On April 2nd, we all witnessed the end of an extraordinary career in the business of professional wrestling, when the iconic figure known as The Undertaker, wrestled his very last match in the squared circle.
To say this man has been an influence to professional wrestlers of multiple generations all over the world, is an understatement. Wether he portrayed “The American Badass” or “The Deadman”, he was undeniably one of, if not THE greatest character that this business has ever seen. He may not have been the greatest in-ring performer, but he never had to be either.
I enjoyed his portrayal of “The American Badass” the most (which is pretty much the way he was off cameras, a tough bad ass biker), as he was just plowing through everyone and looked menacing as hell doing it. In my point of view, he was the face of wrestling alongside Kane and Steve Austin because they were such great characters.
At this time in my life, I was the biggest fan of his half-brother Kane, and one of my closest friends was a huge fan of The Undertaker and we would always argue over who was the better wrestler, comparing moves, wins and losses. Countless hours were spent playing WWE Just Bring It, Shut your Mouth or Here Comes the Pain, fighting to prove who was really the best. I always thought The Undertaker had a lousy chokeslam and Kane had the greatest of course, which I still think.
Because of our fascination of the “Brothers of Destruction”, we practiced wrestling moves on each other, breaking beds and couches because of our thunderous chokeslams (as legendary wrestling commentator Jim Ross would describe them). Later, I would give and receive chokeslams like a pro during trampoline wrestling sessions with another friend of mine. Several times I’d knock myself silly because I would come down with too much force and I would knee myself in the face… After all these years as a wrestler and a fan, the chokeslam still remains my favourite wrestling maneuver.
When I learned and understood the wrestling business from an adult’s point of view, I also grew to appreciate “The Deadman” character. Hearing his gong, watching him enter slowly through the fog under the torches of the druids acompanying him. Chills, nothing but chills…
One of my favourite moments as a fan of wrestling, is him returning as “The Deadman” character at Wrestlemania 20, facing the man who litterally buried him several months ago, Kane. Both entrances are truly epic, even though the matchup itself is ‘ok’ at best. The memories of me and my buddy arguing over who would win and later watching the match, are priceless.
(The Undertaker vs Kane – WM20)
The Undertaker wrestled several classics against wrestlers like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk, Kurt Angle (one of my favourite Taker matches), Edge and even Batista.
I will never ever forget how mad and angry I was when Brock Lesnar broke the streak, but then I realized just how much The Undertaker meant to me, and probably 95% of all wrestling fans. Simply put, one of the greatest icons in the wrestling business, thank you Undertaker for all the memories growing up.