With Survivor Series only days away the show will be dedicated to celebrating 30 years of The Undertaker. With the PPV airing on the 30thanniversary of The Deadman’s debut in WWE and the speculation of his retirement being announced on the show, this seems like the best time to have one of the biggest debates in professional wrestling.
Is The Undertaker the greatest wrestler of all time?
The Undertaker is a name synonymous with WWE and professional wrestling, his character is known by people across the world who have never even watched wrestling. His iconic attire of the hat and cloak with forever be associated with Taker and The Streak is arguably the most famous thing to ever come out of the WWE.
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) November 18, 2020
So, how do we go about having such a debate? Well firstly we need to look at the different categories to consider when having this discussion.
The first one that we’re going to consider is their overall popularity, the second category is their title reigns within the company, the third is the quality of matches throughout their career and finally their lasting legacy within the world of wrestling.
As I touched upon earlier, The Undertaker is known by people across the globe who have never watched a minute of wrestling in their life. His 30-year career is so well known that it becomes hard to even mention WWE without talking about Taker.
Within the world of wrestling fans there is nothing but respect for The Undertaker. Fans globally adore him and the hard work that he has put in over the last three decades, due to the fact he has given us so many memorable moments over the years.
Whether it be throwing Mankind off of the Hell in a Cell, being the leader of The Ministry of Darkness or his incredible series of matches at Wrestlemania with Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Taker is a fan favourite wherever you look and there still to this day is always a buzz whenever you hear the famous gong.
Despite being in WWE for 30 years, Taker surprisingly only has seven world title reigns to his name, winning the WWE title four times and the World Heavyweight title three times. When you compare these figures to the likes of John Cena with 16 to his name or Randy Orton with 14, it seems like Taker has had a less successful career right?
But that is where The Undertaker is so special, because he doesn’t need to have double figure world title reigns to have a lasting legacy in WWE and to be seen as a legend. Arguably his Wrestlemania Streak is seen as more valuable than an extra ten world title reigns. Going 21-0 at the biggest show of the year in wrestling is hands down seen as the biggest achievement of all time. Only finally losing The Streak to Brock Lesnar in his 22ndMania match, it will forever be remembered as the biggest achievement by a wrestler ever.
Taker also has six tag team title reigns to his name too, with of course his most famous reigns being alongside his brother Kane.
So, when we look at these facts, he may not be the most decorated superstar to step inside a WWE ring, but it is clear that he doesn’t need to have the title reigns to be seen as a legend. Some of the greatest feuds that he has had over his career have been non-title feuds and have led to some of the greatest matches in WWE history.
Which leads us to our next category.
Quality of Matches
The Undertaker has had some of the best matches in WWE history, in fact he’s had so many that I could sit here all day telling you about them. But in this edition of Top Turnbuckle, I am only going to focus on a select few.
Of course, back in the Attitude Era Taker had feuds with the likes of Mankind, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin just to name a few. With his hardcore matches being the highlight of these feuds.
His battles with brother Kane inside Hell in a Cell or Buried Alive matches were some of the most intense in his career and the two brought the best out of each other during this period.
But to modern fans Taker will be remembered best for his four-year Wrestlemania feud with Michaels and Triple H. Starting at Mania 25 in a match against Michaels that is widely regarded as the best WWE match of all time, in which Taker continued The Streak by beating Michaels. The two men then had a rematch at the next Wrestlemania, with Michaels career on the line during this encounter, and Taker would of course win, forcing The Heartbreak Kid to retire.
At Wrestlemania 27 Taker would face off against Michaels best friend Triple H in a hellacious encounter, with The Streak again surviving another year. But the most fondly looked upon match during this four-year run came at Mania 28, in the End of an Era match inside Hell in a Cell. Once again facing Triple H, this time with Michaels as the guest referee, the three men told a beautiful story inside the ring. With false finishes, finishing move after finishing move and an emotional ending to go with it, this truly is one of my favourite ever WWE matches.
Be honest, who else thought the streak was over here?
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) November 18, 2020
These examples of the amazing matches that he put on throughout his career highlights why he is looked upon by fans as the man who puts on star performance after star performance over the years, with very little exception.
When you factor all these things together you start to build a wider picture of the career of The Undertaker. This picture is one of a man dedicated to his craft, a man who hasn’t ever jumped ship to a rival company and a man who will forever be remembered as being the poster boy for WWE for 30 years.
Without a doubt in my mind, I know that when I am an old man the name The Undertaker will still be remembered in professional wrestling, and for generations after me he will be known still as one of the greatest to ever step inside the ring.
So, when you look at all the categories that I have today I think it is quite clear that The Undertaker is the greatest of all time. His character work over the years has constantly evolved, his matches have always been incredible, and he still strikes fear into the hearts of audiences to this day when you watch his slow entrance down to the ring.
Which version of the @undertaker resonates most with you?
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) November 11, 2020
He may not have the world title reigns of Cena, Orton or Triple H, and he may not have hit the stardom heights that the likes of The Rock and Austin did during the Attitude Era. But he has been a constant figure in WWE for three decades now and will continue to be for many more.
Therefore, here today on this edition of Top Turnbuckle, I declare that The Undertaker is indeed the G.O.A.T of professional wrestling.