The sound of the gong sends the crowd into a tizzy, his long and mystical walk sends a shiver down his opponents' spine, and his mere presence exudes an aura.
For almost 3 decades, The Undertaker has been the most dominant force in the WWE. The mystique remains to this day, and the charm is never-ending. The journey that started at Survivor Series 1990, is now nearing its climax. And this is a journey like no other - a journey that has allowed The Phenom to legitimately stake claim as the greatest WWE superstar of all time.
He has battled the biggest names in the business and given fans memories that will last a lifetime. Who can ever forget that epic moment when The Deadman pushed Mankind from the top of the Hell in a Cell structure, drawing gasps from the capacity crowd and the millions watching at home? Or that classic World Heavyweight Championship match against Batista, where The Undertaker rallied back and forth with ‘The Animal' and won the World Heavyweight title at WrestleMania 23? He won the title yet again in the main event the next year, out-dueling the 'Rated R Superstar' Edge, in what was a clinic.
The ethereal matches between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at the Grandest Stage of Them All will perhaps go down in history as two of the greatest in WrestleMania history. Those two legends told a classic story in the ring; and their Streak vs. Career encounter at WrestleMania 26 brought Michaels’ in ring career to a close. Another vicious, epic battle took place at WrestleMania 28 against Triple H, when the competitors pushed each other to the limits of endurance, before Undertaker finally prevailed.
It is impossible not to mention that fateful night at WrestleMania 30, when The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar did the unthinkable by ending The Phenom's legendary Streak, sending over 70,000 fans into a state of shock. Nevertheless, the 21-match undefeated streak will forever be The Undertaker's lasting legacy - not just the streak itself, but the character work and match quality.
The Undertaker has given WWE fans memories that will last a lifetime and has put his body on the line for almost three decades.
Yes, we have had legends, we have had icons. Hulk Hogan was the first big Superstar that the WWE ever produced; nobody could electrify the crowd like The Rock; nobody could deliver show-stopping performances like Shawn Michaels; Triple H's savagery is unrivaled.
But if you wanted a complete package, then you will have to choose The Undertaker. The way The Undertaker has adapted to the times, both in his body of work and his understanding of the business, and out-lasted his peers, puts him on a pedestal that ordinary mortals cannot fathom.
The Undertaker has, over the course of three decades, shone like a bright luminous sun, relegating the mere mortals to the background. It is absurd to imagine anybody competing 26 times at WrestleMania, and even more absurd that 24 of those were victories - against legends and cornerstones of the WWE like Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Kane,Triple H, Edge, Batista etc.
There will come a day when the gong will not strike, a day when the Undertaker finally removes his hat, coat and gloves, and walks into the darkness forever. We are nearing the end of probably the greatest journey in the history of Sports Entertainment, and certainly, a journey that will never be replicated.Published 19 Apr 2019, 04:01 IST