Thank You Taker

Thank You Taker!
By: Daniel Correia

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to be in the crowd at Camping World Stadium in Orlando with two of my best friends to see Wrestlemania 33. I was also fortunate to be in that same crowd for what appears to be the last match of The Undertaker’s career.

In the beginning, I was NOT a fan of The Undertaker. In fact, I was TERRIFIED of the Deadman. I even had reoccurring nightmares that he was chasing me down, trying to kill me. I never actually was caught, but when I woke I’d feel like I had ran a marathon in my sleep. This is exactly what the then WWF wanted, a scary, over the top, but believable villain whom the crowd thought could actually defeat and possibly bury alive their heroes.

Over time the character evolved as did I, and I began to embrace The Undertaker. He, for the most part, was still an executioner, judging someone for their sins and carrying out a sentence, however, he became a good guy who was beloved by the fans. He still had a presence about him that was larger than life, but never wavered from wanting to put his opponents in the ground.

Later on we saw the first drastic revision to his character, The American Bad Ass. The Undertaker, still menacing as ever, dropped the hat and big coat for a Harley and a new attitude. We all knew you didn’t mess with Taker before, but now he told you straight up that the WWE ring was “his yard” and no one was able to prove otherwise… well, that was until Sunday.

See, the past decade (give or take) has not been kind to Taker’s body. We’ve seen his workload diminish year over year to the present day where he will make appearances, but only wrestle on WWE’s biggest stage. News broke earlier this week that Taker will be having a hip replaced, and if you pile on the injuries and beatings he’s put his body through over the years, most would be shocked he’s lasted this long.

Back to Sunday at Wrestlemania 33. The crowd knew that this would probably be the last time we got to see the Deadman process down the aisle and watching the match it was apparent that the fire was nearly all but gone. The Undertaker looked nothing like his younger self in the ring. It was almost sad to watch Roman Reigns try his best to counter a move and pick up The Undertaker, but the Deadman’s body just wouldn’t cooperate.

As Reigns hit the final spear and the referee counted to three, a chorus of boos reigned down on Roman. All I could think at that moment was I wish that Taker was just a little bit healthier because what I saw that night wasn’t up to the caliber of the legend of The Undertaker. In the end, the match wasn’t close. Early on Taker held his own, but by the end of the match, it was all Roman.

Once Reigns left the ringside area, it all became too real as The Undertaker left his gloves, coat, and hat in the ring. This was really it. He’s done… I get a little choked up writing this because he’s really the last of that older generation to finally step away. He’s basically been a constant in my life and the lives of others for so long that it’s like a family member dying. We knew it couldn’t last forever, but we wanted it to so badly.

Through all the cool entrances, all the casket matches, and all the nightmares, I’m so grateful to have been a part of the crowd that night at Wrestlemania 33. While it may not have been everything I hoped for, it was still one hell of a last ride! Thank you Undertaker for everything!