at WrestleMania 33, the Undertaker lost the last match of the night to Roman Reigns. For wrestling fans, this was frustrating because the Undertaker is one of the all-time greatest WrestleMania workers, and Roman Reigns is like if you took the Rock and gave him better hair but way worse everything else. The Orlando crowd was hot, but things went quiet after the Undertaker stayed in the ring, prone, long after Reigns had walked up the ramp. The Dead Man sat up. People popped. Then, the Undertaker took off his gloves, his duster, and his famous hat, and he left them in the center of the ring. In effect, the Undertaker announced his retirement last night. It was a tough way to go for one of the most popular athletes to ever grace the squared circle.
Nevertheless, the man who has personally ushered more wrestlers through the gates of hell than any other has had a seminal, essential, thrilling wrestling career. His finisher—the tombstone piledriver—is brutal and flinch-worthy even today, and his iconic chokeslam has sent more men into early graves than cancer, heart disease, and obesity combined.* (*Not a real stat) To usher the Undertaker toward his final resting place, we’ve come up with his top three WrestleMania moments:
Retiring Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XXVI
The Undertaker’s ‘Career vs. Streak’ match against Shawn Michaels, in which he defeated HBK to go 18-0 all-time at WrestleMania, is one of the great modern matches. It’s unassailable. Both guys were past their physical primes, to be sure, but it adds to the legend. This might be the Undertaker’s greatest career moment outside of a Hell in a Cell.
Tombstoning Kane, WrestleMania XIV
The Undertaker’s half-brother, Kane, used all of the Dead Man’s finisher’s in this match, but Taker kicked out of all of them before he delivered a guillotine leg drop that sent the demon back to hell where he belonged. Also, Taker’s intro involved him going to the ring flanked by a bunch of druids in cloaks. Wrestling in the 90s was so cool, man.
Taking Triple H into the Cell, WrestleMania XXVIII
The Undertaker fought Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match, which is awesome on its own, but the guest referee in this instance was none other than Shawn Michaels, who, if you remember from 300 words ago, was retired by Taker just two years earlier. He had to fight through some classic Hunter sledgehammers, but the Phenom won again to make it to 20-0.