The career of The Undertaker is the stuff of legends. Spanning an awe-inspiring 27 years to date, the Deadman has served as a cornerstone of WWE and the pro-wrestling world at large ever since his debut in 1990. But with a persona steeped in so much mythology, there are bound to be some bypassed storylines and unexplained plot-points along the way. And while some of these have been deliberately ignored for the sake of time and story progression, others have nagged at the collective consciousness of fans for months, years, and sometimes even decades!
Now, before all the “you know wrestling is fake, right?” jabs start popping up, let me correct you by saying that wrestling isn’t fake; it’s predetermined and scripted. There’s a difference. And just like any TV show or movie that doesn’t answer all your burning questions, similar is the feeling when a storyline in WWE is left unanswered. So indulge in the kayfabe with me, suspend your logic and belief, as we explore 15 mysteries concerning the legendary Undertaker that have yet to be answered… and probably never will be.
15 Has The Undertaker Truly Retired?
The biggest mystery surrounding The Undertaker is the question of his career. We saw Roman Reigns defeat the Deadman at WrestleMania, becoming only the second man in history to claim the title of victor over The Undertaker on the Grandest Stage. The Phenom then proceeded to leave his famed apparel in the ring before disappearing into the mist, presumably for the last time as his long and illustrious career finally came to an end. But is that what we really saw? According to numerous sources and a promotional image by WWE themselves, The Undertaker is set to make a comeback during Raw’s 25th Anniversary Special in January 2018. Some speculate that his induction into the Hall Of Fame will be announced on that day, in conjunction with the announcement of his retirement. But others speculate that The Undertaker is still not done with WWE.
As WrestleMania comes around once again, so do rumors of The Undertaker having one more match in the squared circle. Some say this will be his final bow, but that statement has been made multiple times over the last few years. The biggest mystery right now is trying to figure out what the future of The Undertaker may be, if any, and if the Deadman will rise once again, as he always has, to slay yet another rival in the ring.
14 Why Has John Cena Never Challenged The Streak?
There’s something very odd about The Undertaker’s legendary WrestleMania winning streak, and it revolves around John Cena. For whatever reason, John Cena – the top dog in the business and one of the biggest draws WWE has ever had – has never had a shot at breaking The Streak! Why is that? It may just seem like a matter of timing… but John Cena has been on several non-headline matches at WrestleMania, which would have given WWE the perfect opportunity to schedule him into a match with the Deadman. Not to mention, The Undertaker faced Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt, Shane McMahon, and Roman Reigns… all while Cena was participating in mid-card matches at the Grandest Stage. This is where some insider speculation comes in. There have been rumors that John Cena was kept away from The Undertaker at WrestleMania for a number of reasons… one of them being that either one or both of these massive superstars had problems facing each other. But surely a couple of professionals like Taker and Cena would have understood the kind of money that match would have made, right?
There have been several times when The Undertaker has physically provoked Cena, too; Taker even gave Cena the Tombstone Piledriver once on Raw even though they were teammates, yet none of these altercations amounted to a proper feud. Apart from rumors of a backstage mandate against them having a feud, no one seems to know why this match has never been booked, even though it's a dream match just waiting to happen. It would have been the marquee feud. So what’s the real story behind John Cena never facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania? Are those whispers in the wind truer than we tend to believe?
13 Why Did Nexus Bury The Phenom?
Before there was The Shield, there was The Nexus – a renegade faction led by Wade Barrett, consisting of members from a former incarnation of NXT. They were a powerful, nearly unstoppable faction… and in 2010 they decided to literally bury The Undertaker. The question is: why?
Brothers Kane and The Undertaker were in the midst of a heated feud, which was set to culminate at Bragging Rights in a Buried Alive Match. This is where the Nexus decided to intervene, aid Kane, and bury the Phenom. In the weeks following the shocking display, Wade Barrett would hint at a “greater purpose” for the Nexus that would be revealed in time. There was also an incident where Nexus member David Otunga threatened to expose Barrett’s true motives if the latter didn’t play ball. Unfortunately, the faction’s massive push was cut short and WWE’s attempts to patch things up by introducing CM Punk as their new team leader failed miserably. In the end, we never got to see what Wade Barrett’s grand scheme was, or why he chose to provoke the Deadman, but we can only assume it would have led to a match at WrestleMania.
12 Who Burned Down The Family Home?
Remember when Kane made his debut by interfering in the Hell In A Cell match between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, costing Taker the victory? The story goes that Kane was Undertaker’s demented little step-brother who set their family home on fire when they were kids… sacrificing Taker’s parents in the process. Years later, Paul Bearer would reveal that Kane was alive and well in some weird asylum (or something) and was coming to destroy his older brother. That storyline should have been sufficient, but WWE being the fickle company that it is, decided to flip the angle on its head years later by revealing that it was in fact The Undertaker who set the family home on fire… killing his and Kane’s parents in the process! The question is, which one is true?
The storyline was retconned yet again in the early 2000s when commentators would hint at Kane’s vile past and how he set the family home on fire. But wasn’t it Taker who was capable of arson? In the end, that storyline was never really resolved. They both seem to want revenge on each other for killing their parents… and then sometimes that storyline is completely ignored altogether.
11 What’s In The Urn?
Seriously, what’s in the urn? For the longest time, the mythical urn was said to be the source of The Undertaker’s power. Back in the early 90s, Paul Bearer would use the urn to not only summon The Undertaker to the ring, but also to restore the Deadman’s strength in moments of desperation. Over the years, we’ve seen the urn change form – it came in different shapes and sizes, and at times it would unleash a beam of light as though giving the Phenom the power he needs to vanquish his foes. However, the contents of the urn have always been a mystery.
Did the writers just not care to think of an explanation? Commentators back in the day would speculate that the urn contained the ashes of Taker’s parents, which sounds morbid as hell, but so is a walking undead wizard. Other times, the urn would be contained to an ancient power that gave Undertaker his immortality. Then there’s the rampant fan speculation and supposed backstage rumors that state the urn was supposed to house the soul of the original Undertaker, a gatekeeper of sorts who lived centuries ago, perished, and now walks the earth as an immortal warrior… who also beats people up for a living.
10 What Was The Lost Message Of 2-21-11?
One of the best promos leading into WrestleMania 27 back in 2011 was the “silent staredown” between Triple H and The Undertaker. It was a perfectly executed confirmation of the long-awaited rematch between the two veterans on the Grandest Stage. The Undertaker returned to Raw on a night leading into the big event, but was (rudely) interrupted by Triple H before he could get a word out. The two would pretty much confirm their impending battle without uttering a single word. But the question still remains: what was The Undertaker’s original message? In the weeks leading into the Deadman’s return, the numbers 2-21-11 would appear on screen, signalling the date, yet Taker’s message was cut short by Triple H also making his highly-anticipated return to Raw.
Obviously in reality, the setup was for Triple H’s return to be the ultimate swerve-surprise. But storyline-wise, we still have no idea what The Undertaker’s original message was. Plothole or lost mythos? We’ll just never know.
9 Did The Undertaker Want Brock To End Him?
Before The Undertaker’s legendary WrestleMania winning streak was broken, Superstars would wait in line or go so far as to challenge the Deadman for a shot against him on the Grandest Stage of Them All. Having a match against The Phenom at WrestleMania was considered a hallmark achievement for many, even if they didn’t come out victorious. So why was it that The Undertaker challenged Brock Lesnar to a match at WrestleMania 30 in 2014, instead of the other way around? Fans have long speculated that the reason Taker personally provoked Lesnar was because the veteran warrior needed to find an end to his undefeated streak at WrestleMania, and he believed if anyone could dethrone him, it would be The Beast Incarnate. For better or worse, The Undertaker was right.
After his defeat at the hands of Lesnar, Taker himself admitted during a promo that “streaks were made to be broken.” During another promo a few years prior, he alluded to the fact that he would handpick his conqueror when the time was right, naming Triple H as a potential opponent at the time. It’s a bittersweet notion, but like all great warriors, maybe The Undertaker was truly looking for a glorious end after years of carrying victory on his shoulders, and he finally got it at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
8 Who Were The Sisters Of Darkness?
The origins of the Sisters of Darkness are somewhat unsettling because they showed up during a time when The Undertaker had detached himself from his darker mythology. Yet, that same darkness seemed to still follow him around, guiding, protecting, and even heralding his presence. As the “American Badass,” The Undertaker was all about bikes, boots, and Big Evil bandanas, but the three eerie Sisters would still occasionally show up on screen to signal his entrance or his return. So who were they? No one knows for sure who these three little girls are, and the Sisters themselves haven’t made an appearance – vocal or otherwise – for nearly a decade now (the last time they were heard was during Undertaker’s promo hyping his return at Unforgiven 2007 for his match against Mark Henry), but writer-producer Max Landis has some pretty interesting, albeit dark, theories about the girls.
In his extremely popular take on the fantastical world of pro-wrestling called Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling, Landis states that The Undertaker used to head a cult that sacrificed these girls, turning them into the infamous Sisters of Darkness. However, many fans believe that Landis’ take is the twisted version of the story, when in truth the Undertaker actually rescued the sisters from damnation, which is why they help guide and resurrect him when they’re needed… sort of like sirens or the Sisters of Fate in Greek mythology.
7 What Was Big Show’s Phase Two?
Remember when Undertaker was training Big Show as his protégé? That didn’t last very long, did it? In reality, The Undertaker suffered an injury and needed to take some time off, stalling the Big Show/Undertaker storyline right in its tracks. The two behemoths had formed a powerful alliance back in 1999 and were dominating the ranks as a tag-team; with the legendary Undertaker taking the relatively fresh Big Show under his wing as a “disciple of the dark arts.” Taker’s conditions were simple; if Big Show proved himself worthy of Taker’s time and energy, then the giant would graduate to Phase Two of the Undertaker’s teachings.
For better or worse, Phase Two never happened because The Undertaker took a leave of absence for nearly a year and returned as a completely remodified persona: the American Badass. While rumors of “leaked scripts” state that Phase Two of Big Show’s training would have included darker elements of magic and mysticism, no one knows for sure what would have happened had The Undertaker not been injured at the time.
6 Was The Undertaker Running From The Dark?
Speaking of the American Bada*s, we all know why The Undertaker returned to WWE with an overhauled persona back in 2000; the company was slowly moving away from the bizarreness of the Attitude Era and began forming more realistic characters, and the Bada*s was a huge element of that movement.
But in terms of storyline, there was more to the American Bada*s persona than WWE led us to believe. For instance, before his Buried Alive match against Vince McMahon in 2003, The Undertaker taped a promo at a graveyard and explicitly stated that he deliberately kept away from the darkness for a reason, and never expected to return. The match itself would be his final appearance as Big Evil, and he would eventually return the as classic Undertaker at WrestleMania XX. In the early 2000s there were rumors about WWE wanting to highlight The Undertaker’s conflict with his darker persona as a way to explain his change in character but it just never happened. Apparently the real reason behind Taker’s drastic shift in character – something that was meant to be a major storyline – was shelved and never explained.
5 Who Was Hade Vansen?
Hade Vansen was a very peculiar character and the events surrounding his ominous message reek of mystery to this day. Back in 2008, a character by the name of Hade Vansen delivered an ominous message to an unnamed opponent, claiming that the “darkness had led him here.” Hade Vansen never made his debut, and that mysterious video became infamously known as one of WWE’s biggest unsolved storylines. Fans speculated from the beginning that Vansen was targeting The Undertaker with that message, and eventually numerous rumors started to surface that the plan was to have Vansen fight The Undertaker at WrestleMania for a shot at the Streak. Some reports even linked Kevin Thorne, who was posting cryptic messages on his social media accounts around the same time, to the angle… stating that Vansen and Thorne would form a cult to dethrone the legendary Phenom of WWE.
What’s more interesting are the expanded mythologies linked to Hade Vansen’s message. Rumor has it that Vansen was an ancient enemy of the Deadman, now reincarnated to exact revenge on The Undertaker.
4 Was Taker Bray Wyatt's "Ghost?"
Speaking of mystic entities, ever wonder what happened to Bray Wyatt’s frightening apparition? Back in 2014, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were in the middle of a heated rivalry, and it all came to a head inside Hell In A Cell. Just as Dean Ambrose was about to secure a victory, he was interrupted by flickering lights, the appearance of mist, and a ghostly figure in the middle of the ring, before being bulldozed by Bray Wyatt!
Bray Wyatt went on to explain that the ghostly figure that showed up in the middle of the ring was definitely not Sister Abigail, and implored fans to look closer at the “familiar figure.” Speculation started to run rampant that the “hologram” was actually a vision of the future, signalling that Bray Wyatt’s next target would be none other than The Undertaker. Surely enough, the Eater Of Worlds would face the Phenom the following year at WrestleMania!
3 Did The Undertaker Really Eliminate Maven?
This is one of pro-wrestling's greatest and longest-running unanswered questions, and it just so happens to involve The Undertaker and a former rookie-wrestler and Tough Enough winner, Maven. It’s important to note that Maven was in the middle of a push at the time, and what better way to make an impact than by eliminating the biggest dog in the yard, Big Evil himself, from the Royal Rumble. After taking The Undertaker out of the match in arguably the greatest upset in the history of the tournament, the Deadman would get back into the ring and destroy Maven’s chances of winning the Rumble by eliminating the rookie from the match. The problem was that Maven was never legally eliminated.
For one, Taker was already removed from the match, so him throwing Maven through the second rope shouldn’t have qualified as an elimination. Second of all, Maven never went over the top rope, which means he should have been able to continue the match. By the rules of the Royal Rumble, Maven was never eliminated from the match, ever! Obviously, there’s a time-limit for the match and a winner was eventually crowned, but technically, Maven was never legally eliminated from the Royal Rumble by The Undertaker.
2 What Happened After "The Ultimate Betrayal?"
Back in 2004, Paul Heyman had gotten hold of the mystical urn and used it to torment The Undertaker. Then at the Great American Bash, Heyman captured Paul Bearer and held the latter hostage in a Cement Mixer Match. If The Undertaker didn’t do as Heyman suggested, Bearer would be submerged in a ton of cement. Although Taker managed to shoo Heyman away, he then proceeded to lower the cement lever himself, “ending” his longtime manager and ally in the process. Apparently Bearer had become a liability and weakness to the Deadman and he wasn’t prepared to let that happen.
It wasn’t exactly high-brow storytelling, but it was entertaining for the time. Fast forward a couple of years later, and in walks Paul Bearer again, as if nothing had ever happened! Bearer was once again embroiled in a heated Brothers of Destruction feud, and there was no mention of Taker’s betrayal and worse, no real explanation. While a lot of what happens between The Undertaker and Kane is left loose and hanging, you’d think that burying a guy in cement would at least have some minor implications and warrant some kind of explanation, however ridiculous.
1 What Happened To The “Other Undertaker?”
The Undertaker vs. “Under-faker” storyline at Summerslam 96 wasn’t the smash hit WWE thought it would be. The angle was cheesy even for the 90s, and the match itself fell flat and had little to no long-term implications. But what exactly happened to that other Undertaker? After the heavily-promoted match ended and the real Deadman defeated his doppelgänger, the latter vanished from WWE. But the rumor mill never stopped turning when it came to this critically-panned yet extremely memorable match. Take these rumors with a grain of salt, but “insider information” back in the day told of a cancelled storyline between The Undertaker and The Under-faker, in which the “faker” would be controlled by The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase – ironically, the same man who introduced The Undertaker to WWE back at Survivor Series 1990.
For better or worse, the angle never came to fruition, and the fake Undertaker was never heard from again. However, the wrestler who portrayed the imposter, Brian Lee, became a somewhat prominent name in ECW back in the day. Lee would return to WWE in 1997 as Chainz, a member of DOA (Disciples of Apocalypse).