It happens in almost anything you watch. It is especially the case in sports. You have a favorite that you followed during their entire career. You enjoyed the great times but stuck with them during the down times. But when the end of the road is coming, most of the time you see it before the performer. You don’t want it to happen, but you know it is time for your favorite to hang it up and retire.
And I think we have reached that point with The Undertaker.
The Undertaker has been wrestling for over 30 years. Yes, before he was The Undertaker in the WWE, Mark Calaway wrestled in WCCW, the USWA and WCW. That is A LOT of wear and tear on a body. It doesn’t matter what kind of style you wrestle. If your back is hitting a wrestling mat over 200 days a year for 30+ years it is going to catch up to you.
Over the last few years, The Undertaker continues to look worse and worse. It started with the concussion that he suffered in the match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30. He took a year off, and to his credit didn’t look bad in his return match against Bray Wyatt. He then had a couple matches against Brock Lesnar that weren’t terrible. I actually really enjoyed the Hell In A Cell match. But they were also close to what I like to call “big spot fest”: hit a finisher, kick out, take a break. Last year’s match with Shane McMahon was exactly that. And now we expect him to work a match with Roman Reigns? Reigns is a better wrestler than people give him credit for. But I don’t know what kind of match he can have with Taker.
Leading into this year’s Wrestlemania, it was painfully obvious to even the casual observer that Undertaker just wasn’t right. He apparently needs hip replacement surgery. That alone should be enough to tell you where Taker is physically. But Taker didn’t look good in the Rumble. And in his appearances on RAW since then, he’s looked like a shell of his former self. No one knows if Taker was wincing in pain this past Monday, or selling the idea that he knew was about to turn into a Spear. Either way, it was a bad look.
So in just over a week, Undertaker steps into the ring with Roman Reigns. And it should be his last match.
Undertaker had had an outstanding career. It is Hall of Fame worthy. He took a character and made tweaks and changes to it which allowed it to last for over 25 years. He’s won multiple Championships. He’s main evented Wrestlemania. The Streak will forever live as one of the most fascinating things in pro wrestling. He’s one of the most well respected wrestlers in history.
But there is nothing left for The Undertaker, or Mark Calaway, to accomplish in pro wrestling.
When The Streak ended, many wondered if that would be the end of The Undertaker. For me personally, I lost interest in Undertaker’s matches at Wrestlemania when it ended. But the WWE had TWO golden match opportunities left for Taker that could have worked. Those matches were against Sting and John Cena. But the WWE went with Sting/HHH at WM31. They were going to go with Cena/Taker this year. And I would have loved to see it. But at this point I almost feel like it would have been a let down. I *might* have even been okay with Taker winning the Title at one of the past Royal Rumbles, only for him to lose it to someone at Wrestlemania then ride off into the sunset. The story would have had to been done perfectly right though.
I could understand if there was something left for Mark Calaway to accomplish in pro wrestling. If he was chasing one more goal that was never in reach. But there is nothing. He should be looking out for his health more than anything else.
Undertaker has put on some of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history. His match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25 is one of the greatest wrestling matches ever. You can’t take away anything from him. He’s had one of the most successful careers ever in wrestling.
I’ll never have a bad thing to say about The Undertaker’s career. I pretty much started watching wrestling right after his debut. But in my opinion, it is time for Taker to hang up his boots and ride off into the sunset.