By Alex Al-Kazzaz
The 1990's was a huge decade in professional wrestling. The territorial/regional days of pro wrestling were dead and buried and Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment (World Wrestling Federation at the time) was a major global pro wrestling conglomerate that would soon be challenged by another major adversary.
In 1994, McMahon and his company were enjoying a great amount of success. McMahon's wrestling promotion had a loaded roster of talent with several television storyline rivalries. Of those rivalries, one that really stood out had to be The Undertaker and Yokozuna. Yokozuna was WWE's top villain and the promotion's champion. With Yokozuna doing so well, it was only fitting that eventually McMahon would have him work with The Undertaker one of promotion's top stars. McMahon waited until the time was right and it worked out well.
The feud between The Undertaker and Yokozuna started at the 1993 Survivor Series and culminated in a casket for the WWE title at the 1994 Royal Rumble. Yokozuna would win the match when numerous villainous wrestlers interfered in the match on his behalf, thus giving him the win. The Undertaker would disappear from WWE television for several months as he needed time off to recover from injuries.
Not long after the Royal Rumble, Yokozuna would lose the WWE title to Bret Hart at WrestleMania X which took place at Madison Square Garden. Not long after, The Undertaker would return to television and go after Yokozuna, thus re-igniting their feud that began earlier that year. The feud once again culminated in a casket match. However, this time, something special would be added to the mix. Chuck Norris was appointed to serve as the match's special outside enforcer. The idea was that Norris would be in a position where he made sure that other wrestlers did not interfere in the match.
Bringing in Norris to be part of the match was a fantastic business move by McMahon. Over the years, McMahon had brought in a number of celebrities to be appear on WWE programming. The likes of Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammad Ali, Ronda Rousey, Shaquille O'Neal, Mike Tyson, Lawrence Taylor and the list goes on. In McMahon's case, bringing in celebrities helps generate company revenue as celebrity appearances helps ticket sales, pay-per-view buy rates, merch sales, etc. It's what's best for business!
Norris was brought in not long after Walker Texas Ranger began airing. With the show's popularity growing increasingly and with the 1994 Survivor Series taking place in San Antonio, Texas, it was perfect place and perfect time! To the excitement of the fans, Norris delivered his signature roundhouse kick to Jeff Jarrett who attempted to cross Norris and interfere in the match!
The Undertaker went on to win the match and the nearly year-long feud was over. Yokozuna would soon disappear from television while the Undertaker would engage in a feud with Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. Yokozuna did eventually return and began competing in tag team action, forming a tag team with Owen Hart and winning the tag team championship.
To this day, the Undertaker appears sporadically on WWE programming. He officially retired as a competitor in 2020 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last year. Yokozuna sadly passed away in 2000 at the age of 34 as a result of pulmonary edema. He was inducted posthumously into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
For Undertaker and Yokozuna, their 1994 rivalry will always be remembered within the pro wrestling business. And their legacies will never be forgotten.
Photo Credit: WWF Old School