“In the last 28 years, I’d say conservatively I’ve had 15, 16, 17 surgeries.”
“The human body isn’t made to take what we do to it”.
“My time has come to let The Undertaker rest in peace.”
In a recent interview, The Undertaker told the interviewer “The human body isn’t made to take what we do to it”. This shows the commitment and dedication that The Undertaker has put into the sport. Throughout his long career, The Undertaker has been through 17 surgeries after suffering injuries in the ring that would make a normal person want to stop doing the sport forever. But not The Undertaker, he kept pushing and pushing his body to the highest of limits just to please and entertain his long-time fans. But after 30 long years in the WWE. It was finally time for WWE’s longest-serving performer to hang up his black boots and retire from the WWE.
On 22nd November 2020, WWE hosted their annual Pay-Per-View Survivor Series, the night saw many ups and downs but the main story of the night was the official retirement from one of the greatest of all time, The Undertaker. His final words for the company hit home to most wrestling fans as he said, “My time has come to let The Undertaker rest in peace.” Announcing retirement with his famous slogan.
He was well known in not only the wrestling world but also the entire sporting world, his unique character made him stand out from the crowd. His character “The Undertaker” was a horror-themed entity with links to the supernatural. He employed scare tactics to help him defeat his opponents while also having a sense of mystery around him, which made him so interesting to watch. Along with his hard work and dedication to WWE he was always destined to be known as one of the greatest of all time.
The Undertaker signed with the WWE in October 1990 and made his on-screen debut at Survivor Series 1990. His team won the match that day and thus started his revolutionary career. After this point, he went on to main event many shows and win many championships across his years with the WWE. The Undertaker won 15 championships with the WWE and one Royal Rumble.
The Undertaker’s Top 5 Matches
The Undertaker has been through many matches, he has fought many people in many locations. Sometimes he fought in a cage, sometimes he fought in a ring surrounded by fire, no matter where he always entertained. These are some of the best matches he has ever been a part of.
Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25. The hype surrounding this match was off the charts in 2009 when two of the best were set to go one on one in a match that sells tickets. With 72,744 people attending the Wrestlemania event that year and 960,000 Pay-Per-View buys from home, this match was set to steal the show. With the event being set in Texas and both Taker and Michaels we’re from Texas, it only boasted the hype for this match. The Match lasted 30 minutes and 44 seconds with The Undertaker walking away with the Victory after catching Shawn Michaels mid-air and delivering his signature move “The Tombstone Piledriver”. The match won Match of the Year in both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The memory of that match was forever cemented in our minds after a brilliant performance from both The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels and may go down as one of the greatest matches of all time.
Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26. If the previous fight between The Undertaker and Michaels wasn’t enough for you, they fought again in a rematch that was as great as the first. The event was at Glendale, Arizona at Wrestlemania 26, the focus was more on Shawn Michaels because he spent the last couple of months trying to get the rematch he wanted. The Undertaker did not accept at first but after Michaels put his career on the line it was official. With Michaels career on the line and Undertaker’s 17-0 Wrestlemania streak on the line, It was a Shawn Michaels Vs The Undertaker, Career vs Streak match. The hype was as big as the first fight, and fans have never been split like this before, some wanted to see The Undertaker’s streak live on, but some people didn’t want to see Shawn Michaels career come to an end. With 72,219 people in attendance and 885,000 Pay-Per-View buys, the Main Event was set. Unlike Wrestlemania 25, this event was the main event, giving it even more hype than the first. The match lasted 23 minutes and 59 seconds, with the final moments of the match showing The Undertaker using his signature move called “The Tombstone Piledriver” for the third time and pinning Shawn Michaels, ending his career. After the match, they both shook hands, knowing that they put one hell of a match on for the fans. The Undertaker then left the ring so Michaels could say goodbye to the fans one last time. The match earned a 9.5 rating out of 10 and just like their previous match in 2009, they also won Match of the Year 2010 from both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Just like the first, the match is forever cemented in our minds as one of the greatest of all time.
The Undertaker vs Triple H at WrestleMania 28. This Hell in a Cell Match was set to be one of the best from the very beginning. Triple H and The Undertaker went one on one at the previous Wrestlemania, which was Wrestlemania 27, at Atlanta, Georgia. That match ended in The Undertaker winning but having to be carried out by WWE medical professionals. This was due to the match being a grueling No Holds Barred Match and Triple H hit The Undertaker in the head with a steel chair many times. After being out for 10 months, The Undertaker returned to challenge Triple H again at Wrestlemania 28 due to him feeling unsatisfied with the last match even though he won. Triple H didn’t accept the challenge at first but eventually did after it was agreed to be in a Hell in a Cell match with Triple H’s friend and former Wrestlemania opponent for The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. It was sold as “The End of an Era”, building, even more, match hype and excitement around the event. Wrestlemania 28 was in Miami Gardens, Florida with 78,363 in attendance and 1,217,000 Pay-Per-View buys. This was the most purchased wrestling event in history. The match lasted 30 minutes and 47 seconds with The Undertaker walking out victorious after kicking out of multiple “pedigrees”, which is Triple H’s signature move, and finishing Triple H off with a final “Tombstone Piledriver” and keeping the streak alive at 20-0. The match won Match of the Year 2012 from Pro Wrestling Illustrated and also received a WWE Slammy Award, which was an award given out by the WWE themself, for Match of the Year. It was the final match in The Undertaker vs Triple H and Shawn Michaels era. Delivering four great matches between 2009 and 2012, at Wrestlemania 25, 26, 27, and 28. An era of WWE that will never be forgotten.
The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar at No Mercy 2002. With Brock Lesnar on the rise as the WWE Champion, it was set to be a classic. The Undertaker, one of the best, vs Brock Lesnar, an up and coming champion, inside Hell in a Cell. The match was set for October 20th, 2002 at WWE’s No Mercy event after Stephanie Mcmahon, the Smackdown general manager at the time, made the match. The event was in North Little Rock, Arkansas, with 10,000 in attendance and 300,000 Pay-Per-View buys. The match lasted 27 minutes and 18 seconds and saw Brock Lesnar walk away with the win against The Undertaker after he hit his signature move called the “F5” and pinned The Undertaker. The match went down as one of the most gruesome and bloody matches to date, some say the perfect Hell in a Cell match, that is why the match is rated so highly by many WWE fans.
The Undertaker vs Edge at WrestleMania 24. This match was a simple match with a great storyline and rivalry between two competitors, this is why it’s seen as such a good match by WWE fans. After The Undertaker won a number 1 contenders match at WWE’s Pay-Per-View No Way Out 2008, he was entitled to a World Heavyweight Championship match against Edge at Wrestlemania 24. Edge then taunted The Undertaker by saying that The Undertaker’s 15-0 streak at the time would come to end because he would beat The Undertaker. The match was set, The Undertaker, the number 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, vs Edge, the World Heavyweight Champion who believes he will end The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak and retain his title. The match was in Orlando, Florida, with 74,635 people in attendance and 1,058,000 Pay-Per-View buys. The match was the main event of the night and lasted 24 minutes and 7 seconds and saw The Undertaker’s streak live on as he defeated Edge by submission while using his submission move called “Hell’s Gate” and became the new World Heavyweight Champion. The match was given the rating of 9.5 out of 10 and a great addition to The Undertaker vs Edge rivalry. A rivalry that went down as one of the best in WWE’s history.
The Undertaker’s Injuries
The Undertaker has put on many amazing matches, but sometimes the cost of those matches can end up in devastating injury. The Undertaker has been injured many times and has 17 surgeries in total. Here is a list of some of his injuries.
Back Injury. One of The Undertaker’s early injuries came in 1994 when he injured his back that ruled him out of competing for a while. He missed Wrestlemania 10. He was written off in a storyline so he had time to recover from his injury and this was the first time The Undertaker couldn’t work around his injury like he had done so many times before. A back injury is not the greatest news for any professional wrestler as they rely on that area of the body in their matches to lift other competitors and many other things.
Hip Injury. In the latter stages of The Undertaker’s career, nothing has caused him more trouble than his hips. WWE wrestlers take a lot of bumps in the ring and this eventually caught up to The Undertaker after his legendary match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25. After the match, he had hip surgery and to many people’s surprise, came back to the WWE after to continue working. Most of the time, hip injuries can cost a wrestler their entire career, especially ones like The Undertaker who has been around a long time.
Burn Damage Injury. At WWE’s Pay-Per-View event in 2010 called Elimination Chamber, it was a normal day for The Undertaker until he made his entrance to the ring that day when a pyro accident occurred and set fire to The Undertaker and he received some serious burn damage. The Undertaker would then continue to douse himself in cold water throughout the match and complete the 35 minute and 40 seconds match before seeking further treatment. This shows the true commitment he has, as he completed a long match while suffering from burn damage.
Broken Orbital Bone Injury. The Undertaker suffered a face injury back in 1995 but was able to get past it with recovery over time. However, in 2010, the problem returned for The Undertaker after a match with Rey Mysterio. During the match, after a mistake that ended in The Undertaker suffering a broken orbital bone around his eye, it forever changed The Undertaker’s career as he never truly recovered from the injury, and from that point on he had to try to avoid taking blows to that area if he didn’t want to risk going blind and ending his career.
Ear Injury. At one point in The Undertaker’s career, he was very lucky that he didn’t lose his ear. During a match with WWE legend Stone Cold Steve Austin, Austin dived on top of The Undertaker’s back and accidentally ripped The Undertaker’s ear causing it to bleed throughout the match. The Undertaker came away from that match lucky to have not lost an ear or sustain any further damage.
What the fans thought of The Undertaker
The Undertaker has been with WWE for 30 years, so his fanbase will be from many different generations. Just imagine it, you are a young WWE fan in 1990 watching this future legend emerge from the curtains and 30 years later you are watching emerge from that curtain once again but no longer as a young fan but a dedicated one. Here are some of the things fans from different generations had to say about The Undertaker.
Keith is a 48 year old WWE fan who watched The Undertaker throughout his entire career, he had this to say;
“I remember the day he made his debut, his character was so strange and it was something that was rare in the WWE. So I didn’t think he would turn out the way he did, I underestimated him, cause now he is the greatest in my opinion and my personal favourite.”
Tyler is an 18 year old WWE fan who has watched WWE most of his life and grew up watching Undertaker in his prime years, he had this to say;
“The Undertaker I think is one of the most iconic superstars ever and my best memory of him is his rivalry with Shawn Michaels. Their match at Wrestlemania 25 is one of my favourite matches ever.”
Elliott is a 16 year old who is a self-proclaimed “massive WWE fan” had this to say;
“The Undertaker is one of the best I have ever seen in the ring, he’s entertaining, charismatic and most importantly he cares about the WWE just as much as the fans do. I love the Wrestlemania streak storyline, Wrestlemania without The Undertaker won’t be the same”
What other WWE superstars thought of The Undertaker
WWE superstar Dave Bautista after fighting the Undertaker; “I think I earned his respect that night, and to earn Taker’s respect, you’ve arrived.”
WWE superstar Edge on fighting The Undertaker at Wrestlemania with the streak on the line; “To be given that opportunity, you knew, they trust me, he trusts me with his baby, that is the streak.”
WWE commentator Michael Cole talking about The Undertaker’s Matches; “Every match was different and unique in its own way, it became this unbelievable moment that you look forward to.”
With these quotes from WWE superstars, we can see the level of respect The Undertaker has earned from his co-workers. It is an honour for most to wrestle him or just see him wrestle in that WWE ring.
The Undertaker for me will go down as one of the greatest of all time. The fact that he continued when he didn’t have to, shows that he cares about the business and the fans. With many memories made with a lot of fans the Undertaker’s legacy is forever cemented in the WWE, and it will be very hard to find a well known athlete like that again. After 30 years in the WWE, I think a lot of fans will applaud his work and will happily see their favourite get the long awaited rest he truly deserves.