For 27 years one man has stood loyal to the WWE, one man has proven that give the right person a persona and he can make it his own. That man is Mark Calaway, more formally known as The Undertaker in the world of professional wrestling and last night, at Wrestlemania 33, it seems that he has said goodbye to the squared circle.
Calaway made his debut at Survivor Series 1990 as The Undertaker, an undead character with supernatural powers. On paper when you look at this character you would think that it wouldn’t work. How are people supposed to believe that this man cannot be hurt, that he cannot die and that he has supernatural powers. To Calaway’s credit, over the course of the last 27 years he has made that character his own and become synonymous with the world of professional wrestling, the WWE and Wrestlemania.
Over the past 27 years The Undertaker has become more than just a character, just another wrestler that shows up each week and wrestles a match. He has become a fan favorite, a staple of an era that is long gone, and more importantly, he has become this larger than life superstar. Regardless of whether he places a Heel or a Face, the fans love him no matter what, fans will always have the up most respect for him. The success of the character to comes down to Calaway’s dedication to not breaking Kayfabe (not breaking character for those none wrestling fans). The man never broke Kayfabe, he would rarely make appearances outside of character. Every year at the Hall Of Fame ceremony he would sit backstage as to sit with everyone else would break character. If he every did have to make media appearances he would do so in his full Undertaker character.
There was an awful lot more to Calaways dedication to the character than to not breaking Kayfabe. He was an old school wrestler, he believed in doing what was best for the business and putting over new talent when necessary to help built them up. The likes of The Great Khali, Randy Orton, Mr Kennedy and many more have benefited from defeating The Undertaker. That was Calaway, he seen that it was better for the young stars to get the rub by beating him rather than he himself picking up a win. Undertaker wanted to go out on his own terms, when he thought it was time, it was just a matter of when and where.
Over the years, countless bumps and years on the road have taken their tole on Calaway, his body is certainly not what it once was and he stopped competing full time back in 2009, only appearing at Wrestlemania and a few other handful of sporadic matches. Heading into this years Royal Rumble Calaway was not looking so good, he looked beat up, old and weathered. Fans began to speculate whether this would be his last year or not. Going into Wrestlemania 33 last night plenty of fans had a feeling that he would lose to Roman Reigns, but not many would have expected what happened after the match. The Undertaker lost, he went out on his back like any old school wrestler would. The match itself was some great story telling, Reigns couldn’t keep Taker down, it took 4 superman punches and 4 spears to finally beat him, but by the end of it Reigns looked like he didn’t want to do it. Come the end of the match The Undertaker rose from the canvas, put back on his hat and coat and went to left the ring. As he did, he stopped, went back to the centre of the ring, he took off his gloves, his coat and his hat before making a slow walk up the entrance ramp and one final time looking back and raising his arm in the arm like a true gunslinger. The finally scene of Wrestlemania 33 was Taker standing on the ramp before the lights going out leaving the arena in total darkness with The Undertakers signature gong sounding 3 times.
If last night was well and truly Undertakers last match, Mark Calaway went out on his own terms. He went out guns swinging like the last outlaw. He got to call time on his career nobody else, and he went out to a thundering ovation from over 70,000 fans. What The Undertaker leaves behind is a star-studded career, filled with countless championship titles, he was the first man to enter the Royal Rumble at number 30 and win, he also holds the best Wrestlemania record which was will never beat at 23-2. He also leaves behind a long last imprint on the world of professional wrestling, he inspired so many wrestlers to lace up a pair of boots, he inspired millions worldwide with those who watched at home and most importantly, he made so many childhoods for those who grew up watching him.
So after all he has given to the business, for all the years of blood, sweat and tears he left in the ring for our entertainment, this is a much deserved retirement. He is not getting younger and has to consider his health. The man has nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud.
So for 27 years of fantastic matches and amazing memories, we say Thank You Undertaker.