The big focus of the incredible documentary currently airing on the WWE Network, “The Last Ride,” is Undertaker’s inability to come to terms with the end of his legendary career in professional wrestling. He’s accomplished everything there is to accomplish in the industry but, for whatever reason, he hasn’t figured out the best way to go out.
Actually, he’s really jealous of how Shawn Michaels did it, as he explains in episode three:
Michaels went out after back-to-back losses to Undertaker at WrestleMania 25 and 26, respectively. Those matches were absolute classics, two of the most exciting showcase bouts in the history of WWE’s biggest event. It was the perfect way for “HBK” to go out.
Undertaker, meanwhile, is still trying to find his way out the door.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, he made a comparison to two NFL legends in John Elway and Brett Favre and the duality of their final acts in pro football:
“There’s the John Elway ending and there’s the Brett Favre ending. John Elway wins the Super Bowl and retires. Brett Favre leaves the Packers and he goes to the Jets, then he goes to the Vikings and he just never gets there again. Then his last game is kind of sad. I’m trying really hard not to have that ending and coming to grips with the fact that I may not get the Elway ending. That’s what this whole process has been. I’m trying to weave a real intricate web here and I’ve got to make some really tough decisions very soon.”
Elway chased a Super Bowl ring his entire career, one that eluded him in the most painful of ways, and then went back-to-back in 1997-98 before retiring. He went out a hero.
Favre found plenty of glory, including a title early in his career, but couldn’t seem to let go until age and injuries caught up to him and his body simply couldn’t take it anymore. He went out not with a bang but a whimper.
Right now, Undertaker’s story is looking more like Favre’s than Elway’s, even with the success of the Boneyard match at WrestleMania 36. The question may very well be whether or not he has one more classic match left in him for WrestleMania 37.
Either way, the clock continues to tick.