For thirty years, The Undertaker has been one of the biggest stars in Professional wrestling. Whether it was feuding with Hulk Hogan, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane, Shawn Michaels, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Edge, Randy Orton or countless others “The Deadman” has been in main events with everyone who's anyone. In short, The Undertaker is one of the biggest names, and certainly the most successful gimmicks in wrestling history.
At the same time, The Undertaker has also been fiercely protective of his character over the years, rarely doing anything out-of-character or making appearances that might be reverent to the persona he created. He even shied away from attending memorials and salutes to his fallen colleagues over the years to protect the sanctity of the character. However, with his career coming to an ended, Taker has finally relented and let a camera crew follow him in order to document his final matches and the stories surrounding them, which is what we got with The Last Ride.
From 2017 to 2020 cameras followed the Undertaker as he attempted to find a satisfying way to sign off after nearly thirty years in the ring. As you would imagine, it was difficult for him to stop chasing that fairy-tale ending and this documentary series essentially follows that journey. It includes his less-than-stellar match with Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33, his comeback a year later against John Cena, the disasters in Saudi Arabia with Bill Goldberg and DX, his lack of a match at Wrestlemania 35, and of course his eventual “final” match with AJ Styles in the Boneyard at Wrestlemania 36.
The Last Ride is certainly a major peak behind the curtain into the life of one Mark Callaway. His home life, his relationship with his wife Michelle McCool, and most interestingly the sheer effort and training required to make even his sporadic appearances. It’s also incredibly interesting to see how he feels about other contemporaries, his relationships with the current roster, who he enjoyed working with and his views on his career and legacy as a whole. It really is everything you could have wanted to know about one of the most iconic characters in wrestling history, directly from the horse's mouth.
In some ways, this makes for quite a sad story at points of a man who can’t let go and just ride off into the sunset. His continual attempts to have one last big match to recapture his glory are hard to watch. However, seeing him finally reach some semblance of peace, and have a final match befitting the character, even if it wasn’t how he might have intended, is truly uplifting.
Overall, The Last Ride is a really great retrospective for The Undertaker’s career, essentially told through his own eyes, and while that isn’t always a pretty point of view it certainly makes for fascinating watching after all these years of surrounding the gimmick in such mystique. Whether you like the man behind the gimmick or not is another matter, and there was certainly some who found elements of Mark Callaway the person somewhat disappointing; as a study of an ageing performance artist reviewing their career and attempting to make peace with their legacy, effectively going out on their own terms, it’s fantastic.
EXTRAS: Some fun segments from The Undertaker's past, a feature on the iconic entrance, some interviews with Undertaker's contemporaries including Stone Cold Steve Austin and an animated skit. A decent offering in terms of special features!