The words ‘The Undertaker’ and ‘WrestleMania’ have been synonymous with one another since March 1991. However, all good things must come to an end.
WrestleMania 37 marked the first edition of the show since The Undertaker called time on his legendary career. Something he admitted he found strange to deal with as he was watching at home.
Reflecting on his absence from ‘The Showcase of the Immortals’ Undertaker recalled the exact moment he knew that it was time to bow out from in-ring competition.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Taker revealed that it was mid-way through his clash with AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36 that he knew his time was up. Reflecting on the Boneyard Match, The Phenom said that he came to the realisation his body could no longer do what he needed it to do.
“About halfway through that night with AJ, I knew that was it for me… It became really obvious throughout the course of that night that I could no longer physically do things the way I want to do them, and I refuse to ever shortcut our fans.”
For a man who had previously only missed WrestleMania through injury, watching at home knowing that he was retired, was a totally different experience. Taker reflected on that moment, saying that part of him kept saying that he should have been there.
“I was fine all the way until that first ballyhoo of fireworks,” says Mark Calaway, who has starred for the past 30 years as The Undertaker. “Fortunately, I was home, which made it a little easier, but going through the show and watching, I kept thinking to myself, ‘You should be there.’ ”
Reflecting further, Undertaker added that knowing he wasn’t booked for the show was something he had to “work through.” Although the WWE mainstay admitted that he knew it was time for the next generation to take over.
“It’s a little difficult once WrestleMania starts. I started second-guessing myself. So much of my history revolves around WrestleMania. There was a bit of an emotional tug of the heartstrings watching this year, but it’s time for me to step aside and let this next generation have the reins and go where they’re going to go.”
Away from WrestleMania, Undertaker also moved to clarify his previous comments where he said that the current WWE product was “soft.” Taker explained that his comments weren’t a knock on current Superstars, just that he came through in a different era.