The Undertaker is as famous as the legends of the WWE, although the same is true in the great world of professional wrestling. The undertaker’s figure is well known to everyone, but thanks to a more lively figure, you can easily forget Mark Calaway, the person who brings your favourite character to life, and all the difficulties that the work brings with it. In the first chapter of the five-part documentary Undertaker, WWE draws the curtain for this journey: The Last Ride, which gives fans an idea of how much work and sometimes pain it takes to bring such an icon to life in the ring, and if you’ve ever taken an undertaker for granted in the past, it ends now.
Around WrestleMania 25 everything is right, because Calaway shows that some of his biggest fights took place on his body. His matches with Sean were among the best, but he was too upset during those matches. His playing with Triple H at the age of 27 was even more painful, but he eventually spent two days in a hotel and was operated on his hips.
You can see how good he was after the next two WrestleManias, and then the severe concussion he had during the match against Brock Lesnar in WrestleMania 30, which he sometimes doesn’t even remember. In fact, this pattern is one of the most intriguing to see throughout the documentary, as previous Triple H and Coldstone comments repeat over and over again what you see Calway go through each year in preparation for the mania.
It’s easy to ridicule WWE by making legends come back at various competitions over the course of a year, with the idea of taking the place of the current list member and giving the legend a nice performance in return. Calaway’s vision of what he goes through every year to prepare for a WrestleMania competition benefits the last part of that perception, although, as he says himself, sometimes it goes from the game to surgery, then to rehabilitation, and then back to training for WrestleMania.
This documentary is not only about Calway’s injuries, but is one of the other fascinating elements of the first episode, when the concussion eroded her confidence in WrestleMania 31. You never would have thought it when you saw this game, but the man known as Junior had a crisis of confidence just before he entered the ring and it was Triple H who noticed him and helped Calaway remember who he was and who he is.
It is a terrifying moment that reminds you that even a legend can tremble and look how it is overcome, and it also highlights the reasons why it chooses to continue in a way that cannot be conveyed through promotion or social media alone. You can see everything she has already conquered and everything she brings to the WWE, not only in the ring but also behind the scenes of her interactions with the Roman rulers. It’s more than a World War II legend. He’s a mentor and a friend.
It’s been a long road, but as you can see in this first episode, Calway doesn’t have much to regret. It’s a fascinating look at a legendary career that gives you a whole new understanding of the icon known as Junior and the person behind it all.
Subservient: On this Sunday the 10th. Mayday, the last raid just after the money in the bank hit the WWE network.
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