Father time waits for no man, even The Undertaker.
The Undertaker spent the final years of his career in search of the perfect goodbye. In wrestling, and in life, such a thing has driven many to distraction and stands as a nigh-on impossible feat. Yet powered by a legacy that saw him established as one of the most famous wrestlers the industry has ever seen, The Deadman went in search of professional wrestling’s Holy Grail.
Matches against Goldberg, John Cena, and Roman Reigns all came and went with varying degrees of success, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape and provided a unique opportunity. Not only would WrestleMania 36 be split over two days, but it would also take place without fans, meaning a cinematic match became a possibility.
This change of plans led to the Boneyard Match between ‘Taker and AJ Styles, to cap off a rivalry that had become increasingly personal. The format allowed the legend to roll back the years one more time, and the match was hailed as a tremendous success. As ‘Taker rode off into the night on his signature motorbike to celebrate victory, he’d finally achieved his fairytale ending.
Not that the transition from wrestler to “former WWE Superstar” has been an easy one. Speaking to Alistair McGeorge for the Metro, the WWE Hall of Famer reiterated the struggle he’s faced in stepping away.
“In my heart, I wasn’t ready to do it but in my mind I knew I had to. It’s been a difficult transition because if I physically could, I would still be going.
But I can’t put on a match the way people expect to see The Undertaker wrestle. There’s no sense in tarnishing the legacy, or cashing in on the equity that I built up.”
The Deadman went on to recall the exact moment while filming in the early hours of the morning he knew his career was over, something he’s not openly discussed previously.
“My back is completely locked up, I’ve got pain shooting down my legs. That’s when I knew I was done,” he said, noting it’s not something he’s ‘really talked about a lot.
It was physical, we did some really big stunts, but I shouldn’t have felt the way that I did. It was just that moment of clarity.”
The Undertaker Pays Tribute To Former Rival
Shawn Michaels recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of his WWE debut, and an outpouring of love and respect from colleagues and fans followed. One man who couldn’t miss the opportunity to pay tribute to his on-screen rival was The Undertaker. Posting on social media, the star names Michaels as his favourite opponent, praising him for his legendary run.