The first ever main event I vividly remember watching was Survivor Series in 1990. I was eight and lying on my Dad’s living floor.
Someone else who I’m sure remembers that as their first ever WWE (then WWF) main event was another Mark (spells it wrong but there you go).
He’ll remember it because it was his debut for the company as The Undertaker.
Fast forward to today. Thirty years later, he’s still wrestling with the company. I’m still watching him wrestling, albeit I’m now the Dad and my son is too young to pay attention just yet but I’m working on it.
In fact, if this year’s Survivor Series goes ahead on the date planned it will be 30 years TO THE DAY since ‘Taker debuted and left children (and parents, grandparents and ring announcers) gob-smacked, and on that day I think he needs to formally announce his retirement.
Survivor Series would be the perfect place to do it, too, even though Wrestlemania is the event most associate him with.
One year after coming into the company he won his first major championship against Hulk Hogan of all people. He’s had matches at Survivor Series against the likes of Hogan, Kurt Angle, The Rock, Mankind and Kane. He was part of the fantastic WWF vs Alliance match in 2001 and has won a Survivor Series Casket match on THREE separate occasions, all at the November PPV.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t agree. Yes, we all thought he’d retired for good after losing to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 2017 and for all intents and purposes that’s what it looked like.
Reigns beat him (boo) then following the match the Undertaker made a point of laying his hat and coat in a neat pile in the middle of the ring.
According to the incredible WWE documentary The Last Ride this was going to be his final match but he wasn’t happy with how it went and was pulled back in to the following year’s Wrestlemania in 2018.
Along with that event, the Undertaker had his busiest year match-wise for quite a while, taking part in both Saudi Arabia PPVs and also the Super Showdown in Australia.
Then in June 2019, he had a…. (be polite, be polite) ‘match’ with Goldberg. More than one news source said that match showed both wrestlers are past it.
So what did the ‘Taker do? He came roaring back the following month, tagging with Roman Reigns to take on Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre and put on one HELL of a showing.
I mean it was practically flawless and you could’ve sworn you were watching the Undertaker from 10, 15 years earlier.
Did he stop there? No he did not.
He worked in Saudi Arabia again, winning the gauntlet match although I wouldn’t call his appearance there ‘wrestling’ as much as ‘squashing’. Then he went on to face AJ Styles at Wrestlemania in the first ever Boneyard Match which was cinematic brilliance.
If you’ve not seen it for whatever reason, go watch it now and I’ll wait. Are you back? How good was that?!
That was the perfect last match for the Undertaker.
He did it all, showcased some moves, beat a load of people up and stood tall at the end with all his imagery behind him then rode off into the night.
Could he have wished for a better final match and send off? Could WE have wished for a better final Undertaker match?
There are still a few more parts of the Last Ride yet to air but my feeling is that the last episode will be Mark Calaway announcing that the Undertaker has fought his last.
Calaway will still be around as he’s signed a new contract with the WWE but I can’t see him being an active wrestler again.
Which brings me back to Survivor Series. If the crowds are back I’d love to see the Undertaker make his entrance one last time. To hear that gong hit when the lights go out still gives me goose bumps.
If it was then followed by a retirement speech and a long walk to the back with all the locker room lining the stage then I wouldn’t be surprised but, to paraphrase Ric Flair, I’d be watching it with a tear in my eye.
‘The Last Ride’ Chapter 3 will be available on WWE Network from Sunday 24th May.
You can check out an exclusive clip from the episode, courtesy of WWE, now on our YouTube channel here, or see the clip below.