WATCH: When The Undertaker Almost Broke Bret Hart’s Neck During a Tombstone Piledriver

Published 02/08/2021, 7:15 AM EST


The Undertaker is a living legend. We can understand his dominance from the fact that there are certain moves which are synonymous with the ‘Deadman.’

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When Undertaker debuted in WWE, the company was yet to undergo its major transformation. The Attitude Era was not here yet, and the audience wasn’t used to reckless athleticism. During this time, Taker debuted his finishing maneuver, the Tombstone Piledriver.
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While we have previously discussed how dangerous the move is, Undertaker always used it with utmost cautiousness. Yet, in one instance, things went out of hands.
During the Royal Rumble 1996, ‘The Phenom’ faced WWE (then WWF) Champion Bret Hart. When Undertaker put Hart into the Piledriver, he botched it.
The safest way to execute the move is to put the pressure of the fall to one’s own knees instead of the opponent’s head or neck. However, Undertaker did the opposite, and Hart’s neck got injured.
The match ended in disqualification when Diesel interrupted. Thankfully, there was no permanent damage to Bret Hart’s neck, and he quickly recovered.
Coincidentally, Bret’s brother, Owen Hart, almost broke “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s neck following a similarly botched Piledriver.

The Undertaker named Bret Hart as one of his favorite opponents

During his ‘Last Ride‘ documentary, ‘The Deadman’ discussed his favourite opponents. While talking about his rivals, Undertaker put Bret Hart at the very beginning.
Bret was smooth as silk. Everything that he did [looked] really good. He was one of the first guys that I got to expand the character with, and show that I was more than just a gimmick. He always raised the bar.
Apart from Bret, Undertaker named WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, and Shawn Michaels as his favorites.
He said, “One of the things that I’m proud of is the two matches I had with Shawn, and the two matches I had with Triple H.

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It’s very seldom that you get to tell a four-year story. I look back at everything as far as ‘Mania — those four matches are going to be right up there as some of the best things that we ever did.”
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The Undertaker (L) vies with Shawn Michaels during a tag team match as part of as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on November 2, 2018. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Coming back to the Piledriver, the move was banned for a long time following some unfortunate injuries. Even now, only a few wrestlers dare to attempt the move in the ring.

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Angana Roy

860 articles

Angana Roy is a WWE and AEW author for EssentiallySports, having published more than 800 professional wrestling articles. She is currently pursuing higher studies in English language and literature from the University of Calcutta and has over three years of experience in journalism. As a life-long fan of the sports entertainment brand of pro-wrestling, her work consists of live coverage of weekly shows, PPVs, speculating the future course of storylines and everything in between.

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