Mark William Calaway, aka, “The Undertaker” made his first appearance in the wrestling ring in 1984, with the World Class Championship Wrestling. He signed with the WWF (now WWE) in 1990. With a career that has spanned more than 32 years, it should come as no surprise that he has made a few friends along the way, (hey when you’re 6’10” and 300 pounds you can pick and choose your friends).
Even though he’s semi-retired, the 51-year-old is still a formidable force in the ring. He has wrestled some of the biggest names in the WWF/WWE, including Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, the Ultimate Warrior and Brock Lesnar (his first loss, after 21 straight victories in various pay-per-view events). He has been a WWF World Heavyweight Champion no less than 4 times, (the first time in 1990 after defeating Hulk Hogan) and he has been involved in some pretty pivotal storylines.
He became a fan favorite for the first time in when he saved Macho Man’s wife, Elizabeth, from an attack by Jake “the Snake” Roberts. Not surprisingly, he is considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He’s had some allies and some arch enemies in the ring to be sure; but what about outside of the ring? Does he go home and chill with his chi Wawa (can’t you just picture him with one?) or is he raising “Kane” with some of his wrestling besties (see what we did there?) Here are some of his closest wrestling friends:
This American wrestler was best known for his time in the WWF and was managed by Mr. Fuji. The term Yokozuna refers to the highest rank in Japanese professional sumo wrestling. Can you just picture these two sitting at a bar somewhere having a few drinks and discussing a hard day’s work? Even though they were opponents in the ring (who can forget the famous casket match?) they were able to find some common ground outside the ring. You wouldn’t think that you’d become friends with someone who put the Bonzai move on you, but hey, that is just the kind of forgiving type of guy Undertaker is. Unfortunately, Yokozuna is no longer with us; otherwise, we’re pretty sure they would still be hitting the bar every so often and maybe even putting their signature moves on each other inside the ring. This is just another case of a great wrestler leaving us too soon.
14 Big Van Vader
Like Yokozuna, these guys go way back. Leon Allen White, aka, “Big Van Vader” was a formidable opponent both in the WWF and the WCW (World Championship Wrestling). He and Undertaker met a few times in the ring, and had a main event Casket Match back in 1997. They appeared in an interview together back in the 1990s on an Arabic television show. The host asked them if wrestling was real. While the Undertaker gave a diplomatic answer, Vader was not quite so ‘nice’ about it! After he righted the table he knocked over, the interview continued. So what makes these two get along so well outside the ring? Perhaps it’s because they both have very distinct physical personas – The Undertaker with his long hair, long coat and black hat; and Vader with his menacing face mask that reminds us a little bit like Hannibal Lecter. Too bad White is pretty much retired now, they would have made a great tag team!
13 Vince McMahon
Well, duh, right? Wouldn’t you be friends with the guy who made you rich and famous? We sure would! Maybe Undertaker is just so thankful to Mr. McMahon for everything he’s done for him he wants to show his appreciation by being best buds. Ok, so maybe he’s not exactly invited over for Thanksgiving every year – but thanks to Vince, the Undertaker has a pretty nice house and furnishings for his family to enjoy the holidays! We’re pretty sure the friendship extends to Shane and Stephanie, but who knows? Just imagine where the WWE would be today if Vince took his father’s advice and not appeared on any of the wrestling shows. Oh the horror! We’re just glad that Mr. McMahon Jr. learned the basics of promoting wrestling and took the WWF and WWE where he did. Otherwise, we’d all be watching old reruns of Friends, or Malcolm in the Middle on Monday nights instead of Monday Night Raw.
12 Jake “The Snake” Roberts
When they weren’t in the ring together, you could often find these two in a strip club at whatever city they happened to be in. Strip clubs were such a popular locale for these two (along with other wrestlers) that Vince McMahon banned everyone from visiting such establishments while they were on the road. On one such excursion, a waitress started teasing Jake, saying that his snake wasn’t real. So, Undertaker whispered in Jake’s ear, “Get the snake” which just happened to be in his car! He brought it in so the waitress could see that is was indeed, real. The snake ended up biting the waitress, who found out real quick that Jake nor Damian were forces to be messed with! According to our sources, the snake must have made quite an impression, because the waitress ended up going home with Jake that night. Our guess is that Undertaker had to find his own way home that night!
11 Paul Bearer
William Alvin Moody, better known in wrestling circles as, “Paul Bearer” is unfortunately no longer with us, after suffering from a fatal heart attack in 2013. Standing next to the Undertaker as his manager, he looked small and withered – but he was actually of an average height of 5’11”. After a big match in the ring, you’d find him and the Undertaker – yes you guessed it – at a local strip club! It’s hard to explain, but these two had a certain chemistry together, both inside and outside the ring. Moody had a history of health issues, and when he had a gallbladder attack, WWE got creative with the storylines. Paul Bearer was ‘kidnapped’ and during 2004’s “Great American Bash” he appeared to be a crypt, covered up to his chest in cement. Heyman, one of the Dudley Boyz, demanded that Undertaker throw the match against them, or Paul Bearer would be buried. He did not throw the match, and won. He then proceeded to pull the lever that sent more cement into the crypt, thus suffocating Paul Bearer. In fact, Moody wasn’t even there, it was all a dramatic stunt. We’re pretty sure the two of them shared a good laugh and a pitcher of beer at that story line.
10 Papa Shango
Charles Wright, aka, “Papa Shango” is semi-retired but is best known for his tenure in WWF in the 1990s. He had other personas, including Kama, and The Godfather, but it is his witch doctor character that perhaps attracted Undertaker to take Wright under his wing and include him into his posse. After all, Papa Shango could put a curse on you, wave his ‘potion’ under your nose, and then the Undertaker could handle you from there! What a team! They were opponents inside the ring, but outside they were actually quite friendly and had a mutual respect for one another. Fans were excited to see two otherworldly characters fight each other, and they were rewarded in 1995 when the two wrestled in the ring, but Wright was wrestling as Kama The Supreme Fighting Machine. It is said that Papa Shango’s character was seen as a, “failed experiment” by McMahon and other execs.
9 Savio Vega
Vega was one of Undertaker’s “Bone Street Krew” a klick that he apparently started to rival Shawn Michaels' clique. Vega was a member, as were many of the names mentioned here, including Paul Bearer, Godwins, and many others. There is some discrepancy as to whether Michaels’ crew and Undertakers’ crew got along or whether there was an eternal feud. They all ended up at some of the same establishments outside of the ring, and Vega has some stories to tell about their ‘run-ins’. But according to the boys, it was all in fun, and everyone played nice. It’s not hard to imagine that sometimes, egos get in the way and after a few beers, tempers may flare up and things get heated. But at the end of the day, these guys know that they are friends first and wrestlers second. They wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize their friendship in any way, no matter how upset they get or how many drinks they’ve had.
8 The Godwinns
This tag team was comprised of Dennis Knight (Phineas I. Godwinn) and Mark Canterbury (Henry O. Godwinn). Starting out in the WWF, they also wrestled in the WWE, while also having a stint in WCW. They’ve had several different gimmicks, but the original was that of two cousins who were hog farmers from Arkansas. Oh yeah, and it turns out that they were actually brothers! But that’s another storyline; and who better to manage these two than Hillbilly Jim? Like most of Undertaker’s other friends, these two share many stories of travelling, clubs, and other ‘mischief’ that Undertaker and his posse got into on the road. Unfortunately, Canterbury suffered a serious injury (a cracked C7 Vertebrae) at the hands of Legion of Doom caused by a botched Doomsday Device. That pretty much ended his career, although he did come back for short stints and alternate personas. He hasn’t wrestled since 2006.
7 Kurt Angle
Angle entered the wrestling scene in 2000 and took the wrestling world by storm. Throughout his WWF/E career, Angle won a whopping six world championships, making him one of the most revered wrestlers of all time. Part of the Undertaker’s ‘gang’ meant he was included in the ‘cool’ group of wrestlers. We are willing to bet that Angle learned a lot from Undertaker. Who better to teach you the technical moves as well as the underhanded ones? While Angle isn’t wrestling with the WWE anymore, he is still active in other wrestling organizations and is still in touch with his good friend, Mr. Calaway. Undertaker almost put Angle to sleep in a chokehold, as he woke up on a plane en route to Europe and found Angle trying to take down Vince McMahon – little did Undertaker know that this was all in fun. So naturally, Undertaker stepped in trying to defend his boss! Thankfully McMahon was able to explain everything, they all had a great laugh over it and arrived in Europe safely!
6 Chris Jericho
Jericho’s character is a bit of a heel inside the ring, but outside the ring, he is one of the nicest guys around, according to Undertaker and other friends. Although we would totally understand if his ego got in the way at times – after all, he’s won a total of 31 championships across the three most popular wrestling promotions in America: the WCW, WWE and ECW. Jericho and Undertaker have a mutual respect for each other and Undertaker himself is one of the most respected wrestlers of all time. He even serves as a ‘judge’ backstage when the wrestlers get into real scuffles! He and Jericho go way back and it makes sense that these two would be close. Jericho caught the ire of a hostile crowd at one of their shows and told the security guard that he wasn’t going back out into the crowd because he had just gotten hit with a battery! Well, Undertaker made sure that Jericho got back out there, but in a way that made him feel supported by his friend.
5 Ric Flair
Well, what can we say about, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair that hasn’t been said already? This man is an iconic wrestling figure and he has the respect and admiration of almost every other wrestler. Many of his co-workers consider him the greatest wrestler of all time and his career spans more than 40 years. Even though he has passed the torch, so to speak, over to his daughter Charlotte who is a great wrestler in her own right, Flair has always been a force to contend with. One thing is for sure: when these guys get together after a hard night of wrestling, there is fun to be had. Ric is almost like a father figure to many of these wrestlers, and Undertaker is no exception. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but these two have a long history together, both inside and outside of the ring.
4 Kevin Nash
Also going by the stage name “Diesel,” Kevin Scott Nash has been wrestling since the 1990s and was the first wrestler to beat Goldberg and has held the WWF World Heavyweight Champion title only once. While all wrestlers are big, Nash towers over almost everyone else, at 6’10”. He, along with Undertaker, are very fond of strip clubs on the road and frequented them almost every trip. After Vince McMahon prohibited his wrestlers from visiting such establishments, it didn’t stop them. Nash tells the story of walking into a club at about 1:00 a.m., and who should he see there? None other than Undertaker! Apparently, they thought the rules didn’t apply to them! Can you imagine these two walking down the street together? People no doubt made way for them, we’re pretty sure of that.
3 Roddy Piper
Piper is right up there with Flair when it comes to being a legend. Piper WAS wrestling and the entire wrestling world mourned when he passed away last year. This loud-mouthed, kilt-wearing wrestler was a beloved favorite both with fans and with his co-workers, Undertaker included. Although they never went one-to-one in the ring, outside of the ring they were pretty chummy. Undertaker made an appearance on “Piper’s Pit” and we’re willing to bet that Piper mentored Undertaker somewhat when he first arrived on the wrestling scene. Piper was everyone’s friend (well, most everyone) outside of the ring and he was well respected and even revered in wrestling circles. He had an infectious and bubbly personality that rubbed off on all who was around him. He is definitely missed by all who knew him.
Shouldn’t your demon brother be one of your best friends? We thought so! Glenn Thomas Jacobs was first introduced as Undertaker’s little brother, who was the Devil’s favorite demon, into the WWE in 1995. Oh did we mention that Kane was also Paul Bearer’s son? What a storyline! Since then, they have worked inside the ring as a tag team, and then as opponents. Outside the ring, they are quite good friends, and Kane is a member of the B.S.K.
WWE storylines and characters will come and go but friendships will remain true no matter what. That’s the kind of relationship Undertaker and Kane have; a solid friendship that can withstand even the work of the devil. When push comes to shove (as it often does in wrestling) there are some friendships that can’t be shaken.
1 Michelle McCool
We’re pretty sure this former WWE Smackdown wrestler is the Undertaker’s best friend in the whole world, because – well, he’s married to her! It’s no secret as to how they met; in wrestling circles, all the superstars are well known to each other, and McCool certainly was a star in her day. They said their “I do’s” in 2010 and have one daughter together. We’re not sure if she tours with him all the time, but we’re willing to bet that when she does, she keeps a very close on eye on him! No strip clubs for this guy when his wife’s in tow. Do you think they practice some of their signature moves on each other when they’re at home? Hmmmm, maybe not, but one thing’s for sure: they’re a great match for each other and we wish them a long and happy life together. They make a cute couple don’t you think?