WWE has partnered up with Netflix for an interactive story dubbed Escape The Undertaker, which premiered October 5, 2021 exclusively on the streaming platform.
The New Day wrestlers seek to survive the supernatural surprises at The Undertaker’s spooky mansion in an interactive WWE-themed special.
Following NXT 2.0, I sat down to check it out for a number of reasons. Not only is The Undertaker essentially tied with Shawn Michaels as my favorite Superstar of all time and The New Day has pretty much sealed the “favorite tag team of all time” spot, it’s also simply just another oddball wrestling thing that I feel I should experience because it’s part of my job.
But that doesn’t mean it’s something you need to experience. Just because I watched Heels and Rhodes to the Top doesn’t mean you necessarily have to, which is why I like to do these “see it or skip it” reviews.
This is for those who are on the fence about whether or not they should invest their time checking it out and want to have a second opinion to help guide them. Keep in mind that opinions are subjective. Just because I like or dislike something, even if you agree with me 90% of the time, doesn’t mean that 10% doesn’t matter. If you’re interested, see it regardless of my thumbs up or thumbs down.
With that being said, let’s break this down in as non-spoilery as I can get.
The Overall Story
As it says in the synopsis above and indicates in the trailer, this is fairly straightforward. The New Day go to The Undertaker’s mansion in search of his urn, for whatever reason, and get spooked out in the process.
I can’t approach something like this with the same viewpoint I would a regular movie or television series. This isn’t vying for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards or anything. It’s supposed to be silly and fun and not all that in-depth.
However, lacking gravitas doesn’t mean it has to lack a more functional story. I don’t think this really holds up on premise alone. There isn’t much of a setup as it essentially goes straight into The New Day inside the mansion and right for the gimmicks.
Sadly, those gimmicks aren’t all that great, either. There are a few gags that can be kind of fun, but there’s no cohesion to anything. The tone is a bit all over the place as it’s certainly not scary enough to justify being a horror story, nor is it campy enough to lean more in some Scooby-Doo direction.
The idea that The Undertaker is full-blown evil is a bit odd considering he’s been a babyface most of his career. I think they might have been better suited going with a heel protagonist that The Phenom tortures, rather than The New Day.
The Interactive Features
The real gimmick is the “choose your adventure” style interactive function. As this goes along, it presents you some options to pick from which take the story in another direction depending on what you went with.
While I’ll admit that I had fun watching this in a general sense, I quickly found myself disappointed in the selection process. It was very straightforward what made the most sense to progress the story and deviating from it immediately takes you back just to essentially the previous pick.
Ideally, more material would have been filmed. I want to know that my first pick is leading in an entirely different direction than if I had chosen something else, rather than everything converging into the same idea with some detours that fix themselves.
Again, without spoiling anything, think of this as though you’re at a crossroads and you choose to go left instead of right. Then, your next three options are to choose left or to end the story. After four lefts, you’re back to the original choice and you have to go right. Basically, all you did was waste some time because they had one choice they wanted you to make and you didn’t do it.
There simply aren’t enough prompts—particularly toward the end—nor enough alternate avenues to really make this worthwhile.
The Verdict: See It or Skip It?
Sadly, I say Skip It. If you’ve got half an hour to kill, breeze through it with your initial decisions. Even then, it might be a disappointment. Definitely don’t waste your time going back to try to pick different things to see the alternative outcomes, as you’ll wish you could fast-forward until the next pick.
I applaud them for trying. I’m glad they’re playing around with The Undertaker and The New Day. A better executed version of this could have been really awesome and something worth doing again. This didn’t turn out all that great of an experience, but it was worth a shot and I hope WWE keeps experimenting like this.
This is absolutely best suited for kids (to no surprise, given its PG), but it’s probably only going to appeal to children who are fond of WWE. Someone who isn’t a wrestling fan will probably get nothing out of it.
Did you see Escape The Undertaker? What did you think of it? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!