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'Undertaker: The Last Ride, Episode 3' review: Chasing the ghosts of wrestling past

Sporting News — (Andreas Hale)

The Undertaker could have had his last ride after his 3-minute squash match against John Cena at WrestleMania 34. For the most part, fans were happy with his redemption after the WrestleMania debacle against Roman Reigns a year prior.

But he wasn’t. Not because the match wasn’t entertaining, but because he felt that he didn’t leave it all in the ring. 

MORE: 'Undertaker: The Last Ride, Chapter 2' review: 'If I had to (retire) I could. It’s just a matter of if I want to.'

As we all know by now, this wouldn’t be the last ride of The Undertaker. 

And it is during the third episode of the WWE docuseries that both he and the viewer realize the harrowing truth about Mark William Calaway is that he’ll continue walking through the graveyard chasing the ghosts of wrestling past

And it’s quite the dangerous road that isn’t very forgiving, as we see in this installment.  

Picking up directly after Undertaker’s WrestleMania 34 victory, it’s obvious that this isn’t the ending he envisioned. Despite all of the praise from his fans and family, Taker’s biggest takeaway is that this was the best he felt in years and he can do it again.

And again.  

He’s chasing a high, and this is a chapter that gives some insight on a man who finally acknowledges what he’s after and just how difficult it is to accomplish the feat. After WrestleMania 34, he's back at it three weeks later against Rusev at WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble event. Feeling good, he dips his toe into the water another time in a match ironically billed as the "Last Time Ever" against Triple H at Super Show-Down in Australia, which sets up the finale of this episode with a tag match in which he teams up with his storyline brother Kane against Triple H and Shawn Michaels.  

Meanwhile, the wrestlers who have walked away from the sport see exactly what’s going on even when Undertaker doesn’t. 

“It was like a bad comedy movie,” Triple H says when discussing the debacle known as the D-Generation X vs. Brothers of Destruction match at Crown Jewel in 2018. It was a match that was supposed to be a comfortable exercise between four men who have spent decades together. Instead, the foursome of Kane, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker learned that Father Time is undefeated. From Triple H’s torn pectoral muscle to Kane’s mask falling off, it really was a bad comedy movie.

Unfortunately, only one of them had something to prove and wasn't in on the joke. 

“If that match came off the way it was intended, that would have been enough for me,” Undertaker says. 

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But that’s become the crux of The Last Ride because nothing comes off the way that it was intended. The Roman Reigns match made him realize he just didn’t have it anymore, and his WrestleMania match with John Cena lulled him into a false reality that he did have it if he worked hard enough. 

Chapter 3 is a man who is wrestling with both worlds and trying to find a happy medium. 

The comparisons to “The Last Dance” are fair, but there are some startling differences. Where Michael Jordan was still at his peak and running with a team that knew this was the end of the road, Undertaker doesn’t have that sense of security. He never knows where the end is, just that it is near. 

“I’m so envious of Shawn (Michaels) and his ability to walk away and be done with it,” Undertaker says during an excellent sequence that chronicles the journeys of him, Triple H and Shawn Michaels over the years. From the original Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, their individual WrestleMania matches that culminated with a phenomenal Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28 in 2012 (which should have been the end) and now this Crown Jewel travesty, the documentary tells an excellent story of things coming full circle. 

“I hope I have that clarity to know when that’s it,” he says.

He doesn’t. 

And this episode sets the table for what’s about to take place in the next chapter that was a harsh shot of reality for the aging Deadman.