TJR WWE Network Review: The Undertaker – “The Last Ride” Chapter Three (End of an Era)
Here’s my recap of the third chapter of the WWE Network documentary “The Last Ride” focusing on The Undertaker. It’s a closer look into the life of Mark Calaway as he gives WWE fans insight into his life and career like never before. Read my review of Chapter Two here. This time I’m reviewing it in more of a play by play format.
The synopsis on WWE Network looks like this:
Chapter 3: End of an Era
Fresh off his stellar performance at WrestleMania 34 against John Cena, The Undertaker seeks closure on his 30-year career in a series of matches with the men he respects the most – Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Kane. With a dream scenario involving all four Legends at WWE Crown Jewel, the stage was set for The Phenom to ride off into the night.
This episode began with Undertaker beating John Cena at WrestleMania 34 in 2018 in a short match that was less than three minutes long. As Michael Cole said, Taker “routed” John Cena.
Taker as Mark Calaway said that he was prepared to do a 20-30 minute match, but it was a lot shorter than that. Taker said that he was looking forward to that one match that brings him back to yesteryear and have that great match. If he would have had that great match with Cena then he could have walked away and been okay, but it was just a three minute match, so what are you gonna do? Keep wrestling, of course.
They showed clips of Taker backstage after his match with wife Michelle and their daughter. It was cute to hear their daughter say that she didn’t believe daddy won. Taker said that his daughter usually stays awake for the ones that he has lost. I think one of Taker’s other daughters was sitting with them at WrestleMania too. Taker joked that it was nice that he got to crush one of his daughter’s favorites in John Cena. Taker repeated that he wishes he got more time in the Cena match and Michelle said the same thing because she knew he was capable of doing more, but she thinks that short three minutes did a lot for him. Taker said he was feeling good, in shape and felt like he can work a few more matches.
There were clips of the Greatest Royal Rumble event with Undertaker saying it was an honor to be invited there and he thought it was important to be part of that. The event was on April 27, 2018.
Taker said he was always curious about how things are going to be received in different parts of the world. The match saw The Undertaker face Rusev in a Casket Match with Taker crediting the fans for being into the match and he thought it was a win-win all the way around. After the match, Taker said he didn’t feel as good as he did in New Orleans, but 90% better than in the last few years. Taker said it was nice to get the reception that he got when he came out and he said that it “keeps an old guy young.” Well said.
The Undertaker Returns to Madison Square Garden…For The Last Time?
The next event was a live event at Madison Square Garden on June 7, 2018. Taker said he wanted to soak it in one last time in case this is it and he thought it will “probably be the last match in the Garden” so it will be a special night. Taker had a lot of praise for NYC fans saying they were true fans and he wanted to give them what they expect when they see his name on the marquee. He said if you bring it in the Garden, they show you love and if you don’t, they will let you hear it. The fans popped big for Undertaker that night as he won a six man tag with Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. Undertaker pinned Kevin Owens with a Tombstone that night as Taker talked about how hopefully the guys he was in the ring with can pick up something to make them better.
Main event in #MSG@TheGarden with @undertaker and Uce @WWERomanReigns.
I’ll never forget the words he said to me that night. #TheLastRidehttps://t.co/I1QRjnhkEo
— Adam Scherr (@Adamscherr99) May 24, 2020
Taker said he took time to look around more on that night and make eye contact with the people because he wanted to soak it in while noting he’s had so many matches there. Taker said that they delivered while the fans went home happy, excited and it was good that it was still special. Taker said if that’s the last time he’s in the Garden then he’s okay with that because it was a memorable night…and he paused because it was a bit emotional. Triple H spoke said that if those moments are great then it makes you want to have another one.
They showed Taker when he was home with his family again. There was a physical therapist working him and Michelle out at home. Taker said he got the call from Vince to work a match with Triple H at the Australia Super Showdown show in 2018 with Vince promoting it as their last time in a match together.
Triple H talked about when he entered WWE in 1995, Undertaker had a strong persona and he was legit. Hunter said there was a night when everybody was alright, Undertaker was drinking some Jack Daniels and he told Hunter he was alright with him. Hunter noted that he didn’t drink, but he said Undertaker respected him. Taker said that they thought alike in terms of match presentation and storyline while adding that Hunter is a guy he enjoyed working with. Hunter said that Taker was a locker room leader. Hunter said when he started dating Stephanie, he went to Taker, who said screw what others think because Hunter knew what he could do and Taker said if people don’t like that then that is their problem. They even showed a clip of Hunter and Taker at Hunter’s wedding in October 2003. See below.
Hunter said that the one guy that could relate to things was Taker. Hunter said that they don’t have a day to day, buddy-buddy hang out relationship, but he can talk to Taker when he’s there. Undertaker said that they don’t talk to eachother every day, but Hunter knows that if he needed anything then Taker would be there and that goes both ways.
They showed Taker at a training session as he talked about how what he’s most proud of in terms of matches are the four matches that he had at WrestleManias 25 and 26 with Shawn Michaels and then WrestleManias 27 and 28 with Triple H. Taker said he’d put up his two matches with Shawn against any matches.
Undertaker vs. Michaels at WrestleMania 25
Taker said that early on he was not a big fan of Shawn Michaels outside the ring, but in the ring there was nobody he would rather work with. Michaels talked about how the respect was there from Taker because of his ability, but thankfully Shawn changed 20 years ago as a person and Taker said Shawn was a completely different human being. Michaels said that the chemistry that they had was just magic being in there with him. Taker said that they knew they would be themselves and it was magic, so they both used that same word. Hunter said he was working with Randy at that WrestleMania 25 and said “we are f**ked” because it was the greatest thing he had ever seen. Shawn said you could feel the electricity, everybody could feel it and we got that memorable Taker shocked face. They showed a clip from Jim Ross saying he had an “out of body experience” because he was seeing things that were phenomenal as we saw Taker’s bump on the floor. Taker finished off Michaels with a Tombstone Piledriver and that was it for a match that is arguably the best WWE match ever. I think it’s the best ever too. (My review of this match is here.)
Steve Austin talked about how it was great chemistry between Taker and Shawn and it was storytelling at its finest. There was a clip shown of Taker and Shawn hugging after that WM25 match. We also saw Austin praising Taker as well. There was a clip shown of Undertaker and Shawn getting a standing ovation from everybody in the backstage area too.
Undertaker vs. Michaels at WrestleMania 26
Taker spoke about how they had already set the bar the year before as Taker defended The Streak against Shawn’s career. Michaels spoke about how the first match was off the chart and then this match was how Shawn was going to end his career that started when he was 19 years old. Undertaker talked about how Shawn got the John Elway retirement because Elway won the Super Bowl in his last year (last two years actually) because he got to leave on his terms. They showed some match highlights as Michaels did the throat slash gesture, so Undertaker put him away with another Tombstone. It was another classic match. (My review of this match is here.)
Michaels said that everybody is amazed that he’s able to stay retired and he said it speaks to the closure that they were able to have with eachother after that match. Shawn and Taker hugged in the ring after that match. When they got backstage, Shawn and Taker hugged again with Vince and Hunter standing right here. Taker said he wished had that kind of clarity to end his career like that.
Taker said when he has his match he’s looking for, he hopes he has that clarity as well. Austin spoke about how it’s hard to give up because it’s the thing you love the most. Mick Foley said that he believes there will come a time when Taker knows when it’s time to say goodbye and it’ll be the last of a true phenomenon. Edge said he hopes Undertaker gets that proper moment and if he gets it that he knows to take it and finally close the door.
Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 27
Hunter spoke about how Undertaker came to him to suggest that maybe they have a match at the next WrestleMania. Taker said it was like one continual story where Hunter was following what his buddy Shawn tried to do. They showed some match highlights with some big spots in the match and a lot of chairshots by Hunter and Taker. The match ended when Undertaker slapped on the Hell’s Gate submission and Triple H tapped out. (My review of that match is here.)
TJR Thoughts: This was my first WrestleMania that I attended and I remember this match the most from that show because it was definitely the best match that happened. They didn’t say it in the documentary, but the story was that even though Undertaker won the match, he was carted out of the building due to the beating he took while Triple H walked away. That’s what really set up the next year.
Hunter said that it kind of felt like the end of an era and they had conversations of somehow getting Shawn back involved again. Hunter said they kept talking about Hell in a Cell, so that led to WrestleMania 28 because out of all the Hell in a Cell matches, Hunter and Taker had been in like two thirds of them.
Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 28 – Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as the referee
This is probably the best match I’ve ever seen live or at least one of the best. Michael Cole talked about how great of a story this was while talking over Shawn’s emotions in the match made for tremendous theater. Taker talked about the memorable spot in the match when Shawn hit a superkick and Hunter hit a Pedigree and Taker kicked out at two. I remember how loud the ovation was in that building. Taker said right there moreso than any other time ever did the people think that The Streak would be broken. Shortly after that, Taker hit the Tombstone and won the match.
Taker said that he knew they had just finished something that will las through the annals of time in their history. For the last four years, they beat the living hell out of eachother. Hunter said that was their last big shot of all of them doing what they do with eachother. Hunter said it was all real in that moment when they were at the top of the stage together looking back on the crowd with Hunter saying that is one of his favorite moments of all time. (My review of that match is here.)
Taker said that was an organic moment that happened and it wasn’t planned. Taker said that it was one of those special moments of his career standing with two guys he had the utmost respect for. Undertaker said that the three of them had the picture framed and it hangs above the door in his gym (see the photo above). You can see their autographs on it. Taker said it was a constant reminder of a special moment of his career.
Super Showdown 2018 – The Undertaker vs. Triple H
There were more clips of Undertaker training with Michelle McCool in preparation for his match against Triple H. Undertaker did one of his famous promos saying Triple H will rest in peace.
The match was Undertaker with Kane against Triple H with Shawn Michaels in Melbourne, Australia as we saw highlights form that event. The date was October 6, 2018.
Taker and Hunter both talked about preparing for the match while noting that they felt comfortable working together.
There was even footage of Undertaker backstage playing cards. The WWE Athletic Trainer Larry Heck was playing cards with him. Taker said that he gives Larry a lot of crap. Taker said that he has played so much cards playing gin with Larry all over the world. Taker joked about kicking people out of the room that brought him bad luck like Hornswoggle, Big Show and Tony Chimel. Heck spoke about how they play for pride and there was no money exchanged while adding that Taker is a sore loser. Kane was in the room laughing about it. Taker said that he bonded with Larry and his gin game was subpar, then he joked that he’ll get a phone call after this.
TJR Thoughts: I like seeing downtime moments like that. I would have liked to see more footage like this with Undertaker joking around more and showing that side of his personality.
This Undertaker match against Triple H was the “Last Time Ever” to try to give it that big fight feel in front of 70,000 fans. Taker said that the match was old school storytelling as highlights were shown of the match. Taker said that it needed to be physical and violent and they went at it in a way that showed it would be their last match against eachother. Undertaker hit a Tombstone that was only good for a two count. Undertaker was about to give the Tombstone to Shawn Michaels, but Hunter saved Shawn with a sledgehammer, so Shawn hit a superkick (referee was down) and Hunter hit a Pedigree. All four guys posed together in the ring, but then Kane and Taker attacked their rivals. (Read my review of that match here.)
Taker spoke about the match saying he was happy with the match and then he’ll watch the match, then say Kane screwed up. Kane said “it won’t be the first time he said that” and Taker said he was just teasing. Taker said that they set the table for the next act and he thinks they did their job that way.
The next moment was to set up the Brothers of Destruction against Degeneration X. It was set up for Crown Jewel 2018 and Shawn’s first match in eight years. Taker said it was like a dream match. It sure didn’t turn out that way.
They showed a Taker and Kane promo saying they had three words for them. Taker goes: “Go f**k yourself.” Kane did a crotch chop too. That was hilarious.
Kane aka Mayor Glenn Jacobs saying early on working with him was intimidating and it’s different now. Kane’s debut in 1997 was shown with Kane talking about how Mark wanted to help new guys along and Mark was an advocate for him. Kane said his favorite match of all time was WrestleMania 14 in 1998. Taker praised Kane for never taking a day off, working hurt and obviously they had moments of working together, but they also worked against eachother. Kane said that they have been through a lot and put eachother through a lot physically. Kane said there’s a lot of mutual respect there.
Taker had a great quote about Kane: “You can count on Glenn Jacobs just you can count on the sun coming up in the morning. He’s one of the few guys that I would ever let hold my wallet if I had to.” (Laughs)
Hunter said he was 100% shocked that Shawn came out of retirement for that match. Shawn would always say “absolutely not” about coming back and in this case it was different because they were guys he had been going down the road with for 25 years. Shawn said that being out there with Hunter, Taker and Kane was a comfortable thing, so he was encouraged about doing it. Hunter thought it would be like a night off, and it’ll all be great and easy…except it was like a bad comedy move.
Crown Jewel 2018 – Undertaker and Kane vs. Triple H and Shawn Michaels
This was on November 2, 2018 in Saudi Arabia. There were highlights shown of the match with Triple H getting whipped into the turnbuckle, he bumped over the top to the floor and Hunter suffered a right arm injury. There’s a clip with Shawn asking if he was alright and Hunter knew right away that he had a torn right pectoral muscle. Hunter said that Shawn never panicked but he remembers Shawn had a face like “you’re kidding me.” Hunter spoke about the moment when Shawn punched Kane and Kane’s mask came off as an example of the match continuing to fall apart.
Hunter: “It couldn’t have gone any worse.” That’s true! At least there weren’t more injuries.
Undertaker: “It was a total trainwreck. It was a disaster.”
Hunter finished off Kane with a sloppy looking Pedigree and Hunter covered Kane to finish the match. Shawn: “It totally blew.”
That line by Shawn is from the TV show Get Smart with Maxwell Smart uttering that line. That made me laugh because I remember the line. It was Shawn’s way of saying the match sucked.
Undertaker said that we’re all humans and things even happen to people that you don’t think things like that happen to. Taker thought that mentally he wasn’t there while adding that Michelle and him had some personal things going on with other parts of the family, so he had that drama going on in his head that he was all consumed with. Taker said that if that match came off as they intended then that may have been enough for him (meaning retirement). Michelle talked about how the cycle was back because Undertaker wasn’t happy with the performance, so he wanted to redeem himself.
TJR THOUGHTS: The Crown Jewel match was terrible and we all know it because we saw it, but it is nice to hear the wrestlers being honest about it. If the wrestlers talked about it like it was any good then I’d be mad at them for being dishonest. If something sucks, at least admit to it because fans would rather have honesty in a setting like this. (Read my review of Crown Jewel 2018 right here. I was probably too nice to the match in terms of my rating on it.)
Closing Comments On This Episode
Michaels spoke about how because he’s your buddy and so important to you, you don’t want that for him because it’s “chasing the dragon” and that ain’t healthy. Hunter said that everybody’s storybook ending is different while adding that it’s hard to break the cycle to get out of it.
Michelle said that after 30 years you want to leave on something that just felt right. She thought that the WrestleMania 33 match in 2017 when he left his jacket and hat in the ring, that could have been it, but he wasn’t ready. She doesn’t think anything will be the perfect ending until he gets that closure. She said until he gets that closure, it doesn’t matter what happens in that ring.
Batista spoke about Undertaker keeping going saying he’ll keep doing it until you tell him to stop. Jim Ross said that “Father Time” doesn’t do any jobs or lose any matches.
Vince McMahon talked about reality sinking in about being human and wanting to performer because it’s in your heart because you just can’t get it out. Vince spoke about looking in the mirror, which is tough for some of us to do, you look there to make sure the person looking at you is the reality. Vince said that you constantly are reflecting on “where am I?” in life.
Shawn Michaels spoke about how you have the talk with the Mrs., with the kids and find that peace and joy.
Taker’s final thoughts in this episode: “You’re just never going to get that one thing you’re looking for and now you got all this other crap going on. I kinda read that like you’re spinning out of control – you need to make some life changes here or something.”
There was a preview for the Chapter Four episode. It noted that Undertaker didn’t have a match at WrestleMania 35 in 2019 and he thought he should be out there. They showed clips of the Goldberg match in Saudi Arabia that was bad with Goldberg dropping Taker on his head. Michelle said she asked their doctors if he was okay. Find out more in the next episode.
This episode had a runtime of 46:56 on WWE Network. It was 13 minutes shorter than the previous episode.
Chapter four will air on WWE Network on June 14 and the fifth and final chapter will air on June 21.
It was another very good episode of this documentary. I liked how they touched on the four WrestleMania matches that Undertaker had with Shawn and Hunter that were special because those matches did mean a lot to people. The amazing thing to me about those matches is that Undertaker was 44 when he had that first match with Shawn in 2009 and then 47 in 2012 for that last match with Hunter. The quality of matches that Taker was having in his mid-40s were very impressive.
As I mentioned when they talked about Crown Jewel 2018, I liked how they were honest about how bad of a match it was. That’s refreshing to hear these wrestling legends admit that it was a bad day at the office for them and you could tell they were all sad about it. That’s what documentaries like this are for. They are there to show the human side of these guys, to tell us how they really feel and I felt like this episode did a nice job of that.
The series has been about Undertaker not knowing when is the right time to retire for good and this episode certainly fit that theme.
I highly recommend checking out these first three episodes. It sucks that we have to wait three more weeks for the next one, but I understand WWE wanting to spread it out a bit. Great job by everybody involved in this. I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
Here are some tweets from Hunter and Shawn to wrap it up for this episode.
Four years of back-to-back #WrestleMania matches between @ShawnMichaels, @undertaker, and myself ended with one of the most special moments of my career.
See it tonight only on @WWENetwork. #TheLastRidehttps://t.co/nrqKQEz8SO
— Triple H (@TripleH) May 24, 2020
The aches, bumps, bruises, and memories of battles with @Undertaker have all coming rushing back watching #TheLastRide. Still so thrilled to see how many fans enjoy watching back our two #WrestleMania matches. https://t.co/rszsM6A0dF
— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) May 24, 2020
Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below.