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  Sep 26, 2001



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Undertaker tape honours a legend
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling

Date Available: Now.
Distributor: Sony Music (Video).
Running Time: Approximately 1 hour.
Price: $19.95

TAKER VIDEO Battered, bruised and broken down, Mark Callaway just keeps on going. For his showmanship, his willingness to share his knowledge of the wrestling business with other hopefuls and his seemingly endless string of comebacks and image changes, you've got to respect Callaway.

Known for eleven years as The Undertaker by fans, Callaway is without a doubt one of the cornerstones of the World Wrestling Federation. Since his debut at Survivor Series 1990 as the mystery man on Ted Dibiase's team, Callaway has had a meteoric rise to main event status in the WWF. The strange thing is that in spite of the ups and downs in his career, he has pretty much maintained his position despite the influx of new talent over the years. That kind of dedication and tenacity has to be admired.

A testament to his endurance and unwavering popularity, the WWF has released another home video in his honour. 'The Undertaker: This Is My Yard' is different than the other Taker tapes that have come before it. In keeping with the successful formula that worked well with the recent 'Chris Jericho: Break Down The Walls' and 'Mick Foley: Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops' videos, the producers had Callaway narrate the entire video himself. In his own words, Callaway details the long road he has traveled. From teaming with Dan Spivey as The New Skyscrapers in World Championship Wrestling to his current hell-on-wheels biker persona, the tape examines some of the more recent milestones in The Dead Man's professional life. All the while younger WWF talent like Edge, Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho heap their well-deserved praises upon the enduring veteran.

Citing Jake "The Snake" Roberts as the man who educated him about what was good and the bad about the business, Callaway describes the turning point in his career as being when he beat Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Title at Survivor Series 1991, approximately one year after he joined the WWF. Callaway estimates that about 40 per cent of the fans were cheering him that night as he left with the strap. After that fateful night, his popularity never waned. Unfortunately, the video jumps ahead to Callaway's Inferno Match with his "brother" Kane at the 1998 Unforgiven pay-per-view from that point bypassing much of his humble beginnings in the WWF leaving many questions unanswered and many stories untold.

A large portion of 'The Undertaker: This Is My Yard' is devoted to his classic Hell In A Cell Match against Mick Foley. Besides Jim Ross' admission that he had no idea beforehand about Foley's planned header off the top of the cage and Callaway's reaction to it, we've covered this ground before in the many Mick Foley videos that are out there. The segment is sort of a waste of tape if you ask me.

From there, Callaway confesses that the lowest point of his stay so far in the WWF was when his Ministry Of Darkness joined McMahon's Corporation stable. He felt at the time that his character was an outlaw and didn't enjoy being booked as a member of the WWF "establishment". Callaway also divulges the fact that before returning as the "Biker Taker", he had considered retiring altogether due to his many nagging injuries. Chris Jericho is right on the money when he calls The Undertaker the "Madonna" of pro-wrestling though. Callaway has always known when it is time for a change in order to keep his character fresh. That certainly has been one of Callaway's hallmarks and strong suits as a sports entertainer.

On the tape, Callaway also gives us a tour of his motorcycle collection, explains which of his many tattoos are his favourites and introduces his wife Sara to us. Seeing her wrestle Callaway and put him in a submission hold in the basement of their home and hearing him say that getting her name tattooed on his throat ("It's a good thing there is no 'h' in Sara!") was an ordeal in itself are priceless moments.

Though many have speculated that Callaway is close to walking that aisle for the final time, one gets the sense from watching 'The Undertaker: This Is My Yard' that even if Callaway does hang 'em up one day, he will still be part of the WWF in some capacity either in front of the cameras as a manager or behind the scenes. To end the tape and answer his critics, Callaway defiantly states that he still has a few fights left in him. If the fates will allow it and if Callaway has his way he could be 'rolling, rolling, rolling' for some time to come.

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