Throughout the Undertaker: The Last Ride five-part documentary series, Mark Calaway has openly debated the possibility of retiring from the WWE as The Undertaker. He initially intended on doing it at WrestleMania 33, but after what he felt was a disappointing match with Roman Reigns "The Deadman" started chasing one perfect match to close out his career with. For one reason or another he kept coming up short, that is until he competed in the Boneyard Match with AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36. Calaway explained at the end of Sunday's series finale that unless there's an emergency and Vince McMahon needs his help, "The Deadman" won't be stepping back inside of a ring again. He is, effectively, retired.
"My career, my legacy, speaks for itself. At the end of the day that's really all that matters," Calaway said. "And I have this other life that I need to go and experience and enjoy the fruits of my labor, enjoy the blessings that I have — my wife, my children."
"I believe I'm at a place now post-Boneyard, it's like I just one a hellacious battle against one of the best in the business," he added. "Here you are climbing on your motorcycle and taking off. There was a lot of thought and a lot of emotion that went through my head. One of those being, are you happy enough with that? It was just a powerful moment, and you don't always necessarily get those. If there was ever a perfect to a career, that right there is it. If Vince was in a pinch, would I come back? I guess time will only tell there. In case of emergency break glass, pull out The Undertaker, I would have to consider that. Never say never. But at this point in my life and my career, I have no desire to get back in the ring."
He concluded — "I've got a pit in my stomach right now (chuckles). This time the cowboy really rides away."
The announcement also means that the match between "The Deadman" and WWE Hall of Famer Sting — which fans were still holding out hope for — won't happen. Calaway addressed those fans in an interview with ComicBook earlier this week.
"Well, in this world, you never say never, but I think as great as it sounds on paper... And it does, I mean obviously that is a super marquee match, right? But where I kind of differ from a lot of people is I look past the marquee value and I look on the ability to deliver," he said. "So like you said, there's so many people that are clamoring for that match that I just don't know that the match could deliver on the people's expectations.
"And the only reason I say that, I'll take full [responsibility], I don't have the mobility or the same skill set that I once did that I would need to make that match great," he continued. "So there's just certain things, it's better left to the theater of the mind to actually put it out there. And then with the expectations being so high and the match not delivering, it would be a bigger disappointment than the match never happening at all. It's different, but in the same sense of like who's the greatest: [Michael] Jordan or LeBron [James]? I mean, you're never going to know because they're never going to have the opportunity to play against each other."