Undertaker: He Buries Them Alive
The timing is right for the WWE’s recent release of the Undertaker tribute DVD, “He Buries Them Alive”, but the content could be much more.
Amidst all the rumours of the Undertaker going back to his “undead phenom” gimmick, WWE has re-issued the one-time tape on DVD. Hosted by the Million Dollar Man, the recording is straight, uncut matches; and while this may not seem out-of-the-ordinary for today’s market, remember this was originally done in the mid 1990s, when there were very few video compilations being released.
Here’s a brief look at the Undertaker DVD matches:
Match 1> Undertaker vs. Undertaker
This, of course, is from the resulted from the original Yokozuna/Undertaker casket match. After Yoko won, the Undertaker “died”, but was brought back to the WWF by Dibiase. Paul Bearer claimed Dibiase’s ‘Taker was fake, and intended to prove it by resurrecting the Undertaker, resulting in this match at Summerslam.
The first few minutes of this segment is Bearer using a flashlight urn to “unleash the spirit” of the Undertaker. The match itself is a pure abomination of a match, with pretty much everything being punches and clotheslines. The end of the match has “Fakertaker” get the tombstone, but not pin. The second attempt is reversed by the Undertaker, who delivers two other tombstones for the duke.
Winner: Undertaker (the real one)
Rating: 1 out of 10 – This was a terrible match. The ending was appropriate, but the action was deplorable. Given how much Callous and Brian Lee (Fakertaker) can do in the ring, I was really disappointed.
Match 2> Undertaker vs. Kwang
This is from what appears to be the first-ever RAW broadcast. Kwang, for those who don’t recall, was a masked martial arts wrestler; he’s better known, however, as Savio Vega.
This is as typical an old school ‘Taker match as you’ll ever see – lots of zombie no-sells, the power and acrobatics. Kwang, being a somewhat name wrestler at the time, does get in some offence, but not much. Kwang, near the end, uses the ever popular green mist on ‘Taker, but he no sells that, and in fact, spits back, which somehow sends Kwang, who’s wearing a mask, reeling. A chokeslam later the match is over.
Rating: 2.5 out of 10 – good to see classic Undertaker action, though seeing a bit more out of Kwang wouldn’t have hurt.
Match 3> Undertaker vs. Yokozuna – Casket match
This one’s from Survivor Series, and has Chuck Norris as the special enforcer outside preventing a re-run of the original casket match between these two, where every heel teamed up to help Yoko win the match.
This one is pretty slow-going. At this point, Yoko was, according to McMahon’s commentary, around the 600-pound mark. Yoko gets gassed pretty quickly here, and the match suffers as a result. Interference is needed here, and we get it. King Kong Bundy and Bam Bam Bigelow mak their way to ringside, staring Norris straight in the eye, while IRS comes from the other side to get to the Undertaker, who was about to stuff Yoko in the casket. IRS does a much more impressive segment with ‘Taker than Yoko did, and even gets him in the casket. The referees, however, are busy getting rid of Bundy and Bigelow and the casket can’t be closed.
Yoko, is still incredibly gassed, and even falls over at one point. It’s scary just how big this guy got. Eventually, ‘Taker grabs Yoko and makes his way out of the casket. Jeff Jarrett, at one point, comes down to ringside, and gets some Sweet Chin Music from Norris. It’s now a matter of time, and after a SWEET running DDT and a big boot, ‘Taker wins the match.
Rating: 2.75 out of 10 – Not a bad match, per se, but, then again, I tend to enjoy the concept of the casket match more than some people.
Match 4> Undertaker vs. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
This one’s from Superstars, and basically serves as a build-up to the casket match that is also on the DVD.
This is your typical Superstars main event, with Undertaker and Neidhart having a pretty good go at it. Anvil gets a pretty good showing here, dominating the match at times. The turning point comes, however, when Paul Bearer heads to the back and brings out the casket. After ‘Taker gains control in the match, he tosses Neidhart into the open casket. Neidhart panics and basically runs from the ring, causing a count-out.
Rating 1.5 out of 10 – not great action in the ring, but the matches on Superstars were never that great to begin with.
Match 5> Undertaker vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler – Casket Match
I actually never knew this one existed. This is a Colesium Video exclusive, and includes commentary from Stan Lane and Gorilla Monsoon.
This is classic Lawler, using a foreign object repeatedly, versus the classic Undertaker, who is impervious to pain. Lawler actually gets ‘Taker in the casket and is really close to winning the match, but ‘Taker blocks the close of the casket.
Much of the action here is punchy, but in a good way – Lawler is just trying to knock-out ‘Taker, rather than try to weaken him. Undertaker, however, gets the eventual control, gets the Tombstone, and stuffs the King in the casket for the W.
Rating: 3.5 out of 10 – Great match for what it was, but not a mat classic. Worth seeing at least once.
In the end, we get a pretty good look at what the Undertaker was. The DVD serves as a good refresher course on ‘Taker, but at only 60 minutes it’s a bit wasted. Tacking on at least another hour of bonus matches would have been definitely worth WWE’s time. If you want to stay with the footage only available up until that point, there are still a ton of matches that fans would have wanted. Matches like the Wrestlemania VIII match against Jake “The Snake” Roberts, his debut at Survivor Series or title victory over Hulk Hogan would definitely have made this compilation a more recommended buy. As is, however, it’s definitely worth a rental, or possibly a below-regular price purchase (ie. sale or second-hand).
What Undertaker matches would you like to see on a “Dead-Man” compilation? Send your thoughts to Jon and they will be posted in a future column.