“My biggest worry in life, as far as wrestling is concerned, is that I’m in the ring and some father who watched me for years takes his son and he goes, ‘You know son, this is The Undertaker here; wow, I wish you could have seen him when…’
That means it’s time for me to hang it up. Hopefully the guys that I work with, they would tell me, ‘You know what, Take’? You might need to think about something…’ You know? Because I would hate to know that anybody ever [held] back to protect me. Because that’s not what I’m about.”
– The Undertaker (courtesy of http://prowrestlingstories.com/pro-wrestling-stories/vol12/)
Nearly 27 years after he first debuted in the WWE, Undertaker has called it a career. Over a quarter of a century from his debut, The Undertaker wrestled his final match last night at Wrestlemania 33 in Orlando, Florida. No titles were on the line and Undertaker’s mythical Wrestlemania streak had ended three years earlier, yet despite both of those things, Undertaker competed against Roman Reigns in the main event.
As a lifelong fan of professional wrestling, we have seen Undertaker evolve over the years. Going from a silent, brooding monster managed by Brother Love and Paul Bearer, to a satanic cult leader, to a motorcycle riding American bad ass, and to a supernatural MMA influenced dead man walking. He was the general of the locker room in the backstage area. He helped mediate disputes. He confronted management when they weren’t being honest with the boys. He was simply a man you did not want to cross, either inside the ring or outside of it.
— THE VIPER™ (@TheViper_offl) April 3, 2017
As a kid, I remember owning a WWF calendar for my room. It was the early 90’s and Undertaker had been around for a couple of years. As a kid, he was terrifying. I remember getting the calendar and placing it on the wall near the foot of my bed. I could see it directly in my line of sight as tried to fall asleep. All was fine, until October came around. October featured Undertaker and I simply could not fall asleep with him on my wall every night. It was nightmare fuel. So, like any kid would do, I celebrated November a month early and slept well for the next 31 days.
However, that calendar was nothing. Who could forget April 13, 1991. It was a week before my birthday and Undertaker’s manager Paul Bearer had a segment on WWF TV called ‘The Funeral Parlor’. The guest was the Ultimate Warrior. Everything appeared to be fine, until the Warrior put his hands on Paul Bearer. Out from nowhere, Undertaker showed up and attacked my childhood hero. He stuffed him inside an ‘airtight’ coffin and sealed it shut. WWF agents poured out of the back to try and get the coffin open while the announcers talked about the lack of air inside and how every second could be the last for the Ultimate Warrior. FINALLY, after what seemed like an eternity, agents got the coffin open, the material on the lid was completely ripped apart and the Warrior was motionless inside. Do you want to know how to scar a child for life? That is how. Relive the trauma below…
Born Mark Callaway in 1965, Undertaker hangs up his boots at the age of 52. More than half of his life was spent inside of a WWE ring. He had an unparalleled 21 victories in a row at Wrestlemania, he was a seven time world champion, and he was easily the most enduring character in the history of professional wrestling. Last night, following his match with Roman Reigns, a man nearly half his age, he took off his gloves, his jacket, and his hat one last time and laid them in the ring. He exited and instead of taking his final walk to the back, he approached the guard rail. And in a rare, rare instance of Undertaker breaking character, he approached his wife Michelle and his daughters and gave her a kiss.
— ImArya (@ImAryaWwe) April 3, 2017
— Aaron (@aj0314) April 3, 2017
As the 75,000+ crowd in the Orlando Citrus Bowl emptied out and the crew began to tear down the magnificent set, they left his gloves, his jacket, and his hat exactly where he left them. The ultimate sign of respect. After nearly 27 years, the world has seen the Deadman walk the aisle for the last time. All careers come to an end and he will be missed, but he won’t be forgotten. Go ahead and google ‘Undertaker’ today. Every major news outlet around the world is running stories about him. Think about that. A fake, phony wrestler. While he was ‘just a wrestler’, he touched millions of lives over the course of those 27 years, including mine. He was a hero to many and a true legend of the wrestling business. He will not be forgotten. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Truer words have never been spoken.
Rest in peace.
— Wrestling Observer (@WONF4W) April 3, 2017