One of the most famous match types in WWE is the Buried Alive match, with every one in WWE history being an incredible spectacle.
When the WWE decide to build a brand-new set on the stage, with dirt, grass and giant diggers, you know that something special is about to occur.
The Buried Alive match was invented in 1996, and continued to be used by The Undertaker for a decade and a half after that, with varying success.
In fact, The Undertaker has been a part of every buried alive match in WWE history, literally dying in almost all of them.
In this article, we’ll analyse every buried alive match in WWE history, ranking them from worst to best.
5. Kane vs The Undertaker – Bragging Rights 2010
The last buried alive match in WWE seemed to put the nail in the coffin for the match type, despite being between two of the biggest legends in WWE history.
In what put an end to a 13-year rivalry in the WWE, The Undertaker battled against his brother Kane, with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line.
The pair had been fighting over the title for a number of months. Kane was revealed to have attacked his brother months prior, leaving him in a “vegetative state”, turning him heel for the first time in years.
Their final battle, in this buried alive match, was bad. It was slow, plodding and featured very little compelling action to speak of.
This pair had never had brilliant matches against one another, but they were at least passable in the past.
The ending of this match was also stupid, as The Nexus helped Kane to bury The Deadman, killing him for the umpteenth time in his WWE career.
It was never explained why Wade Barrett and co helped to kill The Undertaker on screen, which made it especially ridiculous. Behind the scenes, there were plans for Wade Barrett to wrestle The Undertaker at WrestleMania, although they were ultimately scrapped.
4. The Undertaker vs Steve Austin – WWF In Your House 26: Rock Bottom
This match did not deserve such a brutal stipulation as the buried alive match. It is one of the worst buried alive matches, for one simple reason – the steaks are simply too low.
A buried alive match should be when two wrestlers want to literally murder each other, burying them alive and taking them out for good.
Not simply be a reason for Vince McMahon to try to take Steve Austin away from the WWE Championship.
Continuing his campaign to take down Stone Cold, McMahon saw his feud with The Undertaker and saw his opportunity. He pitted them in a buried alive match, the most deadly of all matches… to win a place in the Royal Rumble?
The ending of the match was fun, but the actual action was dull. We all love a good brawl, but these matches are never conducive to much exciting action – more anticipation over whom the winner will be.
This match didn’t have this.
It did have a fun ending, though, which helps it avoid the last spot on this list. It wasn’t the worst buried alive match, simply for the moment when the grave exploded, and Kane crawls out to attack his brother, furthering their feud and helping Austin win.
3. The Undertaker vs Mr McMahon – Survivor Series 2003
Perhaps the most famous buried alive match was the battle between The Undertaker and Mr McMahon.
After costing him the Undisputed Championship against Brock Lesnar, Mr McMahon was forced into taking on Undertaker at Survivor Series 2003 in the deadly Buried Alive Match – and he looked resigned for death upon his entrance.
The bout was a slow brawl, but with some huge hits taken by McMahon. He bled very early on, and took soon brutal shots from chairs and shovel during the course of the match.
As has become a theme in these matches, Kane would interfere to attack The Undertaker, burying him alive for the third time in a row on this list.
This match was actually entertaining, it had enough action to keep you entertained and it had the suspense of trying to see just how Vince would get out of actually dying.
This match was used to facilitate the transformation of American Badass Undertaker back to his Deadman gimmick.
2. Mankind & The Rock vs. The Big Show & The Undertaker – Smackdown
The second best buried alive match broke new ground in a few ways. Not only is it the only tag team buried alive match, but also the only time the match was made on free TV.
It occurred on the fourth ever episode of Smackdown, when the company were building up the show as an equal to their flagship show, Monday Night Raw.
The match is also the only time the tag team titles have been on the line in a buried alive match, as champions The Rock and Mick Foley defended their belts against the gigantic duo of Big Show and The Undertaker.
The match captured the pure chaos the WWE was at the time, featuring run ins, interference and a screw job finish. While it may seem a bit much for such a stipulation, it made for a hell of an entertaining spectacle for the fans to see.
1. The Undertaker vs Mankind
The first buried alive match in WWE history is also the best iteration of the match.
The first-ever Buried Alive match took place at In Your House 11: Buried Alive in 1996. The Undertaker faced off against Mankind in the main event.
This was just one step in their legendary feud which helped launch Mankind as a main event character in the WWE. The match type suited both characters, as both quasi-supernatural beings with a penchant for extreme violence.
The image of both men tumbling into the grave, clawing at one another in the hopes of escaping certain death. It was fantastic storytelling, and brought a previously missing tension to pro-wrestling.
It also featured some extremely violent acts. Mankind laid a chair shot into the skull of The Undertaker, before licking the blood and dirt from the chair, in a sadistic act.
In a shocking result, The Undertaker managed to actually win this match. He buried Mankind alive, although not to the extent to murder him – just enough to win the match, and let Mick Foley live to fight another day.
What do you think is the best buried alive match? Let us know what you think in the comments section below?
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.