One of the most iconic superstars in WWE history made her screen debut in the 1990 Survivor Series. This Sunday, 30 years later, The Undertaker will be at Survivor Series again to participate in his “Final Farewell”.
The Undertaker (aka Mark Calaway) hasn’t been featured on WWE TV since defeating AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match at WrestleMania 36 in April. While it has been clear for years that Calaway is ready to hang up, he told CBS Sports this week that he is still in the process of agreeing to formal retirement.
“I’m kind of going through a whole range of emotions,” Calaway said. “I’m honored that WWE has made this effort to honor me throughout this month with the documentation and stuff. It’s really humbling that a company is doing this. Not knowing exactly what the show is about. going to involve, I’m watching I can’t wait to see some of the guys I’ve worked with for years there. It’s definitely going to be bittersweet for me. This is one of those deals where I think ‘it is important that I am there and that I can speak to the fans and the people who have been with me for 30 years and who have followed my career and stayed with me when it was a long time since it was all about flavor of the month.
“It’s going to be very emotional. It’s all going to become very real that my in-ring career is probably over. I’m just dealing with this whole spectrum of emotions and trying to sum it all up and keep everything under control.
For years it looked like Calaway had reached the end of the road. He struggled through big matches, physically unable to do the things that set him apart as one of the most athletic great men in company history. But then he would get the surgery or two, come back and impress – sometimes even surprise – the fans. The question therefore continued to remain unanswered: Will The Undertaker already withdraw?
“I already thought it was approaching. I think the icing on the cake was the Boneyard Match this year. I’m very proud of how it turned out and all the criticism it has received, but it’s was at the end of that night, and actually early in the morning, and how I felt physically, ”explained Calaway.
“There you are, it’s all over now and you walk like an 85 year old man. It just let me know that the tank was pretty much empty. As bad as I hate to say that, it’s just reality because none of we can’t get past Father Time. Overall, I’m relatively still a young man, but in the world of professional sports and entertainment I’m obviously in the twilight of my career. It has become painfully obvious that my time has come. and it was time for me, as they say, to put my six rifles on the mantle. “
After losing to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 in 2017 – one of the matches that Calaway struggled physically – he left his gloves, hat and jacket in the ring, an apparent signal that it was of his last game. However, he returned to the ring for eight more games before the Boneyard Match with Styles in early 2020. This will, officially, serve as his last match. Calaway said Reigns and Styles’ matches had their advantages when you consider what defined his last fight.
“You know, I guess it’s one of those kinds of apples and oranges,” Calaway said. “It was so honest and pure and right where I was that night when I left my hat, coat and gloves. I wasn’t planning on coming back, and felt like this was the organic thing I needed to do. period, I can’t get on the mike and make a long speech about thanks and this and that. It just didn’t work for this character. I said all I had to say put these things in the ring and walked out It was just my pride after many months that got in the way and said, ‘Oh, man, you don’t can’t go out like this. ‘ Physical performance, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave on that note, I had surgery, repaired my hip and got it back.
“The Boneyard was so cool in the fact that you got a little bit of everything. You got a little bit of the original Undertaker, you got a little bit of American Badass, and you got a lot of Mark Calaway in that. Like that. I said it’s apples and oranges and you are a traditionalist and there are a lot of people saying you should always lose your last game. You are not going to make everyone happy. I knew after the Boneyard that it was time to call it a day. I don’t know. It all depends on which interpretation you think is the best. I don’t have a clear idea of how I should have done it . It happened that way and we are where we are. “
Wrestling is a notoriously difficult pursuit to pull away from. Shawn Michaels was one of the few to retire and seems happy with his decision. Michaels recently spoke with CBS Sports about his legendary matches with The Undertaker and shared his hope that Calaway could find the same contentment in retirement.
According to Calaway, retirement will stay for good – even though WWE President Vince McMahon may have other plans.
“You know, I have to deal with not only my thoughts and my conscience, but I also have to deal with Vince’s thoughts and his conscience,” Calaway said. “A lot of times they’re not always on the same page. Vince’s line is, ‘You never say never.’ But where I am, I don’t see myself getting to a point where I am. will be physically better in a few years than now. I’m going to be a few years older and a couple of years slower. So yeah, I mean I just can’t see it. Not in the capacity where I’m going to step into the ring and actually work. Whether I have some sort of role is a different thing, but I think my days in the ring are long gone. “
It is on this note that we wonder: if “The Undertaker” is retired, could we see Calaway in another capacity? An upcoming WWE Hall of Fame induction will simply be a matter of timing. Perhaps there will be occasions when Calaway is used on TV to deepen other people’s intrigues or provide pre-game expertise. The Undertaker might not fight again, but don’t expect Calaway to disappear from WWE TV for good.
“You’re always bound to it once you’re in this business – especially when you’ve been in it since I’ve been there, you’re bound to it forever,” Calaway said. “I actually like going to the Performance Center and working with young people. I can definitely see myself doing this. If there’s a role for me that makes sense on camera, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I know it is extremely difficult for me to attend an event that I am not working on because I just have this natural instinct that I should be ready now or do this. If I’m sitting there looking at a monitor with other talent, I’m caught in it.
“The only reason I call it a day is simply because I don’t have the physical tools to do it at the level where I want to do it. The passion is still there, and if I could, I would. always. But it’s not a reality, and now that’s how it works. You have your run and your time. I was lucky to have an extremely long run, and I must be happy with that and move on to what comes next. I am I’m not pulling away because I want to or I’m exhausted or something like that. I’m just physically exhausted, and I have to think about the rest of my life and the quality of this life. “
Calaway said he had nothing to remember about his career and that his wishes were different other than that he wanted his programs with Steve Austin and Eddie Guerrero to last longer. But even those desires are minor in a long and successful career that has seen him emerge not only as a superstar, but also as a respected “locker room leader” behind the scenes.
Although he has only frequented the locker room sporadically in recent years, Calaway said it was easy to see how the backstage environment had changed since his heyday.
“It seems to me that it’s more of an individualistic locker room now,” Calaway said. “Everyone sort of does what they want to do and there isn’t this governing body that keeps everyone together. I could be wrong. I’m not there enough to give a real insightful answer. C ‘is just the way it seems to me. I see guys with leadership qualities, I just don’t know it’s exercised to the extent that it was back then. That doesn’t mean that it is. is good or bad, that’s how it is. The business evolves and the locker the coin evolves. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes for the worse. We’ll see what happens, but it doesn’t feel so tight anymore than before. “
The locker room, like WWE, will continue to move forward as it evolves, adapts and changes over time – for the first time in decades without Taker in its ranks.
As for what life is like on Monday morning when Calaway wakes up as an officially retired wrestler?
“It looks like a big fat turkey on Thanksgiving, and from there I hope to go back to Texas, head to my ranch and go hunting and spend as much time there enjoying nature and doing what do the country. Then as the new year arrives and I hope we kind of get this COVID-19 deal under control and things get back to normal, I hope to stop by in the Performance Center and see what other opportunities are available. for The Undertaker. “
WWE will hold the Undertaker’s final farewell Sunday at Survivor Series. The event will air at 7 p.m. ET worldwide on the WWE Network.
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