In the midst of all the conversations regarding the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, the Undertaker's name is always mentioned near the top of that list.
However, to most fans, critics and analysts of professional wrestling, the Undertaker never tops that list.
Next to the glamor and glitz of such names as Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock and Hollywood Hulk Hogan, the Undertaker quietly performed for over two decades as possibly the biggest draw in the history of the WWE.
While Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair may be considered the two best in-ring specialists, and the trio of Austin, The Rock and Hulk Hogan being considered the biggest draws in the industry, the Undertaker eclipses all five in those aspects over his two-decade long career in the WWE.
It may be controversial to say that the Undertaker eclipses the legendary Ric Flair in in-ring proficiency and that he drew more money than Stone Cold Steve Austin. The longevity of his tenure and his status as a main event draw throughout the entirety of his tenure definitely put credence in the notion that he is the very best.
Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock drew a ridiculous amount of revenue for the WWE during the late '90s after they were pushed to super stardom. Their feud can be considered a top-five feud in annals of WWE history.
However, their tenures on top were nowhere near the Undertaker's longevity as a main-event star. The Rock's time in the WWE as a full time wrestler fizzled out by 2004, and Stone Cold assumed the GM role before quietly fading into a part-time attraction by the mid 2000s.
The Undertaker has actually consistently been the biggest draw in the company at the tail end of his career.
Many people consider his epic matches with Shawn Michaels and Triple H at the last four Wrestlemania events to have been the main drawing points despite bigger mainstream matches that included The Rock's involvement.
Undertaker has headlined the last six Wrestlemania events, with his epic matches with the two degenerates and his two title matches against Edge and Batista.
Although he had been in the upper mid-card in the previous few Wrestlemania events, the Undertaker headlined Wrestlemania in a title match in the past against Sycho Sid at the 13th Wrestlemania.
This means that ten years after he last headlined Wrestlemania, he once again headlined the biggest PPV in the WWE's history and continued to do so for six more years.
Furthermore, although the Undertaker has only held the world championship seven times, he has always been at or near the top of the card as both a heel and a face.
His versatility and his ability to evolve his gimmick over time and stay fresh has contributed to his longevity and his ability to draw money for the company for twenty-two years.
In terms of in-ring performance, the Undertaker may not be as technically sound as Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair, but he is one of the best storytellers in the ring.
Technicality is not everything, as Ring of Honor has shown fans. ROH wasn't truly put on the map until superstars like CM Punk came and began to tell stories in the ring rather than just performing spots.
The Undertaker is the best storyteller in the history of the WWE. His facial expressions and ability to use ring psychology and momentum shifts keep crowds on edge during his matches.
Furthermore, his full investment in his gimmick makes something so outlandish as an undead undertaker very believable and enthralling.
Consider that the Undertaker has won various Feud of the Year, Match of the Year and 5-Star match awards from various media outlets throughout his career.
This is an indication that he has garnered acclaim for both his storytelling and his in-ring performances from both the fans and the critics.
Despite this, the reason he does not get as much worldwide recognition for being the best (like The Rock does) is because his contributions stretch over a long duration, while the Rock made a huge and instant splash over a roughly six- or seven-year period.
The Undertaker's contributions span over twenty-two years. Even if none of his eras at the top were as iconic as Austin 3:16, the fact that he maintained the quality of his performance for over two decades has much more value in the long run.
Furthermore, it could be argued that the Undertaker's run from 2007 until 2011 has spurred the best matches of his career and kept interest from adults in a product that was slowly drifting towards a more family-friendly affair.
There is no doubt that the industry is changing, but the fact that Undertaker appeals to both old school fans and current fans while still putting on 5-Star matches at this point in his career is a testament to his value and his appeal.
Now that his career is dwindling, the moment is opportune to recognize the Deadman as the greatest wrestler in the annals of WWE history.