This coming Sunday marks a very special moment in the history of Professional Wrestling. At this year’s up and coming WWE Survivor Series event, the whole world of Professional wrestling will celebrate the anniversary of the debut of one of the greatest Professional Wrestlers in the entire history of Professional Wrestling. This week marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of The Undertaker. Now for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, well; The Undertaker is a Professional Wrestler (real name Mark Calaway) who for the past 25 years has been wrestling for the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Anyway to mark such a momentous moment in Pro Wrestling history, I wanted to do something special, but couldn’t figure out what. So in the end I decided to do just a post on what The Undertaker has meant to me; because well, from the moment I started watching WWE, he was there from the beginning and throughout that time, and even when I began to watch other Wrestling promotions like TNA (Total Nonstop Action), he has remained my favourite.
I have always known about Pro-Wrestling. I remember when my brother used to watch videos of WCW (World Championship Wrestling) events on VHS and it starred notable wrestlers like STING. I also remember watching this Hulk Hogan cartoon thing when I was younger too. Even when WWF at the time was making a mark on Sunday Afternoon television on Channel 4, I remember seeing my brother watching it. But at no time during any of this was I interested in it. In 2003 my family got Cable TV for the first time, and on SKY One they used to show Wrestling programs, but I was not interested then either. This changed however in July 2004 when just before I was about to go away on a camping holiday in Clapham, I just watched it. And I liked it. I remember seeing wrestlers like Kurt Angle back when he was Smackdown General Manager and Eddie Guerrero in his bouncing car. One thing that stood out for me though was when JBL (John Bradshaw Layfield) was talking smack about being champion and then The Undertaker walking out and challenging him for the WWE Championship; uttering the words “You, Me, Summerslam”. From that moment I was hooked, and when the camp finished I couldn’t wait to turn on the TV back home and find out what was going on. I soon became a big fan, and the Undertaker was my favourite. There were other wrestlers that I also liked including Booker T, Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam, but the Undertaker always shined through, and whenever he came out to the ring, it was an Amazing moment to watch. Smoke filling the walkway, his music coming on, after the famous single bell toll.
A few months later I even got to go and see WWE live when Smackdown was shown Live in Manchester at the MEN Arena for the first time. I can still remember going with my Mam and Brother, going into that packed building and seeing so many wrestlers fighting amongst themselves. And lo and behold, I also got to see The Undertaker wrestle right in front of my eyes as he went 1 on 1 with Heidenreich. That part wasn’t shown on Television, but just seeing him there was amazing. As time went by I cheered for him on TV and got angry when he lost matches, particularly when it involved a Championship. His appearances on the TV shows were on and off, but I still hung in for hope, hoping he would come back soon.
By this time I was a regular viewer of WWE Smackdown on Sky One but struggled after that when it moved to Sky Sports, which my family did not have. Thankfully a new show in the shape of the WWE Experience came on Sundays so I could somewhat keep up. Eventually however, we got Sky Sports and I was able to get back into it. By the end of 2005; after a long and lengthy rivalry with Randy Orton came to a close, during Christmas that year I received a copy of Tombstone: The History Of The Undertaker on DVD. Throughout the Christmas holidays (which was a big help as I was in a Zimmer Frame at the time) I watched nearly the entirety of the DVD (still have some extras to watch). Some of the matches it included were the Hell in a Cell match against Mankind and a match at King of The Ring against The Rock (also one of my favourite Undertaker Entrances).
Professional Wrestling is like a soap opera, and stories need to be followed by the audience, and some of the time these aren’t all that inviting and you can begin to waver from them. And when your favourite character is not around as much, it can be hard to keep going. For a while I was, throughout 2006 with some appearances from The Undertaker as he wrestled people like Mark Henry, plus another chance to see The Undertaker as well as Kane in Manchester again. Then followed by his successful victory at the Royal Rumble, his rivalry with Batista and his runs as World Heavyweight Champion. That is all good and fun, but eventually things began to wrap down, and in 2008, TNA debuted on the now defunct uk channel Bravo. With a new and fresh wrestling show to watch which in turn was also at the time at least a lot more exciting and featured stars like Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, Abyss and of course STING, my interest in WWE began to waver. The Undertaker was still a part over at WWE, but as time marched on, he began to be seen less and less, and ultimately as the years went by, just came down to 1 appearance at Wrestlemania a year. Things though began to change, and my interest in WWE and the Undertaker sparked up a little bit as for a period of 4 years faced 2 other Great Wrestlers in HBK Shawn Michaels and Triple H. While I wouldn’t watch any other part of that company except for either interest or by accident, I would keep informed of those matches, and while I did not get to see those shows, I really wanted to see those matches. Still haven’t.
TNA at the time for me was going off leaps and bounds producing far better shows, including 2 far better live shows back in Manchester with stars like Sting and Hulk Hogan on show at the last one I went to see (check out my photos). As for WWE, that quickly became boring due to the constant of John Cena being champion all the time. Soon though as TNA began to get into issues, the product started to lose its effectiveness on me. For the last few years on both promotions it’s been a feign interest. Things have begun to change recently, while I hope TNA will go back to the way it became, WWE is starting to look good again with Wrestlers like Paige lighting up the entire Diva division, and interesting new stars like The New Day, plus returned legends like STING (first time in WWE), Brock Lesnar and the Dudley Boyz making WWE the place to be. But, I always have a soft spot for my favourite Wrestler; The Undertaker. I was shocked like many when he lost to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania a few years ago (I thought it should have been someone like Goldberg), but his sudden recent return to fight back Brock Lesnar has got me geared back into WWE a bit.
My fascination with wrestling is still in me down there. I have become a fan of Total Divas, but for the most part I am now a casual observer. Sure I will watch the odd video, and still listen to the Wrestler’s Entrance music on YouTube, but, I am a more casual observer. However, there is always one thing that will get me watching WWE. Yes, his career is now starting to wane, and I feel like his retirement is now going to be a lot sooner than later, but, even when he does decide to go, he will remain a true legend in the sport of Pro Wrestling. There will always be a part of me that longs to see the Phenom; The Undertaker once again.
GENEPOOL (Apologies if this post seems scattered, it was more just a brief overview of me and The Undertaker. Maybe I’ll do one when he gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame…..no promises).