On the finale of WWE Network’s Undertaker: The Last Ride, Chapter 5: Revelation, The Undertaker talked about putting together WrestleMania’s Boneyard Match versus current WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles, the passing of The Undertaker’s brother, Tim, and coming to terms with the end of his illustrious professional wrestling career.
According to The Undertaker, he thought his WrestleMania match versus Styles was going to be a traditional professional wrestling match in front of a capacity crowd until COVID-19 forced WWE to change course.
“From the time I agreed to do [the WrestleMania match with Styles], I envisioned us have a wrestling match in a wrestling ring in front of 80,000 people. COVID-19 is just so bizarre. Just crazy times and I mean our audience is such a vital factor to our product. You just feed off their energy and now you’re handcuffed in a lot of ways to what you can do and what you can’t do.” The Undertaker continued, “we played the cards that we were dealt and it was one of those times where we turned chicken s–t into chicken salad.”
In The Undertaker’s expert opinion, having a gimmick match instead of a regular pro wrestling match made sense because of how personal Styles made the feud. The Undertaker went on to say that the Boneyard Match was probably the best possible scenario.
“We got extremely lucky in the sense that we were able to go offsite and do this match offsite because of where the story developed and the severity of how personal it became when he crossed all the lines that he crossed in his promos, I don’t think that you can have a wrestling match, which we always envisioned.” The Undertaker added, “it turned out to be probably the best thing that we could have done.”
Unfortunately, The Undertaker received the regrettable news of his brother, Tim’s, passing during the production of the Boneyard Match.
“We were on our way back [to WWE PC] and I was in the car with Triple H [and] Michael Hayes. My phone started to ring, and I looked down, and it was my niece. And then, something just told me in my head, ‘you need to answer that call.'” The Undertaker recalled, “and in the middle of all this stuff that was going on with WrestleMania, when everything goes perfect, it’s hectic and stressful, but now I have to call all my brothers and let them know and then call my mother knowing what that was going to do to her and not be able to be there. It’s just another indication of how important being present with your family is because you just never know what’s going to happen, so it was an extremely rough day.”
The Undertaker, who recently claimed that wrestling Giant Gonzalez took years off of The Undertaker’s legendary professional wrestling career, indicated that he accidentally cut himself early on in the filming of the Boneyard Match, so shooting had to stop for ‘The Conscience Of The WWE’ to have his wound cleaned out. Moreover, The Undertaker noted that it is more difficult for him to endure the stop-and-go of cinematic style matches than to power through a regular performance with the adrenaline pumping through his veins and the WWE Universe supplying the electricity.
“It was a difficult night and it was every bit as rough as it looked,” The Undertaker revealed. “Five minutes into shooting, I put my arm through the hearse side window. It chews up my arm, so we had to stop shooting immediately, so they had to clean my arm out, dig the pieces of glass out of my arm. And what happens when you film that way is you get started and then there’s a stoppage. They’ve got to switch cameras around, try to switch lighting around, and for me, where I’m at physically, just standing in one place is the worst. It allows that adrenaline to come down a little bit and then it allows whatever it is that’s hurting, like, ‘okay, that’s going to be bad tomorrow.’ It was just a really long night and we wrapped at about 5 a.m.”
The Undertaker took the untimely passing of NBA great Kobe Bryant to heart. Apparently, Bryant’s accidental death made ‘The Phenom’ want to give his family what he has been giving to pro wrestling all these years because you never know when your time is up.
“Even before my brother passed, Kobe Bryant’s death, it was amazing how much that struck home,” The Undertaker admitted. “That made me realize I’m not getting this time back and it’s time to be present and give home what I give the [pro wrestling] business because you never know. You never know when your number’s going to get called.”
Unlike in the past, The Undertaker claimed that he has made peace with the conclusion of his pro wrestling odyssey. Moreover, ‘The Deadman’ stressed the importance of the next generation of WWE Superstars to step up.
“I’m at a point, this time the cowboy really rides away,” The Undertaker acknowledged. “There’s nothing left for me to conquer. There’s nothing left for me to accomplish. The game has changed. It’s time for new guys to come up. The time seems right.”
Finally, The Undertaker indicated that he can accomplish more outside of the ring now than inside the ring and he is fine with that. The Undertaker concluded by thanking the many great friends in professional wrestling that he met along the way.
“I can do more good outside the ring now than I can inside and I’m finally at a place where I’m able to accept that and I’m okay with it. I’ve been very blessed to have two families: my wife and my children and then my family on the road. Guys like Brian Adams, Yokozuna, Godfather, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Bret Hart, Mick Foley, obviously, The Mayor, Kane, Edge. Obviously, I can’t name everybody without leaving somebody out, but it’s important to know how much you guys meant to me, not only on a professional level, but on a personal level.” The Undertaker said, “so many people I consider true, great friends and I just can’t thank you guys enough.”
To watch Undertaker: The Last Ride, Chapter 5: Revelation, subscribe to WWE Network. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit WWE Network’s Undertaker: The Last Ride, Chapter 5: Revelation with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.