Birthday Special: The Undertaker turns 54 today
Birthday Special: The Undertaker turns 54 today

Known for never breaking character in public and having the greatest WrestleMania streak of all time, Mark William Calaway, aka the Undertaker, is an icon in the world of professional wrestling. The Undertaker turned 54 today. He is known millions around the world as the legendary pro wrestler known as The Undertaker.

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Born in Houston, Texas, Mark was the youngest of five boys. He has four older brothers: David, Michael, Paul, and Timothy. He was a two-sport athlete in high school. He attended Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas on a basketball scholarship before transferring to Texas Wesleyan University two years later. In 1986, Calaway dropped out of university to focus on a career in sports, and he briefly considered playing professional basketball in Europe before deciding to focus on professional wrestling.

After training under Don Jardine (the original Spoiler), Calaway made his debut in 1984 for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) under the ring name Texas Red. He debuted in a losing effort against Bruiser Brody. After a four-year stint, he joined the Continental Wrestling Association. Success came to him immediately under the management of Dutch Mantel. The Master of Pain easily dominated Lawler until Mantel entered the ring and called him off. Lawler agreed to a title match, and on April 1, The Master of Pain won his first professional wrestling championship.

In 1989, Calaway joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as a villain and adopted the ring name "Mean Mark" Callous, a name devised for him by Terry Funk. Callous, as described by Jim Ross, had a fondness for pet snakes and the music of Ozzy Osbourne. On November 19, 1990, Mark made his WWF debut at a WWF Superstars taping as Kane the Undertaker, a mortician with a trench coat and a mostly gray outfit with black Stetson hat.

As Superstars was taped in advance, Mark's television debut came three days later at Survivor Series as the mystery partner of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Team against Dusty Rhodes' Dream Team. Just in a minute, Undertaker eliminated Koko B. Ware with the tombstone piledriver.  During the match, Calaway was referred to as The Undertaker, omitting the name 'Kane’.

He made his WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania VII on March 24, 1991, quickly defeating "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. At King of the Ring 1991, Undertaker defeated Animal in a qualifying match before fighting Sid Vicious to a double disqualification in the Semi-Final, which saw both men eliminated from the King of the Ring tournament. A multi-time world and tag team champion, Undertaker has beaten the likes of Hulk Hogan, the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Ric Flair, CM Punk, Shawn Michaels, and countless others, and still remains relevant to this day. 

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