For over three decades, The Undertaker has invoked fear in the eyes of the WWE Universe with his mystique and aura that changed the ambience of every arena he made his presence felt in. Even though The Deadman is feared by the masses, he still receives a great deal of respect from his fans and peers.
Many people argue that the 7-time WWE World Champion is the greatest to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots, and it’s not hard to fathom why. Very few people have been loyal to the business and to WWE as The Deadman has.
Even though he played the mystical character for well over two decades, fans still erupt with excitement when they hear the gong echoing throughout the arena followed by a blackout.
The Undertaker also declined an offer from WCW, WWE’s biggest rival, opting to remain in Vince McMahon’s company instead. The Phenom is also known for strictly abiding by the rules of kayfabe, as he was rarely seen breaking character during a match or segment, though he has relaxed it a bit in recent times.
We got to see a more human side to him lately, but it wasn’t until his career was coming close to its end. Undertaker is a future WWE Hall of Famer, and there’s no doubt about it. He’s not only an influence on the public, but he’s also an influence on everyone in the locker room.
The Deadman feuded with a lot of greats over the years such as The Nature Boy, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels and he went on to establish a close relationship with most of them.
The Undertaker kept his mystique intact for so long that a lot of fans still don’t know much about the man behind the character. Today, we take a look at the five WWE Superstars The Undertaker is close to in real life.
#5 Shane McMahon
The first McMahon in this article is none other than Shane McMahon, someone who The Undertaker knows very well. The two have been working together since the Attitude Era, even forming a faction called The Corporate Ministry.
Fast forward to 2016, Shane O’ Mac returned to WWE after a lengthy absence and had his first rivalry with The Undertaker.
The Undertaker called Shane McMahon for a WWE WrestleMania match
Shane revealed that it was actually The Phenom’s idea to have the match. Taker and Shane always got along well and The Phenom wanted to work with the latter again before his career came to an end. This resulted in an epic Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 32.
Shane O’ Mac stated in an interview prior to the match that he and The Undertaker share a friendship that goes back 25 years. He also mentioned that they had a lot of fun together in their long friendship.
#4 Ric Flair
WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair and The Undertaker have been friends for a long time. They met back in their days with the now-defunct WCW, had their first match in the early ’90s, and they’ve been close to this day. The Undertaker even attended The Nature Boy’s wedding to Wendy Barlow last year with his wife Michelle McCool.
Ric Flair credits his bout with The Undertaker at WWE WrestleMania 18 as a major factor that helped him regain his self-confidence after the way his last days in World Championship Wrestling transpired.
Flair revealed that he was very nervous before the match, but since he and The Undertaker were close friends, he had no problem letting The Phenom know about this.
The Undertaker also had praise for his long time friend, stating that it was an honor to share the locker room and a ring with him:
‘Taker and Michelle McCool also had some positive things to say about Flair’s recent wedding.
Ric Flair names The Undertaker as one of the top three WWE Superstars
In a 2019 interview, Ric Flair named The Undertaker as one of the top three Superstars in the history of the business. These two stars are on the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling for many fans and they’ll go down as two of the best to ever do it.
#3 John Bradshaw Layfield
John Bradshaw Layfield and The Undertaker’s long tenure in WWE saw them becoming friends over the years. JBL’s first match on Monday Night RAW was against The Undertaker on 1 April 1996. Both stars also grew up in Texas.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Layfield spoke about his friendship with The Undertaker when asked if The Deadman wrestled his last match at ‘Mania 34.
“I don’t know if it was his last match. I met with him beforehand. He was the groomsman at my wedding. We are good friends. I wrestled him probably more than anybody else in my career. Probably more than anybody else in his career, as well. So, I know him very well.”
JBL was also a member of The Deadman’s Ministry of Darkness faction during the Attitude Era. After JBL unexpectedly won the WWE Championship, he successfully defended it against The Undertaker at WWE SummerSlam in 2004.
This feud and victory added some credibility to JBL’s title reign. ‘Taker reportedly wanted to lose to JBL clean, but the match ended after he was disqualified for attacking JBL with the WWE Championship.
JBL on his friendship with The Undertaker
During The Undertaker’s Last Ride WWE Network special, JBL shed more light on his friendship with the former. He revealed that he and The Phenom have been friends for a long time and ‘Taker was also a groomsman at his wedding.
JBL was also a member of BSK! The former recalled attempting to make The Undertaker break character during a segment on SmackDown.
Although this was an obvious choice, this article would’ve been incomplete without The Undertaker’s “brother” Kane. The Brothers of Destruction have known each other for three decades, so it’s not surprising that the two share a close friendship.
The two forces wrestled each other even before the Kane character existed. Glenn Jacobs, the man behind the mask, fought The Undertaker as Unambom, Isaac Yankem DDS, and Fake Diesel before emerging as The Phenom’s evil half-brother.
At WWE WrestleMania 14, Jacobs wrestled The Undertaker for the first time as Kane. The two stars went on to have more matches over the years and they even united together to form a destructive tag team.
In 2018, The Brothers of Destruction collided with D-Generation X at WWE Crown Jewel in a losing effort. That was most likely their last match together. ‘Taker and Kane have been in WWE for a very long time, and they’ll go down as legends.
The Undertaker was originally billed in WWE as “Kane The Undertaker”
Before making his televised debut in 1990, The Undertaker was originally billed as Kane The Undertaker. The name Kane was dropped and The Deadman has been known simply as The Undertaker to this day.
The Phenom even supported Kane on his run for mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee in 2018.
#1 Vince McMahon
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and The Undertaker share an inseparable bond that spans for decades. McMahon is the mastermind behind The Phenom’s character and Mark Calaway is responsible for its success.
He became one of the biggest stars in the history of the business, and one of the most successful. The Undertaker main evented WrestleMania several times, captured the WWE World Championship seven times, and won the 2007 Royal Rumble match.
He also feuded with his boss several times, most notably at Survivor Series 2003 where he got buried by Vince, literally. Behind the scenes, ‘Taker and Vince are very very close.
The Undertaker reveals what Vince McMahon means to him
During The Last Ride: Chapter 2 WWE Network special, when asked what Vince McMahon means to him, The Phenom stated:
“I love Vince McMahon to death. I would take a bullet for the man—honestly, I would. Yes, he’s my boss. He’s my friend. He’s been like a dad. A brother. He’s been like it all to me.”
The Chairman of the board also had some good things to say about his longest-tenured in-ring competitor.
“Undertaker, Mark Calaway is the most loyal performer I’ve ever dealt with. He is the kind of man you would want — literally and figuratively — in the foxhole with you,” McMahon said.
However, when McMahon was asked to reveal what ‘Taker means to him, he got so emotional that he couldn’t even answer the question.
There’s no doubt that The Undertaker was Vince McMahon’s greatest creation and the latter is the best option to induct the former into the WWE Hall of Fame someday.