Without a doubt, the Undertaker is one of WWE's all-time greatest superstars. The Phenom has been kicking ass and taking souls for almost three decades. Despite not wrestling full-time anymore, the return of the Deadman may be upon us once again. His recent appearance in a bar with Shane McMahon added fuel to the fire. Why? Because within three days, his naturally white hair was dyed to his signature Undertaker black. Furthermore, the fact that he met with Shane McMahon — the Commissioner of SmackDown LIVE — has led many to believe that he may return to SmackDown.
Over his 26 year career in WWE, the Phenom has had countless legendary moments on SmackDown, reigning supreme over it for over a decade. Let's take a look at some of Undertaker's greatest moments on the blue brand.
10. The Undertaker Joins SmackDown (2002)
During WWE's initial brand extension back in 2002, the Undertaker was originally drafted to RAW where he kicked ass, took names and won the WWE Undisputed Championship. However, that Summer on SmackDown, Stephanie McMahon introduced a new RAW superstar she had just signed. In an awesome moment, Stephanie barely got the words "The Phenom, The Undertaker!" out before the arena exploded with cheers.
Taker would win a triple threat match to challenge Brock Lesnar for the title which would begin the storied Lesnar/Taker rivalry. All of this and more took place on the blue brand, which the Undertaker would call home for the next decade.
9. Undertaker Calls Out Stone Cold (2001)
Back in 2001, the Undertaker was well into his American Badass persona. The motorcyle riding "Deadman Inc." had a score to settle with Stone Cold Steve Austin for injuring his brother, Kane. Austin came to the ring and the two engaged in a heated brawl. However, it wasn't long before Vince McMahon got involved trying to attack the Undertaker and it soon became two-on-one. This was a trap — but Austin didn't set it.
The stage exploded in flames and Kane made a triumphant return, saving his brother. Austin managed to escape, but not before getting trapped between two monsters. That night, they made an emphatic statement — the Two Man Power Trip shouldn't have messed with the Brothers Of Destruction. This was the classic old school days at their finest.
8. Undertaker Sacrifices Orlando Jordan (2004)
As WWE Champion JBL constantly hid behind his Cabinet, the Undertaker often found himself outnumbered. After taking returning Ministry members Viscera and Gangrel out of the equation, the Undertaker set his sights on JBL's Chief of Staff — Orlando Jordan. Later that night, the Undertaker would appear on the TitanTron, cryptically revealing Jordan's fate, before looking to the sky — and there, we all saw JBL's Chief of Staff sacrificed on the Undertaker's symbol.
I remember this was actually censored when it aired on TV during the day. It was a very underrated promo that ended with a real throwback to the days of the "Attitude Era" when Taker did the same thing to Austin. Jordan's sacrifice proved that this new Deadman iteration of the Undertaker wasn't afraid to resort to his old Lord Of Darkness techniques to get inside his adversary's head.
7. Undertaker Surprises Randy Orton (2005)
The Undertaker and Randy Orton put on one heck of a year-long rivalry back in 2005. The "Legend Killer" wanted to end the legend of the Undertaker and, in doing so, tried to play mind games with the master, revealing a life-size Undertaker mannequin in a casket. It truly stunned the Phenom, for a moment.
The following week, Orton brought out what he thought was the same mannequin in the same casket. However, when Randy got too close for comfort, that mannequin grabbed him by the throat. The Undertaker rose from the dead and launched Orton into the open casket with one arm, proving that the legacy of the Deadman was alive and well. A gooesbump inducing moment, courtesy of the master of the mind games.
6. The Formation Of The Corporate Ministry (1999)
On the very first episode of SmackDown Shane McMahon and his Corporation made clear that the Rock and Stone Cold very much needed to be on the same page, knowing full well that they wouldn't be. In a truly monumental moment, McMahon solidified his words when he stood side by side with the Undertaker — the leader of the Ministry Of Darkness. In this awe-inspiring moment, the two most powerful factions in WWE history had joined forces and formed the Corporate Ministry.
This moment has gone down in history as one of the best moments of the WWE's "Attitude Era" and was responsible for changing the landscape of the company in 1999. The two warring factions had joined forces, and there was hell to pay. A truly immortal image that put SmackDown on the map.
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5. The Deadman Debuts On SmackDown (2004)
Since its inception in 1999, SmackDown had seen both the Lord of Darkness and the American Badass dominate the show in its first five years. However, in 2004, the blue brand finally bore witness to the Undertaker in his truest form — the Deadman. The week after his return to his darker roots at WrestleMania XX, the Undertaker returned home to SmackDown, this time bringing his coat, hat, fog, Urn and legendary manager Paul Bearer all with him.
Unlucky general manager Paul Heyman spewed his egotistical vision for SmackDown and told Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio that there wasn't "a man alive who's gonna stand in my way." But what he didn't expect was for a Deadman to do so. And so, Heyman got a tombstone piledriver as the new hybrid iteration of the Deadman announced to the world that he was back on the blue brand to stay.
4. The Era Of The Deadman Begins (2007)
After winning the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23, the Undertaker triumphantly entered SmackDown with a PPV worthy entrance, holding the gold. He would accept Batista's challenge for a rematch and fend off an attack from King Booker. The new champion would tombstone Booker on the announce table before symbolically raising the championship above his head. It was the first time he had been champion in five years and, to quote Michael Cole, it was "bone-chilling... to see the Undertaker grace the ring, holding the gold and standing on top of the food chain."
3. Undertaker Reunites With Paul Bearer (2010)
Undertaker and Kane have had some amazing rivalries over the years. Although their 2010 battles weren't their best, there was one moment that transcended the program and stood out as one of the most amazing in SmackDown history — the return of Paul Bearer.
Finding himself unable to match strengths with his baby brother, the Undertaker had all but given up. However, the return of an old friend re-energized the Phenom and, drawing power from the Urn once again, he took the fight to Kane. Everything about this moment was perfect: Bearer returned in the most amazing of ways and seeing him and Taker reunited was incredible. That image of the reinvigorated Undertaker bowing to the Urn and Bearer — like he had so many times before — as thunder rattled through the arena is one that will live on forever.
Rest In Peace Paul Bearer!
2. The Undertaker And Batista Brawl (2007)
When the Undertaker won the 2007 Royal Rumble and challenged Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23, the buildup practically played out as you would expect between two babyfaces. However, a sneaky chokeslam here and badly-timed spinebuster later, the animosity between the two fan-favorites soon reached a fever pitch. 48 hours before WrestleMania, the Undertaker remained silent as Batista hurled insults at him. But the moment Taker began unzipping his coat sleeves, you knew all hell was about to break loose.
The two men broke through the line of security and began unloading on each other with lefts and rights. Months of pent-up aggression and anger manifested as it finally broke down between the two. In a truly amazing moment — reminiscent of the 2015 RAW brawl between Lesnar and Taker — the anticipation for WrestleMania couldn't have been higher as these two monsters tore each other apart.
1. The Brothers Of Destruction Reunite (2006)
After five years apart, the Undertaker and Kane would reunite on Friday Night SmackDown to take on Mr. Kennedy and MVP in one incredibly entertaining tag team match. The Brothers of Destruction would constantly try to outdo each other by pummeling their opponents, producing some hilariously entertaining moments. They made sure that after five years apart, nothing was going to ruin the family reunion and disposed of Kennedy and MVP with double chokeslams and a tombstone piledriver.
But perhaps the most iconic thing about this awesome reunion was the immortal image of the Undertaker down on one knee doing his signature pose as Kane brought his arms up and ignited the ring posts. It was a moment that sent chills down my spine back then, and it still does every time I watch it. The Brothers Of Destruction were back — with a vengeance.
The Undertaker has been responsible for around 17 years worth of memories on SmackDown, making this list virtually impossible to create. Seriously, it was like having to choose between your friends — I watched almost every single one of these when they first aired. His presence on the show elevated SmackDown, allowing it to constantly best RAW and produce some of the greatest moments in WWE history. With rumors of a potential return to the blue brand soon, expect to see more immortal memories created at the hands of the Phenom. The question is not if he shall return, but when.
What was your favorite Undertaker moment on SmackDown? Let us know in the comments!