This weekend will see the 30th Wrestlemania occur, pitting some of the most accomplished wrestlers in the world against each other in contests of skill, power and will. One of the main events is former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, taking on one of the most accomplished wrestlers in history, The Undertaker.
Among all of the athletes in the WWE, the wrestler who has adapted his game to the demands of MMA best is perhaps ‘The Undertaker'. He regularly utilizes solid technical boxing to hurt opponents before finishing them with his own patented gogoplata variant, the Hells Gate. In this special Judo Chop I will be examining the most long-lived and deadly of his holds, the Tombstone Piledriver.
This manoeuvre is so devastating that most MMA promotions have banned it. The Undertaker is perhaps the most accomplished practitioner of this particular technique in the entire world. It is his Ronda Rousey Armbar, his Rousimar Palhares leg-lock or perhaps even his Leonard Garcia tight one-two combination.
It is important to note the setup for the tombstone; often The Undertaker will taunt his opponent, ala Nick Diaz, to get them to commit to an attack he can capitalize on. Once they make this fatal mistake he is able to drop his weight and put an arm between his opponent's legs. Rather than complete the single-leg takedown, he uses his immense strength, gained from years of digging graves, to flip his opponent up and onto his shoulder.
His left hand maintains a grip on the back of his opponent's neck, allowing him to force their weight forward instead of allowing them to escape backwards over his shoulder. After causing his opponent to fall forward he is able to gain a grip around his opponent, completing the body lock.
Once in this position, the undertaker allows his opponents head to fall between his knees, before leaping into the air. His entire 300lbs+ bodyweight, plus his opponent's weight, plus the entire weight of gravity, which I estimate at about 85,000lbs, is imparted to the top of his opponent's skull. The vertebrae are then compressed, which can result in a number of injuries, all of which Tito Ortiz is suffering from at any moment in time.
If the opponent is miraculously not dead after the completion of the technique, The Undertaker is quick to establish wrist control on both sides, and leans into a modified north-south position to control his opponents breathing and posture until they die. Or the referee counts to three.
While traditional piledrivers involve falling backwards to spike an opponent's head, The Undertaker's unique variant allows him to leap into the air like a gazelle and significantly increase the force transferred to his opponent, causing much more damage.
The move was ruled illegal back in the year 2000, after medical experts saw the undertaker demolish an entire concrete foundation by pile-driving a piece of balsa wood through the floor of a karate dojo. Because of this, The Undertaker has restricted his mixed martial arts career to winning a record 21 Wrestlemania events without incurring a single loss, something neither Brock Lesnar, nor Cain Velasquez have been able to accomplish.