Undertaker gives WWE Universe incredibly raw, real peek behind the curtain in The Last Ride
- The Undertaker pulls back the curtain in new WWE docu-series
- WWE cameras have followed The Undertaker for three years
Immediately following this weekend's Money In The Bank pay-per-view, the WWE Universe will be granted an incredible all-access pass to the career of arguably the greatest, but certainly THE most enigmatic Superstar of all time in Undertaker: The Last Ride.
The Undertaker, up until recently, has been the most secretive Superstar in the history of WWE. The Deadman has been the one Superstar who has allowed no access into his personal life or even anything that happens from before he steps out from behind the curtain, to the second he disappears back behind it. That was until now.
The Last Ride documents the past few years of Undertaker's career, from 2017 onwards, tackling everything from why The Deadman had to reduce his schedule to become a part-time performer, to critics saying he's too old to compete - and Chapter 1 aptly focuses on these points under the title of The Greatest Fear.
Well, I've been lucky enough to see Chapter 1 in its entirety ahead of the official premiere, and I think I can safely predict that The Last Ride may go down in history as possibly the most revealing peek behind the curtain in WWE history, too.
“They are going to learn a lot. They are going to see what the man behind the hat is really like on a personal level. I think they are going to be shocked [at] the contrast between The Undertaker and Mark Calaway. They are going to see a stark difference in the two and probably a good reason why I kept them separate for so long.”
Undertaker opened up to WWE in an interview ahead of the official premiere about how uncomfortable he was initially with the cameras following him due to how protective he'd previously been of the character but stated that he thinks the docu-series will blow people away. After seeing Chapter 1, I can't disagree with The Deadman.
The Undertaker's retirement
“I want them thinking, ‘This guy’s got a lot left in the tank.’ If I can leave with that, I’ll be content I can walk away. I say that, but I’ve been saying it for a long time.”
A fitting quote to open an episode which follows The Undertaker right up until, and immediately after, the match the WWE Universe thought would ultimately see the retirement of a legend, and it turns out we weren't the only ones.
The star-studded documentary gives us a surprisingly in-depth, yet rapidly progressing tour of Undertaker's career thus far, with the likes of Vince McMahon, Edge, AJ Styles, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Jim Ross, Triple H, Chris Jericho and many others paying tribute to The Deadman, as the legend himself discusses how the streak facilitated him becoming a part-timer.
“Quite frankly, the streak is what made it okay to only work once a year - because I had to defend the streak.”
Taker speaks candidly to the camera by stating his greatest fears would be becoming a parody of himself, or for a father who watched him growing up to say to his own kid, “You should have seen him 10-15 years ago," and being a shadow of his past self.
“You know they call me Santa Claus now, right? Because I only come out once a year.”
This interaction is just one of many things that make you wonder how WWE and Undertaker have managed to resist making a documentary like this one until now.
From addressing Bruno Sammartino as "sir" to chatting with Roman Reigns and his partner about their kids over a beer just days before their WrestleMania clash, it's impossible not to respect Mark Calaway almost as much as you love the Undertaker - although maybe that's WHY this documentary hasn't been made until now.
The Deadman candidly says in the documentary that he faces a constant internal struggle of staying too long and becoming a parody of himself, but that his schedule for a five-year stretch has been to prepare for WrestleMania, have the match, then have surgery to repair what ailments he had before the match, only to rehab then and immediately have to start training for his next match at the Show of Shows.
Undertaker addresses the concussion he sustained during the match that saw the streak ended, revealing his only memories of that day are before 3:30 pm.
We see footage of Vince McMahon calling for help before former WWE Superstar Michelle McCool, Undertaker's wife, details how Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar pulled up in an SUV behind the ambulance that took her husband to the emergency room, and that Undertaker didn't know his own name until 4 am.
The Deadman also opens up about the crisis of confidence he sustained due to that one match and how Triple H helped him get over it.
The pain-staking measures Undertaker has gone through for the WWE Universe's entertainment is only accentuated ahead of his match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33, as we see the medical protocols required for the Deadman to get match-ready, including injections in his knee and a pack on his hip ahead of the match - but there's always one thing in mind...
"Don’t embarrass yourself, don’t embarrass the company, don’t embarrass Vince."
The scenes which show the aftermath of Undertaker's match with Roman Reigns are must-see. From Taker walking backstage only to be immediately greeted by Triple H in his ring gear, and sharing a tear-jerking embrace, to he and Michelle McCool walking hand-in-hand while the entire crew and WWE roster backstage applauds them in a guard of honor, is unlike anything we've ever seen before.
The Greatest Fear also reveals some previously incomprehensible interactions between Undertaker and Vince McMahon, as McMahon bursts into the medical room following the match and says, "I just wanted to say thank you," before joking with Undertaker, who responds with "Are you happy? That’s all that matters."
Arguably the greatest thing about Undertaker: The Last Ride, is that it brings The Deadman to life. It strips away all the enigma and leaves us with Mark Calaway, the man behind the legend, in what may just turn out to be the most must-see wrestling docu-series of all time.
Undertaker: The Last Ride, WWE’s new five-episode limited series event, will begin streaming on WWE Network this Sunday:
- Chapter 1 – This Sunday, May 10 immediately following Money In The Bank at approximately 10 pm ET
- Chapter 2 – Sunday, May 17 on demand beginning at 10 am ET
- Chapter 3 – Sunday, May 24 on demand beginning at 10 am ET
- Chapter 4 – Sunday, June 14 on demand beginning at 10 am ET
- Chapter 5 – Sunday, June 21 on demand beginning at 10 am ET
Visit www.wwe.com/wwenetwork for information on how to sign-up