One of the many gimmick matches that The Undertaker took part in was the Buried Alive match, which first debuted at In Your House 11 in 1996. To win the match, you had to bury your opponent alive by tossing him into a grave and then dumping dirt on him.
The first Buried Alive match saw The Undertaker take on Mick Foley, who talked with Inside The Ropes about how they originally pulled it off. Foley revealed that there was a type of underground layer beneath the grave, complete with an oxygen tank.
“I get chokeslammed and I go in there, and Undertaker starts shoveling that earth on me. I don’t care if they have a mask to breath in or not, it’s a scary feeling,” Foley said.
“He’s covering me with earth and I’m being buried alive. To this day, I think Dale Doback and Brennan Huff owe me a debt of gratitude. There’s no way they bury each other alive in Step Brothers; there’s no way!”
Foley then noted that the Executioner who had joined him against The Undertaker hit Taker with a shovel. The Executioner then helped pull Foley out of the grave and tossed The Undertaker into it.
“He pulled me out of that grave, and I’m not acting when I come out of there gasping for breath. After 17 minutes of hard work and being buried alive, now we have to figure out how to fill a 6 foot x 8 foot x 4 foot hole with earth in 5 minutes of TV time,” said Foley. “There’s a reason why every subsequent Buried Alive match has had a backhoe to simply push the earth in there.
“It’s me and the Executioner, and then John Bradshaw Layfield comes to help, and Triple H as well. Slowly but surely we’re covering that earth, and at a certain point, they did a magician switch-a-roo where the live body went into the underground layer, and they brought out a secondary shelf that was filled with earth.”
Foley recalled seeing a father in the crowd trying to comfort his child, as the two thought they just saw a person being buried alive. He also noted that for these In Your House PPVs, there were often dark matches that took place in addition to the televised card.
“In this case, we bury The Undertaker alive, at which point, a bolt of lightning comes down from the scoreboard in Market Square Arena and strikes the earth not three feet from where I stand,” stated Foley. “The Undertaker’s hand comes up from the earth, and Jim Ross goes, ‘He’s alive! The Undertaker’s alive!’ The show goes off the air, and The Undertaker’s hand comes down, and out to the ring go The New Rockers to face The Bushwhackers.
“You’d think at the very least, they’d have a team of EMTs digging out The Undertaker before they continue. Nope! Just pretend you didn’t see that.”