The Last Dance has taken the sports world by storm and the WWE are putting out their own docuseries about arguably the greatest wrestler in WWE history, the Undertaker. It by all means is a must watch as well. Here are my takeaways from the first chapter of The Last Ride.
Takers Struggles with Confidence
For years Undertaker has been the Babe Ruth of the WWE. His longevity and earth shattering matches, title wins and the legendary Mania streak, all that has placed Taker at the top of the WWE food chain. Despite wrestling in countless matches and being the master at his craft. There was one instance that had Taker had himself thinking if he could still wrestle. The match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30 and the aftermath of it, led to Taker having some doubts of himself against Bray Wyatt a year later at Wrestlemania 31.
Confidence issues arose for Taker leading up to the Roman Reigns match at Mania 33 as well. With Reigns being younger and faster. Taker felt he shouldn't have faced Roman Reigns but it was too late the match was already booked. Taker also feared that he didn't want to be looked at as a parody of himself. A father explaining to his kid about how taker was in prime, with the realization that Taker wasn't like he used to be in the ring. Taker feared that immensely. Though takers health also damaged his confidence.
Years of injuries and body abuse also limited what Taker could perform in the ring. In some cases, Taker would do his Wrestlemania match, go have the surgery on an existing injury then train for next years Mania match. His body health and getting older lead to Takers lack of confidence in himself.
Locker Room Leader
For years many wrestlers pointed to the Undertaker as the locker room leader, and that any wrongdoing by a wrestler Taker would be the judge, jury and the executioner. He's also helped guide many of his teammates, and given future superstars advice. Wrestlers would ask Taker for help if they had any issues with their place or with Vince. He's garnered so much respect from his fellow wrestlers.
Taker carried the WWE badge on his chest proudly. If a wrestler wanted to be the number one guy, they had to overtake Taker as the top dude for the company. Mark Henry even coined him the "Don Corleone" of the WWE because of the respect that he earned from his peers. He was reliable and always was counted on when Vince needed him to show up. Taker was the leader that not only would tell someone how to perform but actually come through and put on a good show. It's why he's so highly regarded in the industry.
The Success of the Deadman
Foley said the Undertaker wasn't like a character but someone that was playing his real life self, that he was tapping into the character and what it should be creatively. He knew how the character should be presented and the little things like rolling his eyes back, would add to the presentation of the Deadman making the character more sinister.
For a 300 plus pound wrestler, Taker can be agile and perform off the top ropes, a different dimension compared to what big guys could do back when the Undertaker started in the WWE. Most of them were stiff and less athletic, but Taker could work spots no big man before him had ever before.
It's not just the wrestlers that love and appreciate what the Undertaker does in the ring, the fans who know that the Undertaker did everything he could to entertain the them do as well. The character that caught the attention of every wrestling fan in world still holds a special place in WWE Universe.