The Undertaker is as iconic as legends get in WWE, though that also extends to the greater world of professional wrestling. The character of the Undertaker is one that everyone knows, but thanks to the larger-than-life persona, it can be easy to forget about Mark Calaway, the man that brings the beloved character to life and all of the challenges that work brings. WWE is pulling the curtain back on that journey in the first chapter of their five-part documentary Undertaker: The Last Ride, providing fans a glimpse at just how much work and, at times, pain goes into bringing such an icon to life in the ring for so long, and if you ever took the Undertaker for granted in the past, that all stops now.
Things pick up around WrestleMania 25, as Calaway reveals the toll some of his greatest matches took on his body. His matches with Shawn Michaels were some of his best, but he was excessively sore throughout them. His match with Triple H at 27 was even more painful, though, and he ended up spending two days in his hotel afterward followed by hip surgery.
You see how things were fine afterwards for the next two WrestleManias, followed by the substantial concussion he received during his match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30, parts of which he doesn't even remember. This pattern is actually one of the most intriguing reveals throughout the whole documentary, as earlier comments from Triple H and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin continue to echo the more you see what Calaway goes through every year just to get ready for Mania.
It can be easy to deride WWE for bringing back legends for a few spotlight matches throughout the year, with the notion being that it's taking that spot from a current member of the roster and giving the legend a cushy gig in return. Seeing what Calaway goes through every year just to get ready for his WrestleMania match bucks the latter part of that perception though, as he himself says at times it was going from match to surgery, then to rehab, and then back to training for WrestleMania.
This documentary doesn't just shine a light on Calaway's injuries, however, and one of the other fascinating elements of the first episode is how the concussion affected his confidence going into WrestleMania 31. You would never know it from watching that match, but the man known as the Undertaker was having a crisis of confidence right before he stepped into the ring, and it was Triple H who spotted it and helped remind Calaway of who he was and is.
It's a cool moment that reminds you that even a legend can get shaken, and watching him overcome that also brings to light why he decides to keep pushing forward in a way that can't be conveyed in just a promo or on social media, You see how much he's overcome already and how much he brings to WWE not just in the ring but also backstage in his interactions with Roman Reigns. He's more than a legend in WWE, he's a mentor and a friend.0comments
The road to get here has been long, but as you can see in this first episode, Calaway doesn't have many regrets. This is a fascinating look into a legendary career that will give you a whole new appreciation for the icon known as The Undertaker, as well as the man behind it all.
Undertaker: The Last Ride hits WWE Network this Sunday, May 10th immediately after Money in the Bank.