Retro Wednesday: Undertaker Wins His First WWE Championship

In an era where Hulk Hogan was dominating the WWE as the top guy, the company had to make sure to protect his character by having him bulldoze every competitor he faced. By 1991, Hulkamania was running wild for seven years, and had three WWE Championship reigns totaling 2,086 days – nearly six years.

In fact, during that time, the Ultimate Warrior was the only person who gave him a clean pinfall victory to obtain the championship, which proves even more the protection of the Hulkamania character. However, 1991 would give the WWE fans a huge shock, making the character more vulnerable then ever.

One year prior on Survivor Series, Ted DiBiase introduced a new villain on his Million Dollar Team. Accompanied by Brother Love, The Undertaker debuted and immediately reeked havoc, petrifying many spectators both in the crowd and at home with his eerie aura and presence. Hailing from "Death Valley," his persona experienced a meteoric rise to the top of the card in a matter of a year.

At Survivor Series 1991, the Undertaker had an opportunity to dethrone the dominance of Hulkamania, in what was coined as "The Gravest Challenge." Although Undertaker portrayed his "Deadman" gimmick to the fullest, Hogan did show expose some vulnerability of his foe. However, the ending came when another Hogan foe, Ric Flair, appeared at ringside and assisted the Undertaker in tombstone piledriving Hogan on a chair. This brought an end to his eight-month reign as champion.

Having the Undertaker win the world title in just a year after his debut was quite a gamble, but it surely panned out to be a successful one, as his title win is now one of the top memorable moments in the history of Survivor Series. Although this title reign only lasted less than a week, it still gave Undertaker the main event rub, and was a symbol of graduation to officially becoming a top name in the WWE for years to come.