Undertaker vs Undertaker (Photo by WWE)
In early 1994, The Undertaker needed time off. He was written out in one of the most infamous angles in WWE history.
During a casket match for the WWF Championship against Yokozuna, nine heels ran out to attack The Undertaker.
The ever-present magical urn was knocked over and green smoke leaked out, causing 'Taker to lose his powers or something. Then, the unthinkable happened and The Undertaker lost a casket match.
And then it got really weird (video here).
- The Undertaker's gong went off as more green smoke appeared, this time from the underside of the casket.
- A "live" wide shot(!) of The Undertaker inside the casket appeared on the big screen. It zoomed in and he woke up with another gong.
- The Undertaker gave a speech about his eternal soul ending with "I will not rest...in peace...."
- 'Taker passes out or dies or something.
- Electrical shock noises are heard as the screen flashes a photo negative image of 'Taker in the casket and cuts to the wide shot.
- An explosion on the screen turns into a different photo negative image of The Undertaker, this time standing against a plain black background.
- The image rises out of the top of the screen and an "apparition" of The Undertaker (well, Marty Jannetty dressed as him) "levitates" out of the screen to the top of the arena (or maybe Heaven) as Bearer celebrates with the urn and his entrance music plays.
And so The Undertaker was gone for the next few months.
In May, "fans" started to report Undertaker sightings (and they weren't at the shows in Japan and other parts of the Pacific that he worked even though they contradicted storylines). Meanwhile, Ted DiBiase, who originally brought The Undertaker to the WWF, promised to buy him and bring him back.
A few weeks later, he appeared on Shawn Michaels' "Heartbreak Hotel" interview segment and delivered The Undertaker, who even cut a promo.
Later, when Bearer tried to compel this Undertaker with the urn, it didn't work, as DiBiase won him over with a wad of cash. It became clear that this wasn't the real Undertaker.
That's because it wasn't. It was the genuine article's good friend Brian Lee.
With some hair dye and styling, the costume, and some great production (especially the lighting and dubbed in promo), it was made as hard as possible for casual fans to notice something was amiss until they were supposed to.
Paul Bearer made contact with his Undertaker and The Undertaker vs. The Undertaker was announced for Summerslam '94. After a light show with the new urn, the real Undertaker (now sporting purple gloves and boots instead of grey) came out.
He easily dispatched of Lee in a terrible match with a silent, bored crowd.
Whether the match came off as planned and what was supposed to happen afterwards has been the stuff of legend for years.
It seems like there's some agreement that there were supposed to be special effects during the match itself, but what exactly they were and why they were nixed are more mysterious.
I know I've read in the past that lightning was supposed to strike the ring when the Undertakers first touched and that maybe the co-main event (Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart in a cage match) running long caused issues with doing the match match as planned.
There may have been a plan for the two Undertakers to merge into one. There have also been contradicting stories that there were plans for the two Undertakers to form a tag team.
The vast majority of the "Underfaker" storyline was actually pretty good. What led to it and how it ended have stained it with a terrible reputation.