Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Undertaker's Last Ride
After his loss he put down his gloves, jacket, and hat in middle of the ring signaling his retirement. It was bittersweet and sad with tears appear from this fan as he made his final walk up the ramp knowing this is the final time The Undertaker get to be in the ring. As a fan you know he's going to retire but didn't expect the impact of it.
I started watching in early of 1991 when I was 10. During that time The Undertaker was few months into his WWF run. I grew up watching him through his entire 26 1/2 years run. I witness the start of his Wrestlemania winning streak beating the late Jimmy Snuka at Wrestlemania 7. Watched him shoved The Ultimate Warrior in a casket on Superstars. Watched him beat Hulk Hogan for his ever WWE World Heavyweight title, a first of many times he won the top belt of the company. Watched him turn face and obliterated everyone in his feuds for years til he faced Mick Foley as Mankind in 1996. It was this on and off feud that made Mankind as credible threat doing something that never been in his previous feuds from 1991-1995: getting the best out of him at times. They would have high impact brawls featuring gimmick matches such as boiler room and buried alive match. Both would have infamous match in 1998 when they faced each other at King of the Ring. It was that match Undertaker sent Foley off top of the cage and through announce table. Then later on he chokeslam him from top of the cage but ceiling gave out and Foley gets sent down to middle of the ring. The feud also introduced Kane subplot storyline, his little brother thought to be dead but is alive and looking for revenge. He fought Shawn Michaels in first ever Hell in Cell which Kane finally debut tombstoning him costing him the match. Like Mankind, both feuded on and off through the years, but with a twist teaming together on same side at times. He took drastic change going from Deadman to American Badass in 2000 riding a motorcycle down to the ring. After few years being "Biker Taker" he reverted back to Deadman in 2004. He continued on beating wrestlers and take names and souls with memorable matches and feuds with Batista, Edge, Big Show, and Shawn Michaels. Even he became part-time Wrestlemania only match it was still a sight to see him battle and continue put on good against Triple H and CM Punk to add more to his Wrestlemania winning streak.
Then came Wrestlemania 30 in biggest shock of wrestling world as Brock Lesnar beat him ending his glorious long Wrestlemania winning streak leaving the crowd stunned silenced. It was this match saw the decline of The Undertaker. Decades of bumps finally took a toll on his body and his age catching up on him. He would have mini-feud with Brock Lesnar in summer of 2015 but its hard to watch him gutting out and going through pain despite how good the matches are. After few painful matches and giving it all he decide to hang it up after Wrestlemania 33.
I had opportunity to watch The Undertaker live in person few times. Despite being a fan in 1991 I never been to live WWE show til 2002 when they start coming to Odessa, TX where I used to live in the area. He in main event against Steve Austin, who a month before walking out on the company, at house show. The crowd was hot the entire time at Ector County Coliseum as both had fun heated brawl which Undertaker won. The same type of match was done at Judgment Day PPV minus Austin foot on the rope. Funny how it was great to watch it live but two weeks later came off dead on PPV. Seen him the following year teaming with Kurt Angle, and Brock Lesnar to taking on FBI which his team won. And again in 2004 beating Booker T. The next I saw The Undetaker live was 12 years later taking on Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 32 in Hell in the Cell. Then the final time was at this year Royal Rumble eliminating Goldberg before getting unceremoniously dumped by Roman Reigns achieving white heat status from the crowd for it.
The Undertaker will be missed in the ring by wrestling fans. Not once he threaten to jump to WCW staying loyal to WWE throughout his 26 1/2 year career there. He been there for tail end of Hogan era through New Generation into Attitude followed with Ruthless Aggression going to PG and into Reality era. Thank you Undertaker for those memories and times seen through eyes of this fan as I grew up. Hope see you at WWE Hall of Fame soon most likely next year.