Badseed's Bottomline Supplemental #5
WWE Tombstone: The History of the Undertaker
Three DVD Set
Distributed by World Wrestling Entertainment
By Jon Minners
It appeared to be just another gimmick. The wrestler who WCW misused as “Mean” Mark Calloway came out in the WWF as The Undertaker; another cartoonish example of the way the WWF did business back in the days of old and still does as WWE, but something happened on that day 15 years ago. They got the right guy for the gimmick. Calloway breathed life into The Dead Man character; spoke minimally and allowed his spooky music and entrance; eerie persona, obnoxious manager and ring psychology to draw fans in and have them glued to their screens. Even his no-sell gimmick, which any wrestler could really do, fit perfectly into his zombie-like style. The Undertaker came at the right time and evolved throughout the years, always changing with the times and giving fans something new to talk about from caskets and urns to body bags, burial grounds and bikes; The Undertaker commanded an audience and defeated every major star from Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Diesel and Shawn Michaels to Kane, John Cena, HHH, Kurt Angle, The Rock and Steve Austin. With such a storied career in the WWE, a three-disc set is the least the WWE could do, but did they do it right?
The answer lies somewhere in the middle. There are a great number of things to love about this DVD. Reliving some of the moments that made The Undertaker great from past to present was a wonderful trip down memory lane. They packed this set with so many great matches, including Undertaker vs. HBK in Hell in the Cell; Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar in Hell in the Cell; several classics against Bret Hart and Mick Foley, the first and last matches he had against Kane, along with their infamous inferno match; two title showdowns against Hulk Hogan at two completely different points in their career; a match with the Rock; the first blood encounter against Steve Austin, a battle with HHH and a match against Kurt Angle introduced by the Olympic gold medalist, himself. The number of great Undertaker matches is almost obscene and any causal fan will not be disappointed, but real fans will wonder what happened to Undertaker vs. Ric Flair, the ladder match between Undertaker and Jeff Hardy or the best match with Kurt Angle that featured a double-finish. Where are the team-ups with Kane or the latest battles with Randy Orton? How do you end a DVD just released a few months ago with a match from last year’s Wrestlemania, as if 2005 didn’t exist.
That is something they did a lot. I understand that this is the history of The Undertaker and not Mark Calloway, so even though it would have been appreciated as extras, I see why none of his matches in WCW; singles or in the tag-team of The Skyscrapers, were not included, but little is actually shown of some of the key points in the Undertaker’s career. They misplace how Undertaker helped Jake the Snake Roberts against Randy Savage before Undertaker’s first battle for the title against Hulk Hogan, but forget chronological order for a second. They suddenly show how Undertaker helped save Elizabeth from an attack by Jake Roberts leading to the match between Roberts and Undertaker at Wrestlemania, but never explain what led to his sudden face turn. He had been a dastardly heel who actually locked The Ultimate Warrior in an air-tight casket, which was also not shown despite being a great highlight in his career, so what led to his face turn. Another sticking point with me – they never mention that Ted Dibiase brought him into the WWE as part of the storyline and they never even explain the Fake Undertaker storyline involving Dibiase despite showing a highlight from their match together. It may have been a stupid angle, but it was still a part of the Undertaker’s career that we all remember.
We do not see how Undertaker ended up using Kane to win the world title before turning his back on his brother leading to Kane’s face turn. We also do not see much of the time when Undertaker went over the edge in a gothic era and created The Ministry of Darkness where he crucified Steve Austin and tried to marry Stephanie McMahon in some sort of dark ritual. Although the match was bad, wouldn’t it have been cool to see Undertaker beat Big Bossman in Hell in the Cell and have The Brood hang Bossman from the cell? And what of the time when The Brothers of Destruction, Kane and The Undertaker, ran through tag-teams and won the titles together? What about the whole WCW invasion and how DDP stalked Undertaker’s wife. The WWE may think of these times as forgettable moments, but they happened and instead of re-writing the history, they should be telling it the right way; the way the fans remember it.
Another thing that bothers me is the lack of interviews explaining why The Undertaker is the best wrestler (only the extra involving Kurt Angle attempts any of this) or how Undertaker felt wrestling Hulk Hogan for the title only a year into his WWF career. We are missing that in this DVD and expect to see it after the great WWE documentaries we have seen in the past. So, all in all, I must say that I was left highly disappointed with the lack of a true documentary or a full history, but I would still recommend this DVD for the incomplete walk down memory lane and the great matches included. Those matches make this title a buy, but for the rest of you who want those missing pieces filled, or at least some of them, I recommend Undertaker – This is My Yard, which makes a perfect companion piece making that and the three-DVD set a perfect eulogy for the most loyal and greatest career WWE wrestler of all time, allowing The Dead Man to live on forever.
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