Houston’s own The Undertaker bids final farewell to WWE after 30-year career

It’s the end of an era.

The Undertaker standing in front of a crowd: It is truly the end of an era. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

© JP Yim/Getty Images

It is truly the end of an era. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

Mark William Calaway—known by his wrestling alias as The Undertaker—bid his final farewell Sunday night, officially retiring after 30 years with World Wrestling Entertainment.

“My time has come to let the Undertaker rest in peace,” he said in his final moment.

The “Dead Man,” born and raised in the Bayou City found his love for wrestling while attending Friday night shows at the Sam Houston Coliseum in the 1970s and ’80s. He finally responded to his calling in 1990, debuting as a partner of Ted “The Million Dollar Man” at the then-WWF’s Survivor Series.

DEAD MAN WALKING: An appreciation of The Undertaker, Houston’s scariest wrestler

Calaway’s WWE credentials include multiple WWE and World Heavyweight Champion and six tag team titles, among other accolades.

His WWE biography describes the veteran wrestler as “a true in-ring pioneer, having been part of many WWE firsts, including the first-ever Casket Match at Survivor Series 1992, the first-ever Buried Alive match in 1996 and the inaugural Hell in a Cell Match in October 1997.”

The now former professional wrestler announced his retirement back in June, saying there was nothing left for him to accomplish and it was time for him to say goodbye.

“I’m at a point, it’s time this cowboy really rides away,” Calaway said at the time, adding that the game has changed and “it’s time for new guys to come up.”

Many wrestling greats paid tribute to Undertaker on Twitter Sunday night, noting how amazing it has been to watch him accomplish such amazing things during his time with WWE.

“For every ride I’ll never forget, #ThankYouTaker #SurvivorSeries,” said Triple H, who has been a longtime friend of Calaway, even outside of the ring.

“After three decades of @undertaker committing wholeheartedly to the @WWE, tonight we bear witness to the end of an extraordinary body of work. For all the in ring moments and as a member of the @WWEUniverse, I say #ThankYouTaker! #SurvivorSeries #Undertaker30,” said actor and WWE star John Cena.

The Undertaker may have ended his journey with WWE, but his impact will, without a doubt, remain forever.

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The Undertaker retires after 30-year WWE career

The Undertaker

© Bang Showbiz
The Undertaker

The Undertaker bid a final farewell to the WWE at Survivor Series on Sunday (22.11.20).

The 55-year-old grappling legend – whose real name is Mark Caraway – was honoured with a star-studded tribute from fellow pros including the likes of Shawn Michaels, Kane, Triple H and Ric Flair at the end of the annual extravaganza, which was held at the WWE ThunderDome in Orlando, Florida, and even his late manager Paul Bearer made an appearance in the form of a hologram.

The digital likeness of the Deadman’s manager, who was played by real life mortician William Moody and passed away in 2013, carried the wrestler’s famous urn, and Undertaker emotionally bowed to his old friend when he saw him in the ring.

After the likes of Shane McMahon, Big Show, JBL, Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley, The Godfather, The Godwins, Kevin Nash, Booker T, Shawn Michaels and Triple H had stepped into the ring to pay tribute to the wrestling icon, a video tribute to his 30-year WWE career aired, with the likes of John Cena, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Edge among those who spoke in the clip.

Visibly-upset WWE chairman Vince McMahon then paid tribute to the star in a short speech, before The Undertaker himself took the mic.

He said: “For 30 long years, I’ve made that slow walk to this ring and have laid people to rest time and time again. And now my time has come. My time has come to let The Undertaker rest in peace.”

After tipping his hat and striking his signature pose, the hologram Paul Bearer then appeared in front of him before he made the walk back up the ramp.

The wrestling star admitted last week he was grateful he’d be making his final appearance in front of a virtual crowd due to the coronavirus pandemic as it was easier to stay composed.

He said: “Our audience being on monitors, I think I’ll be able to get through it a little easier that way than if I had to actually look out into an ocean of people and make eye contact.

“I might have killed off The Undertaker character for good. A crying Undertaker is not what the world wants to see!”

Undertaker’s WWE farewell at Survivor Series came months after he hinted he would be hanging up his boots after defeating AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match at WrestleMania 36.

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The Phenom and The Legend Killer’ Shows What The Undertaker Means to Randy Orton’s Career

When the WWE announced 30 Days of the Deadman, a series of weekly shows involving Undertaker content on the Network, I wasn’t surprised. “The Deadman” continues to be a huge draw for the wrestling promotion and this year’s “The Last Ride” documentary was a rare and important look into the life of Mark Calaway.

Starting this Sunday, The Undertaker celebration begins with WWE Untold: The Phenom and The Legend Killer, which looks at the rivalry between The Undertaker and Randy Orton from 2005.

The year-long rivalry took place 15 years ago and Undertaker and Orton’s place in the company were very different. Taker was wrestling much more frequently then and Orton was just coming into his own as one of the top heels in the company after adopting the “Legend Killer” moniker. The documentary does a great job of showing that difference in experience, but a huge takeaway from the 40-minute documentary isn’t so much how both men navigated the rivalry, but how The Undertaker helped bring Orton’s career to the next level. Because of that, it feels much more like an Orton documentary than a Taker one.

wwe undertaker randy orton hiac armageddon
Undertaker celebrating his victory over Randy Orton at Armageddon 2005.

The documentary starts with Orton and Callaway talking about an incident on an episode of SmackDown where Randy is set to hit Taker with a steel chair–back when headshots were still allowed. Orton, inexperienced, misses his mark by a few inches and actually tears the skin off of Taker’s forehead down to his nose, leaving “The Deadman” laying with his face full of blood.

Orton explains that’s how he learned what a “receipt” is the hard way, something viewers will see as the documentary goes on.

Unlike “The Last Ride,” there’s no backstage footage of wrestlers interacting, but in typical WWE Untold fashion, Orton, Calaway and other WWE officials and personalities talk about some of the biggest moments of their rivalry and it gives a lot more insight into what was going through their minds during this time period.

“I was back doing what I was comfortable, being a prick, being a bad guy, being a heel in the wrestling business,” Orton says in the documentary after leaning into the “Legend Killer” role. “That’s what I always felt the most comfortable doing and I was right back to where I was happy.”

The documentary revolves around four major matches in their rivalry. WrestleMania 21, SummerSlam, the casket match at No Mercy and the Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon. Each segment offers different takes and how those matches and stories were put together.

“Cowboy” Bob Orton, Randy’s father, is a welcome surprise in this documentary. He gives his take on how the events went down when he began working with his son following the SummerSlam match.

Producer Bruce Prichard is also involved in the documentary giving a peek into how backstage officials reacted during some of the feud’s high-risk stunts like when Randy set the casket–with Taker inside–on fire

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