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Monday, March 21, 2016

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The Undertaker's Underrated Rivalries

By @TrueGodImmortal

As the Undertaker week kicks off as he prepares for a huge match against Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 32, we take a look back at his most underrated feuds and rivalries over the year. This won't necessarily be ranked, but just listed for his most slept on rivalries over the years. Rivalries like Taker vs Kane, Taker vs Foley, Taker vs HBK, and other are truly appreciated, but Taker has been around for 25 years and amassed some great feuds. Let's take a look at his most underrated.

*The Undertaker vs Jake The Snake Roberts 

-The strange feud that started with the Ultimate Warrior being tormented and eventually evolved into Taker turning semi face and taking on Jake at Wrestlemania 8. Jake was the perfect villain to make Taker somehow more popular and Taker going over on Jake was definitely a fun match to watch. This rivalry doesn't get enough credit.

*The Undertaker vs Bret Hart

-These two only had one big feud during 1997 for the WWF Title essentially, as Bret and Taker would put on some damn good matches. My personal favorite match from these two legends would have to be Bret vs Taker at Royal Rumble 1996, but their matches at Summerslam 1997 and One Night Only 1997 were also great contests. I would have loved to see these two go at it at Wrestlemania during the New Generation Era. It could have been huge at Wrestlemania 11.

*The Undertaker vs JBL

-This feud was perfect. Taker, the popular veteran, against JBL, the veteran tag team wrestler who was just in his new role as a top heel in WWE and as the champion on Smackdown. After their contest at Summerslam 2004, they would cross paths again at No Mercy 2004 and again in a fatal four way match at Armageddon 2004. The 2nd half of 2004 was essentially Taker vs JBL for the title on Smackdown. It was very entertaining and the matches weren't too bad either. Totally underrated feud.

*The Undertaker vs Yokozuna

-A truly great rivalry that doesn't get mentioned as much as it should. Taker and Yokozuna feuded over the WWF Title leading into Wrestlemania 10, and Taker would challenge Yokozuna to a match at the Royal Rumble for his title. The match ended up being a casket match, and Yokozuna won effectively with the help of WWF heels at the time. Taker went away for a while, came back, and they had another casket match at Survivor Series 1994, this time Taker won. The feud was a bit short overall, but it was one of my personal favorites growing up.

*The Undertaker vs Mr. Kennedy

-I didn't really think this feud was that great when I first watched it, but thanks to the WWE Network, I revisited it and enjoyed the matches and some of the buildup as Kennedy was killing it on the mic against Taker and was made to look pretty well against a legend. Kennedy would go on to eventually work his way into a bit of a main event slot, but injuries would stop his greatness. Taker for sure started him off on a great path. It's a shame more didn't come from this.

*The Undertaker vs Ric Flair

-Wrestlemania feuds for Taker should always be important. Flair is one of the all time greats and they had never really crossed paths before. Going into Wrestlemania 18, Taker began tormenting Flair and with a new look and shorter hair, Taker fit his villain role well, beating Flair's son David and his best friend Arn Anderson, before defeating Flair at Mania. Short lived feud, but perfectly booked and executed in many ways.

*The Undertaker vs Randy Orton

-This feud gets credit. It's a notch or two below Taker vs Edge, but it should be recognized as the feud that really revitalized Taker. A year long feud that began at Wrestlemania 21 and ended at Armageddon 2005 in December, the matches were entertaining, sometimes brutal, and Taker would push a young Orton to the limits and help make Orton into a budding star after his failed face run. This is the feud that truly made Orton into the Legend Killer and showed us a glimpse of the Viper. Taker was the perfect choice to get Orton ready for the big time.

*The Undertaker vs Batista

-Batista and Taker had amazing in ring chemistry for the most part. In 2007, they had a great feud, which led into the Edge vs Taker feud. Batista vs Taker at Mania 23 almost stole the show in my eyes, and they would follow it up with a great match at Backlash. After a great set of matches, the feud would rekindle going into Cyber Sunday 2007 and continue into Survivor Series 2007 as they battled in a damn good Hell in A Cell match. This feud was the best feud of 2007 and the most refreshing one as Batista had felt stale since returning from injury and Taker helped him regain his form a bit.

Any other feuds you don't see here that you feel should be on the list? Post it below in the comments.



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