Since his WWE debut in 1990, The Undertaker has undergone quite a few transformations in appearance. Considering the depth to all of his entrances, his wrestling style, and his persona, it’s understandable that he would need to reinvent himself every few years. While his character has remained mostly consistent, his appearance has certainly seen some definitive highs and lows.
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Typically spurred by a change of character, The Deadman’s facelifts have generally stood as an indicator of the era in which it appeared. Here are the five best versions of The Undertaker, and five which left a bit to be desired.
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10 Best: The Deadman
This iteration of Taker’s appearance is probably the most historically iconic. While this attire wasn’t too different from the attire he debuted in, the purple offered a contrast that wasn’t present in the earliest version of Taker’s career.
Here’s a rundown for those who aren’t familiar. Following his loss to Yokozuna at the 1994 Royal Rumble, Undertaker took some time off to recover from a back injury. During this time, Ted DiBiase introduced an imposter Undertaker, wearing the real Undertaker’s colors and ring gear. When the real Undertaker returned at Summerslam that year, he debuted with purple in place of the grey, likely as a means of differentiating the two. The colors stuck from then on and became synonymous with The Deadman.
9 Worst: The American Bad Ass
To be clear, Taker didn’t look terrible in this role. This attire is “worse” because people didn’t want it than because of any failure to present. What is enjoyable about this era is to note that this was the real-life Mark Calloway being himself. He typically wore jeans, a trench coat, a bandana, sunglasses, and necklaces. He would also ride a motorcycle to the ring.
While Taker looked the part of a tough biker, as he is in real life, this was a departure from what fans had come to expect from him. While there were some memorable moments from this era, this period is largely glossed over when looking through The Phenom’s timeline.
8 Best: Shaved
This will be the newest of Taker’s appearances to make the “best” series. It’s also one which is surprisingly enjoyable given the contrast it presents.
When Undertaker returned in 2012 to face Triple H at Wrestlemania 28, he brought a new look, which would last for a few years. While the attire was in line with his previous appearances, he had noticeably buzzed his head, leaving only a small patch of hair in the center. His entrance attire concealed this at Wrestlemanias 28 and 29.
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The most notable attire during this period was the one worn during his Wrestlemania 29 clash with CM Punk. What sets this apart is the nod to his longtime manager Paul Bearer. On the outside of his legs, there was a logo paying respects to his recently departed friend.
7 Worst: Big Evil
Speaking of shorter hair, The Undertaker’s departure from the American Bad Ass persona began with the period where he referred to himself as Big Evil. This period was sparked by Taker turning heel and embracing some of the evil aspects of his past. While it wasn’t all that different visually, Taker’s attitude was definitely less in line with the fans initially. Taker would start off this run a heel, but it wasn’t long before Big Evil won over fans again.
For the most part, this era would see leather pants and demon logos replace the jeans from the era prior, but very little was overly different.
6 Best: Mortician
In detail, we looked at The Deadman era, where purple replaced grey to reinvent this attire earlier. To recap, this version of the Undertaker was all black with grey accents on his tie, gloves, and boot covers. He wore a rounded cap and was meant to resemble a Western Mortician.
Undertaker was a new theme altogether in 1990. Looking at the atmosphere, most performers were wearing tights with bright colors, showing off their physiques and tans. Undertaker flipped every part of that formula. He came out in pants, a loose shirt, wearing a tie, and all dark clothing. His skin was pale, and the most exposure his gear offered was of his arms.
5 Worst: The Last Outlaw
Technically, this attire began at Wrestlemania 31 during Taker’s first appearance since the end of The Streak. The attire is iconic in that it marries many elements of Taker’s history and remains relatively simple. Hallmarks of this look are a singlet, leather pants, boots, gloves, a trench coat, and a hat.
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What makes this iteration of The Undertaker is that with each year, it becomes clearer that he is past his prime. We all love to see him perform, especially looking through his older matches. He is undoubtedly a living legend, but matches such as his Super Showdown match with Goldberg are proof that he needs to close the book.
4 Best: The Lord of Darkness
Is there a more iconic look The Undertaker has ever had?
This one came in phases. Initially adopted in 1996, The Undertaker would take a much more gothic appearance, moving to all-black attire and elaborate robes during his entrance. His ring gear was black leather, and he became more vocal than he had been to this point in his career.
The second phase of this would see a reduction in leather, but an increase in the intricacies of designs. While his entrance attires remained elaborate, hit ring gear also became more nuanced, incorporating leather straps on more flexible materials.
3 Worst: Survivor Series 2000
This specific instance is the second-worst on this list for a reason. Put simply, it doesn’t fit. Many have speculated to the reason for this appearance at Survivor Series 2000, where The Undertaker was taking on Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship. The popular theory is that Taker’s gear was lost or inaccessible, so he had to borrow pants from backstage friend The Godfather.
For a description, Taker almost looked normal. He had a black trench coat, singlet, and pants. The eye-catcher here is that his pants were snakeskin. Definitely out of character for The Deadman, but it did come at a time where he had ditched all black and leather. At least it wasn’t during the days of The Ministry.
2 Best: The Ministry of Darkness
Speaking of The Ministry, this is the absolute best look Taker has ever had during his career. While many might question whether this persona went too far, it is undeniable that his look during this period embraced all the darkness of his character and truly held a distinct edge.
Outside the ring, he wore a simple black robe. This added visual depth when he sat on the giant throne, which had been created for his character. His mustache was shaved, and he grew his goatee longer to give a more sinister look. In the ring, he wore a singlet and pants, entering the ring with distinctive gothic robes. He embodied an image of an evil villain, as the persona demanded.
1 Worst: The Wig
We mentioned earlier that one of Taker’s better appearances began in 2012 when he had buzzed his hair and covered it under his hood. Unfortunately, 2012 also saw his worst appearance.
Rather than embrace Taker’s new look initially, WWE tried to hide the fact that Taker had cut his hair off. During his return to Raw, where he confronted Triple H, The Deadman came to the ring with his signature hat on, covering a very poorly fitted wig. This wig featured long black hair and did not fit his face at all. Fans immediately began discussing how poor and obvious the hair was.
With how well received the new look was, one has to question why WWE decided to cover it up, to begin with. At the least, they could have worked harder to make this more convincing.