This is a revised feature from Pro Wrestling Examiner. The original ‘Injury List’ feature first hit the web in January 2012, and due to demand we have updated it with this revised edition with more in-depth research on the Deadman beating the odds and some vivid new info-graphics.
The Undertaker is an undeniable legend in Pro Wrestling and is regarded as one of the most brilliant characters in the history of Sports Entertainment. A defining characteristic of Undertaker is he ability to bounce back from adversity, his ability to ‘come back from the dead’ countless times to reign vengeance upon his foes. As a man the Undertaker has been legitimately injured numerous times in his phenomenal career, and it never prevented him from being one of the best performers in the business.
The Undertaker has earned a rare status as a ‘featured performer’ in the last decade. His performances for the past few years have been limited to Wrestlemania mega-matches where he has successfully preserved his undefeated 21-0 winning streak on the biggest annual wrestling event. Yet mortality has haunted the mythic Undertaker in recent years after nearly 25 years in the ring.
With Wrestlemania 30 less two months away and the Undertaker rumored to return later this month on 'RAW' , Examiner looks back at all the real life pain he has endured to reach this point in his unmatched career. Below is a detailed list of the notable injuries that ‘Taker has had overcome.
Knee: Before he was the Undertaker, before he was Mean Marc Callous in USWA, the man known as Mark Calloway competed in basketball for Texas Wesleyan University in the 1985-86 season. It could not be confirmed in research where he suffered his knee injury, but college basketball players are commonly known to have a wear and tear problem called ‘jumper’s knee’ or Patellar tendinitis. It is possible that such a driven competitor like Undertaker could push himself up and down the court, wearing down his wheels in the process.
Back : The Undertaker took one his first extended hiatus in 1994, after he was defeated in a Casket Match at the Royal Rumble. The sumo giant Yokozuna with help from 10 WWE villains beat the Phenom into the casket. The Undertaker’s image appeared on the 'Titantron' and his body rose to the ceiling of the arena. In actuality, ‘Taker was recouping from a nagging back injury, a common injury among veteran stars. Back injuries have affected the careers of many wrestlers including Shawn Michaels and JBL.
Facial injuries: At different stages in his WWE career, Undertaker’s creepy face has been battered, bruised, and broken. In 1995, super-heavyweight Mabel legitimately broke Undertaker’s cheek bone. The injury was a staged portion of the performance, yet the injury became real, forcing Undertaker to wear a grey protective mask that resembled the Phantom of the Opera. After became called back into active duty in 2010, The Undertaker was injured in his first match back on Smackdown. Near the conclusion of the match with Rey Mysterio, ‘Taker had an orbital bone broken around one of his eyes.
WWE diva Naomi recently suffered a similar orbital bone injury this month during a match on ‘RAW’ against Aksana, when the Funkadactyl took straight knee shot to the eye socket. The eye injury derail a potential WWE Divas Championship match against AJ Lee at Wrestlemania 30 for the 'Total Diva'.
Elbow: The Undertaker hyper extended his elbow during a program with Brock Lesnar on the WWE Smackdown side. A televised attack by the Big Show put Taker on the DL. ‘Big Red’ rode out of the injury on roaring motorcycle again in early 2003 and preserved his undefeated Wrestlemania streak at WM19, defeating Big Show and A-Train.
Hip : In 2009 after stealing the show with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25 in Houston, ‘Taker underwent a minor hip surgery. Though it was considered ‘minor’, hip injuries are considered to be telling sign of a pro athlete entering the twilight of their careers. Hip injuries in pro sports are widely considered by medical professionals to be possible career killers. Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta nearly had his NFL careered sacked in 2013 when he fractured his hip.
The Deadman’s hip issue was not as dangerous as Pitta’s, so he was back in action before WM26 capturing the World Heavyweight Championship only to have Shawn Michaels cost him the title at Elimination Chamber. This attack set the stage for their epic rematch which ended Michael’s career.
Shoulder : In 2010 while healing from Wrestlemania 26, ‘Taker underwent exams for his shoulder. The injury was severe to the point, that it reportedly could not be surgically repaired, forcing him to rehab the injury to point where he could perform. This shoulder issue is said to be one of the major reasons why Undertaker was put on ‘feature performer’ role a few years where he is expected only compete annually at Wrestlemania to keep his legendary streak alive.
Pectoral and Groin Muscle: In 1999 following a program with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Taker tagged with the world’s biggest athlete, the Big Show before the team split up. Show and Taker would not have a fully realized feud when he went down with a torn pectoral and groin. This rehab on these two tears was so lengthy that the next time fans would see Undertaker, he came back dropping his otherworldly ‘Deadman’ character for his rugged biker persona in 2000.
Burns: At the 2010 Elimination Chamber pay per view, Undertaker was set to make his usual awe-inspiring entrance to the ring which contains pyrotechnics involving large balls of fire shooting from the entrance stage. During this particular entrance though, Taker was burned in an accidental blast of fire, broke character and ran down to the ring throwing off his long trench coat. He suffered burns on his back and part of his body yet still entered the Chamber to compete in the 6 man elimination match.
Besides the boo boos detailed above, the Undertaker has also endured multiple lacerations and a sliced ear according to PhenomForever.com. No matter it seems nothing can keep the Undertaker down for good, it’s why he is one of the best pro wrestlers of all time.