Over three decades of destruction, The Undertaker has cemented himself as, perhaps, the greatest WWE Superstar of all time. But the road there has not been an easy one, as The Deadman has encountered countless rivals who tried to deny him the accolades he has deserved. As The Phenom prepares for his Final Farewell at Survivor Series, and we look back on the past 30 years of The Deadman’s biggest showdowns, the staff at WWE.com got together to hash out one question: Who is The Undertaker’s greatest rival?
For my money, The Undertaker’s greatest rival was Edge. The contrast in styles between the slow, methodical Phenom and the brash, ultra-intense Rated R-Superstar, who could back up his masterful mind games in the ring, was pure gold from start to finish. Their longstanding series of battles over the World Heavyweight Championship opened the door for numerous pay-per-views masterpieces, including a classic WrestleMania XXIV showdown. The Ultimate Opportunist was at his best against The Undertaker, using the trickery of The Major Brothers to overcome both The Deadman and Batista at the same time, and incorporating the likes of La Familia to get him banished from WWE. Never mind the great finish to the rivalry, when Undertaker sent Edge to hell by chokeslaming him off a ladder and through the ring canvas inside Hell in a Cell at SummerSlam 2008. Rest in peace! — MIKE BURDICK
When it comes to the question of Undertaker’s greatest rival, the answer? It’s gotta be Kane. From the moment The Deadman’s long-lost brother arrived to rip the Hell in a Cell door off its hinges, it was go-time for these two. Their clashes at WrestleMania and WWE Unforgiven in 1998, the latter being the first-ever Inferno Match, raised the bar for big-man battles in sports-entertainment. Paired with a most compelling story driven by the “Father of Destruction” Paul Bearer, the dynamic of it all is just so hard to top.
Undertaker and Kane have united and reunited over the years, but they also always found their way back to standing on opposite sides of the ring as foes. The Brothers of Destruction will live on as a unit forever, but the aura of their rivalry, full of evenly matched collisions and unforgettable WrestleMania moments, is simply unparalleled. — STEVEN BARILE
Many Superstars attempted to vanquish The Undertaker, but few, if any, were as determined as Randy Orton.
After becoming the youngest World Champion in history and putting together the longest Intercontinental Title reign in nearly a decade, Orton set his sights on the unthinkable: ending The Streak. The Legend Killer came up short in a WrestleMania show-stealer, but elevated his star further with return wins at SummerSlam and WWE No Mercy.
Perhaps more significantly, Orton first flashed the ruthlessness that eventually made him known as The Viper, setting ablaze a casket containing The Phenom and later running him through the SmackDown set in a lowrider.
Though The Undertaker prevailed when they finally settled the score inside Hell in a Cell, The Deadman had been pushed to his limits and beyond. Orton, meanwhile, had cemented the foundation of what would become one of the greatest careers in WWE history. — JORDAN GARRETSON
Out of everyone on this list, only one Superstar has been able to end The Undertaker’s Streak at WrestleMania 30: Brock Lesnar. Although The Streak came to a controversial close on that fateful night, the conclusion happened to be just one of the many legendary encounters between these two in their long-running, explosive rivalry.
From a chaotic slugfest at Unforgiven 2002, where The Deadman sent Lesnar flying through the event’s set, to the hellacious finale inside Hell in a Cell in 2015, the hostility between sports-entertainment’s Godzilla and King Kong has produced one of the most memorable rivalries of the decade. Although The Phenom has had classics with many names on this list, few have pushed him to his limit the way that Lesnar has — and the same can be said for the Beast Incarnate himself. They say sparks fly when iron sharpens iron, but for these two, the temperature soars along with it. — RALPH BRISTOUT
The Undertaker might seem invincible at times, but there are few things better prepared to halt an unstoppable force than a raging Animal. Though the two started as uneasy allies after The Deadman won the 2007 Royal Rumble Match, any friendship went out the window when Batista’s World Heavyweight Title came into play on the Road to WrestleMania 23.
At the Show of Shows, Undertaker tamed The Animal to win the title, but their rivalry would not end there, as Batista came back with a fury, looking to get payback on The Deadman no matter the battleground, including Hell in a Cell. While The Undertaker added to his incredible legacy during his rivalry with Batista, The Animal himself proved that he was worthy of hanging with a true titan of the squared circle. —BOBBY MELOK
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin
The Undertaker once tried to embalm “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He knocked out The Texas Rattlesnake, took him to a funeral home, and tried to drive a knife right into Austin’s chest. That’s just scratching the surface of what these two did to each other.
The two icons went to war over the WWE Title in some great matches during The Attitude Era, but the worst of this rivalry played out everywhere but the ring. Beyond the near embalming, Undertaker once threw Austin through a window, tried to crucify “Stone Cold” and formed the Corporate Ministry with the McMahons in an effort to eliminate Austin. The Deadman and Austin simply did not like each other, and they each have the scars to prove it. — JEFF LABOON
Few Superstars can lay claim to pushing The Undertaker to his limits like Triple H has. In the midst of The Deadman’s unprecedented Streak, The Game stood toe-to-toe with The Undertaker on sports-entertainment’s biggest stage: WrestleMania. At WrestleMania X-Seven, The King of Kings fought The Phenom around Houston’s Astrodome in a wild brawl. At WrestleMania XXVII, despite the world thinking he could not defeat The Undertaker, Triple H came within an eyelash of making history at The Show of Shows. One year later, it was the End of an Era when the two clashed inside Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania XXVIII. While yes, The Undertaker was victorious in all three battles, Triple H gave The Deadman a fright, and perhaps for the first time ever, caused him to think about the end of his vaunted Streak. — BOBBY MELOK
The legend of The Undertaker goes hand-in-hand with the legend of Mick Foley. You can’t talk about one without talking about the other. Their rivalry, which reached its peak inside (and on top of) Hell in a Cell at King of the Ring 1998, not only broadened the horizons of both Superstars, but pushed the limits of what sports-entertainment was or could be. Before Mankind entered the fray, there wasn’t a WWE Superstar to be found who could take the brutality The Deadman was dishing out. Not only could The Hardcore Legend take it — he wanted it. The result? A rivalry that forced The Phenom to up his already peerless game. A rivalry that birthed not one, but two legends. In the cosmic history of the WWE Universe, The Undertaker and Foley’s rivalry is the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. From its catastrophic destruction came a whole new world. — JORDAN BATES
Yokozuna might have been the first Superstar to find out —the hard way — that The Undertaker will never rest in peace. The two first locked horns at the 1994 Royal Rumble event. The massive then-WWE Champion battled The Deadman in his specialty: a Casket Match. But with backup in the form of nearly a dozen nefarious Superstars, Yokozuna was able to damage the urn that gave The Phenom his otherworldly power and neutralize the seemingly unstoppable Undertaker, shutting him inside the casket in a haze of green smoke. But The Deadman would not rest easy, as he levitated out of the arena with a warning that payback was coming.
The Undertaker got his retribution months later at Survivor Series when he defeated the sumo champion in a second Casket Match, proving no Superstar was too big to face his wrath. —BOBBY MELOK
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels is the rivalry that just kept on giving, as the two legendary Superstars waged war in unforgettable classics for decades.
Animosity was off the charts when they first crossed paths in 1997, and it never let up. And why would it? They were polar opposites. A stoic, no-nonsense supernatural force of nature who let his actions do the talking, and a brash, arrogant showman who loved nothing more than to tout his own greatness.
Whether setting the bar for all future Hell in a Cell Matches with a grisly encounter inside the horrifying structure, fighting tooth-and-nail for the WWE Championship, holding WWE fans in the palm of their hands for seven-plus minutes as the final two competitors in the Royal Rumble Match or tearing the house down at WrestleMania, The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels was appointment television, and the two all-time greats never once failed to whip the WWE Universe into a frenzy. –JON CHIK
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