“I feel like I need redemption, it was the driving force. That’s the best way I can describe it. A clean slate. All the other 27 years prior to it, doesn’t mean anything at this point. A brand new Undertaker must arise and I am going out there to prove to the world as to who I am and what I do.”
Thus begins the second chapter of The Last Ride where we once again witness an out-of-character Taker, speaking as Mark Calaway, as he battles his inner demons. Time and again, he revisits his match against Roman Reigns but was unable to actually watch it until January 31, 2018.
“When I did, it reaffirmed what I thought — I looked old, slow, was overweight, couldn’t move and wasn’t Undertakerresque. I had one match too many. So that is when the wheel started turning — I need redemption,” observes a completely unseen side of Calaway.
Seeking his elusive redemption, Taker takes the plunge of going under the knife yet again to restructure his hip. It’s not an easy decision for the Deadman as he along with his wife Michelle McCool take the tough path of recovery. The footage is particularly gripping as he goes into surgery with his theme song playing in the background.
McCool is living through the journey as Taker refuses to back down and she knows come April, the bells of Wrestlemania will toll again. She is a constant presence standing through thick and thin with Calaway.
WWE fans who love stories from behind the curtain will like this episode where it finally shows why Taker didn’t retire.
He makes an incredible recovery just in time for Wrestlemania 2018 after opting to go through surgery even though he knew that his body has reached its limit.
It is here that his relationship with Vince McMahon also takes an emotional turn. “I would take a bullet for him… he was like a dad,” says Calway before adding, “I had a lot of personal issues and he would sit me down. Tough love, that was what I needed. Not because he was my boss but he cared about me.”
In fact, there is also a poignant scene where McMahon breaks down when he is asked to speak about Undertaker’s character. McMahon’s eyes immediately fill with tears before he gestures to the cameraman to stop recording and simply says, “Can’t do that.”
The documentary continues and shows how the character of Undertaker is inseparable from WWE. Right before Wrestlemania, despite his surgery, he once again goes through the rigours of training and comes back. Back for his Wrestlemania 2018 face-off with John Cena.
It is here that we also see how he prepares before the big event, once again putting his body on the line. He started hitting ropes, takes a few bumps, and then turns into the camera and says, “I ain’t good as I once was but am as good once as I ever was.”
After the match, we can also see some amazing footage of Taker with Vince and Cena and some of the other rosters.
After wrestling with Cena, Undertaker also meets Roman Reigns backstage and apologises for his performance against him at Mania 33. Reigns replied back saying that he didn’t have to.
So while Taker himself says that the idea was appealing to him, a question always beckons as to why does he go through this rugged path? Why does he put himself through pain and those who care for him through this road? The answer to the larger battle lies in the second episode.
Had the opportunity to watch #TheLastRide on @WWENetwork last night. An incredible performer, a storied character, a remarkable story and the benchmark for professional respect in the @WWE. Cannot wait to watch the next episodes.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) May 11, 2020
The Last Ride isn’t a big glorification gimmick. It focuses on the dark side and the difficulties with which the Deadman goes through. It reveals why he didn’t retire and the beginning of the next chapter follows.
As far as comparisons with The Last Dance is concerned, this product from WWEis a notch higher because there is so much more mystery behind The Undertaker’s character than there ever was with the Chicago Bulls.
Undertaker: The Last Ride (Chapter 2) — The Redemption is available on the WWE digital subscription streaming service starting this Sunday, May 17th. WWE provided an advance stream of this episode.
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