During an interview on the Bill Simmons podcast, The Undertaker discussed his match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33. Taker noted how disappointed he was in not being able to give Roman that ultimate passing of the torch moment for his career to sky rocket.
“My hip was so bad going into that match, I couldn’t perform at a level I would’ve liked to perform at,” Undertaker said. “The magnitude of putting Roman over was going to be a big launching pad for him, obviously I wanted to perform and wanted that to be the moment where this is the slingshot and I just didn’t have it.”
Taker said that he knew going into the match with Reigns that his body wasn’t going to be able to perform at the level he would have liked to.
“I knew it yeah, I knew it before it even started,” Undertaker said. “I knew I was going to be in trouble at the Royal Rumble in January before that, if you go back and look at the footage you can tell that I’m not in the shape I should be in, I couldn’t train the way I wanted to train but I had already committed. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place and passing a torch is a really big thing in our industry.
“He’s a really good dude, he deserved it and I just wanted to be able to give the best to him that I could knowing what that match was going to mean to his career. When I couldn’t deliver for him, yeah that stuff bothers me.”
Taker also talked about the reaction backstage after finishing the match with Reigns and leaving his hat and caught in the middle of the ring as a sign of his final match.
“I don’t think it was so much as to say it was a good match, but everyone kind of knew that that was the end,” Taker stated. “It was over the body of work and the appreciation, it definitely wasn’t for that match. That match fell way short of expectations, I think it was more so a respect thing for all the 27 years prior more so. Grown men, grown tough guy men who had tears in their eyes when I put the hat and the coat down, nobody expected that. No one knew what was happening, it was so organic, I think it caught everybody off guard. The applause and the greetings were more so for the body of work than the match.”
Taker also mentioned how tough it was on his body to only do one match a year and for that match to be at WrestleMania, where the expectations are always at an all time high.
“It’s tough,” Undertaker said. “When you can’t take bumps, and you can’t put your body through that then it’s really tough on the backside of the match. You can get through the match, but my body would literally shut down after a WrestleMania match just from the trauma. That’s the best thing about being able to work all the time, your body stays conditioned for the trauma that it has to take. Especially it being WrestleMania, that’s where everything is let go and they don’t put any stops on anything. The body not being conditioned for that, it’s pretty brutal.”
Taker was also not happy with his WrestleMania match the following year, but for different reasons. Taker said he was disappointed about finally facing John Cena at WrestleMania 34, only for the match to be only 5 minutes long.
“That’s why I was so disappointed, because I had all that time in the ring, sparing and going over stuff every other day, and I got to New Orleans and they said this match is going to go 5 minutes,” Taker said. “I’m ready to go for 45 minutes, that’s how I trained and at a 45 minute pace I was so dead set. I was so disappointed from the prior year that I had the mindset of: I’m going to tear this up and go at a pace that people normally haven’t seen me at and do things people haven’t seen me do in a long time. I was so prepared and then it was just 5 minutes.
“We sell entertainment, not time. That was a selfish thing for me, what you saw last year is not where I’m at.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Bill Simmons Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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