Undertaker: The Last Ride (2020) – Review
By Alex Lattimore
A popular point of discussion and debate among wrestling fans is which four superstars belong on sports-entertainment’s ‘Mount Rushmore’. The likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin are often mentioned, but there is one (dead)man who would be top of many people’s lists – The Undertaker.
Since making his debut at the Survivor Series pay-per-view event in 1990, Mark Calaway has been a constant presence in WWE – formerly the WWF – playing the mythical zombie-like character ever since, and becoming an icon of the over-the-top form of entertainment in the process. Easily the company’s longest-serving in-ring employee, his legendary 30-year WWE career recently came to an official end, fittingly at the 2020 Survivor Series, where he made one last slow walk to the ring to say goodbye to his legions of fans.
One of the hallmarks of The Undertaker’s career was his commitment to the character he played; he very rarely appeared outside of the squared circle as himself, adding to the mystique of ‘The Phenom’. This is what helps to make the five-part Last Ride series so unique – it is wrestling fans’ first major opportunity to hear in-depth from Mark Calaway.
“Fascinating behind-the-scenes look”
Filmed over the course of three years, the documentary begins with Taker’s preparations for his headline match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 in 2017. This should have been the final match of Calaway’s career, but a disappointing performance (thanks to a debilitating hip injury) spurs the Deadman on to continue. This pursuit of the ‘perfect’ ending continues throughout the series, and it becomes clear that Calaway – like the old gunslingers of the Wild West – wants to go out on a high before riding off into the sunset. Two more sub-par displays, both in Saudi Arabia, fuel this fire even further, but the retirement match he so desperately craves does eventually arrive when AJ Styles – a standout star of the modern era – puts himself forward to square off with ‘Big Evil’.
Aside from the man himself, the other major contributor to the series is Calaway’s wife Michelle McCool, herself a former WWE superstar. She talks at length about the injuries her husband has sustained in the ring, including a serious concussion in 2014 that caused him to forget his own name, and her desire for Undertaker to hang up his boots once and for all.
The Last Ride is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the life of one of wrestling’s all-time greats, and is a must-see for long-time grappling fans and newcomers alike. It also comes packed with special features, including additional stories from the road and previously unseen outtakes from the documentary.
‘Undertaker: The Last Ride’ is out now on Blu-ray