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The W - Pro Wrestling - The Undertaker
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Since: 17.3.02
From: Queidersbach

Since last post: 2 days
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.52
I remember the debut of The Undertaker. I remember his stint in WCW as Mean Mark Callous. After reading the thread on The7 about Brock leaving after WMXX and how that was partially related to The Undertaker, I had one main question. What is the story behind his success? I have a hard time believing that someone new to the company would come in and just be given this great gift of basically never having to sell or look weak without some powerful allies. I've been reading IWC material since around 1996 and have never heard how it went down.
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redsoxnation
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Since: 24.7.02

Since last post: 538 days
Last activity: 538 days
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.03
Taker was jobbing regularly to Ultimate Warrior in 1991. The streak very easily could not have occurred if they had had Giant Gonzales get the win as a monster at Mania IX instead of getting DQ'd.
dwaters
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Since: 16.10.02
From: Connecticut

Since last post: 2 days
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.38
It is pretty remarkable that he was a star the moment he debuted and never really looked back. He is an extremely rare case where he didn't really have to work his way up the card while every other wrestler had to work for tag or Intercontinental gold before moving up.
Lexus
Bierwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Stafford, VA

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 2 days
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#4 Posted on
I have nothing concrete here, but I firmly believe up until they started to mention 'the streak' that the streak was completely on accident/coincidental.

As for how he's gotten his status, Undertaker has always been Vince's last great brainchild, and the only 'gimmick' that has lasted the test of time, and until the American Badass stint he was more of a jobber to the stars.



"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Frown and the world laughs at you."
-Me.
odessasteps
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Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

Since last post: 186 days
Last activity: 153 days
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.69

I was always under the impression he got the Deadman gimmick because he was a poor seller in his early career.

Obviously, he was given the huge push, pummeling Dusty at Survivor Series.



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KJames199
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Since: 10.12.01
From: #yqr

Since last post: 1 day
Last activity: 9 hours
#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.71
    Originally posted by Lexus
    until the American Badass stint he was more of a jobber to the stars.
I don't think that means what you think it means.
ekedolphin
Scrapple








Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

Since last post: 185 days
Last activity: 23 days
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.96
    Originally posted by KJames199
      Originally posted by Lexus
      until the American Badass stint he was more of a jobber to the stars.
    I don't think that means what you think it means.


Yeah, he was the WWF Champion (defeating freakin' HULK HOGAN) inside a year of his debut, won the title a second time against Sid at the main event of WrestleMania 13, and had his controversial stint as the "Lord of Darkness" all before his stint as the American Badass.

In fact it could be argued there was a period of time during his American Badass years when he was more of a jobber-to-the-stars (and even the not-so-stars) than he ever was before. Getting eliminated from the Royal Rumble by Maven? Winning the Hardcore Title and then losing it to Maven?

Of course, during the American Badass years he also defeated Triple H in a de facto street fight at WrestleMania X-Seven, won the Undisputed Title (again from Hogan) and feuded for the WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar.

And since being buried alive at Survivor Series '03 and coming back for vengeance against Kane at WrestleMania XX, he's been pretty steadily in the main event picture, winning World Titles at back-to-back WrestleManias and having the Match of the Year twice in a row with HBK at the event.



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Enojado Viento
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Since: 12.3.02
From: Your Grocer's Freezer, NC

Since last post: 780 days
Last activity: 52 days
#8 Posted on
I myself was rather partial to that moment just after the Ministry yet just before he took all that time off and came back as Biker Taker, when he was allegedly training Big Show to become a killer.

Said training, of course, seemed to consist of yelling at and slapping Big Show across the face more than anything, because how else would you do it?




-LS

"ahhh...vague, mandatory knee-jerk cynicism. God Bless Internet Forums.."
Matt Tracker
Scrapple








Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

Since last post: 1 day
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.47
His feud with Flair was a thing of beauty. He challenges Flair, gets no traction, and beats up his son backstage. Flair goes irate in the ring and demands a match. Taker walks onstage and says essentially "nah, I'm good."

That feud ended with Flair eating a PPV loss, but it featured a GORGEOUS run-in spinebuster by Arn on Taker that should have ended the match.

Take's career is truly remarkable given that it manages to evolve through fashion and intensity but fundamentally remains the same: He's a force of nature.



"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
J. Kyle
Boudin blanc








Since: 21.2.02
From: The Land of Aloha

Since last post: 14 days
Last activity: 14 days
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Y!:
#10 Posted on
Nous ne nous pouvons pas sortir.
    Originally posted by Matt Tracker

    That feud ended with Flair eating a PPV loss, but it featured a GORGEOUS run-in spinebuster by Arn on Taker that should have ended the match.
At Wrestlemania, which is the source of my maxim: if Flair didn't end the streak, no one ends it.



kentish
Andouille








Since: 19.8.05
From: My Old Kentucky Home

Since last post: 29 days
Last activity: 1 day
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.62
    Originally posted by Lexus
    I have nothing concrete here, but I firmly believe up until they started to mention 'the streak' that the streak was completely on accident/coincidental.

    As for how he's gotten his status, Undertaker has always been Vince's last great brainchild, and the only 'gimmick' that has lasted the test of time, and until the American Badass stint he was more of a jobber to the stars.

I always assumed the first time they really thought about him losing at WM was against HHH 10 years ago. In previous years, it always seemed logical that he wins. But HHH was as hot as anyone in the business at that point, coming off one of the best years anyone has EVER had. It had to be heavily debated who would go over at WM X7.




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Spank E
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Plymouth, UK

Since last post: 10 days
Last activity: 20 hours
#12 Posted on
They may have made vague statements about it like "he's never lost at Wrestlemania!" but the first time I remember them playing up the concept of the streak and having a running count was after the match with Flair at X8 when he held up 10 fingers to signify 10-0. I could be wrong about that, though.



Scottyflamingo
Bratwurst








Since: 23.6.10
From: Auburn, AL

Since last post: 520 days
Last activity: 249 days
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.77
I think Mark Calloway was in the right place at the right time. He had two things going for him coming in, his size and a gimmick that Vince created and was really behind. It was also during the Hulkamania years where a new monster heel would challenge Hogan every year. Undertaker was a good fit for that.

However, a funny thing happened in the Taker's first year, he got over. He got over big. So big that he was getting face reactions.

This coupled with Vince experimenting with "Tuesday in Texas" allowed Taker to win the belt as a first year "rookie". That title reign, short as it was, gave him credibility that other midcarders didn't have, even years later.

After the Hogan feud, it wasn't long before Vince gave into the fans and turned Taker face. Taker becomes a merchandise machine and gets even more valuable to the company.

After that, it was just a matter of longevity. Taker stuck around while Hogan, Savage, Hall, and Nash all departed. Vince rewards loyalty. He kept Bob Holly employed for years and gave Bradshaw a world title reign out of loyalty, so Taker was a foregone conclusion.
PaulKTF
Summer sausage








Since: 26.5.06

Since last post: 1238 days
Last activity: 13 hours
#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.00
Part of the reason The Undertaker worked in 1990 and 1991 is because Mark was way into the character and only got better as time went on. Plus, as others have said; he had "the look". Look at this match from 1990

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUk6vj9gTFs

The music helped a lot, too.
Lexus
Bierwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Stafford, VA

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 2 days
AIM:  
#15 Posted on
Granted, my knowledge prior to '95 is hazy, at best, and I guess I stand corrected, and '95 and '96 he was champion, true, but throughout the Attitude era prior to his coming as the American Badass he was just there to elevate talent. Feud with Mankind elevated Mankind. Jobbing to Austin, to Big Show, the Ministry and the Corporate Ministry all served as platforms in which he basically elevated other talent, save Kane.

Plus, you know, the guy moves around the ring very well considering how big he is, which is talent out the ass. Part of me thinks the Flair job was Flair's idea.

(edited by Lexus on 10.3.11 0216)


"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Frown and the world laughs at you."
-Me.
PaulKTF
Summer sausage








Since: 26.5.06

Since last post: 1238 days
Last activity: 13 hours
#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.00
    Originally posted by Lexus
    Granted, my knowledge prior to '95 is hazy, at best, and I guess I stand corrected, and '95 and '96 he was champion, true, but throughout the Attitude era prior to his coming as the American Badass he was just there to elevate talent. Feud with Mankind elevated Mankind. Jobbing to Austin, to Big Show, the Ministry and the Corporate Ministry all served as platforms in which he basically elevated other talent, save Kane.


The Undertaker is perfectly willing to put new, worthy talent over; which is one of the reasons I like him.
Amos Cochran
Lap cheong








Since: 28.8.09

Since last post: 3 days
Last activity: 2 days
#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.67
    Originally posted by Scottyflamingo
    After that, it was just a matter of longevity. Taker stuck around while Hogan, Savage, Hall, and Nash all departed. Vince rewards loyalty. He kept Bob Holly employed for years and gave Bradshaw a world title reign out of loyalty, so Taker was a foregone conclusion.


I think longevity maybe is a part of it, but Calaway waded through a lot of crappy feuds and matches and angles in the 90s on Vince's say-so- and still came out and still worked hard and still wanted to improve as a worker. I just think he's an incredibly talented wrestler for his size, and were it not for the freak-of-the-week feuds that kept him busy from '92 to '96 we probably would've gotten a much more awesome in-ring Undertaker a lot earlier.

I also don't think the Bradshaw title win was out of loyalty - they needed a new ME heel on SmackDown, and Bradshaw was fucking GREAT at it. They rushed the win because of Eddie's not coping with being champion, but I maintain that had JBL been pushed steadily and won the title in, say, October-November 2004 people would be a lot more forgiving of his ascension.
Hogan's My Dad
Andouille








Since: 8.6.02
From: Canada

Since last post: 2 days
Last activity: 2 days
#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.73
    Originally posted by Amos Cochran
      Originally posted by Scottyflamingo
      After that, it was just a matter of longevity. Taker stuck around while Hogan, Savage, Hall, and Nash all departed. Vince rewards loyalty. He kept Bob Holly employed for years and gave Bradshaw a world title reign out of loyalty, so Taker was a foregone conclusion.


    I think longevity maybe is a part of it, but Calaway waded through a lot of crappy feuds and matches and angles in the 90s on Vince's say-so- and still came out and still worked hard and still wanted to improve as a worker. I just think he's an incredibly talented wrestler for his size, and were it not for the freak-of-the-week feuds that kept him busy from '92 to '96 we probably would've gotten a much more awesome in-ring Undertaker a lot earlier.

    I also don't think the Bradshaw title win was out of loyalty - they needed a new ME heel on SmackDown, and Bradshaw was fucking GREAT at it. They rushed the win because of Eddie's not coping with being champion, but I maintain that had JBL been pushed steadily and won the title in, say, October-November 2004 people would be a lot more forgiving of his ascension.


Eh. Bradshaw's being Champ doesn't look so bad in retrospect because we're now in an era where anyone gets a world title, even if they have nothing to offer. If anything, I think that's JBL's legacy. He really lowered the bar substantially. That's good and bad. You get good, deserving runs for your CM Punks, Jeff Hardys, perhaps even your Edges, and you get also get Swaggers and Khalis and Seamuses in there. Now, with Seamus, we'll never know how he might've done if they'd actually gone all the way with him (ie. given him some wins over top guys and actually tried to make him the equal of Cena/Orton/Taker/HHH), but certainly at the time of his win there were few if any arguments in favour that didn't boil down to "well they gotta do SOMETHING!". So compared to today, Bradshaw's anointing seems less audacious than it really was at the time. But really, few people that held the title before Bradshaw had ever brought less to the table than he did.

Taker's adapted well, and is a special performer. I gotta say though, with his "loyalty", you've gotta chalk that up to being at least influenced by the fact he couldn't be the Undertaker anywhere else. Razor became Hall and Diesel became Nash, but no one ever believed Razor and Diesel were among the industry's best ever gimmicks. They were mediocre gimmicks that charismatic wrestlers got a lot of mileage out of. "The Undertaker" was a brilliant all by itself, which happened to married to a great performer. And Undertaker is also Undertaker backstage, the unquestioned locker room leader, who to this day is the only person I have never heard ever being knocked in any shoot interview by anyone. He would've been giving that up too, and I get the impression that means a lot more to him than it might to some.





Quiet, Or Papa Spank!
Amos Cochran
Lap cheong








Since: 28.8.09

Since last post: 3 days
Last activity: 2 days
#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.67
I think Bradshaw's mic work is up there with the best heel stuff of the last ten years or so, and pre-commentary stint he'd become emminently carriable. Didn't Eddie handpick him to take his place at the top of the brand in '04? I guess I just think the guy got a lot of stick for running with the ball as best he could. Reinventing yourself from midcard tag-team Steve Austin clone into a successful ME rich-boy heel in a matter of months is no mean feat.

And he got Orlando Jordan over! Temporarily, but still.
Lexus
Bierwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Stafford, VA

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 2 days
AIM:  
#20 Posted on
    Originally posted by Amos Cochran

    I think longevity maybe is a part of it, but Calaway waded through a lot of crappy feuds and matches and angles in the 90s on Vince's say-so- and still came out and still worked hard and still wanted to improve as a worker. I just think he's an incredibly talented wrestler for his size, and were it not for the freak-of-the-week feuds that kept him busy from '92 to '96 we probably would've gotten a much more awesome in-ring Undertaker a lot earlier.



I think the freak-of-the-week stuff might have helped him get better in the ring. I couldn't give you a list of all the guys you mean, but I do remember the Yokozuna feud and how Taker had to be the more agile performer. By that logic, he probably found himself in many a situation where he'd be the one who'd have to carry whoever was in the ring with him.



"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Frown and the world laughs at you."
-Me.
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