Over the the last two months, I’ve learned more about Mark Calaway the man more than I ever thought I would. The Last Ride has unpacked so much of The Undertaker’s career that has left people with many different emotions. Some are upset that he finally broke character after thirty and there are others like me who are fascinated by what this man has gone through in his life and career. Now I could’ve sit down and wrote an article that would taken you an hour to read, but I chose to due to a bullet point presentation much like I did with The Last Dance. It captures the key points and my biggest takeaways from this five part series.
CHAPTER 1- THE GREATEST FEAR
1. Regardless of how you feel about The Undertaker character and gimmick, you have to respect everything Mark Calaway has done for the wrestling business.
2. I’m shocked that Taker was ever allowed to wrestle again after Wrestlemania 30. Memory loss due to a concussion is not something to be taken lightly.
3. Undertaker is universally respected at the one true locker room leader in the WWE and was always honest with people if they asked for his advice on their matches.
4. Vince loves The Undertaker much like his father loved Andre. They were both once in a lifetime performers and attractions. Vince showed that love when he left Wrestlemania 30 to be with Taker at the hospital.
5. I’m glad they left the footage of Chris Jericho and Jim Ross in the documentary even though they are with another wrestling company now.
CHAPTER 2- THE REDEMPTION
1. The Undertaker takes so much pride in his work that when he doesn’t do well, he just doesn’t feel bad for himself. He feels bad for the person he works with for not giving them a good match.
2. Even though Vince loves The Undertaker, I feel he runs people into the wheels off. For example, when Andre wrestled Hogan at Wrestlemania 3 and that should have been it for Andre. Vince should have had the wisdom to say, “I’m not letting you back in the ring.” The same could be said for The Undertaker at certain points in time.
3. The love he and Michelle McCool have is so awesome. She knows him so well and has to endure so much with him. I really think she saved his life in so many ways.
4. The most random guys come from nowhere to help you train. In Edge’s story it was Dash Wilder and in the Undertaker’s story it was Primo Colon that helped get ring ready. It’s a shame these guys don’t get rewarded for their work. Another prime example is Joe Hennig(Curtis Axel) helping The Rock and Brock Lesnar getting ready for the ring.
5. There are only two people who can really get into the Undertaker’s head. His wife Michelle McCool and Vince McMahon have a profound effect on him. They always can say things to him that no one else would dare say.
CHAPTER 3- END OF AN ERA
1. The Undertaker in 2018 started off really well but then it kind of went down hill from there again because of people he was in the ring with.
2. I love the personal and professional relationship that The Undertaker and Triple H have. There is such a mutual admiration and respect there.
3. The matches The Undertaker had with Shawn Michaels and Triple H over the four year period were some of the best matches and stories I’ve seen in WWE history.
4. The tag team match at Crown Jewel between DX and The Brothers of Destruction really ruined the mystique, the legacies and the image of all four men at the time. I still feel to this day they shouldn’t have been in the ring together.
5. I love that The Undertaker appreciates people who don’t necessarily get the credit they deserve. Watching him play cards with WWE Athletic Trainer Larry Heck was really cool. It was good to see someone we don’t normally see be put in the spotlight.
CHAPTER 4- THE BATTLE WITHIN
1. The only people who could ever talk to Vince McMahon a certain way are Hogan, Michaels, Triple H, Cena and The Undertaker. If anyone else talked to Vince the way they do, they probably would be fired.
2. I love that The Undertaker talks to everyone in the back. He allows everyone from the biggest legends to the lowest people on the card to come up and talk to him. I think that’s what legends are really made of. The ones who open themselves up so others can learn from them.
3. The Undertaker put his character above all else for many years. His dedication to the business should be celebrated. I think it’s great that he is allowing himself to come out of his shell and enjoy the benefits of his hard work.
4. I have to say that Taker is lucky he wasn’t paralyzed when he had the match with Goldberg. I think the tag match with Roman against Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre really helped redeem him again.
5. The Undertaker has nothing left to prove to Vince, the fans or himself at this point. He’s done it all, seen it all and accomplished things that many can’t even fathom.
CHAPTER 5- REVELATION
1. The last couple of years, The Undertaker spent a lot of time in the ring after his matches because he did legitimately didn’t know if it would be his last time. Speaks to the character of the man who wanted to give back to the fans.
2. I absolutely love the story about The Undertaker and his dad. You could tell there was a real genuine bond there between the two of them.
3. I love that AJ Styles stepped up to the plate and wanted to be one of The Undertaker’s last matches. AJ is one of the best performers on the planet so it made sense for people to encourage The Undertaker to work with him. AJ Styles is the modern day Shawn Michaels.
4. I love that Undertaker was always thinking about the future. The matches with Randy Orton, John Cena and Jeff Hardy really helped all those guys. I also loved how he went to the WWE Performance Center and worked with the big guys of the future. Again it’s a testament to the character and the man.
5. The buildup between Styles and The Undertaker was phenomenal and it brought back every aspect of The Undertaker for one final time. The Boneyard Match was everything it needed to be for everything going on during the time. I personally think this was better than any in-ring match could have been. If it was The Undertaker’s last match, then it was a perfect way to go out.
The Last Ride was captivating, intriguing, and even shocking at some points. The love he has for this business and the respect the business has for him is like no other. The Undertaker stayed loyal when it wasn’t easy to stay loyal. He’s given back to the business when others wouldn’t have taken the time. That’s what make Mark Calaway unique and special. As a fan, a writer and someone who has been around pro wrestling all of my life I am so grateful that we got a glimpse into the life of the The Man, The Myth and The Legend.