Everyone in professional wrestling has an expiration date, including The Undertaker, who is actually meant to depict a “living dead man.”
Taker debuted in WWE in 1990 as “Kane the Undertaker” and spent 30 years in the trenches for Vince McMahon and company, becoming such a key member of the roster that he became a locker room leader and the man who kept things non-violent following the “Montreal Screwjob.”
In an interview with Metro UK ahead of Money in the Bank, Taker discussed his final match in WWE, the Boneyard match, and why it served as his final farewell to the WWE Universe.
“In my heart, I wasn’t ready to do it, but in my mind, I knew I had to,” stated The Undertaker. “It’s been a difficult transition because I would still be going if I could physically do so.” But I can’t put on a bout like fans expect The Undertaker to put on. There’s no use in damaging my legacy or cashing in on the equity I’ve built.”
Taker cited his physical suffering while recording the Boneyard match with AJ Styles and the Good Brothers as a moment of clarity regarding his career’s expiration date, stating that the session served as a moment of clarity regarding his career’s expiration date.
“My back is completely locked up, and I’ve got pain shooting down my legs,” Taker explained. “That’s when I realized I was done.” It was physically demanding, and we performed some spectacular stunts, but I shouldn’t have felt the way I did. It was just that flash of insight.”
Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have The Undertaker perform a couple more Boneyard matches after 2020? Certainly, but do you know what? Would a sequel have been able to live up to the original? Or would it be Boneyard IV, similar to Halloween 4 or A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master? Finally, Taker was able to ride off into the sunset like a genuine “American Bada**,” and what more could Mark Calloway want for?
Mick Foley discusses the beginnings of his Hell in a Cell commercial with The Undertaker
On his podcast, Mick Foley discussed his iconic match, which also featured The Undertaker, and how the original idea for the finish of the Hell in a Cell fight in 1998 almost looked completely different.
“The chokeslam was supposed to be the big bump.” I hadn’t mentioned being flung from the cliff. The visual I was going for, now you see that when Undertaker choke-slammed me, I’ll recall this sound, and the next thing I know, I’m waking up, and there’s a pair of shoes in the ring, and I have no idea how they got there…. So the idea was, Undertaker’s gonna chokeslam me, and a corner of that cell, of that panel is gonna give way, and he’s gonna stuff me down head-first, so the visual I thought is, I’m gonna be upside down, flailing my arms around, and eventually he’ll let go of my knees, where he’d be kind of holding me, and I’d just have to take my own bump into the ring, just
“It wasn’t until later in the day that I suggested, ‘Hey, how about you throw me off the top of that thing?'” Returning to what Terry Funk said. I just mentioned it so casually to Taker and Vince that I attempted to make it seem insignificant. ‘I don’t know whether I like it, Mick,’ Vince said. ‘If I told you I was going to drop an elbow and Taker was going to move, you’d allow me, right?’ So I’m going with a positive, I’m not sure if that’s the proper term, but I’m laying it out as if it’s not a huge problem when it clearly was. He said, ‘I think so.’ I said it would be the same bump, which it was not. So I kind of threw that in there, or at least that’s how I remember it the day of. Until that point, the image I was looking for was the shredding of the cell’s panel.”
Wouldn’t it have been awesome to see Taker and Foley bust the cage at Hell in a Cell? Certainly, but Mankind sliding off the top of the cage while Jim Ross announced earnestly, “As God is my witness, he is broken in half!” will go down in history as one of the best moments in not only WWE history, but professional wrestling in general.