The Undertaker is a legend, and over the years we haven't had too many chances to see the man behind the legend. That's why WWE's Undertaker: The Last Ride has had so much impact, and that trend continues in Chapter 4: The Battle Within. For an icon that's been in the business over two decades, stepping away can be challenging, and a rollercoaster of emotions follows as Undertaker seeks redemption for past fumbles while simultaneously coming to terms with the fact that his time in a business that he feels so much passion for is nearing its end. While father time catches up to all of us, that's not to say that you can't go out on your own terms, and if anyone's going to make that happen, it's The Undertaker.
Early on the episode provides an honest look at the self-described trainwreck that was the DX vs Brothers of Destruction match in Saudi Arabia, but that's not the only intimate glimpse we get into the man behind the character. We get to see behind the scenes footage and even a few bloopers from several promos and segments from early in Undertaker's career, and it's in such stark contrast to the character of the Undertaker that he protected whenever in public. In fact, his dedication to the character even became a challenge to many superstars who tried to get him to break character, but few ever did.
Undertaker has been an open book throughout the documentary, but perhaps the most revealing glimpses of the man have come from those around him, especially his wife Michelle McCool. McCool provides a revealing prism in which to view Calaway's biggest challenges and victories, and you feel like you get to see a whole new side of the legend whenever she speaks, like when she shares how hard it was to watch her husband deal with the fact that he wasn't in the mix at WrestleMania 35.
One of the biggest examples of this is in regards to the Goldberg match at Super Showdown, which paints a much different picture of the match and its fallout. From the outside, fans saw a dejected Undertaker trying to come to terms with a match that seemed to completely fall apart. McCool, however, provides a glimpse into what happened internally, and you get a better understanding of not only the disappointment Calaway felt from how things turned out but also the physical toll it took on his back and body, not to mention the effect and fear the match caused McCool after such a close call.
That same honesty is at play in an emotional exchange between Undertaker and Vince McMahon after his triumph at Extreme Rules. This was quintessential Undertaker, a showcase for a legend who proved he still had something left to give and could deliver when called upon.
It's a moment worth celebrating, and that's what makes the next conversation with McMahon so unexpected, as he tells his friend that he's done and that he just doesn't have anything left. Vince thinks he does, but you don't often hear McMahon tell someone "I will follow your lead."
In one of the most honest moments, Calaway admits that while he helped give Shawn Michaels his fairy tale ending, he wishes he had gone with him. It's that struggle and search for an ending that weighs heavy on Calaway, though it is also something that feeds him in away, and Triple H seems to sum it up best.
"Yes there's a loyalty to Vince, but I believe that the truth is not the loyalty to Vince, it's the loyalty to this, all of it," Triple H says. "And it's not money, it's not the fame, it's not any of the stuff. It's the moments. It's the excitement. It's that connection to the fans. It's the dragon. The loyalty is to the dragon that you're chasing."
Undertaker: The Last Ride has given us a whole new appreciation for The Undertaker, but not just the character or the matches he delivered in the ring. The real appreciation is for the man that turned what could have been a flash in the pan gimmick into a pillar of professional wrestling, and all the adversity, pain, and commitment that made it all happen. We don't want to see The Undertaker go just yet, but we want him to find that perfect ending, because he most certainly has earned it.0comments
Rating: 5 out of 5