Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 30 September 2020

WrestleMania 36: why The Undertaker is the greatest WWE wrestler of all time

The Phenom has had a career spanning three decades, making his WWE debut in 1990

The Undertaker is the subject of a new WWE five-part docuseries. Courtesy WWE
The Undertaker is the subject of a new WWE five-part docuseries. Courtesy WWE

As another WrestleMania comes and goes, it’s time to once again ask: who is the greatest WWE superstar of all time?

It’s a question that’s hotly debated among wrestling fans. Could it be Stone Cold Steve Austin who brought in the Attitude Era? Or The Rock who helped take the WWE more mainstream? Or maybe it was Hulk Hogan who defined and helped shape the scene in the 1980s? Even though there are a few names that could be thrown into the discussion, it seems more obvious these days as to who it should be.

As he wrestled in his 27th WrestleMania match on Saturday, April 4, The Undertaker proved why he should be considered the best WWE wrestler of all time. Taking on AJ Styles in a highly entertaining “Boneyard Match” (yes, we weren’t quite sure what to expect either), the 55-year-old Texan impressed in the main event of the first night of WrestleMania 36. Rather than coming out in his Deadman gimmick, we were all treated to seeing the motorcycle-riding, leather-wearing iteration of The Undertaker.

After burying (literally) Styles to win the match, Taker then got on his motorcycle and seemingly rode off into the sunset, which also raises the question: was that the last match we will see from him? Although the ending of the match has made it seem as though it might be, we’ve also seen similar emotional goodbyes, especially at WrestleMania 33 in 2017 in which he took off his hat and jacket and laid them in the centre of the ring before walking off.

But even if this were his final match, I don’t know if fans could have asked for anything more. For three decades, he’s entertained wrestling fans like no other. Even though his appearances in the ring are sparse these days, his willingness to still compete speaks volumes about him. While Stone Cold and The Rock had their moments, even they didn’t have the same longevity The Undertaker has.

Debuting in the WWE in November 1990, he’s been the one familiar face for wrestling fans of all ages. Children who grew up watching him can now watch with their own families. He’s always been a constant in an industry that sometimes seems to lose its stars too quickly. When the gong hits, lights go out and music plays, crowds still go crazy just to see him. And rightfully so. He’s had a career full of highlight matches including against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 in 2009 and Triple H at 2012’s WrestleMania 28.

Whenever he chooses to retire, he will be remembered for being able to tell a story in the ring. But The Undertaker’s appeal also reaches outside of the ring as well. When he lost for the first time at WrestleMania 30 in 2014 and had his undefeated streak snapped at 21-1, many fans were left in shock. The news was even covered by major media outlets in the US, proving just how stunning of a cultural moment it really was.

Whether or not this was The Undertaker’s last WrestleMania remains to be seen, but there is one thing that does seem certain: he’s already cemented his place as one of WWE's all-time greats.

Updated: April 7, 2020 10:56 AM

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