By Arré Bench Jun. 22, 2020
After 33 long years, WWE legend The Undertaker has decided to retire. Here are five unforgettable moments that fans of WWE will cherish long after he’s gone.
Thirty-three years is a very long time for anyone to work in a field that involves both elite athleticism and amateur dramatics, but that is precisely what WWE legend The Undertaker has done. Last week, a five-part documentary series on the wrestler titled Undertaker: The Last Ride aired its final episode, and it contained the veteran admitting that he might be done with the in-ring aspect of the industry he’s been on top of for decades. The Undertaker has teased retirement in the past, but has never explicitly said that he’s considering stepping away like he did on the documentary. But even if he never sets foot in a ring again, he will have left generations of wrestling fans with memories to last their entire lifetime.
Here are five unforgettable Undertaker moments that fans of WWE will cherish long after he’s gone.
Judgement Day 2000
At the turn of the millennium, The Undertaker updated his character to fit into a brasher, bolder era. The supernatural fighter was replaced by a bike-riding, curse-drawling brawler. His return at Judgement Day 2000 saw the debut of his American Badass avatar. At the end of a championship match between The Rock and Triple H, the latter’s cronies jumped the popular Rock and started to beat him down, only for the roar of The Undertaker’s motorcycle to fill the arena. Multiple chokeslams to members of DX later, it was clear that The Undertaker was back for another chapter in his already storied career.
Royal Rumble 1994
While the American Badass character was a product of its time, the supernatural aspect of The Undertaker has always been his signature. While it was a feature of his persona ever since his debut, one of the first times fans got to hear his iconic “Rest in peace” line was way back in 1994, when he fought Yokozuna in a Casket Match. After being unfairly beaten by Yokozuna and his lackeys and rolled into a casket at ringside, The Undertaker appeared on the screens, sending a message from beyond. This was the start of the long-running urban legend that The Undertaker was truly immortal and could come back from the dead.
The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania formed a huge part of his legend for most of his career. It persisted over two decades, and when The Streak was finally broken at Wrestlemania in 2014 by Brock Lesnar; it was a sobering moment for lifelong fans. Any long-time fan of WWE will be able to tell you where they were and what they were doing when The Streak was finally broken.
Ten years before his vaunted Wrestlemania Streak came to an end, The Undertaker made a triumphant return to his Deadman character, laying the American Badass to rest. After months out of action, this was a return on the same level of hype as his Judgement Day return in 2000. The familiar sight of Undertaker’s manager Paul Bearer, the use of his classic Graveyard Symphony theme song, and the fact that his opponent was his storyline brother Kane – one of his greatest allies as well as his fiercest foes – make this an unforgettable Undertaker moment.
King of the Ring 1998
For all the championships and feuds he’s had throughout his career, The Undertaker’s innovation of inventive match types might be his greatest contribution to WWE. He’s pioneered the Casket Match, the Buried Alive Match, and the Inferno Match. But perhaps the greatest match format he participated in the creation of was the Hell in a Cell Match. In the second-ever match of this type, The Undertaker met Mankind inside (and on top of) the cage. In a moment that will grace highlight reels for as long as people watch wrestling, their clash saw the icon throw his opponent from the top of the cage through the announcers’ desk.
What many people may not know is that the “Undertaker” that Akshay Kumar fights in a ’90s Bollywood movie is not the genuine one but an impersonator. Perhaps now that his in-ring career is winding down, a Bollywood appearance can finally become a reality.