Only a few superstars throughout history are granted immortality. There are only a few celebrities who are so iconic they transcend generations. In the world of wrestling, The Undertaker is one of these individuals. A 30-year career that never faded and kept being reborn time and time again. Only recently did he retire so who better than the dig up his past than the Deadman himself?
Tonight’s episode of WWE Most Wanted Treasures focused on the careers of the Brothers of Destruction: The Undertaker and Kane. They are searching for Kane’s original mask, the Paul Bearer betrayal urn and Undertaker’s purple outfit.
It’s hard to fathom that it was a quarter century ago that Kane made his debut. It feels like yesterday when Paul Bearer brought The Undertaker’s estranged brother to attack him. It was like having a second Deadman and the family feud began.
The “story” goes like this: As a child Undertaker tried to kill Kane by setting their home on fire but Kane survived and returned from the dead, wearing a horrific red and black mask to hide his deformed and scarred face.
Archivist AJ Francis and Undertaker visit mayor Glen Jacobs (Kane) and they all travel to his storage garage. Almost immediately they uncover a mask but are not certain if it’s the original. They then find a costume used by Jacobs when he was called “Unabomb.” They haggle and agree to $10,000 for all the pieces. The Unabomb outfit is now part of the WWE Museum along with a Kane mask.
This Unabomb outfit looks very similar to Kane’s. Unabomb was the character that Undertaker wrestled during a cross promotion show between the WWE and Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Taker was so impressed he recommended the WWE hire Jacobs.
Later on, Kane pulls one of his iconic masks out of his old gear bag but it turns out to be a later one, not the original. They offer another $4,000 for the mask. Kane makes a counter offer of $6,000. The final price is $10,000 for all the pieces.
In 2013, Paul Bearer passed away and since then the urn he used to betray the Undertaker is missing. This is the last prop urn needed to complete the collection in the museum back in Connecticut. A phone call from Texas procures a lead on the urn’s whereabouts. It was gifted to one of Bearer’s friends, Jason Engler, who happens to be a cremation historian. Bearer was in fact a mortician and still had an operating license even while in the wrestling business.
They visit Engler at the museum in Texas. Undertaker tells the story of his match with Mankind in 1996 when Bearer betrayed him by belting him with the urn. This set up the entire story for Kane as well and established Mankind.
The museum is breathtaking and right up my alley. It is filled with Victorian horse drawn hearse carriages and 1940s Cadillac hearses. They sit down with Genevieve Keeney, president of the museum of funeral history, to discuss the WWE purchase. Jason gets emotional however realizes nothing lasts for ever. They agree to trade one of Bearer’s suits and a less rare prop urn.
Back at The Undertaker’s home, he and his wife Michelle McCool dig through their garage. They find one of his dusty hats, magazines and other gear. They open a small bag and uncover the “Phantom mask” which was referenced in last week’s episode. At the time, an injury mandated that Undertaker wear a protective mask and here it was. The original concept was eventually used for Mankind’s mask but this one is extremely rare as it was only worn once. Undertaker gladly donates it to the WWE museum.
A commercial hints that next week’s episode is on Memphis legend Jerry “The King” Lawler.
When we return, a box of gear is opened and hidden within is the purple gear, the goal of this week’s episode. This gear is super rare and valuable. It was worn for the final time on the night of the Paul Bearer betrayal.
The purple outfit represents Undertaker’s 1998 return. It’s evaluated at $50,000. Undertaker puts in on for the final time then happily lets it go to the museum au gratis.
This episode of WWE Hidden Treasures was a fun trip down memory lane covering the height of The Undertaker’s career in the late 1990s. This was the era I most enjoyed his matches and would see him live.
“Part of life is death for us all. Undertaker represents something we all go though,” says Stephanie McMahon at the close of the episode. “These donations on his behalf keep his legend alive and furthers his immortality and endears him further to his fan base.”