There will never be another quite like him: Twitter hails The Undertaker after his last match – As The Undertaker hangs up his boots for what many speculate is for the final time, wrestlers pay tributes to the greatest pro wrestling character of all time
And like that, a career that spanned for over 27 years in the World Wrestling Entertainment (Formerly World Wrestling Federation) ended. The Undertaker stood up after the loss, acknowledged the applause, let it sink in, wore his hat and trench coat for the last time, then took it off and placed it in the middle of the ring, as a mark of respect to the profession he has been part of for over 30 years.
It was time to finally say goodbye.
When The Undertaker was pinned by Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33, the grandest stage for professional wrestlers, it ended an era that has seen wrestlers come, go, come again, and some have even retired. But The Undertaker went on and on – performance after performance, he had made the professional wrestling ring his yard.
Today Mark Callway, the man behind The Undertaker gimmick, is 52 years old. He is a few months younger than Stone Cold Steve Austin, who retired in 2003. He is a year older than Shawn Michaels who retired twice – once in 1998 and the final one in 2010. After his loss, reports suggest that he will undergo a complete hip replacement. Given the amount of career-induced injuries Callaway has endured, it’s a miracle that he still managed to successfully compete at Wrestlemania.
People had started talking about The Undertaker’s retirement way back in 2006 when The Great Khali made his debut. The seven foot tall Khali, as part of the script, decimated The Undertaker, and people began questioning The Undertaker’s longevity in the ring. When Triple H lost to Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27, he had beaten The Undertaker to a pulp and was the only man who left the ring in a vertical base. That’s when mainstream media took notice, and questions about his retirement began. When Brock Lesnar finally defeated The Undertaker, thereby ending the Wrestlemania streak of 21-0, everyone thought The Undertaker had passed the torch to the younger Lesnar. In all honesty, I felt The Undertaker should have hung up his boots and called it a day. The streak had ended. He had achieved multiple WWE championship titles, was the leader of the locker room, and owned what is arguably one of the greatest streaks in professional wrestling history.
I’m sure The Undertaker wanted to call it a day, but the WWE had other ideas. Last Wrestlemania, after defeating Shane McMahon, The Undertaker took off his gloves and left them in the ring, leaving many to speculate whether that was his last performance. He was asked to compete for one more Wrestlemania, which he loyally did, lost and passed the torch to Roman Reigns.
I stopped watching professional wrestling since 2001 or 2002, but I’d always tune in when The Undertaker was wrestling. I did the same even this morning. I’ve seen The Undertaker show no emotion when beaten up, seen him haunt people as The Lord of Darkness, throw Mick Foley off a cage, ride custom-made motorcycles into the ring, and constantly reinvent himself for 27 years. Had anyone other than Mark Callaway played The Undertaker, then the gimmick would have died in the 1990s, which probably makes The Undertaker the greatest professional wrestling character in the history of sports entertainment. There will of course be arguments over the greatest wrestler of all time, but I’m sure the experts – both wrestlers and pro-wrestling journalists believe that The Undertaker will be there in the Top 10.
It’s sad to see him go like this. Ideally, he should have called it a day after 20-0, but Callaway knew what he was doing, and continued for another five years.
With this, a legendary career ends, and darkness moves away and brings in light.
For the professional wrestling fan, this is not a good thing.
Here are some of the tweets that emerged
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) April 3, 2017
— Brock Lesnar Guy (@BrockLesnarGuy) April 3, 2017
— Hell in a Cell’19 (@Karriem15) April 3, 2017
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) April 3, 2017
There will never be another quite like him. Thank you Taker! pic.twitter.com/FFQxvXOuNY
— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) April 3, 2017