The retirement of The Undertaker is one of those things I and expect many knew was coming but didn’t really want to happen. All good things must come to an end after all.
It feels weird to be almost mourning a fictional character no longer being on my screen but while I may not be the most devoted fan of the wonderful and weird pantomime that is Professional Wrestling, often falling out with it for months or even years at a time thanks to varying circumstances, but the anchor that kept me checking the news and crawling back full of renewed vigor and apologies and that was the Deadman.
Undertaker wasn’t always my favourite wrestler, he was a heel when he debuted after all & 7 year old Martin was all about that Kayfabe, but I sure as shhhhhhhugar was frightened of him as he systematically destroyed all the goodies in his path en route to a showdown with Hulk Hogan who was my actual favourite of the time. Taker finding a conscience and embracing the light soon after to face Jake Roberts gave me a reason to cheer on the Deadman and from then on I carried on that cheering for different reasons as I “got smart” to the inner ways of wrestling and whether hero or villain, face or heel, Undertaker was “my guy”.
I’ve always been drawn to the more theatrical aspects of the graps. Entrances, characters and visuals often excite me more than what happens between bells but Undertaker showed me that the two aren’t mutually exclusive, especially when his character softened in the mid 90s away from the slow and stoic ” Zombietaker” character and began entering amazing showcases of wrestling ability well into his third decade of performing as well as enjoying some jaw dropping theatricality and some chilling entrance themes. Undertaker really was the total package (sorry Lex).
Part of me wants to wax lyrical about how “my childhood is dead now he’s gone” and “wrestling isn’t for me anymore” and while there may be truth to bits of those statements, it doesn’t seem fitting for me to overly eulogise The Undertaker character, ironic as that appears for a character so steeped in death and the macabre, but rather celebrate what the Undertaker meant and means for me.
Having the presence and skill to transcend a cartoonish gimmick and become such a respected and liked figure on both sides of the curtain is a fabulous legacy to leave for the man behind The Undertaker and he leaves several generations of fans and this one in particular.
Thanks for everything Deadman & thanks for reading