The Undertaker was scheduled to have a Casket Match with Goldust. The Undertaker had an interview where he laid in the casket, suddenly Mankind attacked him. When the Casket Match took place at In Your House 10, the Undertaker was about to open the casket and put the defeated Goldust in it. Suddenly, Mankind popped out of the casket and put the Mandible Claw on the Undertaker. He then put the Undertaker in the casket.
At King of the Ring 1996, Mankind and Undertaker wrestled for the first time on TV. The match ended when Paul Bearer "accidentally" hit the Undertaker with the urn. This was just the beginning of the feud. The two continued to interfere in each others business. Most of their matches against other wrestlers ended with a disqualification when the other interfered.
Mankind and Undertaker clashed again at Summer Slam in a special Boiler Room Match (the objective of the match was to fight in a boiler room and try to retrieve the urn from Paul Bearer, who stood in the center of the ring). The match was very violent. When the Undertaker got the ring and was about to reach the urn, Paul Bearer turned on the Undertaker and used the urn as a weapon. Bearer had aligned himself with Mankind.
After the Boiler Room Brawl, Mankind was named the number one contender for Shawn Michaels' World Title. The two put on one of the best matches the WWF has ever made. Plenty of good moves and sick bumps. The match was thrown out of the window when Vader and the Undertaker interfered. After the interference Mankind and the Undertaker settled for a new clash.
Their third encounter, was a special Buried Alive Match (the objective of the match was to get your opponent in the grave and shovel some dirt on him). The Undertaker won the match, but was attacked by Bearer's new protégé, the Executioner (Terry Gordy), who put Undertaker in the grave and together with Mankind and some other heels filled the grave. The pay-per-view was just about to end, when lightning struck in one of the shovels and the Undertaker's hand came up from the grave.
What happened at In Your House was the set-up for the fourth encounter between Undertaker and Mankind. The match took place at Survivor Series 1996, where the Undertaker would get 5 minutes with Paul Bearer if he won the match. The Undertaker won the match, but didn't get the enjoyment of attacking Bearer, when the Executioner interfered.
At the Royal Rumble 1997, Mankind ran in to his old friend Terry Funk.
Paul Bearer, who also had acquired the services of Vader, set Mankind and Vader's eyes on the Tag Team Titles. One problem though, Vader and Mankind used just as much time on hitting each other. as they did hitting the Champions, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog in their match at WrestleMania 13.
Mankind got another shot at the Undertaker and his newly won WWF World Title, when at a Raw taping from March 31, blasted the Undertaker with a fireball, while the Undertaker and Paul Bearer started arguing. The Undertaker was simply too much for Mankind, who lost the match at In Your House 14 to end the feud once and for all. The Undertaker also blasted Bearer with a fireball.
With Bearer gone for a while, the WWF had to come up with something new, and they did. Jim Ross had a series of interviews with Mankind, where they discussed his childhood, Dude Love, and his career as Cactus Jack. The interview ended, when Mankind put on the Mandible Claw on Ross.
About the same time, Steve Austin needed a new partner to go up against the winners of a tag team tournament, to determine the new WWF Tag Team Champions. For weeks, Mankind tried to get Austin to pick him. He even had a sign around his neck that said: "Pick me Steve", but Austin wouldn't have anything to do with the deranged Mankind, who was the recipient of a Stunner. Mankind then promised that things would never be the same in the WWF.
The next Monday, when Austin had to go up against Owen and Bulldog for the WWF Tag Team Title. Austin, without a partner, went up against Bulldog and Owen Hart all by himself. When suddenly Mick showed up as Dude Love and cleaned house. After the match Austin and Dude Love, the new WWF Tag Team Champions, in a matter of respect shook hands.
Mick continued to wrestle as both Mankind and Dude Love. As Mankind he qualified for the King of the Ring tournament by defeating Savio Vega. In the semi-final waited Jerry Lawler, who gave Mankind quite a beating, but it wasn't enough. Mankind won and advanced to the final. The final match was against Hunter Hearst Helmsly. The two had a very entertaining match, where Mankind took one of the most savage beatings in WWF history. Hunter won with the Pedigree, but it wasn't enough as he continued his beating of Mankind to set-up their feud.
At In Your House 16, Mankind and Hunter clashed again. This time, the match was declared a double count-out, since the two couldn't stop their brawl. Chyna interfered as much as she could. Because of Chyna's interference, it was decided that Mankind and Hunter's match at Summer Slam would be inside a steel cage.
The match was excellent. Hunter superplexed Mankind from the top of the cage. Near the end, Mankind had the match won, but then decided to go back to the top of the cage. There, he ripped of his shirt to reveal that he was Dude Love. To honor his childhood hero, Jimmy Snuka, he elbow dropped Hunter from the top of the cage and won the match.
Dude and Austin had to vacate the WWF Tag Team Title at In Your House: Ground Zero, due to Austin's injuries. Now Dude had the time to concentrate on his singles career.
Mick then wrestled as Dude Love in the months to follow. At the September 22 edition of RAW, Dude was to have a Falls Count Anywhere Match against Hunter. When Hunter was in the ring, Dude Love appeared on the Titan Tron. Dude told Hunter that he knew of someone who wanted to challenge him. Out came Mankind (on the Titan Tron). Mankind told Dude Love that he knew of someone more sick than him, that wanted to challenge Hunter. Out came the debut of Cactus Jack to the WWF. Jack made short work of Hunter and ended the match with a pile-driver through a table.
Nothing much happened in Mick's career for a while, until Dude Love was attacked by Kane, who totally annihilated him. This brought out Mankind to take care of business at Survivor Series, but he wasn't up to the task as Kane also defeated him.
After his confrontation with Kane, the New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Jesse Jammes) wanted their part of Mick. First they broke one of Dude's ribs, then they locked Mankind in a freezer. This brought back Cactus Jack to take care of action, and at December 29, 1997's edition of RAW, he had a surprise for the Outlaws. After defeating Jammes by disqualification, Jack brawled with the Outlaws up towards the stage. Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) emerged from a huge wooden box with the aid of a chain saw.
The team of Cactus and Funk went after the Outlaws on every occasion. The Outlaws also had some tricks up their sleeve. During a match between Cactus and Funk, which was set merely because they enjoyed the pain, Funk ended up in a dumpster, Cactus then followed with an elbow drop from the Titan Tron and into the dumpster. The Outlaws showed up, shut the dumpster and then pushed it off the edge falling 10ft to the arena floor. According to the story line, Cactus and Funk were injured, but came back later that night and saved Austin from an attack from Degeneration X and the New Age Outlaws.
The incident set-up a Dumpster match at WrestleMania 14 (you had to put the opposing team into a dumpster and then shut the lid in order to win). This was an entertaining bout. In one spot, Cactus Jack and Billy Gunn fell from the top of a ladder, which was in the ring, into the dumpster. Jack and Funk won the WWF Tag Team Titles, when they went backstage with the Outlaws and put them in a dumpster.
The next day at Raw is War, the WWF vacated the titles because they had used the wrong dumpster. So instead, a Steel Cage match between Cactus/Funk against the Outlaws was signed. During the match Funk was handcuffed to the cage and the Outlaws and Degeneration X started a brutal assault on Jack. The fans started chanting for Austin.
The next week on Raw, Jack came out and stated that the fans, due to not supporting him, and chanting Austin's name, wouldn't see Cactus Jack for a long time. At Raw from April 13th, Austin challenged McMahon to a match because he wouldn't say who Austin's opponent at Unforgiven was going to be. Austin had one hand tied behind his back and was about to collide with McMahon, when Dude Love came to the ring and asked if they could get along. McMahon shoved Dude Love. Dude Love was about to attack McMahon, Austin then attacked Dude from behind. Dude recovered, and then attacked Austin. He was named the number one contender for Austin's WWF World Title.
At Unforgiven, Dude and Austin had a typical brawl. Foley as always took some crazy bumps. The end came when Austin whacked McMahon with a chair, he then put a Stunner on Dude, but since there where no referee to do the three count, Austin did it himself and then left. Dude was declared the winner by disqualification due to Austin hitting McMahon.
At May 4, 1998's edition of RAW, McMahon told Foley that he could be the number one contender again if he could defeat Terry Funk. Foley and Funk put on a brutal brawl, which Foley dominated and won after a pile-driver through a table. Dude Love's music played and out came McMahon in Dude's T-shirt and with some chicks, Foley and McMahon then embraced and danced.
The next week on Raw is War, Dude appeared in a suit and with false teeth, acting like the perfect corporate model of a champion, just like McMahon wanted. To make things easier for Dude, McMahon had appointed Jerry Brisco as time keeper. The guest ring announcer was going to be Pat Patterson. McMahon was going to have the honor of being referee.
Unfortunately the conspiracy wasn't enough to secure Dude the victory. He fell prey to the Stunner. McMahon was mad and at Raw the next day, he fired Dude Love. Later that night during a Undertaker against Kane match, Foley came back as Mankind and slapped the Mandible Claw on the Undertaker, who had confronted McMahon earlier that night. McMahon then decided that he wasn't going to fire Foley.
Mankind had also aligned himself with Paul Bearer again. Together with Kane, he attacked Steve Austin and put him in a casket. Mankind would then face the Undertaker at King of the Ring '98,in a Hell in the Cell Match. On RAW (the Monday before the PPV), Mankind and Kane teamed up to take on Austin and the Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell match. But the duo of Austin and Undertaker got the last laugh, as Undertaker pummelled Bearer, and Austin scored the victory by pinning Mankind. Earlier in the night, Kane and Mankind won a tag team battle royal to declare the number one contenders for the WWF Tag Team Titles.