There has never been a career in professional wrestling as breath-taking, as spectacular, and as evolving as The Undertaker’s. His combination of size and athleticism is a sight to be seen. He’s been in the wrestling business longer than plenty of wrestlers have been alive. And yet, how well he has evolved through three decades in the WWE is probably his greatest attribute.From a Western Mortician to The Last Ride, Taker is a hero of multiple personas in the eyes of multiple generations. Greatness cannot fit into a small package. Greatness expands too vastly and quickly to fit in one version of itself. The Undertaker is the pinnacle of greatness in sports entertainment and the evolution of his personas says it all.
10The Gunslinger (2013-2017)
This is when the world watched the icon wear down. This is when the world watched the immortal’s introduction to mortality. As great as The Gunslinger wrestled, the victories just didn’t set as well as they always did. This is when the world kept asking, “Will The Streak end?”
Unfortunately, the answer to that question was planted in the hearts of millions at WrestleMania XXX when Brock Lesnar gave The Undertaker his first loss in WrestleMania history and dropped everybody’s jaws for the rest of the night. To this day, it still is one of the most shocking and sad moments in WWE history and is something that might never be understood. Forever, the image of the concussed Gunslinger in a slump of defeat will never leave our minds.
9Ministry Of Darkness (1999)
The shortest stint of The Undertaker personas, the Ministry of Darkness was too dark (if that is even possible for him). The American Badass was the most drastic change, but something about his Ministry of Darkness days that makes it stand out from any other version.
A reason could be due to the actual Ministry itself. A huge part of what is loved about The Undertaker is that he walks alone. The stable was definitely an experiment, due to it only being a thing for four months. But no one is supposed to influence Taker. Taker rides his own motorcycle. The power in his remote swagger is what produces chills, what wins at WrestleMania, and what establishes a legend. As good of an initial idea it may have been, the Ministry of Darkness was unreasonably laid to rest after only several months.
8Big Evil (2001-2003)
Big Evil seemed purely transitional. It was essentially American Badass but he ended up clocking Jim Ross one time on Raw, which turned him into a heel. Big Evil was an era of dominance for The Undertaker as he won the WWE Undisputed Championship, but being a heel just isn’t a Taker that takes people’s breath away.
The Undertaker is the best example of a superstar that is a beloved face even though he represents something morally bad. The Undertaker emulates and connotes death and darkness, yet the WWE Universe receives it as life and hope. That is what makes The Undertaker more legendary than ever and Big Evil was the only version that didn’t have that effect.
7The Last Ride (Wrestlemania 33)
Even though it is sad, The Last Ride isn’t the worst version of The Undertaker’s career because the sweetness of the memories balanced out the bitterness of the end. During this period, Undertaker was in for an epic encounter at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida against Roman Reigns in a No Holds Barred Match for the main event. This match concluded with Roman Reigns coming out victorious against the Deadman, resulting in The Undertaker’s second-ever WrestleMania loss.
The scene afterward was breathtaking. In an organically unscripted fashion, Taker folded his trademark black coat, gloves, and hat in the center of the ring. The capacity crowd responded with an emotional ovation like never before as The Dead Man, The Phenom, The Undertaker raised his fist in the air to signify it was indeed The Last Ride… and then he fought in two more WrestleManias.
6The Last Outlaw (2008-2013)
The Last Outlaw seemed perfect for The Undertaker’s descent to the end of his career. Taker knew he couldn’t do it all anymore, so The Last Outlaw set the tone for what would become the beginning of the end.
WrestleMania 28 in Miami could have hosted the greatest WrestleMania match in his illustrious WrestleMania career, featuring the Hell in a Cell, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels as the guest referee. How could this match possibly underwhelm the fans? The match between the two greats was a marathon that everyone involved deserved. The Last Outlaw gave the WWE Universe nothing but respect.
5Western Mortician (1990-1994)
The Western Mortician started it all. It was one of the most dominant starts to a career. The famous debut at Survivor Series 1990 is still mind-blowingly destructive and he followed it up with a WWF Championship over Hulk Hogan a year later. The grey gloves and the grey tie arrived on a successfully colorful WWF scene and immediately darkened the culture in the best way.
The Undertaker is probably the greatest enigma in wrestling history. He is the king of mystery whenever he has walked the stage and this was the most mysterious period of his career. Because he was new and no one had any idea what this massive guy would do next, the Western Mortician drew all eyes in every arena during every breath he took.
4Lord Of Darkness (1996-1998)
The Lord of Darkness is the version of Taker that tossed Mankind off of a cell through an announcer’s table. But The Undertaker wasn’t just on the top of the Hell in a Cell during this persona, he was on top of the sports entertainment world.The Undertaker is one of the greatest faces for one of the industry’s greatest eras. The Lord of Darkness was arguably the most impressive version of The Undertaker because of how competitive the business became with legendary superstars like Stone Cold & The Rock.
3The Deadman (1994-1996)
This time period in WWF history was a transitional phase between the end of Hulkamania to the unforgettable Attitude Era. Of course, legends like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Yokozuna were headlining the main events during this time. But the business’s identity wasn’t exactly at its height.
Enter, The Deadman. After a great start to his career in the early 90s that included a WWF Championship, The Undertaker went away from the spotlight for several months in 1994. He returned in August with new attire and a performance style as if he just resurrected from the dead. This is when The Undertaker started becoming an icon. A beast was unleashed and this new identity would spark historic creations by the WWF.
2American Badass (2000-2001)
The American Badass was the perfect title for this Undertaker. He was truly a badass. This is when Taker wanted everyone to focus on his tattoos and flaunt his motorcycle. The Undertaker speaking was the biggest difference and that even startled the fans just as much as being a walking dead man.
Above all the other versions of The Undertaker, this is when he talked the most. It added a human factor to his career, which added relatability for fans. It’s also incredible how smooth his most polarizing persona transitions went during a very short period of time.
1The Modern Phenom (2004-2008)
Taker started to be looked at as a seasoned legend when he returned to the trench coat and hat look. This era from 2004-2008 is when the WWE Universe started to realize that this guy is something that will never be seen again. The Phenom era is the time that Undertaker produced uncharted spectacles for the millions watching.
The greatest legends usually have one consistent moment in every performance that can cause goosebumps down people’s spines. When that first bell chime rings around the arena immediately followed by instant darkness, everyone’s breath gets taken away. This is also the most identifiable Undertaker of all. He will always be remembered for the entrance, the trench coat, and the hat. The ultimate persona of the sport’s most ultimate legend, The Phenom is truly one of a kind.