Reviews

TJR WWE Network Review: The Undertaker – “The Last Ride” Chapter Two (The Redemption)

Here’s my recap of the second chapter of the WWE Network documentary “The Last Ride” focusing on The Undertaker. I didn’t write a recap of the first chapter because last week was so busy. I watched it, but I just feel like writing about it. This week I feel better, so here’s my recap. It’s not a full play by play of everything they covered, but it covers it pretty well.

The synopsis on WWE Network looks like this:

Chapter 2: The Redemption
The Undertaker’s greatest fear is realized as his disappointing performance against Roman Reigns fuels the Dead Man to rebuild and redeem himself in a match against John Cena at WrestleMania 34.

The main story in Chapter Two of The Last Ride is about The Undertaker (while mentioning his real name Mark Calaway) hating how the WrestleMania 33 match went and wanting to redeem himself after a bad showing. This episode runs 59:57 on WWE Network.

The early parts of this second part showed how frustrated The Undertaker was while watching his WrestleMania 33 match with Roman Reigns. Taker felt he let Reigns down with his poor performance. Reigns didn’t seem upset by it at all, but Undertaker was really distraught after watching the match. Undertaker referred to himself as a “bloated Elvis” in the match. I joked on Twitter that Undertaker should get a bigger TV and somebody took the show seriously, which makes the joke even funnier in my eyes. It’s just a joke, people. I’m sure he has a lot of big TVs in his mansion.

The Undertaker said that the end of WM33 in 2017 was “100% real and me saying goodbye” at that moment when he left the ring.

They showed when The Undertaker had surgery on his right hip. When he had the same surgery on his left hip many years earlier, it helped him a lot. There was a lot of hospital access showing doctors, showing Taker with his wife getting ready and all these other things. It grosses me out seeing surgery like that, but if you want to see it, watch the documentary. Anyway, he felt a lot better after the surgery.

There were clips shown of The Undertaker and wife Michelle Calaway (McCool) talking about how they became a couple. Taker told a story about how they were at TV one day (likely when both were on Smackdown), somebody had a football and they were throwing it around the arena. Michelle walked out, picked it up and Taker said she threw a 35-yard spiral perfectly. That really impressed him. They even showed a clip of Michelle playing football and she said it was part of growing up in her family. They showed some clips of Taker and Michelle’s daughter as well as another child that may be one Taker’s daughters from his previous marriage to Sara, who WWE fans may be familiar with.

Behind the scenes at WrestleMania 9 in 1993 in Las Vegas.

The relationship between The Undertaker and Vince McMahon was covered a lot with some great behind the scenes footage. Undertaker said Vince was like a father figure that was always there for him through difficulties, that showed him tough life and was also a great friend. When Vince was asked what Undertaker meant to him personally, Vince was in near tears and made them shut the cameras off because he was at a loss for words. Michelle noted that Undertaker respected so much for Vince that Taker’s son is named “Gunner Vincent Calaway” so that shows how close they are. Gunner is Taker’s only son and from his first of three wives. Michelle is the third wife.

There were clips shown of a meeting between The Undertaker and Vince McMahon meeting on a Saturday in August 2017 in Vince’s office. Vince was coming in from the gym wearing an orange shirt and made the camera crew leave the room. Undertaker said that they had a long talk about his future. Taker said that he told Vince he would train and he would be ready if somebody gets hurt or if Vince really needs him.

Undertaker backstage at Royal Rumble 2018 watching AJ Styles.

There was backstage footage from Royal Rumble 2018 with Undertaker saying he didn’t know if he was coming back at that point. Taker pointed out an AJ Styles match and said he would have loved to work with. He said Styles reminds him a lot of Shawn Michaels. Two years later, Taker got to work with Styles in the Boneyard Match. Undertaker was shown talking to Seth Rollins and also going into Vince McMahon’s office. The reason Undertaker was at Royal Rumble 2018 was to watch Michelle McCool in the Women’s Royal Rumble match and he said it was a lot of fun being there to support her. Undertaker talked about how after Royal Rumble, Vince called him about doing a WrestleMania match with John Cena.

They showed footage from January 31, 2018 as Undertaker watched the WrestleMania 33 match against Roman Reigns. Earlier, they showed a few clips of him watching and this time he said he thought he needed to redeem himself.

A ring was sent out to The Undertaker near his home in Austin, Texas. They set it up in an old jet ski repair place that has been abandoned since he moved there. He said that cleaning the place was a disaster, but it served its purpose and it served it well. There were highlights shown of Undertaker working out in a ring by hitting the ropes, taking a bump and sitting back up. Michelle recorded him working out on February 25, 2018 and he sent the video to Vince that he’ll see him in New Orleans for WrestleMania. Taker said it was the day of the Elimination Chamber during the show. Vince replied with a “(expletive) yeah” and I assume the expletive is “f**k” there. Michelle said they’ll work every day to get him as healthy as they could.

The Undertaker said that he was probably 315 pounds, which was really heavy for him. That’s when he worked on the cardio. They showed a trainer helping Taker go through a workout. Taker talked about how once your cardio goes, it hurts your ability in the ring and all you’re worried about is your air. Taker felt like he could have a better match than last year. After a long workout, Michelle was right there with him. She joked: “You might be training alone tomorrow.”

There was more behind the scenes footage of The Undertaker training. He said again that he shouldn’t have been in the ring at WM33.

They posted clips of John Cena’s promos from Raw calling out The Undertaker for a WrestleMania match. Cena was shown talking about how the energy from the crowd was there because fans wanted to see the match.

There were clips of Undertaker working out with (now former WWE superstar) Primo Colon to work with Taker and do some spots in the ring, so Taker could feel what it was like to do some spots. Primo talked about how Taker looked healthy and lost about 30 pounds. Primo said that Taker doesn’t phone it in or half-ass anything. They did some classic Taker spots like the Snake Eyes into the turnbuckle and the boot to the face.

They showed a clip of The Undertaker arriving on a private plane on the night before WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. Undertaker said that the family was already there, so he got a couple of days by himself and he could focus. Undertaker thought it was the best version of him since the WrestleMania match with Shawn at WM25 in 2009. Undertaker said he was planning to be full Undertaker this year. He said it’s for the fans, but a lot of it is for himself and the legacy he wants to lead in this business.

Trying on the hat before WrestleMania 34.

There were clips of The Undertaker getting prepared for the WrestleMania 34 match. Once again, Undertaker said that there’s a good chance that this is the last match and an important part of his life will stop. (It was not his last match. Of course.) Edge talked about how as a performer, you shoot for the moon and that’s what Undertaker shoots for or else he wouldn’t be Undertaker.

Undertaker said he wanted to work with Cena. They showed highlights of their one singles match at Vengeance from July 2003. Bruce Prichard said that Undertaker wanted to go out on top with the best performance of his career. Michelle believed he could do good before his WM34 match.

There was a clip of Undertaker and Michelle riding on a covered golf cart to get to his dressing room at the Superdome in New Orleans. Was there really anybody there that didn’t think he was going to appear and have a match? It was pretty obvious it was happening.

The Undertaker is in there. I swear!

Meanwhile, John Cena attended WrestleMania as a fan and he took pictures with a lot of fans. While the show was going on, Undertaker was training and getting ready as best he could. Once again, Undertaker thought it was his last match.

Undertaker was driven in the golf cart to do his WrestleMania appearance and short match against John Cena. The lights went out in the Superdome, that familiar Undertaker music hit and the fans went crazy for it. We got to see some behind the scenes footage of The Undertaker’s entrance.

If you watch this you would think Undertaker vs. Cena was some classic match instead of a squash that was done in 2:45, which was shorter than his entrance. I guess the story is that Taker felt a lot better and redeemed himself after the bad match one year earlier. However, this was not a classic match or even a memorable match. It was Taker kicking Cena’s ass instead of having that good match that a lot of us were hoping for.

After the match, Undertaker got a nice ovation from WWE personnel backstage. Undertaker said that his body responding to what he needed to do. He said that it’s been a while since he’s had a match where that was the case. Undertaker said that this doesn’t happen without Vince, so he gave him a hug and said thank you.

Taker also talked to Reigns with Taker saying he felt bad about last year and it bothered him. It was a genuine conversation. Cena said that he hopes from this day forward, Taker understands who he is and he hopes Taker appreciates it.

Taker said it felt good, but selfishly he wishes he could have been out there longer and he said it is what it is. Taker said it wasn’t what he trained for, but they don’t sell time, they sell entertainment. Taker said to Big Show: “I trained for 45 (minutes) and I get five.” Show told him he looked amazing. Taker said that he had a lot more in the tank tonight and at the end of the day, he just thought that might happen after a 30-minute slugfest war. He said hopefully people will wonder what he does next. Taker said he could retire, but it was a matter of if he wants to. Taker saw it like he can still go, but do you want to go? He said there’s no sense giving you an answer.

A preview of the next chapter showed that he was looking for that one match to bring him back to yesteryear. They showed clips of the Crown Jewel 2018 match with Undertaker and Kane vs. Triple H and Shawn Michaels with Taker saying they didn’t deliver while Hunter said it couldn’t get any worse. Michelle said that means he will want to redeem himself and it becomes a vicious cycle. That’s the next episode next Sunday.

TJR Thoughts: Another great documentary taking us behind the scenes into the career and life of The Undertaker. I’m glad that Undertaker said what he said about the Cena match being so short. I’m not saying it should have been a 30-minute match like he mentioned, but if they went 10-15 minutes it could have been a lot better and memorable. What they did felt like a 1993 WWF Superstars instead of a WrestleMania match. Anyway, don’t let that deter you from watching this. I liked this a lot just like the first episode.