The Undertaker has been captivating WWE audiences for almost three decades now, with his spooky entrance, entrancing storylines with his brother Kane and even his American Badass gimmick of the early 2000s.
He’s been Mark Calaway, Big Red, and many more alter egos during his time as a wrestler, but what stands out most is his WrestleMania record of 21-2, which was 20-0 before ‘The Beast’ Brock Lesnar was able to achieve the unthinkable, breaking the streak and allowing the Undertaker character to finally rest in peace.
We have seen hints of the Undertaker leaving but his presence still lingers, now opting to do one-off matches spread across the year. A lot of this was due to a damaged hip needing surgery but being put off, leading to the eventual operation and now subsequent match schedule.
Over the course of the streak, many foes were laid to rest, names such as
During the period there were many names mentioned as possible opponents, others that were just fan’s choice of superstars, some inside the WWF/E and others from WCW or TNA, some were picked from today’s rosters and NXT.
Here I have picked my top choices in no particular order and will explain why I think we missed out on some great WrestleMania wars. Please bear in mind that I am looking at this under the condition that the Undertaker is still in the midst of his prime, it is up to you to interpret which part of his prime, as some would argue that one version is better than others and vice versa. I am choosing The Deadman gimmick from the late 2000s onwards.
If it makes you feel any better about these choices then scrap the streak part or ‘Mania part of it as we all know ‘Taker goes over then, even if it is streak Vs streak, Icon Vs Phenom, Undertaker is WWE’s baby and it will come first. So in this broken universe, I like to imagine it being done in a company run by both WCW and WWE, that or both were bought out by some third party. I don’t want my decision to always be that WWE puts him over as it lowers the enigma of each person. Or just go all in and do it with the streak, if Goldberg beat Brock and Brock beat Taker then…..
First up we have The Icon Sting, a legend of WCW and TNA, he maybe waited a little too long before joining WWE, it’s debatable of course, as he could have been misused, however by the time he eventually did join the company he wasn’t able to do much before injury forced him into retirement. There is always the argument of who would win, should they even go against each other taking this into account, as one will have to take the fall. Let’s be honest, Sting would have been more than happy to do the favors, he respects Undertaker as much if not more than we do. I would use either Sting’s ‘Crow’ or ‘Joker’ gimmicks as they would balance well with Undertaker’s style, both utilize the lights going out to their advantage and both would be great cutting promos on each other, this by far is my favorite of the list.
The next choice is definitely familiar with how much it takes to keep a streak going, with his 173 matches winning streak in WCW making him a talking point among fans who wanted to see the two legends collide. To the best of my knowledge, they haven’t faced off in the ring apart from the Royal Rumble 2018, where Goldberg was confronted by The Deadman during the Rumble match and eliminated. The tension in the air was palpable, what would happen between these two? Goldberg does manage to hit a spear on Taker but was also chokeslammed, I liked this little tease but I wouldn’t expect this to go any further than it has. I would have loved to see both men trying to outdo each other, both showing no fear of the other. Streak Vs Streak, Spear Vs Chokeslam, Jackhammer Vs Tombstone Piledriver, two legends locked in a battle for supremacy.
I like this idea because of the possibilities that arise with Aleister Black. He is very dark and brooding, he rises up out of the ground in a very symbolic entrance, and if they booked it right he could have almost the same aura as the Undertaker has, he just needs to go even darker than he is because it seems like he is in control of his demons, whereas a heel or not so much classic heel but evil or demonic like Undertaker and Kane we could have a new Ministry of Darkness in the making. Imagine Black hitting ‘Taker with the Black Mass and then him sitting up how he does, only for Black to drop into his cross-legged pose opposite him, inspecting him, then finishing him off with a second, then after the victory, Black is confronted by Undertaker who takes him on as a protege and new leader of the Cult of Black Mass.
AJ Styles is called phenomenal for a reason, but can he lay The Phenom to rest? We’ve seen just how good AJ is as a wrestler and his high status in other companies he has worked for puts him way up there on my list of people or would like to see have an iconic match with The Undertaker. I imagine Style’s being cocky but confident at the same time, with odd bits where he may let his fear slip in the Deadman’s presence, he can sell, he can work the mic and he is able to match up against almost any style you can throw at him, plus ‘Taker works well with smaller guys who can fly or be thrown around easily, and with both men doing this match in their primes I could see it being talked about in a similar to how HBK was after his encounters with Undertaker.
I would love to see how the King of Strong Style would combat the Undertaker, I imagine it would be in a similar way to AJ, with him being a star in his own right anywhere he has been, however coming face to face with The Deadman can make people react in ways they normally wouldn’t, and with how Shinsuke’s character normally comes across I already dream booking this match. Both men can take and lash out a vicious beating and their gimmicks are both dialed up to eleven, meaning this might be the most interesting out of my list in terms of what could happen, it would definitely be a sight to behold. I picture Undertaker doing his trademark sit up to be hit by a Kinshasa, only to sit up again, the look on Nakamura’s face before he attempts a second blow, but gets chokeslammed for his efforts and then tombstoned for the finish.
Abyss is another person who has been mentioned before with regards to Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, and for good reason, as he was at one point set for that exact match, however leading up to it he decided to stay with TnA and continue to help to build their brand, understandably not wanting to feel like he was betraying the company that gave him his big break, but what if….
This would have been a great match for both men, and Abyss would have been booked like crazy to become the next monster in WWE, however, you can’t knock the man’s loyalty, which I think even Undertaker would respect greatly. I would have enjoyed the mix of ‘Taker’s style against Abyss’ hardcore, crazed style, it could be a very close call for The Deadman. Closer than the event horizon to a Black Hole Slam into the Abyss.
‘Demon’ Finn Balor
When ‘Demon’ Finn Balor first showed up in NXT, people speculated what a meeting of these two dark characters would end up looking like. Firstly it would involve a reeeeeeally long entrance for both competitors and would be great to see the two trying to out demon each other. This has the big man/small man dynamic again that Undertaker works so well with, and with how skilled Finn is I would imagine this to be fast paced for the most part but that the Undertaker will eventually get the upper hand on him and go for the finish. We all know how resilient Balor can be but I think the Demon might meet his maker here. I would be more interested in an allegiance between the two.
These two men have come face to face before, but a full-blown match would be chaos, and I don’t mean the faction or a random SAnitY reference, I mean the hell on earth that would be the carnage left in the wake of these two monsters. I love Braun’s style, but Taker is Taker, and he is used to dealing with people his size or bigger when he has to, but I think given Braun’s push as the Monster Among Men May lead him to be the most legitimate threat to the streak that I have listed here. Fear doesn’t make Braun quiver, Braun makes fear quiver, and with an opponent like the Undertaker that will be Braun’s best weapon, along with ‘These Hands!’ to put The Phenom into a casket for the long rest he has earned of the years. Out of everyone o chose I wouldn’t have been disappointed had Braun been the one to topple the Undertaker.
The Destroyer vs The Deadman would be a match I would pay to see any day of the week, especially with how well Joe came across when feuding with Brock Lesnar, the man is legit dangerous and is built like a veteran because he is, he was wrestling back when the biker gimmick was a thing for the Undertaker as were a lot of people on this list, yet the seriousness Joe exhibits when dealing with and dispatching opponents is one that I think a lot of the locker room needs to try and replicate, in their own way. Nothing is ever half-baked with Joe and although he may not be the greatest on the mic he most definitely gets his message across, one way or another.
The former IWGP Champion and master of the Rainmaker clothesline, Kazuchika Okada is as tough as nails, as shown by his recent run with the top title in New Japan. There is something else he does that caused me to include him in this list, which is his tombstone piledriver, the same move used by The Undertaker. If you saw the series of matches between Okada and Kenny Omega you will appreciate the idea of long-term storytelling even down to whether someone can land their finisher and get a successful pin because their opponent is of such high level, so a tombstone vs tombstone fest is right up my street, and given the auras surrounding both men’s legacies this would have been one filled with non stop action bell to bell and we would follow and believe every second of it.
Speaking of Kenny, the Cleaner of New Japan and leader of Bullet Club, I would love nothing more than to see how Kenny would shine in a scenario of this magnitude. It is storytelling and character development/consistency that makes a great feud, and with Kenny being great for promos, matched by the Undertaker and Kenny’s reaction adding even more fun to what could be an awesome event anywhere in the world. He looks like he’s just been shot after a big move, he has the stamina and ability to cart out what he has to do despite looking like he’s just been shot and can hang with the best of them, it would be a mic work and character-driven feud that would probably get like 8 stars or something, failing that though at least we would have one hell of an entertaining program.
The last man on my list is no stranger to facing legends, having been in programs with Brock Lesnar and Sting, and I picture the same look on Seth’s face when the gong goes off that he had when Brock’s music hit way back when Seth was WWE Champion. Rollins has been one of the most entertaining parts of Raw as of late and is set to remain one of the biggest stars of the company going forward over the years, so what better way to showcase these things that’s to have these to superstars face off in battle, I’m just not sure The Man can hang with The Deadman….
That’s all for my list of who I would have lived Undertaker to have faced, let us know who you would have wanted to see in the comments below!