AT WrestleMania 33 the legendary Undertaker wrestled his final match for WWE.
It was a dramatic moment for fans and the man who’s been one of the very top superstars for 27 years.
The power of the Undertaker is his mystique and near-supernatural invulnerability.
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But as last night proved – the Undertaker is just a man after all.
Sun Sport takes a look at seven other times the Deadman appeared to be mortal.
The Giant Knocks Him Out
The Deadman’s most notoriously awful opponent – the 7’ 7” Giant Gonzales – dwarfed Undertaker and make him look like a normal man.
Gonzales then by knocked him out with chloroform at WrestleMania IX (even the power of the urn couldn’t overcome that stench, apparently).
Thankfully, ‘Taker would go on to beat him and SummerSlam and send the giant on his way out of WWE. But it was rare glimpse of weakness in Undertaker’s cartoonish early years.
His Soul Ascends
In a casket match against 600lb monster Yokozuna at Royal Rumble 1994, ‘Taker was mobbed by eight of Yoko’s villain cronies and stuffed into the casket.
‘Taker appeared on the video screen vowing to return, before an Undertaker-like was hoisted up to the rafters – suggesting he was essentially dead (see, he is mortal after all) and was now ascending to heaven.
It was hokey stuff, but in reality a cover story for the Deadman to take off seven months to heal injuries.
A Hellish Betrayal
No one expected Undertaker’s longtime manager Paul Bearer to turn on him.
But that’s exactly what happened in the final seconds of his boiler room brawl with Mankind at SummerSlam 1996.
Bearer clocked ‘Taker with the urn – the source of all his powers – and joined forces with Mankind to leave the Deadman lying.
It was a defining moment for the Undertaker, who has never suffered that kind of betrayal up until that point (for most WWE superstars it’s a near weekly occurrence).
His character became darker and more serious following that moment – a reflection of deeply the attack had scarred him.
Showing Brotherly Love
When his brother Kane arrived in late 1997, everything changed for the Phenom.
The story was that ‘Taker had started a fire that had killed his parents and – or so he thought – his brother Kane.
Paul Bearer revealed that Kane had survived and brought him to WWE to destroy Undertaker.
But ‘Taker refused to fight him and was physically dominated by his even larger sibling. It revealed a layer of emotion and conflict never seen before in ‘Taker – and he’d eventually face Kane at WrestleMania XIV.
Edge Cashes In
Even the Undertaker has limits to the kind of punishment he can endure.
In May 2007, Undertaker was the World Heavyweight Champion and would defend his title in a brutal cage match against Batista.
Following that, ‘Taker suffered an assault at the hands of Mark Henry. But he wasn’t finished yet, as Money in the Bank-holder Edge took his opportunity to cash-in on the bloodied and battered Deadman – and taking his world title. It’s still shocking to see Undertaker so mercilessly beaten down.
In a moment that recollects Undertaker’s tearful farewell last night, he retired Shawn Michaels in a career-threatening match at WrestleMania XXVI.
After pinning Michaels with a Tombstone, ‘Taker let the façade of his character slip and hugged Michaels.
It was a heartfelt mark of respect for a wrestler every bit as good as himself – and every bit as important to the business.
For that moment Undertaker was no longer a supernatural being, but a human – and fan – who was rocked with emotion.
The Streak Ends
His most heartbreaking moment (until Wrestlemania 33, at least) came when Brock Lesnar conquered the most sacred thing in all of wrestling – the Deadman’s 21-year undefeated streak at ‘Mania.
It wasn’t just the loss that shocked fans, but seeing Undertaker’s vulnerability. Concussed early on, he was clearly hurt and struggled to piece together that match.
He reportedly collapsed backstage, with Vince McMahon missing the rest of the show to accompany him to hospital.
Whereas ‘Taker had stolen the show at six ‘Manias previously, he was now a shadow of his former self.
It was sign that his career was winding up, and fans were unsure if he’d ever wrestle again following the loss to Lesnar.
Watch WrestleMania 33 on the WWE Network