WWE Bragging Rights Preview: The Undertaker and The Buried Alive Match's Curse
It would make sense to think The Undertaker is a specialist in the Buried Alive type of match. The name of the contest seems to fit perfectly with The Deadman's gimmick and the odds should favour him.
But over the years, he never had big success with such a stipulation. In fact, it is usually his demise.
On a total of three Buried Alive singles matches, The Undertaker is 1-2 and his only win was somewhat tinted. He officially won the first one, but after the bell, he was attacked from behind and thrown in the hole to be trapped under a lot of dirt.
Let's take a look back at the history of the Buried Alive type contest. There have been four of them in the past and The Deadman was in each of them, including the first and only tag team match.
The first one was at the In Your House: Buried Alive pay-per-view on October 20, 1996.
The match was meant to be vengeance time for The Undertaker against Paul Bearer, who betrayed him at Summerslam '96 for Mankind.
The Undertaker officially won the match by putting Mankind in the hole and getting him under some shovels of dirt, but the celebration was short-lived.
After the bell, The Executioner, Paul Bearer's assistant, hit The Deadman from behind with a shovel to be literally buried alive.
Bradshaw (JBL), Triple H and Goldust then joined the action. They helped Mankind and friends to trap The Undertaker under two feet or maybe more of dirt.
After he was completely buried, a lightning bolt hit the grave and the purple hand of the Phenom emerged from the ground to let the fans know he would not be away for long. He came back 27 days later at Survivor Series to resume his feud with Mankind.
The second Buried Alive match took place on December 13, 1998 at the Rock Bottom: In Your House pay-per-view event. The Undertaker lost the match against Stone Cold Steve Austin who received help from a devastating Tombstone, courtesy of Kane.
The Undertaker was lying knocked out in the bottom of the grave to be ultimately buried alive under a backhoe load of soil. Austin finished the job with extra shovels of dirt.
Two months before the match, at Judgment Day, Paul Bearer turned on Kane and joined back with The Deadman. The next day, on Raw, the newly reunited duo started to prophesy the coming of the Ministry Of Darkness.
The "death" of The Phenom was the settlement of a new rebirth for him and the arrival of the Ministry Of Darkness in January 1999.
The next Buried Alive match was presented on the September 9, 1999 episode of Smackdown! in a new chapter of the Ministry Of Darkness' saga.
For the first time, there was a Championship on the line. The brutal encounter ended with The Undertaker and Big Show winning the Tag Team Title against The Rock and Mankind.
However, a few weeks later, The Deadman was written out of WWF when he was fired by Vince McMahon. He was in fact leaving due to two major injuries.
After an eight-month absence, not long after a Buried Alive match, a drastic change happened to the man behind The Undertaker: The American Badass was born.
The fourth and last Buried Alive match was disputed on November 16, 2003 at Survivor Series. Vince McMahon was scheduled to face the Big Evil character.
It was, in some way, the continuity of a feud that started four years ago, when McMahon fired the Corporate Ministry Undertaker. The Biker Undertaker was seeking for a long awaited revenge against the one who once betrayed and fired him.
The Undertaker ended, once again, in the bottom of the grave under several backhoe loads of dirt. None other than Kane helped the totally annihilated and bleeding McMahon to get the job done.
The Biker Undertaker was dead and the "original" Phenom came back to life in 2004, at WrestleMania XX. It was the beginning of a new chapter that will be continued at Bragging Rights, in another Buried Alive battle.
The Buried Alive matches did not happen often, but every time it became a milestone in The Undertaker's career. Won or lost, the battles in such an hostile environment always announced major changes for him.
There has been outside interference in each and every Buried Alive singles bout and it always ended badly for The Deadman. And, as a proof of an obvious cycle, both of his official losses were caused by Kane.
In regard of the past, there is only one positive point in favor of The Undertaker for the upcoming pay-per-view: He won the match and avoided to be buried alive the only time a Championship was up for grab, but it was with a tag team partner.
This time it will be in singles competition, which means the odds will favor Kane who might receive some help to bury his brother.
The Phenom seems to have regained and even upgraded his powers, but should not be enough against Kane and his helper(s).
A loss for The Undertaker would make sense. It would allow him to take some rest and to move on from his feud with Kane. When he would be back, he would go after Kane's helper(s) in a feud that could culminate in a match at WrestleMania 27.
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