On Sunday night, World Wrestling Entertainment said goodbye to the last bastion of an era when The Undertaker gave a final goodbye during the WWE Survivor Series event. After the main event, a collection of WWE Superstars came out to say their farewells, including Mick Foley, Kane, Steve Nash and Ric Flair but perhaps the standout moment came from a hologram of a very familiar face.
After the 55-year-old wrestler gave his rather abrupt speech, where he said it was “time to let The Undertaker rest in peace,” his classic bell toll began to erupt throughout the arena. It led to a 10 bell salute while The Undertaker was down on one knee, in his signature pose, with his arm reached out – a faint scream coming midway through the bells. It was the voice of Paul Bearer, The Undertaker’s cohort, manager and a legit funeral director, who had passed away back in 2013. And then, right in front of the wrestler, Paul Bearer’s hologram appeared, holding a golden urn.
Bearer has, in his own unique way, become just as mammoth of a character as his friend, so much so he was enshrined into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014. It was a well done moment that stole the evening and is certain to become an instant-classic seen for years to come, one that brought the feels to anyone who has taken the journey with The Undertaker since his debut almost three decades ago.
Mark Calaway signed with the World Wrestling Federation in 1990, after spending close to a year with rival World Championship Wrestling. His on-camera debut came late that November, at Survivor Series, as a mystery heel partner, part of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. It was there that he first showed off his signature stare and he was immediately off and running. Quickly, he became one of the faces of the WWE and was featured in a number of classic matches, which led to being crowned heavyweight champion in 1991, his first of four stints with the belt.
It might not have been the first goodbye for The Undertaker but it feels like it’s the last, closing the chapter of the WWE that brought some of the most unique characters.