The WWE Universe never really got to see a proper retirement match for The Undertaker. ‘Taker faced off against AJ Styles in a cinematic ‘Boneyard Match’ in the main event of WrestleMania 36 (Night One), before quite literally riding off into the sunset. In fact, his official retirement announcement also came at his 30-year anniversary at Survivor Series 2020, inside the WWE ThunderDome.
Speaking to Alistair McGeorge of Metro, The Undertaker, perhaps the greatest character in the history of professional wrestling, explained how he came to the realization that he needed to retire at that very time, despite the absence of crowds and consequently a very unfavorable dynamic. He said,
“In my heart, I wasn’t ready to do it but, in my mind, I knew I had to. It’s been a difficult transition because if I physically could, I would still be going. But I can’t put on a match the way people expect to see The Undertaker wrestle. There’s no sense in tarnishing the legacy or cashing in on the equity that I built up. My back is completely locked up, I’ve got pain shooting down my legs. That’s when I knew I was done. It was physical, we did some really big stunts, but I shouldn’t have felt the way that I did. It was just that moment of clarity.”
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, The Undertaker’s retirement “match” was universally acclaimed.
The Deadman’s last in-ring match was again not really a full match, as he appeared as an impromptu replacement for Rey Mysterio in the Tuwaiq Trophy gauntlet match, squashing AJ Styles at SuperShowDown in Saudi Arabia.
Nevertheless, his WWE Hall of Fame induction speech last year in his home-state of Texas, that went over two hours, was truly a fitting tribute to the legacy of The Phenom.