The Undertaker has long been one of the most protected characters in pro wrestling history, not just from a booking standpoint but from a kayfabe standpoint. For years, Mark Calaway has avoided doing interviews either in or out of character, though in recent years, he has allowed more cracks in the Undertaker’s facade to develop.
In preparation for the Undertaker: The Last Ride, a five-episode WWE Network docuseries, the first episode of which premieres this Sunday after Money In The Bank, Calaway spoke candidly with ESPN about a variety of topics, most notably being his extreme disappointment toward his WrestleMania 33 main event with Roman Reigns — a match he not only lost, but after which he also signaled his retirement (a decision he later walked back). Calaway watched the match back for the first time during the filming of The Last Ride, an experience he did not enjoy:
“That was one of those times it was tough having the cameras there. That was the first time that I watched that match back. I was so disgusted with it that I didn’t want to watch it back.”
Calaway goes onto admit the match was a disappointment and that he let down Reigns:
“[Watching that match], I’m battling with it. I was so disappointed for Roman. Even after Brock Lesnar beat the streak, for guys coming up to have a match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania — especially where Roman was at — it was important for his career. Especially because he was going over. For me, in that role, I wanted to do the very best that I could do for Roman. I think the world of him. You want to be able to do the best you can for him, and you know you have no business being in the ring.
“Yes, I could have mailed it in. Protected myself. Only done a couple of things that I knew that I could do. But that’s just not the way I work. And it wouldn’t have been fair to him. So I just tried to do the best I could. The harder I tried, the more I did — at least in my perception — it was not a good night. It was really disappointing. Watching it back finally, and watching it back in front of a film crew, it was like … I didn’t have to say much. You could just tell from the expression on my face that I wasn’t really pleased with it.”
We haven’t seen the Undertaker on WWE programming since his Boneyard Match with AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36, largely praised by wrestling fans and journalists all over the world. Will we see him at WrestleMania 37? Only one man knows the answer, and we’ll find out when he wants to tell us.