When The Undertaker ended WrestleMania 33 by symbolically leaving his entrance gear in the middle of the ring, pretty much every wrestling fan watching got a lump in their throat. The outpouring of thanks and tributes was swift and lasted for days, and we’re all still getting used to the idea of professional wrestling without the Undertaker, which is the first time in over a quarter-century we’ve had to consider it.
But it wasn’t just people outside of WWE who felt the impact of what everyone is accepting to be Undertaker’s final match. AJ Styles, who opened the main card of WrestleMania 33 with a match against Shane McMahon, was also feeling the impact of the moment.
“I can tell you I was emotional because he’s my friend. He and I have got a relationship between both of us have the same friend that we’re very close to, so he and I developed this relationship without even knowing each other that well. But it was heartbreaking a little bit because this is the guy that’s been here for so long and has shaped the WWE into what it is now.
“And, is he gone? I don’t know, but you would assume. I think there were some tears from the fans that were probably — they may have seen the last of The Undertaker.
“At the end of the day, if he’s done, I respect the heck out of him for doing it his way and doing what he wanted to do in his last match. He is everything to the WWE and I’m thankful I had the opportunity meet him and have a great conversation with him. he’s a great guy, and if he’s gone and that was the last one, he will be missed.”
It’s hard to imagine what will be the next pro wrestling retirement to hit us as hard as Undertaker’s did. My personal guess is that it’ll be pretty rough when John Cena hangs ’em up, and he’ll probably have had a career nearly as long as Undertaker’s when that finally happens. But for the time being, I implore you: leave the memories alone.