Wrestling is being considered as one of the most fan-engaging mediums of sports entertainment, and some of its iconic superstars took the sport to an untouchable height of popularity. Thirty years ago, US-based promotion World Wrestling Entertainment - WWE (previously known as the World Wrestling Federation - WWF when Taker debuted), the biggest wrestling sports-entertainment company in the world - found and showcased its most iconic and decorated superstar ever, known as The Undertaker. Exactly thirty years later on the same day, the wrestling legend finally retired after achieving immense love and respect from his admirers all over the world.
Taker, who is Mark Calaway in real life, was given a well-deserved final farewell at the Survivor Series 2020 (one of WWE’s big four pay-per-views) on last Sunday, November 22, arranged at the WWE Thunderdome in Amway Center - after 30 years of his dedicated service as a wrestler. Debuted back in the Survivor Series on November 22, 1990, Calaway is a seven-time World Champion, six-time Tag Team Champion, one-time annual Royal Rumble winner and the longest-tenured performer in the history of WWE.
Also popularly known as 'The Deadman' for his remarkable horror-themed, macabre personified imagery - The Undertaker took his legendary slow walk at the ramp towards the ring as dressed with his iconic in-ring attire (the iconic all-black hat, robe, gloves and wrestling gear) for his last ever promo, after the Chairman and CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon emotionally introduced him for one last time.
"For thirty long years, I have made that slow walk to this ring. I have laid people to rest, time and time again. And now, my time has come - to let The Undertaker Rest in Peace," The Undertaker said as his last words. He then paved the tribute to Paul Bearer, his late iconic manager who passed away on March 05, 2013 but was tremendously projected via a unique AI presentation at the moment while rejuvenating their iconic poses together. Paul, who was William Alvin "Bill" Moody in real life, was a histrionic, ghostly character who used to bear an urn as it was projected that it revives The Undertaker's strength whenever Undertaker fell victim to his opponents - and the dynamic duo was a tremendously successful act till his eventual demise.
The Undertaker, also known as The Phenom, The Deadman and American Badass - is known for having a unique Wrestlemania (WWE's biggest and one of the most crowded and decorated sports events in history) undefeated streak, with an exceptional winning record of 21-0 before it was broken by Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30, in 2014. However, he continued appearing and fighting at further Wrestlemania matches with fellow wrestlers including Bray Wyatt and Shane McMahon before having his second and last defeat in a match with Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33 in 2017. He then continued wrestling at two more Wrestlemania matches, first one in 2018 with John Cena and finally in his farewell match against AJ Styles at Wrestlemania 36 in 2020 where he brought back his American Badass persona - his alternative gimmick as a biker, defeating Styles in a unique 'Boneyard match'. 2019 was the only exception in recent years where The Phenom did not perform. After his Boneyard match with Styles, WWE broadcasted a five-episode documentary series featuring the later days of his eventful career, titled 'The Last Ride' - where he announced his retirement from WWE in June 2020.
Due to the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19, WWE did not cater any fan in attendance at their live shows since the Coronavirus outbreak back in March, thus Taker could not receive his official retirement in front of his fans until WWE decided to host regular shows at the Thunderdome where fans got the opportunity to be virtually present, so the company announced that it would be celebrating the occasion by organising 'The Undertaker Final Farewell' at the Survivor Series - marking the 30 years anniversary celebration of the legend. To make it more special and meaningful, a selected number of WWE legends including Shane McMahon, Big Show, JBL, Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley, The Godfather, The Godwinns, Savio Vega, Rikishi, Kevin Nash, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Triple H and last but not the least, his legendary in-ring brother Kane - were invited and appeared at the occasion with whom The Undertaker spent and shared glorious moments of his career, over the years. Lastly, the mighty boss and Takers real-life good friend
Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO of WWE, appeared and shared his thoughts, saying: “Thirty years. Thirty long, arduous years. That’s three decades! Three decades this man, not withstand his injuries and hardships he’s endured and stricken fear in the hearts of, if not, terror in the hearts of almost everyone he faced here in the ring. At the same time entertained the global audience. Be it WWF or, of course, WWE Universe currently. Tonight marks the end of an era. End of an era of a long, storied career. It has to never be duplicated. So tonight, we say, we say Goodbye. They say, uh, they say nothing lasts forever. I think they’re wrong, because the legacy of The Undertaker will live on eternally!” Vince continued before introducing The Undertaker to the ring, one last time.
Although the mystic and eerie representation of The Undertaker has taken his final farewell - the best part is that the legendary Mark Calaway is still present out there. After hanging up his iconic robe-hat-gloves-attire as The Undertaker alongside abandoning the ghostly casket where he put many of his opponents through defeats, as well as his leather vest-jeans-bandana and iconic chopper bikes as the American Badass - Calaway is now being available on social media and different broadcasting platforms, sharing the untold stories of his monumental career - while celebrating the legacy, together with his admirers.