The Undertaker claimed in the final minutes of The Last Ride documentary series earlier this year that he was effectively retired from the pro wrestling business. That was immediately met with skepticism by fans and wrestlers alike, given how flimsy wrestling retirements can be and how "The Deadman" toiled with that idea for years (as seen in the documentary series itself). But in a new interview with the New York Post, Undertaker (real name Mark Calaway) made no bones about the fact that he really is done wrestling.
"I realized I have taken every physical gift, tool that I have and have used it up," he said. "There's no water left in the sponge, if I can use that analogy. I've rung everything I could get out of that sponge."
Calaway's final match — the cinematic Boneyard Match with AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36 — wound up receiving widespread praise from fans. But while a cinematic match might not take the same physical toll as an in-ring bout, Calaway doesn't want to slip back into wrestling with more of those. He described it as "cheating."
"It really doesn't appeal to me because basically what it is, is working around my limitations," he said. "It's capitalizing on some of my ability and some of my creative ability to tell a story but basically it's trying to mask some of the lack of my physical abilities at this point."
He also spoke about Vince McMahon, who he referred to as "a caring human being" and "not the monster people think he is." Calaway also spoke out against fans who blamed McMahon for consistently bringing The Undertaker back over and over for events like the Saudi Arabia shows.
"If Vince feels like there's still something there, I have a place on the roster, then I had no problem doing it," he said. "That's where the internet and all that stuff kind of show up, 'Just let him retire, just let him do this, let him do that.' I'm a grown man. I can walk away anytime I want."
WWE will celebrate Undertaker's 30 years in the company by having him appear at Survivor Series on Nov. 22 for a "final farewell." He admitted at the end of the interview he still can't believe he stuck around with one company for so long.
"Guys will have their run and then they'll go somewhere else, they'll go to Japan, they'll go wherever or just take some time off," he said. "Because you get burned out and obviously our fan base, sometimes there's a flavor of the week. Once something new comes in the old kind of gets set aside. If you had told me, 'yeah you're gonna have a 30-year straight run with one company,' I would have been like, 'yea OK. If you say so.'"