The Enigmatic Personas of The Undertaker
Western Mortician (November 1990 - January 1994)
The original and most menacing of all the iterations of this legendary character. His reticent behaviour simply adds to the aura of his mystique which oozed coolness. There's a western spin to this look characterised by the stetson hat and long overcoat just without the firepower to match it. But with an already impressive arsenal of moves, who needs firepower? Though he is slow and zombie-like, he can still bury his opponents without the need for agility reminiscent of the Terminator. Whatever they throw at him he just won't go down. You never want to meet this guy in a dark alley let alone Death Valley.
The Deadman (August 1994 - October 1996)
A slimmer reboot of the Phenom attuned to the high-flying exploits of the New Generation era spearheaded by smaller athletes like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. He's no longer impervious to pain but his trademark manoeuvres such as the sit up is still intact. Also in this period, he was forced to wear a grey Phantom of the Opera-style upper-face mask after an attack by King Mabel and Yokozuna that left him injured with a legit fractured orbital bone.
Lord of Darkness (November 1996 - December 1998)
The one iteration I'm most familiar with due to the sheer amount of matches I've watched belonging to the Attitude era. I actually went into it having missed the entirety of the New Generation era, so when I first laid my eyes on this new Taker I was quite taken aback by how different he was. It's almost as if he was another person. His mannerisms are more human-like and the black hair and black leather just brought out the gothicness within him. He's also been upgraded with superpowers, being able to start fires and strike lightning with the flick of his fingers. This was vintage Undertaker at his best.
Ministry of Darkness (January 1999 - September 199
I don't know where he got the inspiration from but this was Taker at his most sinister. The rolling back of his eyes features more prominently to accent that new devilish countenance. My brother's friend hurled abuse at the TV whenever this happened but I bet he was shitting himself in secret. For me, he was as close to Dracula as you can get in wrestling.
American Bad Ass (May 2000 - December 2001)
A somewhat neat little diversion from his dark persona and into biker territory. I don't think it worked well with some fans but if Mick Foley was allowed to explore other sides to his personality why can't Mark?
Big Evil (January 2002 - November 2003)
This phase of the Undertaker is considered by some to be the greatest. Probably because we never believed Mark had it in him to do something so removed from what he previously done before. More than just a schoolboy bully. If you crossed him, it's not just your hide on the line but your whole family and friends. "I'm kickin your ass, what do you think I'm doin?"
The Phenom (March 14, 2004 - June 1, 2008)
Semibald and "Ministry" Beard (2014)
There have been colourful characters throughout wrestling history. But none have gone through so much evolution as much as Mark Calaway's creation. The big names have always been your predictable bars of chocolate with the same taste but Taker was never really one to settle for the same formula as his compatriots.