These are the moves that fans watch out for during a match and are usually in a sequential pattern, building up to and including their finishers that typically get the biggest pop of suspense from the crowd each and every week.
This week we examine a man who has become synonymous with the WWE for over two decades: the Phenom himself, the Undertaker. He is a man who has evolved and grown as the years have passed. The Undertaker has been a main event draw his entire WWE career, winning 7 world championships and most notably a 21-match winning streak at WrestleMania, ended this year by Brock Lesnar.
1. Old School
The Undertaker begins by twisting the arm of his opponent, usually straining it over his head multiple times and wrenching. He then drags his opponent by the arm towards a corner, and maintaining the hold, Taker ascends the turnbuckle. With surprising ability for a man his size, he walks along to the middle of the ring rope and springs off with a blow across the shoulders of his opponent. This move is designed more for show than significant damage and always elicits raucous cheers from the crowd. It causes damage to the arm, shoulders and head of the opponent.
Usually with the added theatrics of raising his hand in preparation, The Undertaker wraps his right hand around the neck of his opponent. Either one-handed or with the assistance of his left depending on the size of the victim, he lifts his opponent in the air and slams him back to the ground. Initially a finisher, the chokeslam is now more commonly employed as a signature move to bring about an extended two-count. It causes damage to the back, neck and head of the opponent.
3. Last Ride
This move either begins with The Undertaker hoisting his opponent onto his shoulders—similar to a Powerbomb—or with Taker in the corner, and his opponent facing him whilst standing on the second turnbuckle. Instead of immediately slamming his opponent down like in a regular powerbomb, The Undertaker elevates his opponent even higher in the air, before bringing him down with even greater force. This was his primary finishing move during his "Bad Ass" gimmick, but is now a signature move, often used for Undertaker to regain initiative after being beaten down. It causes damage to the back of the opponent.
4. Hell's Gate
A submission hold applied with the Undertaker on his back and his opponent facing him, he pulls his opponents head down and traps his head and neck between his legs. Taker then positions his right leg bent under the neck of his opponent and pulls his head against his knee to bring about a submission. It is influenced by a Judo submission move called a Gogoplata. It causes damage to the neck and head of the opponent, and has been known to cause his opponent to bleed from the mouth due to damage to the throat.
5. Tombstone Piledriver
His finishing move throughout his run, this is often preceded by a taunt where The Undertaker makes a signal of beheading. He then hoists his opponent onto his shoulder, and slides the opponent down his body, facing him with their head between Taker's legs. Allowing the blood to flow to his opponent's head, he drops to his knees, bringing his victim's head down to the mat in the fashion of a piledriver. This is usually the finishing move that brings a victory, as the opponent flops forward onto his back, prone to an immediate pin where his arms are placed across his chest, with The Undertaker sticking his tongue out as a lasting taunt. It causes damage to the top of the head and neck of the opponent.
The Undertaker's unprecedented longevity has seen him employ countless moves and alter his style based on the time and his age. Whilst moves like the Tombstone Piledriver and Chokeslam have been persistent components of his repertoire and Deadman persona, he has constantly updated and evolved as the years have passed to ensure that he has never become stale in the eyes of the WWE fanbase. These signature moves are simply the tip of an iceberg that have seen the Phenom grow from a traditional big man into a man capable of Match of the Year candidates. As he appears to be approaching the end of his storied career, the moves are a testament to the legacy of the Undertaker, alongside his numerous gimmick matches and superstars spawned directly from him. His moves and matches have left a lasting impression on all that have bore witness to the indomitable presence of the Deadman, who has left a Hall of Fame career few superstars could even contemplate reaching.
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