Opinion: Why the legacy of the Undertaker can never be replicated
'The Undertaker' -- the one name that still sends shivers down the spine of “Superstars” of the WWE. This is the one name that still elicits the loudest cheer among the WWE Universe. The mystique still remains when the gong strikes. His is the one character that has stood the test of time and adapted to changes in both his own body and the requirements of the business.
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Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway is still the biggest draw in the WWE. It has been 28 years since that night at Survivor Series in 1990 when the 'Phenom' made his in-ring debut in The World Wrestling Federation. There was a lot of mystery about the Undertaker. And almost three decades later, a lot of mystery still remains. That is what sets The Undertaker apart from the rest. The way The Undertaker has adapted over the years is something remarkable in the history of Sports Entertainment.
As the Deadman enters into the ring at Crown Jewel with his brother of Destruction Kane against D Generation X, we can only wonder and gape at the legacy that he leaves behind. WWE Hall of Famer 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin very beautifully says "We would often kid each other as to who would last longer in the business. That The Undertaker lasted 15 years more than I did stands testimony to his greatness.”
A WWE Superstar can be called legendary if there are some specific memories associated with him that stand the test of time -- essentially the moments where people shall remember you forever. The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, Triple H (just to name a few) are those who have given the wrestling fans memories that would last a lifetime. The Undertaker, too, falls in the same category.
Who can ever forget that Hell In a Cell match in 1998 when Undertaker threw Mankind off the top of the cell drawing gasps from the capacity crowd and also from the millions watching at home? Or that WrestleMania match against 'The Game' Triple H when Undertaker survived a Sweet Chin Music and a pedigree and still kept the streak alive? Or those bloody bouts with Brock Lesnar when the two iconic Superstars pushed each other to limits of endurance when they faced off against each other.
Now, let's take a look a the grandest stage of them all -- WrestleMania. WrestleMania and the Undertaker are pretty much inseparable. One cannot exist without the other without both of them being diminished. No Superstar can match the aura of the Deadman when it comes to the Grandest Stage of Them All.
The Deadman rose to the occasion every time he competed at WrestleMania and the legendary streak of 21-0 will easily go down as the greatest accomplishment in Sports Entertainment history. But then, all good things must come to an end and the streak too met its demise.
That fateful night in March 2014 when the legendary streak of The Undertaker ended was one which made the eyes of millions moist. As The Undertaker fell with a thud on the mat after the third F5 delivered by the “Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker’s shoulders were counted down to three, one could almost hear a pin drop at the Superdome. More than 75000 WW Fans were shocked when Lesnar ended the Streak of the Undertaker. The silence was indeed “Defeaning.”
Many of us thought that it was the last that we saw of The Undertaker. Yet, he came back again to wrestle. He was still a feared force but some of the aurae had slipped after the loss at WrestleMania. Yes, he still beat Superstars, still delivered the chokeslam and the tombstone with lethal effect, but the loss at WrestleMania made him look mortal.
Three decades is a long time in any sport and The Undertaker has survived at the highest level, an altar not everyone has seen. There will come time a very soon in the future when the gong shall not strike again, the lights don’t go off. A time when no other Superstar kicks out of a Sweet Chin Music and a pedigree delivered one after another. A time when The Undertaker drops his hat and gloves and departs into the sunset. When that happens, it will indeed be the end of an era -- an era we will never return to.Published 31 Oct 2018, 19:51 IST