After a seven-month absence, WWE legend The Undertaker will return to the ring for the first time since WrestleMania 32 Tuesday night on the 900th episode of SmackDown.
26 years ago - on November 22nd, 1990 - The Undertaker made his WWE debut at Survivor Series and went on to become arguably most iconic character in wrestling history. Even at the age of 51, no one has the same presence inside the squared circle as the Deadman. To prepare for his return, which hopefully leads to yet another WrestleMania main event, here's a look back at the many different faces of The Undertaker over the past two-and-a-half decades.
1990: The Undertaker’s debut
The Undertaker make his first televised appearance at Survivor Series in 1990 as Ted DiBiase’s mystery team member. A regular part of his costume was the widest tie ever worn.
Just a year later at Survivor Series, The Undertaker faced Hulk Hogan for the WWE title. With the help of a distraction from Paul Bearer and Ric Flair, The Undertaker delivered a Tombstone Piledriver on top of a chair to capture his first World Championship. At the time, The Undertaker was the youngest WWE champion ever.
The Undertaker rode to the ring at SummerSlam on the back of a hearse for his match against the Ugandan giant Kamala. (The Undertaker won by disqualification when Kim Chee - played by the Brooklyn Brawler - attacked him.)
The Undertaker kept his streak alive at WrestleMania IX in a controversial match against the Giant Gonzalez, winning by DQ after Gonzalez held a rag soaked with chloroform against his face, knocking The Undertaker out.
The Undertaker had a long absence from the WWE after losing a casket match to Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble, but he returned at SummerSlam to face the “fake Undertaker” in the main event.
An injury to The Undertaker’s orbital bone caused him to miss some time in 1995, but he returned at Survivor Series wearing a white mask to protect his face.
We saw the first major reincarnation of The Undertaker in 1996, just as the Attitude Era was starting to take form. Taker faced Mankind at Survivor Series and was lowered to the ground from the rafters with a new look, clad in black leather.
The Undertaker truly became the lord of darkness in 1997, which saw the debut of his demonic half-brother Kane. The Undertaker had his second reign as WWE Champion in 1997, taking the title from Sycho Sid at WrestleMania.
The Deadman nearly won the title again in 1998, but it was vacated after he and Kane simultaneously pinned Steve Austin in a triple threat match.
The Undertaker and Paul Bearer launched the Ministry of Darkness in ’99, recruiting The Brood and the Acolytes Bradshaw and Farooq. In one of the craziest storylines of The Undertaker’s career, he kidnapped Stephanie McMahon and planned to marry her on an episode of Raw, only to have Stone Cold Steve Austin break up the ceremony.
Another major injury kept The Undertaker out of action for the end of 1999 and the beginning of the new millennium, but he returned as the motorcycle-riding American Badass.
The Undertaker eventually ditched his signature long hair, and delivered the first of his three classic WrestleMania matches against Triple H at X-Seven.
You could argue that The Undertaker is the greatest wrestler of all time, but had relatively few title reigns over the course of his epic career. He won the WWE title (then the Undisputed title) for the third time at Judgement Day in 2002 by defeating Hulk Hogan.
Kane and Mr. McMahon killed the “Big Evil” Undertaker character at Survivor Series in 2003, dumping a gigantic pile of dirt on top of the Undertaker in a gruesomeburied alive match.
The Undertaker returned in his more classic form at WrestleMania XX, where he beat Kane.
After his controversial feud with Muhammad Hassan, The Undertaker was taken out by the “Legend Killer” Randy Orton at SummerSlam after beating Orton at WrestleMania. This might have been The Undertaker’s best hair year.
The Undertaker extended his WrestleMania streak by beating Mark Henry in a casket match, executing the World’s Strongest Tombstone in the process.
The Undertaker began 2007 by winning the Royal Rumble as the 30th entrant, then defeated Batista at WrestleMania to capture the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career.
Taker capped an incredible feud with Edge in a Hell in a Cell match at SummerSlam, and moved on to face off with The Big Show.
The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels had the first of their two WrestleMania matches in 2009, and it very well might be the Undertaker’s greatest performance at the event that has defines his career.
The following year, The Undertaker ended Michaels’ career in a rematch at WrestleMania XXVI.
By this point in his career, The Undertaker was being used almost exclusively for WrestleMania - but he still delivered must-watch performances each year. At WrestleMania XXVII, Taker kept his streak alive by beating Triple H but was so badly damaged that he couldn’t leave the ring under his own power.
The following year, The Undertaker and Triple H put on what is arguably the best Hell in a Cell match ever at WrestleMania XXVIII.
CM Punk never got to main event a WrestleMania, but his match with The Undertaker was the best of the night and probably should have gone on last in retrospect.
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The Undertaker got a small amount of revenge the next year at SummerSlam, forcing Lesnar to tap only after the referee didn’t see The Undertaker submit earlier in the match.
Taker returned for the biggest WrestleMania of all time earlier this year, facing Shane McMahon in front of more than 100,000 fans in Dallas.