Koko B. Ware Was The First Recipient Of The Undertaker's Tombstone, And It Didn't Go That Well

The Hartford Civic Center went eerily silent. After weeks of anticipation, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase revealed his mystery partner for his Survivor Series team. On that Thanksgiving night in 1990, fans around the world were introduced to The Undertaker.


In awe of the imposing figure in the ring, The Dream Team – Dusty Rhodes, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Koko B. Ware — quickly composed themselves to battle DiBiase's new client. Volunteering first, Hart was quickly overpowered by The Undertaker with a modified chokeslam and ground choke.

Once the illegal hold was released, Hart made the tag to Neidhart, whose shoulder tackle didn't budge the behemoth. After being body slammed, Neidhart tagged in Koko, the smallest member of the team. Looking to use his speed to his advantage, Koko quickly hit the ropes for a launch attack but was side-stepped by The Undertaker, who used Koko's momentum to hot-shot him across the top rope. With Koko down and dazed, The Undertaker picked up Koko and lifted him into a reverse piledriver position.


"He just got nailed with a tombstone!" exclaimed Gorilla Monsoon on commentary. "What is it?" asked color commentator Roddy Piper. "I think it's a tombstone and it's over for that guy," replied Monsoon. "It sure was a tombstone. Holy crumb-amole," added Piper, who was in disbelief at what he had just seen. "Boy did he write an epithet for Koko," concluded Monsoon.

Koko recalls taking the first tombstone

On the "Why It Ended with Robbie E" podcast, Koko said he loves Mark Calaway — the man who portrayed The Undertaker character – and that Calaway was excited that night at Survivor Series as it was his first time doing the tombstone.


"I almost kind of cracked my neck a little bit doing it," said Koko. "I got dropped on my head, to be honest with you. Yes, but thank God for working out, and stuff like that, it kind of helps you. Now if I had a weak head or something like that, I probably would've broken my neck big time."

When asked if they had practiced the tombstone beforehand, Koko said they didn't practice, which is why the move didn't go smoothly. "He just had my head between his legs too far that you could see my head, and if he'd had my head back between the fat part of his thighs, then it wouldn't have hurt," he said.

Koko explained why the way he was pinned benefitted The Undertaker on his debut. "What he did for me was, that put his gimmick over even more convincing, where he crossed my arms, and stuff like that, and just like, 'hey, I'm in the casket' and it worked out. It was all benefiting his gimmick," he said.


That was the last time that Koko B. Ware and The Undertaker met in a WWE ring with Koko's run ending in 1994. The Undertaker's debut was one fans will never forget and he then went on to have one of the greatest careers in pro wrestling history.