The airing of The Last Ride on the WWE Network has obviously caused a lot of reflection about the legacy of The Undertaker as it relates to his place in history. In recent years, one of the high profile matches Taker worked was against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33, a match was initially supposed to serve as a send-off and retirement for the "Dead Man." The first episode of The Last Ride showed the preparation for the match, but as the rest of the documentary has played out, we've seen how the bout left Taker unfulfilled and disappointed.
His opponent that night, Reigns, recently spoke about the match during an interview with ESPN. While Reigns was victorious in the match that was supposed to serve as Taker's swan song, he was adamant when he heard he was wrestling the legend that he did not want to win the bout.
"I remember the conversation with Vince," Reigns recalled. "I saw Taker like a week prior, and he almost gave it away, but he did good in covering it up. He could tell I didn't know yet. When Vince explained it to me, I was just in awe. It's something that everybody who gets into the business wants, to get into the ring with The Undertaker. And I remember the first thing I thought was that I wanted to put him over. I wanted to lose. Immediately, that was my instinct. Out of respect.
"I knew he was in pain, but I didn't know he was going in [for hip surgery] soon after that or else I would have crafted that story a little differently. So I knew it was on me to try to help carry it. The movement of the match. Orbit around him. But I thought it would have been a better story if I was on my back at the end. Obviously, it didn't go that way."
Reigns went on to talk about what happened when the match was over and the emotional response he had to it, including how the match continued to bother him for a very long time.
"When I went through gorilla [position] and he was still in the ring, I was just tucked off from the ramp into this little tiny holding area where people do last-minute [preparations] before a match," Reigns remembered. "I just sat in one of these little chairs and I cried. It was such an emotional overload, for bad reasons and for good reasons too. As a perfectionist, I think Mark can agree that we had such an awesome story. If it had all went perfectly ... aw man, it would have been so fire. But the opportunity to main-event a WrestleMania with Taker, I was so grateful. But the perfectionist in me could not let it go.
"It ate me up. It still bothers me a little bit. I remember my cousins [The Usos] and I skipped out on the after-party, and I didn't get back to the hotel until like 2 a.m. because we drank all night and talked. I probably shed a few more tears that night too. I had so many hopes and aspirations to take advantage of that man's time and do right by him, and I just felt like I failed that situation. And it just lit a fire under my ass. I don't think I had a bad match since.