WWE superstar The Undertaker has officially retired from professional wrestling. The Undertaker, whose real name is Mark Callaway, made the announcement during the final episode of his documentary Undertaker: The Last Ride on Sunday night.
The decision comes after a good sendoff at Wrestlemania where The Undertaker battled AJ Styles in the first-of-its-kind Boneyard match. The match, which had less fighting, and more production value, was received well amongst fans and critics alike.
However, before his ‘last ride’, The Undertaker had a couple of average matches and several poor ones, leading people to question why he was still competing at the highest level.
For those who haven’t been followers of professional wrestling, this is in parallels to the great Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who for most part of his career, was the best at what he did, but between June 2011 and November 2013 unfortunately became a parody of himself.
If you look at their careers, it’s almost a similar passage and in this article, we look at five similarities between The Undertaker and Sachin Tendulkar.
Impressive debuts: Tendulkar made his international cricket debut in 1989, while The Undertaker appeared in WWE (then WWF) for the first time during the 1990 Survivor Series. Both of them left an impression on the world. While Tendulkar had a not-so-memorable debut, he will be remembered for hitting Abdul Qadir out of the ground, as well as his response to Waqar Younis after getting hit on the face. The Undertaker, meanwhile, left a lasting impression during his debut in the 1990 Survivor Series after he was named the Mystery Partner in Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. The debut was memorable and the start of a legendary 30-year-career with the Vince McMahon-owned franchise.
The ascent to greatness: By the time he was 20, Tendulkar was considered the greatest batsman in the world. The Undertaker, too, had ascended to greatness, although he had only won a single WWF Championship title. People respected him for his work ethic and professionalism and were in awe of his agility in the ring despite being a ‘big guy’.
On top of the mountain
Between 1998 and 2011 both Tendulkar and The Undertaker are at the top of their game. The Undertaker’s memorable Wrestlemania streak has been the highlight of his career, while Tendulkar managed to break most records in the cricketing manual, barring Don Bradman’s batting average.
Refusing to let go of their success
Once they reached the top, both The Undertaker and Tendulkar took their position for granted on more than one occasion. Following the incredible four-year storyline that had two matches with Shawn Michaels and two with Triple H, the Undertaker’s matches and his performance became parodies of what he was capable of. In his documentary, ‘The Last Ride’, he is the first to admit this.
Tendulkar had a similar downturn. His last Test century against South Africa was one of the ugliest innings he had played, but the Little Master showed grit and determination against a bowling attacking that comprised Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe. A few months later, he made another century – his last one in a World Cup in a losing cause against the same opponents. For the next year, Sachin looked out of sorts with the pressure of the 100th international century getting to him. When he finally achieved that feat, it was in a losing cause against Bangladesh that also saw India being eliminated from the Asia Cup.
Leaving on a high
Tendulkar’s final appearance in Tests against the West Indies saw him batting freely, with all the pressure getting lifted off him. Similarly, it appears that The Undertaker – after some truly horrific matches in the past few years including one overhyped one against Bill Goldberg – went out on a high in the Boneyard Match against AJ Styles.
With The Undertaker finally calling it a day from professional wrestling, his fans will breathe a sigh of relief because they know that while the last 3-4 years have been terrible for the dead man, he has left a career that will be looked back with fondness.
And that’s how people have felt about Tendulkar as well.