Gary Vaughan is a Mark. David Martell is a Smark. This week…
Smark vs. Mark presents:
The Attitude Era Tournament
4. Undertaker vs. 5. Mankind
Who is the best in ring wrestler?
Gary Vaughan: Usually, I have to sit and really evaluate the talent of the two wrestlers we compare in Smark vs Mark. Yet, in this case it doesn't take much thought or effort to say who is the better in-ring wrestler between Mankind and the Undertaker. Without a doubt, Undertaker was the better in-ring wrestler and honestly the better wrestler overall.
No disrespect to Mankind, but when he is compared to the iconic Dead Man he is out of his league. The Undertaker was in his prime during the Attitude Era and there were only a few guys even close to his skill level at the time. Mankind on the other hand was a gimmick wrestler that gave the fans everything they wanted by entertaining the fans through comedy and by putting his body through hell in hardcore matches. So, it's obvious to see that Undertaker was a prime wrestler in the ring; while Mankind was more of an entertainer that wrestled.
If you watch any Undertaker match, you will see a man who can wrestle his way out of a paper bag. His technical ability was at its peak and only Stone Cold could brawl in the ring as well as Taker could. The record of the Undertaker in the Attitude Era speaks for how great he really was in the ring.
David Martell: If we were talking about the later 2000s and overall career, I would probably say The Undertaker. The Undertaker is like wine, it gets better with age. When it comes to the Attitude Era, I would have to go with Mankind. I think people forget how big of a part of the Attitude Era Mankind was. If someone asked me to name off my top ten Attitude Era matches, probably half of them would have Mankind’s name in them. Mankind was just the better wrestler during that time period. His matches with The Rock and Triple H most likely couldn’t be beaten by anything other than some Stone Cold matches. The Undertaker was definitely a presence during this time but Mankind knew how to steal the show. Let’s not forget that Mankind is the man who made The Rock look so good in the ring. He definitely wasn’t a technical wonder but you never turned your eyes away from a Mankind match.
Who is the best on the mic?
Gary Vaughan: The Undertaker may have been The Man in the ring, but Mankind was The Man on the mic. No one could make a crowd happy and weirded out at the same time like Mankind could. On the mic, Mankind grabbed the attention of the audience and held it with ease. Guys like Stone Cold, The Rock, and even Undertaker could rock the mic, but they didn't have the endearment of the audience like Mankind had. There were not many people in wrestling that were great on the mic during the Attitude Era; while Mankind was one of the few that was. Though the Undertaker wasn't bad on the mic, he just didn't have any variation to his mic work. So, Mankind is the clear winner here.
David Martell: Everyone knows that The Undertaker has never been the best on the mic. The Undertaker has always been about presence. Mankind, on the other hand, could whittle out a great promo or two. Mankind promos were unique to say the least. Mankind knew how to pull people in with his promos. Sometimes he freaked you out; other times he made you feel sorry for him. Most of all, he made you root for him. Mankind was the ultimate underdog before Rey Mysterio was even a big star and his promos always made you want him to prevail.
Who has the most “it” factor?
Gary Vaughan: Honestly, I think both the Undertaker and Mankind were "it" guys, but I can only choose one. Therefore, I have to go with the Phenom himself in the Undertaker. There is no doubt that the Undertaker may have been the most well rounded wrestler in the Attitude Era. He was becoming as iconic as Hulk Hogan during the time and you couldn't talk about wrestling without mentioning his name. Mankind was a gimmick and really was not seen as a serious competitor at most times. Really, there is not much to compare here. Why? It’s just that Undertaker's star shined so bright that you couldn't see Mankind. When anyone talks "it" guy, you have to know Undertaker is one of the guys that is that measuring stick. Mankind could out-shine a ton of wrestlers, but not the Dead Man.
David Martell: Mankind isn’t exactly what you would call the “it” factor. Undertaker wins this category with flying colors. Undertaker has the size, the ability and the presence that makes up great WWE superstars. He didn’t have to talk; you already knew he was unstoppable. During his days with the ministry, he came off as evil and sinister. He was off and on the top heel in the company and I loved every minute of it. The Dead Man character will live long past when Undertaker retires and I think during the Attitude Era, it was at an all-time high.
Who has your favorite match?
Gary Vaughan: One of my favorite Attitude Era matches with the Undertaker has to be the classic RAW match between Undertaker and Kane. The year was 1999, and The Brothers of Destruction would face off in an Inferno Match. Sure, it was a gimmick match, but to see the too dark monsters in wrestling face off was a blast. I loved wondering who would be the first to catch on fire and who would walk away victorious. This match was a lot of fun and it was one of my favorite. Undertaker matches.
David Martell: I have to give this one to Mankind because he was in one of my all-time favorite matches during the Attitude Era. The match is The Rock vs. Mankind in an I Quit match at Royal Rumble 1999.
Whenever I list my top matches of all time, this one is usually number 2. Ironically it’s behind Undertaker vs. HBK 1 at Wrestlemania 25 but unfortunately for him, that match was not in the Attitude Era. This match kind of defined the whole Mankind vs. The Rock feud and to me, it was their best bout overall.
Who has your favorite moment?
Gary Vaughan: One of my favorite Mankind moments has to be his stamp of toughness. That stamp came in a Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker. As the two battled it out, they made their way to the top of the cage. As they fought, Mankind got close to the edge and Undertaker threw Mankind of the cell and straight down onto the announce table. It was one of the craziest moments in wrestling history and a stamp on Mankind’s career. I have to say that I'm still surprised he got up from that sick fall, but that's also why I'm a huge fan of Mankind as well.
David Martell: My favorite moment would have to be the entire feud between The Rock and Mankind. This was the best feud in the Attitude Era. You had I Quit matches, “This is your life”, Half Time Heat, and many other things that made this feud so incredibly great. This is also the feud that really made The Rock such a huge star. Not only did it elevate The Rock, but it made Mankind a WWF Champion. This is one of the greatest feuds in WWE history and it would probably rank in the top ten of all time. Looking back, it really makes you miss the great feuds of the Attitude Era. If only we could have one more match!
This week the Mark went with The Undertaker while the Smark overwhelmingly chose Mankind. Overall, Mankind comes out the victor with the most votes overall.