable feud of the Attitude Era is the rivalry between Mr. McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin which turned the tide in WWE’s favor in the Monday Night Wars. However, Undertaker was a constant presence in the Attitude Era and he was always involved in the main event title picture.
Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WWF Championship match at SummerSlam 1998 was hyped to the moon and delivered. The Deadman’s heel turn saw him feud with Austin on-and-off for another seven months with Undertaker trading the WWF Championship with Austin. It showed how important Undertaker’s presence in this rivalry was and it added another layer to his character.