How Did The Undertaker’s “Deadman” Gimmick Become the Best in WWE History ?

Published 12/26/2020, 1:31 PM EST


One of the best gimmicks of all time in professional wrestling belongs to  The Undertaker as he walks out with the darkness following him. The veteran has never outgrown the role. 

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‘The Deadman’ stalked the WWE ring for three decades. There is no Superstar that has achieved the same haul as the character. ‘The Deadman’ is by far the longest-running gimmick in WWE.

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 03: Triple H and Undertaker battle during their WWE No Holds Barred Match at ‘WrestleMania 27’ at the Georgia World Congress Center on April 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images)

When Mark Calaway joined WWE from WCW in 1990, he was given a gloomy gimmick. His gigantic height of 6 ft 10 inches made him perfect for a darker role. 

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WWE was in need of a good anti-hero, and The Undertaker served the purpose effectively. ‘The Deadman’ was a hit from his debut at Survivor Series 1990. Fans quickly caught onto the interesting gimmick.

The Undertaker had a gimmick that could never grow old

Why was ‘The Deadman’ more successful than every other gimmick that stood next to it? The simple reason behind this is that the concept was reusable and evergreen.

The underworld element unlocked a large explorable realm that WWE used in every way. With time, gimmicks get old and exhausted. ‘The Deadman’ however, got better and better.

The Undertaker introduced new concepts like the Casket Match and even carried coffins to his matches. His over-the-top entrances were highly appreciated by fans that grew to love Taker.

WWE sold Taker in different ways to the audience. Every new storyline had something added to the character. WWE modified ‘The Deadman’ in various ways to make him more supernatural.

We saw the Ministry of Darkness Era, which made The Undertaker the most interesting character in WWE. The company spent time and money here in exploring the occult side of Taker. 

Rituals and such other spots were used to sell the ‘supernatural’ powers of ‘The Deadman’. Taker was unlike anything the fans had seen before. Efficient lighting and pyrotechnics made Taker larger than life.

WWE never changed the core idea of ‘The Deadman’

While Big Evil strayed away from ‘The Deadman,’ it still maintained the core roots of the dark character. WWE modified ‘The Deadman’, but never messed with the core idea. 

370782 04: World Wrestling Federation’s Wrestler Undertaker Poses June 2000 In Los Angeles, Ca. (Photo By Getty Images)

As time went by, Taker became a living legend for WWE. Fans couldn’t get enough of ‘The Deadman’. While other gimmicks lived and died, The Undertaker became his gimmick. 

The fact that WWE fans had never seen another version of Mark Calaway made them believe in his core character. The streak was another thing that convinced fans that ‘The Deadman’ could truly not be put down.

Mark Calaway stayed in character throughout his career

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Mark Calaway himself never broke character. Throughout his tenure in WWE, the gruff Deadman never broke that angered face. This highlights another great aspect of the character. 

‘The Deadman’ is an anti-hero that sides with no one. He is the judge, jury, and executioner. This element allowed Taker to be a babyface or a heel without losing any of the respect. 

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Taker announced his retirement and put the legendary character to rest at Survivor Series 2020, 30 years after his debut. ‘The Deadman’ will undoubtedly go down as the greatest gimmick of all time. 

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Luke Dias

1208 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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