The Undertaker’s in-ring days are officially in the rear view. The legendary WWE superstar last competed at WWE WrestleMania 36 in a cinematic-style “Boneyard Match” against AJ Styles, defeating the Phenomenal One in a contest that was fairly critically-acclaimed by fans. Before this, Taker had a number of traditional contests that resulted in a variety of responses. Some were praised, like his tag match with Roman Reigns against Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon, while others were slammed, such as the infamous WWE Super ShowDown bout with Goldberg.
Taker’s rocky road began in 2017 when he was defeated by Reigns at WWE WrestleMania 33. That contest was originally intended to be Taker’s retirement match, but his dissatisfaction with the match’s quality led to him extending his career by a couple of years. Fortunately for the Deadman, he got his mojo back the very next year.
Taker defeated John Cena at WWE WrestleMania 34 in under three minutes.
“I didn’t know it was gonna be short till I got there that day,” Taker revealed to Chris Van Vliet on Insight. “I’ve trained for a 45-minute war, right? Alright, here’s redemption. I am going to light this place on fire! I felt good. Vince [McMahon] calls me into his office and he goes, ‘Okay, he says it’s just gonna be about five minutes. You’re gonna squash him.’”
This did not go over well with Taker, as he insisted on performing for his traditional WrestleMania duration.
“I said, ‘I’m doing 30 [minutes] or I’m not going out.’ He’s like, ‘Mark, that’s not what we need,’” Taker recalled. “John comes in he goes, ‘Oh no. I talked mad smack about you dude. Yeah, you need to beat me quick and get this over with.’ Are you kidding me? It’s like we’ve never worked on pay-per-view. Are you [serious]? This is WrestleMania, give me a break here! They ganged up on me. I threw my hands up. Vince just thought that was the funniest thing because like I said, I trained like an animal. I was so unbearable at home. As far as my diet and the training and just all my protocols of you know recoup, rehab, I was a nightmare. I get there and yeah, five minutes.”
Taker went on to have four more matches in 2018, all varying in duration and quality. This year started his road to a complete retirement, which he admitted he is still coming to grips with today.