WrestleMania — “the Granddaddy of Them All,” “the Showcase of the Immortals,” the annual event that allowed professional wrestler and former college basketball player for Texas Wesleyan University Mark Calaway a chance to walk very slowly down a very long runway — is nearly here! The 39th edition of wrestling’s version of the Oscars-meets-the-Super-Bowl is April 1 and 2 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. And for the first time in a long time, the Undertaker is not on the card, or rumored to be on the card.
After last year’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame (which does not exist as a brick-and-mortar hall of fame IRL), 2023 does not include a guaranteed Undertaker entrance. In theory, we’ve already seen every Undertaker WrestleMania appearance. In reality, I would 100% bet on seeing Taker command five to 10 minutes of TV time for a slow walk down a very long runway and in the process giving someone a fist bump or tombstone or something. Wrestlers never retire, especially undead wrestlers.
Here they are, every Undertaker WrestleMania entrance, ranked from worst to best. If you prefer Biker Taker, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Finally, it may seem confusing that some WrestleManias are in Roman numerals, some are standard numbers, and one is a mixture. That’s because WWE sometimes uses Roman numerals, sometimes uses standard numbers, and twice decided to combine a Roman numeral and a standard number. It’s confusing.
28. WrestleMania XIX
March 30, 2003
Limp Bizkit performing “Rollin’” live for Biker Taker. Now, then, forever: This is bad.
27. WrestleMania IX
April 4, 1993
An actual vulture accompanies Taker and Bearer to the ring. That’s pretty cool. The hot dudes carrying Taker’s chariot to the ring — this was the Julius Caesar-themed Mania, since it was outside of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas — and the bright sun don’t distract too much, but it’s just not so spooky when you can see the accompanying actors’ faces. Taker is best served by faceless ghouls and demons, which we’ll see at future Manias. Related: The entrances aren’t as good when Taker is super popular with kids. There are multiple boys wearing foam urns (it’s like a foam finger, but an urn) and patting the back of the spooky wrestler as he gets into the ring.
26. WrestleMania X-Seven
April 1, 2001
The only entrance better than Undertaker? Triple H gets a live performance by Motörhead. The Undertaker begins his American Badass WrestleMania era riding a motorcycle to the ring with “Rollin’” by Limp Bizkit playing. It’s very 2001.
25. WrestleMania X8
March 17, 2002
Year 2 of the “Rollin’” entrance. It’s slightly better than Year 1 because it’s over sooner.
24. WrestleMania 38
April 2, 2022
Short and not-too-sweet Hall of Fame entrance. Still better than the Biker Taker entrances.
23. WrestleMania XV
March 28, 1999
Ugh. The Ministry of Darkness theme is not good. Mark Calaway does not sound good speaking Latin. The guitar riff is generic. It’s still better than the Limp Bizkit theme.
22. WrestleMania XXX
April 6, 2014
WWE really leaned into the night the Streak died. While monks chant and before the gong hits, we’re shown a video package of Mania Taker highlights, cut with a live shot of coffins lined up with the names of Undertaker’s then-21 defeated opponents. Then Taker walks out. He looks at the coffin for Brock Lesnar. The coffin opens. Taker walks a few feet. He looks at it again. It’s engulfed in flames. It reminds me of a mid-tier haunted house. Taker’s cowboy hat and leather-and-velvet duster with cranberry accents is a bad look, too.
21. WrestleMania 36
March 25–26, 2020
The final(?) Undertaker WrestleMania match. The only Undertaker WrestleMania cinematic match. The only Undertaker WrestleMania entrance with Metallica as the theme. The return of Biker Taker. It’s not good, but it was nice to have a WrestleMania distraction during the start of the COVID lockdown.
20. WrestleMania 22
April 2, 2006
More Latin chanting, more druids, more torches and then a video package? Undertaker entrances should not be interrupted by a pre-match video package! Or at least don’t have the Latin chantings, druids and torches before the video package. But Mark Henry may have saved this otherwise bad entrance: Facing Taker without fear and talking smack while Taker walks to the ring makes this so much better.
19. WrestleMania 31
March 29, 2015
Once the Streak ended, do Undertaker’s WrestleMania matches matter? Kinda? Not really? At least the entrances are still expertly produced. This one has all of the bells and whistles (gongs and lightning) we’ve come to appreciate. The outfit is a wonderful return to form. Two things keep it from appearing higher on this list: Though we’re three-plus hours into Mania by the time this match is on the card, it’s only dusk in Santa Clara. And we’ve just witnessed one of the best Mania entrances ever: Rusev came out in a tank! A real tank!
18. WrestleMania 33
April 2, 2017
Rising from hell (around the 20-yard line) for a shorter walk to the center of the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
17. WrestleMania 32 (watch here)
April 3, 2016
Perfectly fine. Slow walk, decent duster, long runway, right amount of fog, fine use of fire, no druids or urn or chanting or Limp Bizkit.
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16. WrestleMania 34
April 8, 2018
This one punches above its weight while remaining laugh-out-loud funny. Cena calls out Undertaker, there’s no guarantee of a match, Cena is told there’s going to be a match, Elias comes out to play a song for some reason, Cena thinks there’s not going to be a match — all of a sudden Taker’s stuff appears in the ring, then lightning hits that stuff and it disappears, and then we get a classic Undertaker entrance with the gong and the lightning and fire and all of this sounds like it was written by a child because wrestling is for children.
15. WrestleMania VII
March 24, 1991
Before there was the Streak, there was a spooky guy who made children actually shake in their boots. The shortest of Taker entrances, this one barely cracks the one-minute mark but is surprisingly effective. The lights are not dimmed, but the character is legit scary to kids. There are three shots of frightened boys while Undertaker and Paul Bearer, holding an urn, walk to the ring.
14. WrestleMania VIII
April 5, 1992
The lights are still on, but the gong and organ are firmly associated with the Dead Man, and this entrance is pretty much the same as at WrestleMania VII. The biggest difference is the time it takes for Taker and Paul Bearer to get to the ring. Since this Mania was at the massive Hoosier Dome, it takes wrestlers about three times as long to get to the ring compared to Mania VII. Which makes this entrance slightly better than VII.
13. WrestleMania XII
March 31, 1996
Why isn’t this as good as XI? When the lights in the arena black out, you can still see the illuminated lights on the old-school scoreboard. It’s the little things that take you out of it.
12. WrestleMania XXV
April 5, 2009
Do you prefer The Undertaker to come from below the stage (hell)? Do you prefer The Undertaker’s opponent to ascend from above the stage (heaven)? It’s a fine entrance.
11. WrestleMania XXVI
March 28, 2010
Now with lasers! Still from hell. Still wearing MMA gloves.
10. WrestleMania 21
April 3, 2005
The one where he floats to the ring. Before hoverboards had their moment, this was at the forefront of undead technology.
9. WrestleMania XIV
March 29, 1998
The start of extremely long video packages before Undertaker entrances. Footage of Undertaker being burned in a casket — we’re entering the supernatural era of Undertaker. We’re also welcoming his “brother” Kane. And Pete Rose. With the video package and Pete Rose appearance and Taker entrance, we’re nearly as long as the match. This is the first two-song Undertaker entrance, and the first time Taker’s entrance is part of a larger package, involving Kane, some Pete Rose shenanigans and torch-bearing druids. We finally, finally get Undertaker slowly walking to the ring in his now-beloved vampire look. But it takes way too long to get to the entrance.
8. WrestleMania XXIV
March 30, 2008
Quite similar to 23 but sans hat so the receding hairline is more prevalent.
7. WrestleMania XXVIII
April 1, 2012
I’m sure this was great live. It’s not bad on a screen — it’s just not as good as it could be with announcer Michael Cole declaring, “Unnerving!” as soon as the gong hits. Related, I am not a fan of the Mortal Kombat-inspired robe. XXVII is just so good, and this is nearly identical — only with a few touches that make it eh.
6. WrestleMania XI
April 2, 1995
OK, here we go: the first of the classic Undertaker entrances. It’s got the five main elements: black out, gong, lightning, thunder and organ. It’s also the first mention that Taker has never lost at WrestleMania. Paul Bearer is still with Taker, but Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase has the urn (wrestling is about who has the urn?). Either way, it’s still a very good entrance that even commentary by Jerry “The King” Lawler and Vince McMahon can’t ruin.
5. WrestleMania XX
March 14, 2004
A return to form after the American Badass years, this is when WWE finally acknowledges that creepy, undead Undertaker is best. Druids, torches, Paul Bearer, the urn, the gong, thunder, lightning — it’s got everything you already knew and loved about Undertaker.
4. WrestleMania 23
April 1, 2007
The best Latin-chanting-with-druids-holding-torches entrance? The druids’ faces are now covered, so it’s not clear what indie wrestler is holding the fire sticks, and that’s good. Once the gong hits, fireworks go off and the Undertaker just slowly walks through the fog to the ring. Sometimes less is more. Well, sometimes after a massive display of fire and fireworks, less is more.
3. WrestleMania XXVII
April 3, 2011
After two years of rising from hell, Undertaker is back to just walking out to the ring. And it’s so much better! An absurd amount of fog, fireballs and lightning — lightning on screen, that is; Vince McMahon does not yet control the weather — make this one of the best. Clocking in at just over three minutes, it’s also one of the best paced.
2. WrestleMania 13
March 23, 1997
Undertaker is in the main event at WrestleMania for the first time and earns a slightly different entrance. Instead of the gong ringing out as the lights go dark, the gong sounds a few times and then the lights go out. It’s a choice. It’s not necessarily better or worse, but you can tell WWF is starting to experiment with one of the best entrances in pro wrestling. This is also the first Mania without Paul Bearer, and the first entrance when the announcers are silent for the entire walk to the ring. This may be the best no-frills Taker entrance. It must have been very, very difficult for Lawler and McMahon to keep quiet for three minutes.
1. WrestleMania 29
April 7, 2013
If you consider the video package and opponent introduction as part of the Undertaker entrance, this one wins, without question. The death of Paul Bearer (real name: William Alvin Moody, who died only a month earlier, at 58) played into this storyline match against CM Punk and his manager, Paul Heyman, and the pre-intro footage is damn near perfect. Punk gets a live version of his excellent theme, Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality,” played live by the band. Heyman comes out with the urn! When the gong finally hits, Punk screams for his opponent, something that’s never been done in a Taker Mania match. Then the lights go out, and Taker, bathed in fog and seemingly walking through zombies reaching out of their graves(?), continues down a massive, football field-sized ramp. The background set depicts New York City, with explosions of fire and lightning every few seconds. It’s the absolute best presentation of the Undertaker. It was the first Mania after Hurricane Sandy, something everyone watching was reminded of multiple times, with then-Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie narrating an introductory video about the region’s resilience. Was it inappropriate for the Dead Man to remind people about the very recent storm that took hundreds of lives and destroyed $68.7 billion in property? Maybe. But it sure did look cool.