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The Undertaker retired from WWE for the umpteenth time last night. It felt final, but it’s felt final before, so you never really know with him. Nonetheless, there was a nice synchronicity with his WWE debut coming 30 years ago at Survivor Series. WWE brought out a lot of his legendary friends (and in many cases former foes) like Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, Rikishi, Triple H, the Godwins, Jeff Hardy, and Booker T to celebrate his legacy. The wildest part of the evening was the CGI of The Undertaker’s late manager Paul Bearer at the end:
I marked out for CGI Paul Bearer pic.twitter.com/8UIrzow5C4
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) November 23, 2020
Some people may not have approved of integrating Paul Bearer into the storyline like this when he is deceased, but this type of surreal imagery — the undead — was their whole gimmick. The suspension of disbelief is the key to enjoying pro wrestling, and Undertaker and Paul Bearer pulled that off probably better than any other two humans on the planet could have done in those roles. You’d have to think that Paul Bearer would have wanted to be a part of this night.
Throughout the lead-up to this retirement and well into the segment, I really thought a young WWEer — perhaps the Fiend, Bray Wyatt — would come in and interrupt the Undertaker and chide him into one last match. It’s wrestling tradition for departing performers to put over and elevate young talents on the way out. Maybe that moment is still coming, maybe it’s not, but whatever the case may be, this was an evocative trip down memory lane for a whole generation of wrestling fans.