Thanks for the memories, Undertaker

The Undertaker facing Roman Reigns. Picture: WWE.

I still remember the first time I saw The Undertaker while watching WWE.

I was 10, and he was deep in a rivalry with Randy Orton in the lead up to their Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon in 2005.

From the moment I had tuned in, I was hooked.

He had an eerie presence, plus that rivalry had a large supernatural element to it, leading up to a brutal match that December.

Months later, I saw him return and ‘shoot’ lightning out of his hands at the conclusion of the 2006 Royal Rumble.

For me, The Undertaker was someone who instantly grabbed the attention of all those in his presence, and that presence managed to spread through a television screen.

You were in awe of this giant phenom, who had competed in some of the most brutal matches in the history of professional wrestling.

The sight of him launching Mick Foley off the Hell in a Cell structure is still unbelievable.

A daunting character, but someone who as we saw in The Last Ride documentary earlier this year, a remarkable human being with a love of the business.

I remember attending a Smackdown Live show in South Australia in 2007, when the Undertaker was ‘suspended’ from action.

Yet, he was booked to compete against Edge that night, and his presence, the gong, the music, everything was an atmosphere created over two, now three, long decades.

Undertaker’s presence was then less frequent, and the two matches against Shawn Michaels, followed by the two against Triple H will forever remain locked in my top four matches I’ve ever watched.

As a massive Shawn Michaels fan, the last one of those matches hurt due to his retirement, but the show and the story told by two athletes with significant respect for one another was a sight to behold.

The ‘End of an Era’ match was unbelievable, the physical torture they went through for the fans was nothing short of inspirational.

In recent years, seeing the end of the streak, a WrestleMania without The Undertaker, it began to feel real for the first time he was indeed mortal.

Now, we’re here at the end.

As a wrestling fan of now over 15 years, I say thank you Undertaker, for the memories, for the fear you instilled in me as a child and for putting yourself through so much pain for a business we all love.

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