Tonight's WWE SmackDown on FOX episode opened up with a video package on The Undertaker's career, featuring comments from The Last Ride.
The special edition of SmackDown, featuring a good portion of the show being dedicated as a tribute to Taker, then featured the SmackDown roster standing on the stage and the ramp chanting "thank you Taker!" while clapping.
SmackDown tonight featured several video packages with Superstars and Hall of Famers praising Taker for his career. Stars featured were Roman Reigns, John Cena, Christian, Edge, Kane, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Batista and Mick Foley.
Tonight's SmackDown main event also surrounded Taker. WWE did an earlier segment where Jeff Hardy attacked King Baron Corbin for disrespecting Taker. Hardy later cut a backstage promo on how Taker was a mentor and teacher to him. Hardy issued a challenge to Corbin for the main event, and that match saw Hardy get the win. Various Superstars surrounded the ring to show respect to Taker. After the match, Hardy, Matt Riddle, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day and WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman took turns hitting their moves on Corbin. Taker's photo appeared on the big screen and Hardy dropped to one knee to pay tribute once again. SmackDown on FOX then went off the air with another "thank you Taker!" chant starting up.
On a related note, the WWE On FOX Twitter account posted an infographic seen below, pointing to how Taker was a 7-time World Champion, a 7-time Tag Team Champion, a 1-time Hardcore Champion, the 2007 Royal Rumble winner, and held a WrestleMania record of 25-2.
Taker commented on his future and the possibility of retirement during last Sunday's Chapter 5 of The Last Ride on the WWE Network.
"If Vince was in a pinch, would I come back? I guess time will only tell there," Taker said during the episode last Sunday. "In case of emergency break glass. You pull out The Undertaker. I mean I would have to consider that. Never say never, but … at this point in my life, and in my career, I have no desire to get back in the ring."
With those comments said, Taker refuses to let his career be buried. Taker explained his new 15 year contract with WWE and said it won't keep him in the ring for 15 more years, but it will keep the brand at home in WWE. He also said WWE Chairman Vince McMahon sees a lot of different ways that Taker can contribute to the company once his in-ring career is done.
"That extended contract is obviously not a contract that keeps me in the ring for 15 years," Taker told CBS Sports. "It keeps the brand at home, and there are a lot of ways that Vince thinks I can contribute to the company after my days in the ring are done."
The 55 year old Dead Man noted that it's imperative he walks away from the ring before it becomes impossible to deliver the type of performances that made him famous.
"I have people in my ear all the time saying, 'Dude, all you need to do is make your entrance, go chokeslam and Tombstone somebody, and people are going to love that,'" Taker said. Maybe they're right to an extent, but I hold myself to a very high standard. If I can't go out and have the matches I used to and contribute the way I did, then I don't think it's fair to the talent busting their ass year-round."
While The Last Ride never truly answered the question of Taker's future, it was noted that the answer should be apparent by next March in the build to WrestleMania 37. Many believe that Taker needs one final match in front of his fans at WrestleMania 37, and that a rematch against Styles should finally allow Taker the ability to rest in peace.
Stay tuned for updates on Taker's WWE future. You can also see the opening clips from SmackDown below, along with a few more related tweets: