From deadly Chokeslams to fatal Tombstones, from breath taking Last Rides to lethal Old Schools, these moves not only became the symbol of the Phenom but along with his voguish and peculiar entrances, they constituted the childhood of the kids born in the 90’s and the early century.
Mark William Callaway, popularly known by the name of The Undertaker recently bid goodbye to the WWE. Aged 55, the deadman was not a part of the recent list of ‘A’ category WWE Superstars but used to make frequent appearances especially in the biggest WWE event ‘Wrestlemania’. Many members of the wrestling federation paid tribute to the legend on his retirement with his brother Kane calling him ‘The Superstar who inspired generations by becoming nightmare for a few and by teaching others the art of never giving up.’ He was surely the one who defined an era. His moves, his signatures and of course his on and off ring actions were not only unique but in a way reflected his innovation and creativity. He was never the one who followed nor did he lead but he was the lion who preferred to stay and hunt alone.
The legendary wrestler has won over 17 WWE Championship titles. He played his final match against AJ Styles in WrestleMania 36. The seemingly definitive retirement announcement has left WWE fans across the globe emotional. A career which lasted for more than 33 years had both ups and downs. He still holds the record for the most wins at Wrestlemania in which he was able to breach the fortress of his enemies 23 times and thus earned the name ‘Wrestlemania King”. Undoubtedly, his one on one fight with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 26 remains one the best and most devastating fights in the history of WWE. It was named the ‘Streak v Career’ as for Michaels it was his career which was at stake while for taker it was his unbeatable streak. The fight lasted for more than an hour with the Undertaker surviving more than 12 Sweet Chin Musics and thus it was Michaels’ career that was over. At following successive Wrestlamanias he fought back to back fights with long time rival and current CEO of WWE, Triple H whom he defeated on both occassions.
It was finally at Wrestlemania 30 when ‘The Beast’ Brock Lesnar broke taker’s streak and made it 21-1. Lesnar fought ferociously in that fight and the old taker stood no chance. After overcoming the pain of 3 F-5s, he finally conceded to the 4th one. The streak was finally over. Nobody could believe it. The Phenom was finally defeated at Wrestlemania. Post 2013, Undertaker started making appearances only on Wrestlemania. He lost his body posture and did not remain physically fit. It was in Wrestlemania 33 when the vintage Undertaker returned. The same with long hair, the big hat, oversized boots and the long overcoat, all in black. The opponent was the contemporary face of WWE Roman Reigns. This fight became the second occasion when taker lost a match at Wrestlemania and after the loss what happened again made people poignant. He left behind his hat and overcoat in the ring possibly giving indication about his retirement. But he did return and astonished everyone by defeating AJ Styles at Wrestlemania 36. His record today stands at 23-2 by defeating the likes of icons like Steve Austin, Kane, Hitman Hart, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Edge, The Rock and CM Punk.
As mentioned his uniqueness and particularity are exemplary. These were not just constrained to his looks and entrances, be it the bike entrance or the long ramp walk ending up with flames, but also extended to his matches. He was the only wrestler who was a part of matches like Inferno match, Buried Alive match, Casket Match and the Ambulance Match. Vince McMahon, the owner of WWE and a good friend of the Undertaker once told in an interview that it was not these matches that made Undertaker but taker who added charm to these matches. His partnership with his brother Kane is yet another interesting aspect of his life. They started as ‘Brothers of Destruction’ and literally destroyed everyone who came in their way. The masked Kane along with the dangerous taker gave nightmares to quite a few WWE superstars. However, sometimes the relations used to get bitter and we often witnessed a brother v brother clash in a buried alive contest.
It was indeed a pleasure to watch the deadman. Those who have seen him cannot refuse to be his fans. Be it finishers, signatures, submissions, diving and even flying, he could do that all and all in his own and different manner. Nobody can forget that tongue which used to come out and the eyeballs which used to go up when he used to pin the opponent or in his words when he was making his opponent ‘Rest in Peace’. His theme song again named ‘Rest in Peace’ in which one could hear the alarming dong will also remain unforgettable. In his long career, there is hardly anything that he has not achieved. He has conquered every possible thing. The childhood of most adolescents and millennials is incomplete without the rumor that the Undertaker died 7 times and returned back to life on all 7 occassions. Even before this, there were times when people believed that he had retired and then he would make a comeback and surprise all his fans. This time, though, he had cleared that there was no better time than this to leave and he has no plans to returns, his fans still hope that he could still make a comeback for his one last farewell match.
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