A Proper Undertaking: Two Undertaker Feuds for the Price of One

By: Nick Avila

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6-0: Undertaker vs. Diesel: WrestleMania XII

After The Undertaker banished the fraud Taker, he set his sights on another large attraction at WWE, a truck-sized wrestler, if you will: Diesel.

As Diesel and Bret Hart fought at In Your House in a steel cage match, Taker decided to involve himself in the match when he came from the depths of hell (or under the ring if you’d prefer) and prevented Big Daddy Cool from escaping the cage and averted Diesel’s WWF Championship dreams. This led to a feud between The Dead Man and Diesel that would culminate in a match at WrestleMania XII between the two behemoths.

Screenshot via WWE Network

Purple smoke clouded the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. as The Undertaker was led to the ring by Paul Bearer. To this point in Taker’s career, he had mostly been in squash matches at Mania with his longest match being just over seven minutes.

As fans and commentators were just settling in for the match, Diesel attacked Taker and met him in the center of the ring. The two exchanged shots to begin the match. As the battle waged, the two seven-footers tested the laws of physics as they executed moves and flew through the air with grace of a pair of overgrown swans.

Diesel’s flaunting and premature celebrations may have cost him the match as he controlled much of the time in the ring. “Big D” as commentator Vince McMahon referred to Diesel as (I’m a 25-year-old and I will not laugh at immature things) absolutely man-handled Taker like no one, not even Giant Gonzalez or King Kong Bundy, ever did. The peak of his domination was a Jack Knife slam and even a second as Big Daddy Cool mocked Taker.

But, all the boasting was for nothing after Undertaker gripped Diesel’s throat and stood up. Diesel, though, countered with a side slam. Taker, however, hit him with a choke slam and then a Tombstone PIledriver to earn his fifth WrestleMania victory.

7-0: Boiler Room Battle vs. Mankind

Screenshot via WWE Network

I know when everyone thinks of Undertaker-Mankind, they think of the Hell in a Cell match when The Dead Man basically turned Mick Foley into a dead man, but here I’ll discuss the beginning of this legendary feud.

It started with Mankind’s WWF debut and with him ultimately interfering in multiple Undertaker matches as he cost him wins. This led to a Boiler Room Brawl at SummerSlam 1996 between the two.

The match was the first of its kind and the victor had to emerge from the backstage Boiler Room and take possession of the urn that Bearer had carried for years.

After The Undertaker ignored an obvious warning to keep out of the boiler room, he entered anyway and as he looked for Mankind, he was attacked from behind. Mankind then went to town hitting Taker with anything he could possibly find.

Steel pipes, PVC pipes, lumber, trash cans and much more was on hand and the two wrestlers weren’t opposed to using any of it. The war proceeded as dim overhead lights and the camera’s light was all that kept the match from being pitch black.

Much like the Taker-Diesel match, The Dead Man was controlled, especially due to him being out of his element, but the momentum changed hands when Taker pushed Mankind from the top of a ladder to a steep fall. The two then made their way to the exit.

After the two escaped, it became a foot race. A foot race with tables, barricades, plenty of wrestlers cheering the two on and even hot coffee involved.

After Taker threw Mankind onto the cement that Mankind had uncovered, it was a guaranteed victory for The Dead Man. Then, Bearer betrayed Taker and allowed Mankind to give The Undertaker the Mandible Claw. Bearer then struck Taker with the urn and handed it to Mankind, who earned the win.

It was just the beginning of a historic feud between the two.

Featured Image: 2017 Topps Road to Wrestlemania Gold Parallel