Every one of The Undertaker’s signature moves, ranked
The Undertaker has carved his legacy in the bones of his opponents across his entire quarter-century career, including seven WWE World Heavyweight Championship reigns and an unprecedented 21 consecutive WrestleMania victories. It takes a hell of an arsenal to leave that many bodies in your wake, which begs the question of which maneuver, precisely, is The Undertaker’s most dangerous? Wonder no more as WWE.com presents a definitive ranking of The Undertaker’s maneuvers, from the basic to the broken-in-half brutal.
An oldie but a goodie. Leave it to The Phenom to discover new, torturous depths to the classic hold by ramming his opponent back-first into a turnbuckle or cage wall.
The Deadman loves him some clotheslines. This variation is a particularly wicked one, combining the throat-busting thrust of the lariat itself with the rock-and-a-hard-place agony of being caught between a stampeding Undertaker and an immobile turnbuckle.
Foot meets face. Face meets mat. Rinse and repeat.
He who seeks to defeat The Deadman must dig his own grave out of precaution/preparation, but he’s likely to rest a little deeper than six feet after all 300 pounds of The Undertaker come crashing down on his sternum.
Did you know The Phenom can catch some serious air? The guys who’ve been on the other end of this impressive, gravity-negating DDT certainly didn’t, and they probably wish they never found out.
Somewhere, The Big Boss Man’s got a tear of pride in his eye. Everyone else who’s taken this move, on the other hand, just has tears of pain.
Back body drop
Just because The Undertaker is a Phenom, doesn’t mean every one of his moves has to be fancy. Take this old chestnut — guy goes up, guy comes down — exacerbated by little more than The Deadman’s towering height and a mind full of bad intentions.
Gorilla press wrist lock
We can only find a handful of instances that The Undertaker actually did this move — turning a classic test of strength into a shoulder-wrenching nightmare by lifting the opponent up — but a move this medieval deserves a place on the list.
Here’s how nightmarish this move is: The Undertaker actually doesn’t do it anymore. So, it loses a few spots for discontinuation, but keeps a solid ranking because, well, it’s a damn chokehold.
Another little-known fact is that The Last Outlaw can ditch the standing strikes and break out the science whenever he so chooses, hence the appearance of this mat-game gold standard. Needless to say, The Undertaker’s extra power gives this hold a little more oomph than even noted armbar guru Chris Jericho could ever hope to achieve.
Tough to improve upon a standard like the Stunner, but leave it to The Phenom to devise a devilish way to do so: Bounce the guy neck-first off the ropes. Oh, hell, no. (Emphasis on “hell.”)
Like any WWE Superstar worth his salt, The Deadman carries the influence of those who came before him. This particular maneuver — a flapjack onto the ropes — originated with “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, but give The Undertaker credit for revitalizing it, in no small part due to the unsettling sight of a dead-eyed man in black dropping his foe gizzard-first onto a cable.
The first, but not last, appearance of mixed martial-arts on this list. The Deadman primarily uses this move as a way to subdue his larger opponents. He used it on Brock Lesnar, for example, during their series of matches set amidst The Beast Incarnate’s rookie run in WWE.
How does one improve upon a backbreaker, exactly? How about modifying it with a torture-rack-like postscript, wherein The Phenom uses little more than brute strength to bow his opponent over his knee?
TCB (Takin’ Care of Business)
The submission game returns, this time with a standing dragon sleeper. And given that The Deadman is both taller and stronger than just about anybody on the WWE roster, the extra height and torque puts this nasty piece of business squarely in the top 10.
Apron leg drop
The closest The Deadman has ever come to an actual method of execution. Some poor human is posited on the ring apron, with his chest and above protruding into the abyss. The Phenom drops a leg straight onto said area. Pain ensues.
Taking a clothesline from The Undertaker is scary to begin with. But when The Deadman turns on the jets and launches himself into you with such power that you go down and he does a full flip in midair from the force of the jump? Now that’s terrifying.
Tough to beat the classics. Extra points added for those instances when The Deadman entombs dudes with just one hand.
The Phenom’s towering height adds emphasis to most of the traditional maneuvers on this list, but none more so than Snake Eyes, which basically involves him dropping his opponent face-first into the top turnbuckle. And that’s before he follows up with the big boot.
The height advantage comes into full play here when The Deadman hoists his foe up for a powerbomb … and then continues hoisting, stretching his arms as far as they can go to add an extra foot or so of height to his victim’s diabolical plunge. Rest in pieces.
Suicide dive over the top rope
One of the most astonishing maneuvers in The Deadman’s arsenal was when he ricocheted off the cables and jumped — jumped — clean over the top rope, arms stretched, and swooped down on an unsuspecting foe like a “Game of Thrones” dragon. Docked a spot because it proved to be as dangerous to The Phenom as it was to the opponent, but holy crap, was it awesome.
The Undertaker’s grace has always been the thing that snuck up on his opponents. After all, you don’t expect a man that big to move quite like he does. And you certainly don’t expect him to lead you by the arm as he walks across the top rope like a trapeze artist for the setup of this maneuver. The death-from-above clothesline that follows? That, you probably should have expected.
The move that beat Brock Lesnar! (Kind of.) The Phenom’s incorporation of MMA comes full circle with this suffocating finishing move, which ensnares his victims in a modified gogoplata hold. Long story short: Undertaker traps one arm in the crook of his leg, blocks the free arm with his other, outstretched leg, and yanks his opponent’s throat into the shin of that crooked leg until they quite literally rest in peace.
The original. The gold standard. El Clásico. (Sorry, Alberto.) The Phenom’s sinister variation on the piledriver follows a simple chain of events: The Deadman picks you up, inverts you, and spikes you headfirst into the mat (for extra emphasis, sometimes he jumps), turning him, for one instant, into your own personal gravestone. By the time he crosses your arms and sticks out his tongue while the ref counts three, it’s not a victory pin. It’s a mercy killing.