Last Sunday at WWE Survivor Series, The Undertaker gave his Final Farewell. It had been built for weeks, known for months and years in the making. Marking thirty years since his official debut in 1990, the cowboy finally rode off into the sunset. The DeadMan was able to rest in peace. Like all things in life, some loved it, others hated it, and a few are somewhere in between. Before getting to the entire breakdown, I admit to being somewhere in between.
Here is what happened at the pay-per-view a couple of nights ago.
Survivor Series was banking on the WWE Universe caring about a RAW vs. Smackdown rivalry that comes out of the blue every November and exists right after a WWE Draft which features guys and gals switching shows right beforehand. In other words, the company was up against it from the get go. Unfortunately, the card was already fighting a losing battle before the first bell even rang. Thus, placing a goodbye speech from an all-time great was either a stroke of genius or bad placement to epic proportions.
Was it done because of the thirty year timing or the ridiculously pointless feuds going in or simply all a coincidence that was going to happen regardless?
I don’t care about any of that. What I do know is that The Final Farewell segment deserved to main event the PPV. Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre was a big time showdown and more than lived up to the hype, but that wasn’t The Undertaker retiring. Wrestling fans all over the world were tuning in to see this emotional sendoff, not any of the actual matches. Like I said, that was strange right off the bat.
When it came time for The Undertaker’s segment to end the evening, it actually started with an introduction from the ring announcer. I think he called it The Final Farewell or something. Not sure it needed its own introduction. Already kinda weird. Then came out all the past legends and friends from Taker. Very cool and obviously a lot of thought went into this, as many old buddies were there. Some that had next to no WWE status to speak of, so it wasn’t just the usual company PR BS. His best friends and best opponents were out there: JBL, Jeff Hardy, Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and of course Kane to just name a few. I have zero complaints on the men out there, as his family watched from the crowd. I did find it a little odd and hilarious that Kane was the only one in his ring gear.
That led us to a sweet video package. We saw it re-aired the next night on Raw, and it is a gem. Whoever does these productions for WWE should be getting paid millions. Not even joking. They are the unsung heroes of this all. Metallica playing the background music was only the cherry on top. If you have not seen the four minute tribute video, take the time to do so right now. You will be very THANKFUL you did.
When we returned to the ring, there was Vince McMahon! A special appearance by the boss himself. Everybody knows how close he and Taker are. No explanation needed there. A lot of fans were pointing out how old Vinny Mac looked. Um, yeah. He’s old. Thanks for pointing that little fact out. The man has been through a lot; we are lucky he is even alive in 2020, much less ten or twenty years ago. He has lived a life and a half. In only the Vince McMahon voice, he introduced The Undertaker!!!
That brought us to The Undertaker finally making his entrance. Maybe his last entrance. As expected, WWE decided to ThunderDome style his theme and walk out. Again, their production is top notch and far above any other sport or entertainment property. It is not even close. After getting to the squared circle to address the viewing public, I did find it a little perplexing that everybody was gone. The legends and even Vince had simply vanished. One final trick from The Undertaker perhaps? I understand this criticism, but I assume the pre-party and after-party more than made up for any in-ring moments. Still, definitely questionable. Keeping kayfabe I guess and not breaking character for The DeadMan? He seemed to have moved beyond that though in recent media interviews. Meh.
After a quick speech and soaking up all the pre-recorded fan chants, he said it was time for The Undertaker to rest in peace. As we got a ten “gong” salute to signal his Final Farewell, he kneeled and shared a moment with a hologram Paul Bearer saying “Ohhhhhh yessssss!” That was what almost got me. That was touching. A super cool emotional moment in a segment that had been pretty straight forward and not as emotional as I had anticipated. One final walk to the back, one last pose…and that was it.
No friendly handshakes from his buddies. No Vince McMahon tearful hug. No attack or tease for a future opponent. No big WrestleMania 37 story line. Nothing.
The Undertaker gave his Final Farewell, and that was it.
As mentioned in the opening, I fall somewhere in between on all of this. I loved the Paul Bearer moment. I loved the video package. I loved all the legends out there. I loved the 30 year anniversary setting. I loved he kept it short and sweet (saving more for his WWE Hall of Fame speech I assume). I loved the overall presentation.
On the flip side, I didn’t like the legends not even interacting with Taker ON SCREEN. I didn’t enjoy the fact that he had to do this in an empty arena (ThunderDome) with video screens acting as fans and getting those canned in cheers. For a legend of this status, he obviously deserved much, much more. In 2020 though, sadly, that’s just the way it is. Either WWE kept on waiting or pulled the trigger on the 30 year Survivor Series date. Nobody can really help the guidelines or restrictions. It just sucks.
All in all, it delivered as was promised. The Undertaker said goodbye to everybody on camera and was able to fulfill an incredible 30 year career. Was it perfect? Heck no. Was it horrible and an insult? No, it wasn’t. With what WWE has and how much the world is dealing with right now, they made the best out a bad situation. How did YOU feel about The Final Farewell?
Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @JustinWatry or via email at [email protected] – thanks for reading.