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The WWE Hall of Fame awaits the Deadman, the Undertaker

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: The Undertaker recovers during his fight against Brock Lesner at the WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015 in New York City. JP Yim/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by JP Yim / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: The Undertaker recovers during his fight against Brock Lesner at the WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015 in New York City. JP Yim/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by JP Yim / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Published Feb 22, 2022

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By Glenn Schouw

Johannesburg — The Grim Reaper was rubbing his hands while overseeing the possible death of the Undertaker during his stunning 30 year career in the sports entertainment industry.

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The Reaper was so confident he even put his scythe aside. Hard to believe this man mountain giant at 2.08 metres and close to 160kg would find himself in that position, but he did courtesy of the storyline produced by the WWE script writers.

Ironically the Deadman as the Undertaker was also called, had the last laugh – as he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Friday, April 1 at American Airlines Centre in Dallas as part of WrestleMania Week.

Now back to Taker’s near death experiences.

Taker, real name Mark Calaway, was centimetres away from being carried out in his own coffin in the showdown against Goldberg in Saudi Arabia two years ago.

Goldberg tried to hoist Taker up for a Jackhammer, only for both men to fall to the ground and the latter almost landing on his neck.

Said Taker: “I was 2cm away from making my wife a widow, and my kids fatherless.”

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Ten years earlier the Grim Reaper, this time with scythe in hand, revealed he had Taker in his sights.

In 2010 at Elimination Chamber, Taker became an unwilling ‘torchbearer’ on his way to the ring with trademark eerie boneyard music.

On Steve “Stone Cold” Austin’s WWE Network Exclusive show Broken Skull Sessions, Taker and Austin watched a replay of the incident.

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“When I’m watching this, I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s gonna kill somebody’. Or he could have been killed, I’m just glad he’s okay,” Austin said in reaction to Undertaker wrestling through the burns. “When I see you there, I see pain, adrenalin, and rage.”

The Undertaker responded and confirmed this. “Absolutely. You nailed it all on the head. The adrenalin needle is peaked right there; I was beside myself.

“I’m looking down at my chest because my chest is just bubbling up. My flesh is just rolling up.”

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Undertaker continued: “I’m pouring water all over myself to cool myself down. I knew I had to sit in that pod for 20 minutes, and then I had to work another 20 minutes after getting in the ring.

“I was trying to assess where I was at physically with the burns. All I could smell was my burnt hair and flesh.”

The water, however, didn’t ease the pain as much as Undertaker would have liked. “Despite all that water, every time I looked down, my skin was bubbling up more and more.”

The Undertaker dug so deep that one could barely notice anything went wrong during the WWE’s broadcast of the entrance.

Taker made some last-minute decisions before the match that protected him more than he ever could have realised.

“Initially, I had one of my other sleeveless coats. At the very last minute, however, I decided to wear my duster-style coat. I was the world champion and wanted the belt to be displayed.

“Luckily, I had the presence of mind to know that I had to move forward. When I saw something other than fire, I could see that both my right sleeve and hat are on fire. I’m trying to get all that off and somehow stay in character.”

Taker admitted that if not for changing jackets, the incident could have been devastating. “If I hadn’t switched jackets, my arm would have been completely exposed. Also, luckily, I had the second bottle of water and was dripping wet when I stepped out. It could have been far worse.”

A pyrotechnician was solely responsible for harming him.

No surprise, WWE owner Vince McMahon banned the pyrotechnician for life. Rumour has that the Taker is still hunting the man down with coffin in tow and ready with his famous line “Rest in Peace”.

SOME UNDERTAKER FACTS

He is worth $17 million

The Undertaker had surgery for a new right knee in November. He has had 12 surgeries in his 30 year career.

“Both my hips are partial hip replacements already. I’ll walk with a limp forever; the range of motion in my neck is not what it was.

“Even though the stories are scripted and the punches are pulled (or at least supposed to be), that doesn’t mean that the sport isn’t hard on a wrestler’s body.”

On the marriage front, it was third time lucky after two divorces. He married two-time WWE Divas champion and two WWE champion Michelle McCool in 2010. It must have been interesting how Michelle dealt with a tattoo on Undertaker’s throat of his second wife’s name.

After making his WWE debut at the 1990 Survivor Series, he then went on a historic consecutive 21-year WrestleMania undefeated streak.

The Undertaker was featured in the WWE Network docuseries “Undertaker: The Last Ride,” which was praised by both fans and critics.

The Undertaker continues to make appearances outside the ring, most recently appearing in Netflix’s Escape The Undertaker.

WrestleMania 38, the two-night event takes place Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 live from AT & T Stadium in Dallas. Live on SuperSport DStv channel 128 and streaming live on WWE Network.

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