Some call him "Phenom", or "Dead Man" and "Big Evil", others "Lord of Darkness", "American Bad Ass", or "Biggest Dog In the Yard", some even dare "Booger Red." All I know, is that when he comes through the drive-thru at Burger Kang he orders the Tombstone Nachos, extra salsa, and a large Diet Pepsi.
The Undertaker vs. The Rock – (WWF King of the Ring ’99) – 6
Rock was great at this time, hadn’t yet cut the weight and tightened up his physique as he would later in his run; here he’s just a big, physical, athletically gifted, charismatic, workhorse of a competitor. Undertaker was also possibly at his physical prime, although saddled with his sadistic heel persona, so was more of compulsory piece of the larger puzzle, not the biggest, most respected dog in the yard as he is now. Still, this is great “main event style” wrestling from the late-‘90’s WWF machine, ablaze with the attitude they revitalized the business upon. Its similar to a lot of the wild brawls that were the finales of WWF pay-per-views of the era, but without involving Austin it was less frantic, making it a more measured fight that had the same chaotic energy but didn’t exhaust itself hastily.
It opened Undertaker popping Rock in the face then immediately hitting the referee, too. As the ref was out Rock fired back with a “Rock Bottom” within the first minute of the match, but alas, there was no official there to count the fall. Known homosexual Paul Bearer, roly-poly body and all, took out a second ref. Undertaker answered Rock’s big move with one of his own, a giant chokeslam, all within the first few minutes of action. They brawled down the aisle and all over the entrance area, including Rock taking a nasty spill into a lone piece of steel guardrail, and later, getting suplexed right on the floor by Undertaker in a gnarly bump.
They brawled back to ringside, out into the crowd, back to ringside again, where they dished out big blows on the floor near the announcer’s table. Rock telegraphed a spot poorly, tapping Undertaker on the back of the head with a chair, nudging him twice, giving him head’s up that it was time for their reversal spot as Undertaker spun around at the last possible second and blocked the chair with the ring bell driving it back into Rock’s chiseled face. Rock intercepts a rag soaked in ether (Jim Ross: “I’m not a doctor but that smells like ether!” was one of the stupidest utterances ever) and holds it to Undertaker’s face, which makes for a silly visual, plus anyone who’s ever taken Chemistry at the college-level knows that the worse that could happen would be nucleophilic displacement. Triple H runs out and hits Rock with the “Pedigree”, leaving each competitor motionless on the canvas, the ref nearly counts both men down, but Undertaker awakened and hit a “Tombstone” for the victory.
The Undertaker vs. King Haku - (WWF vs. WAR vs. EMLL - Yokohama, Japan 9/15/92) - 3
Undertaker’s still playing dead, Haku is still rocking a curly mullet, and all is well in the world when the stars aligned and brought together the likes of Negro Casas, Paul Diamond, and Tenryu under one roof. This was one of the least interesting matches on the card, as I’d rather see a gray-bearded Great Kabuki literally spraying plasma from his forehead than this but on its own merits it’s a fairly good match that doesn’t even last six minutes cumulative. There’s a miscommunication early where both guys are throwing strikes and it’s like, “oh shit, do I punch now or let you punch me?” and I’m all like, “hit that motherfucker in his voice producing mechanism” and shit. Haku is stiff, bulky, and just built perfectly for the wrestling art form. I noted that this is one of the few Undertaker appearances in Japan to my knowledge, which is quite a big deal, especially considering his legendary status and the Japanese love for oversized Americans. I dated a girl named Kyoko briefly who had a similar infatuation—I think I left my copy of Deliver Us From Eva at her pad. Undertaker chokeslams Haku hard but the resiliency of Haku is undeniable as he kicks out; well, maybe not quite undeniable, as moments later he eats a “Tombstone Piledriver” for the loss. Haku was immediately seen leaving the vicinity and heading for some hibachi and then to brothel where you can get a world renowned “Human Egg Roll” by a barely legal geisha that’s trying to get her degree in pharmacology on the side.
Undertaker and Kane vs. Haku and Rikishi – First Blood Match – (WWE Smackdown! Xtreme 2/1/01) – 3
Remember Smackdown! Xtreme? I didn’t think so. The faces meet the heels in the aisle way and things start with a brawl. Kane and Undertaker ping pong Rikishi back and forth with big right hands on the floor. Why does Undertaker sell Rikishi’s punches in the ring by taking a short stroll each time he gets hit? It’s like, “wow, you socked me in the jaw, time to go out and walk the dog!” Don’t forget to tip the kid on his bike route Booger Red. Could Rikishi possibly put his hands down any more blatantly when ‘Taker rams his head into the steel ring steps multiple times? Kane jumps off the apron to blindside Rikishi but barely makes contact, wiping out big time and leaving me wondering how he could have possibly missed such a big target from a few feet away? The chair shots here aren’t much harder than those of elementary kids imitating professional wrestling with pillows. Kane just sold Rikishi’s ass to his mid-section like a cannonball just blew through his chest and it’s the Civil War reincarnate. I think I’m starting to bleed. Haku takes a huge flat back bump on the floor to a single Undertaker punch. Kane busts open Rikishi by ramming the steel steps into his head. I wonder if Kane’s cock was burnt in the fire.
Undertaker vs. Tazz (WWE SmackDown! 11/29/01) - 3
Tazz starts off surprisingly taking it to Undertaker, and I can't help but think back to all of those old, ECW promos where Taz used to cut down superstars like 'Taker saying he'd choke them out, etc. Now besides getting seconds at catering, Tazz was eating his words as well. Match barely makes six minutes--mostly brawling, highlighted by Michael Cole's stupidity, saying "that's never been done before!" when Tazz pulls 'Taker off the ropes while he's attempting to do "Old School." Tazz gets the "Tazmission" and 'Taker tries to fall out of the ring to break it but Tazz rolls with him, keeping the hold on, which I thought was a nice touch and showed how desperate Tazz was to get a victory that he knew this was his only chance and didn't want to give it up. Undertaker wins with a chokeslam and I'm left thinking, "wow, I really want the entire '01 run of SmackDown! like yesterday." (Example: the main event of this show was Austin vs. Regal in a strap match.)
Undertaker and Kane vs. Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire - Cage Match - (WWE Raw 8/13/01) - 3
This isn't the controversial cage match against Kanyon and DDP, its the forgotten one, and now I remember why. As soon as Undertaker gets in he gets attacked and they won't even allow Kane to enter the cage. Undertaker wasn't selling Palumbo's punches in the corner. Kane chokeslams O'Haire as soon as he gets into the cage--way to waste your signature move in a half-minute. Undertaker's wife is at ringside, wonder if he kept any Polaroids? Palumbo is selling huge for the Bros. of Destruction, bleeding all over while DDP and Kanyon stroll down the ramp like they're not concerned. Sean just lays out of the way, occasionally wiggling his feet, but makes sure to roll out of the way when Palumbo gets killed with "The Last Ride." The "sick, perverted Page" chases Sara so she climbs the cage and straddles it while the Alliance members further get buried.
Dudley Boyz and Tazz vs. Kane, Undertaker, and Tajiri - (WWE Smackdown! 7/19/01) - 4
It starts off with Tajiri running into the fray and we're off with a brawl. D-Von is isolated in the ring with Kane, outside Bubba takes a wild shot from Undertaker that nearly sends his big ass over the wall into the crowd. Tazz trying to hold back control on Kane looks real goofy. Tajiri gets a huge pop when tagged in--working spots with Tazz almost looks like a minis match. Bubba steps on Tajiri's face like he would a prostitute's throat in some weird, subversive foreplay in a hotel room later that night. D-Von's spinning back elbow rears its ugly visage. Tazz can only make himself look like a bad ass by roughing up Tajiri, no wonder they switched him to announcing I now see. Undertaker is in and the crowd erupts as he takes out all the opposition. Things break down, of course, as Tazz is standing alone in the center of the ring and Tajiri randomly moonsaults from the top, landing in a standing position with his back to Tazz, wait, what? Why would you do that? So Tazz locks him in the "Tazmission" but trusty 'Taker makes the save and chokeslams Tazz for the win.