Was The Undertaker Really That Important?

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by SSJPhenom, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. SSJPhenom

    SSJPhenom The Phenom of WZ

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    This week on the WWE Network is the much talked about Undertaker week. Yesterday, I watched the Legends With JBL show and they said something that really caught my attention. They (JBL, Austin, HBK, and HHH) all said that in 1995, if ‘Taker had have jumped ship along with Nash, Hall, and others that the WWE probably would’ve went under and that they wouldn’t be having the discussion that they were having. So I started wondering; Was ‘Taker really that important to the success of the WWE?

    At first, when I thought about this prospect, I was thinking that; no, ‘Taker wasn’t that important. Look, you won’t find a bigger ‘Taker fan than me, however, I’m not a blind ‘Taker mark. ‘Taker was never the #1 guy in the WWE. He was always a top tier guy that could be put into the main event at any time, but he was never the undisputed guy. During that period of time, it was Bret Hart and HBK that were the ones carrying the company. ‘Taker was definitely a main stay, but he wasn’t as important to the company’s success as those two. Then, I gave this idea a little more thought. I had to think about what would’ve really happened had ‘Taker jumped ship in the mid 90’s. First, and this is arguable, there wouldn’t have been a Mankind and by extension there wouldn’t have been Cactus Jack, Dude Love, or Mick Foley. Sure, Mankind may have still been introduced, however, would he have gotten over as well as he did when he debuted if there was no Undertaker? Remember, the night after WM 12 was when Mankind debuted and that was the night that he started his feud with ‘Taker. They had a great feud in 96, then in 97 after ‘Taker had won the title at WM 13 they had another great feud and let us not forget what they done in 98 with their famous HIAC match. So without ‘Taker, would Foley have gotten over as big as he did? I don’t think so. Also, if there’s no Foley, who then is going to be that perfect foil for the Rock to get over with as a heel when the Rock finally became WWE Champion? Makes you think; doesn’t it? Also, and this one is not arguable, if there is no ‘Taker then there damn sure wouldn’t have been a Kane. I don't really know if that effects WWE in a huge way or not, but it’s a point worth mentioning. So right there, if you take away ‘Taker, you take away three of the WWE’s main stays during the Attitude Era. Possibly four because no Foley, maybe no Corporate Rock. There also wouldn’t have been the Ministry/Corporate Ministry of Darkness either during the Attitude Era. So without ‘Taker, several main storylines of the Attitude Era wouldn’t have happened. Also, let’s say that WWE did survive the Monday Night Wars without ‘Taker; the biggest thing that his absence would have definitely given us after the Monday Night Wars would have been no Streak. Would some of those Wrestlemanias have done as well as they did without the Streak and all those classic Streak matches? I could also speculate that the WWE Locker Room wouldn’t have been as cohesive as it has been all of these years without ‘Taker, but that’s behind the scenes stuff and none of us really know what goes on behind the scenes.

    So what do you guys think? Was ‘Taker really that important to the success of the WWE? Would they have won the Monday Night Wars if he had of jumped ship with the rest in the mid 90’s? How would his absence have affected the WWE? Let me know your opinions.
     
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  2. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Well-Known Member

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    Taker's character was such that he didn't fit as a long term World Champion....he was great chasing a title but never worked holding it for real long time. Part of that was the appeal of how hard it was to beat him. Dusty Rhodes was terrific at rallying fans behind the beleaguered underdog character but he didn't fit as "the top dog".....his greatest strength was as the everyman underdog chasing the big bad bullies, he would beat them in money matches to please the fans but he didn't feel the same way as a long term champion. That doesn't mean Dusty wasn't integral to the NWA success in the 1980s, he was a huge part of it and nationally it was hard other than Hogan to find a fan favorite with a bigger following than Dusty.

    Taker for most of his career has always been at the top of the card. His matches and feuds, especially after about 1996 or so, were always in the top 2 or 3 biggest at any given time. He main evented against just about every top name you can think of and wrestled virtually every major super star in the top 2 or 3 matches on a consistent basis. Hogan....Austin.....Rock.....HBK......HHH......Flair......Orton......Batista......Foley.....Lesnar......pretty consistently for the last twenty years Taker has been involved storyline wise at or near the very top of the card with virtually every big name you can think of during that time frame. Lets not forget Brett Hart in the list, or CM Punk either.

    Anyone who can consistently be that high up in storyline prominence, working with that many top stars (guys who were either giants at the time they fought or all time HOF greats, some both) over that many years is definitely important.

    Longevity is important and few stars have maintained that kind of drawing power for that many years. You're into Hogan & Flair territory when you talk about guys who maintained enough of a following that they could draw well near the top of the card for that many years. That's a legacy few performers can lay claim on, but Taker can.
     
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  3. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    no, I don't think that Taker was as important to WWF as he's made out to be. i read somewhere that Vince intended on Undertaker replacing Andre as the Feds resident featured attraction and if thats the case id say they missed the mark. Don't get me wrong, I love Undertaker, great gimmick, good matches and from what I've seen he's a good guy behind the scenes as well. But don't think for a second that he can be named in the same breath as Austin, Rock, Flair and Hogan as an irreplaceable guy or something. The WWE has confused fans with their propaganda regarding guys like Taker, HHH and HBK somehow being in the top echelon of greatest of all time when thats not even close.
     
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  4. tak161

    tak161 Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, I think he is that important to the company, but not in the way most would think. He was an integral part of the roster, remaining a top of the card performer for his entire run. However, I think his most important contribution was backstage. Taker is the guy everyone else turned to in the locker room. Just as Austin, HHH, HBK, and JBL said, Unndertaker was the leader of the locker room and the one guy you went to if you were having a problem, needed to talk, or to make sure you were doing what you should be doing and doing it right.

    Now, if you take that away with him jumping to WCW, then you lose the man that everyone looked to. The guy that kept morale up when things were looking bad. Without Taker, the entire company would be without its backstage leader. HBK said that walking into the locker room and seeing Taker, knowing he was there made him feel at home. And if he walked in and didn't see Taker, he wouldn't want to be there. I think that says everything you need to know. Taker is the constant, the measuring stick, and the backbone of WWE, and without him, the WWE would be in a bad place, if not out of business altogether.
     
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  5. OYDK

    OYDK Well-Known Member

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    If we're basing our answers on the time period, than in the one that you're talking about (mid-90s) Taker was VERY important to the WWE. Before that they had Hogan and Savage and the rest, afterwards they had Austin, Rock and the rest, but at this time there was literally just Bret, Shawn, and Taker and Shawn was nowhere near a made man at this point. I think people forget how over Taker was in 1995. His reactions were always right up there with Shawn and Bret and sometime surpassed them. I think saying that the business may have gone under had Taker jumped ship is a legitimate argument. They wouldn't have had anybody, literally anybody but Shawn and Bret to draw people in.

    So, Taker was very important to the WWE in the mid-90s. Before and after, the rosters were so deep that they didn't have to rely on him as much, but at this time, he was a crucial element in the wars.
     
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  6. Chicago1989

    Chicago1989 Ain't it sleep first then eat?

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    I think about what you said and just imagine if Undertaker left WWE. He was regarded as the one guy that kept everyone in check and if he wasn't around, you would've had WCW 2.0 happen in the locker room: Egos would've gotten out of control, the inmates would've ran the asylum, etc.

    Undertaker was never thought of to being the biggest draw in WWE history, but knowing that he helped shape the course of WWF's/WWE's future in such a big way, he, to me, has that distinction that if he never was around, the WWF/E wouldn't be where it is today. Like you said, he was the backbone.
     
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  7. whoopin' ass

    whoopin' ass Well-Known Member

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    He was for consistency. From Hogan to Cena, Taker was there so he became a cornerstone of the company. The catch with that though is because he stayed, he was protected and given opportunities that others weren't. Think back over the past 25 years and there is no real time that Taker jumps out at you - he wasn't a huge part of the Monday Night Wars or the Attitude Era. Sure, there was the higher power angle with him but really, that was a part of Vince and Austin fighting. That kind of sums up is career to me - always involved in the bigger angles but not the main part of them. Personally, I don't feel that he was that important in general. There was never any worry that the company would be in trouble when Taker took time off like with others such as Austin. He stepped back the last few years and there was no major issues within wwe. You can very easily look back over wwe history and skip over him and still tell a pretty complete history of wwe which you couldn't do with a lot of other guys like Austin or HBK.
     
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  8. Azane

    Azane Well-Known Member

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    around 95', WWF didnt have many stars, Taker was carrying the company at some points.
     
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  9. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    Undertaker was something like Bray Wyatt is now in his early stages: a big guy with a very special gimmick that, during the Golden Era and the early New Generation Era, worked really well, since wrestling was still kayfabe back then. He wasn't a main eventer yet.

    However when the New Gen Era came and all the stars from the old mega stars from the Golden Era had left, WWE needed new stars to fill the void: HBK, Bret Hart & Diesel. Then at WM 13, with Michaels' injured and Nash in WCW, there was noone else. Enter The Undertaker. That's when Taker really became a main event star.

    Given his size, look and mic skills he instantly became a draw. He was a top attraction until 1999 where he took a backseat to the likes of Austin, Rock, Triple H and Foley.

    Judging from how he was booked during the Attitude Era, the company never really intended Undertaker to be a big star. He just had to fill a void and turned out to be great.

    His ultimate peak came in 2002 where he trully was the top dog, now that Austin & Rock had both gone, but the throne would be a short-lived one, since Lesnar came into play. Again, the company doesn't intend for Taker to be the man, as he wrestles in the upper mid card scene, not winning any World Ttiles, until 2007. From 2007 till 2010 Taker would dominate the main event scene. That's when Vince realized that Undertaker=Money.

    Yes you can argue that he wasn't all that special. But keeping a permanent position in the main event scene for 20+ years is really something. He wasn't the MAN, but he was there when they needed him.

    However, his biggest work was what he did backstage. He was a locker room leader. He stood up to Michaels' Kliq. Had he gone, the WWF would be left at the mercy of HBK. He was the one that kept the balance between HBK & Vince. Wrestlemania 14's incident where he threatens HBK to drop the belt to Austin proves my point.
    That's the biggest reason he was so important back then.
     
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  10. rmp0012002

    rmp0012002 Well-Known Member

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    He was important but not as the top face of the company but as a huge attraction with fans. He just had that connection with the fans due to his character and he didn't have to be the main event to get that reaction from the fans.
     
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  11. King26J

    King26J Member

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    Well now we know why Jim Ross always called Taker the conscious of the WWE. Kept things in check behind the scenes.
     
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  12. Aquaman6686

    Aquaman6686 Well-Known Member

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    I think you mean "conscience".
     
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  13. kumarjtk

    kumarjtk kumarjtk

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    i agree with tak161. At time of jumping ship taker may play important role in locker room to keep talents in wwe. He firmly behind wwe not jumping to wcw. Undertaker earned respect from locker room at that time. So only they mean that.
    I think wwe honour undertaker by celebrating 25 aniversary.
     
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  14. Prince Vee

    Prince Vee Better than I think I am

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    Yes, Even at the time of the Montreal Screwjob it was the Undertaker who confronted McMahon first about the situation. He's been an inspiration for many and been keeping his gimmick throughout his life, seems menacing but just brilliant. WWE wouldn't reached so much heights without the Undertaker. Wrestlemania's wouldn't have bigger without the streak!
     
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  15. Stone Cold Tea

    Stone Cold Tea Well-Known Member

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    Nah he means Brocks bitch
     
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  16. Noshowers

    Noshowers Well-Known Member

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    Since it's nearly impossible to quantify what he did in the locker room (since there wasn't a camera back there of course), all you can do is listen to what some wrestlers say about it, and as others have pointed out here as well he was a well respected company man. to me if a guy like that left who knows, perhaps other stars might have walked away as well.

    In terms of in front of the cameras and in the Ring, I think the Undertaker has been the ultimate Road Block / Hill to climb. He and Kane are very similar, though the Undertaker definitely has had more luck with the higher ups then Kane.

    Hulk Hogan already destroyed much of the roster and need someone else to make him look even stronger? Give him the Undertaker

    Need Brett to Look Strong? Undertaker

    Need Shawn to look strong? Throw him the Undetaker.

    Need a tag team to challenge Edge/Christian, Dudleys, etc? Put the Undertaker and Big Show or Undertaker and Kane together and throw them at em.

    As was pointed out, he was never meant or booked to be the main star, he basically was just the main boogey man. In terms of that context, he probably could have been replaced when it comes to what he did in front of the cameras in my opinion.
     
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  17. Nada

    Nada Well-Known Member

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    From a ratings, ppv buys, merch perspective: No he was not. Undertaker is not the sort of star that can carry your company into the mainstream.

    I think those guys opinion of him are clouded because of his importance in the locker room. Which we all have heard that he is basically a great presence, which i do not doubt.

    So in that sense he was important, but as far as a star? As someone who is going to get casual Joe McWalmart to watch? I dont think so.

    Remove Taker, and nothing changes really. Early-mid 90s WWF is still doing badly, but no worse, Bret and Shawn were really the only semi draws. Attitude Era still happens. And Manias in modern era still sell out because "Wrestlemania" it self is now a draw.

    A lot of people have forgotten what a regular program on a random RAW with Taker really is, and the Wyatt one recently is a reminder, its usually kinda lame. Unless you are into fantasy storylines about deadmen and demons. Its corny.

    His perhaps biggest match from a interest level was Summerslam 98, against Austin. But that feud was more about Austin vs Vince, than Taker. Who was just there and eventually became Vince's "lackey"
     
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  18. ShinChan

    ShinChan Gone. For. Good.

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    Yeah I really think he was that important..... WWE would have lost him & much more if he had gone to WCW that time.... And he is truely the backbone of WWE....
     
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  19. SSJPhenom

    SSJPhenom The Phenom of WZ

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    As I said in my post, though, without ‘Taker, wouldn’t you have to remove Mankind as huge name during the Attitude Era and by extension remove Corporate Rock? Also, take away ‘Taker and there is no Kane either. No Ministry or Corporate Ministry either. So take away ‘Taker and you possibly lose 4 huge names during the Attitude Era and some big storylines as well. Also, and this is where it starts to get kind of convoluted but bare with me, if there was no ‘Taker, then his feud with HBK wouldn’t have happened, no HIAC for sure. Also, HBK wouldn’t have injured his back at Royal Rumble 98. So going into Wrestlemania 14, assuming that things still happen for Austin the way they did, you have a healthy HBK and no ‘Taker to tell him just before he goes through the curtain to do the job. So how would that have played out?
     
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  20. agentmichaelscarn

    agentmichaelscarn Old School

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    Kinda OT from the original question. But since we're on the topic of Taker, my pet peeve is how people say that "nobody could make that gimmick work for 25 years like he did" and things of that nature.

    The fact is he really didn't make it work for that long. They kept reinvented his character. He basically made "The dead guy" work till 98. Than he became like a cult leader for a year, than he became a normal "American Badass".

    Then when he went back to the Deadman character in 2004 it was over based completely on nostalgia. Since then nobody buys into the character, they buy into the person and wrestler. It would be like saying that Kane has made his character stick for 18 years. Nobody thinks of Kane as the guy that killed his parents and was a basically burnt alive. Just like nobody thinks of Undertaker as the Deadman anymore.

    Sorry for the rant and I know it was off topic but it just kinda annoys me when people say this over and over again.
     
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  21. Goldie

    Goldie Well-Known Member

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    If Taker would have left the WWE during the Monday Night wars - yes it would have been a major loss to WWE.... but the likes of JBL are over exaggerating by saying the WWE would have gone under.

    Bret Hart left the WWE in 1997.... in hindsight the company actually prospered after he departed (despite the WWE lacking in star names at the time) thanks to a certain Mr Austin.
    When Bret left the WWE he had been a bigger star than Taker and the WWE's franchise player more or less from 1992-97 (aside from his 8 month break in 1996). Leading into Survivor Series- Bret, Shawn and Austin were arguably the 3 biggest stars in the company.

    Taker has been a major star for the WWE for 25 years.... but its his longevity that really cements his legacy. There hasn't been any point in time when Taker was the top superstar on the roster... he has usually hovered as the #3 or #4 guy.
    Early 90s Hogan and Warrior. Mid 90s Bret and Shawn. Attitude era- Austin, Rock, Foley.... and into the 2000s- Cena, Triple H.... and with Taker winding down with age... Bryan, Punk, Cena, Orton have carried the company in more recent times.

    I read earlier in this thread that Taker was the guy to be chasing the title rather than the guy who has long title reigns... which is spot on.
    He is a major attraction with a unique gimmick and deserves his legendary status.... however when people talk about him being the greatest star ever- they quickly forget what Hogan, Austin, Rock did for the WWE on a mainstream level. Major WWE boom periods conincided with those guys making wrestling cool again.
     
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  22. Kris Benwa

    Kris Benwa Krissssssss Benwa...Benwa

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    For as long as I've been watching which is basically all my life ,starting in the late 90's, Undertaker has always been in a title feud or one of the top 3 programs on the shows he was on. I think that certainly would make him important because for the 17 year I saw him he was always one of the biggest names and from the looks of his main events and wins before I started watching he was a main character then too. Thinking year to year from say 98 (when he stopped winning world titles regularly) to now, I can't find a year where he wasn't in a top or important program. 98 he main evented with Austin several times. 99 Ministry of Darkness 00 he became Biker Taker and was in the top 1 or 2 program all year. 01 he was an integral part of the invasion 02 was WWE champ 03 his Lesnar feud again 04-10 he was either the #1 or #2 face on Smackdown that entire time. Then 11-now is Streak taker where he's the huge legendary star.

    To make a comparison to Dragon Ball and DBZ, Taker was never a Goku or the main character but he was more like Piccolo for as long as he was around was always an important, integral, and relevant character and without Piccolo many things would have turned out differently but the top story May have been the same if this makes sense.
     
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  23. SCrooked1

    SCrooked1 Well-Known Member

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    Complete disrespect towards the Undertaker on here.

    Summerslam '98 doesn't draw 700,000 buys without him in the main event and that's a fact.
     
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  24. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    lol, even if that were true and I say Austin got the buys not Taker, thats one PPV from one year. Stop drinking the WWE koolaid, UT isn't that important to the overall success to WWE as you might think.
     
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  25. yourdamnluck

    yourdamnluck Well-Known Member

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    The Undertaker has always been in the main/co-main event scene.
    WWE survived the loss of bret hart coz he was old. Vince realized he'd be taking more money than he'd make for the company which is exactly what bret did in WCW.
    Now imagine a young phenom leaving the WWF. Vince loses money WCW gets a new attraction.
    Now imagine the WWE roster without taker feuding with all the top dogs. Would they be considered that great had they not beaten the Deadman.
    He and kane added an extra tier to the roster.
    Jerico in one of his interviews said vince only cared about what the top guys were doing. You can believe taker was always one of them.
    At one point before, The Great One took over, more people knew The Undertaker than anyone in WWE. He was very important and he made tons of money. But whether WWE would have survived without him is anyone's guess.
     
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