Mark Calaway, or who we know as The Undertaker finally bid his goodbye to the WWE universe as an in-ring performer, in World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) Survivor Series - the event Calaway debuted his character, and now, also where he will end it in what the WWE Universe call the 'final farewell', but through a virtual pay-per-view in the WWE Thunderdome - all audiences are on their homes, and not on the usual arenas or centers where WWE holds their episodes and events.
WWE Legends and Superstars gathered to pay honor to the Deadman's illustrious and decorated three-decade career. Headed by the WWE Chairman Vince McMahon Jr., they all entered the ring one by one, and celebrated probably what has been the longest career span of any WWE Superstar, or any professional entertainment wrestler in history.
The other Legends who joined were WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H, WWE Producer Shane McMahon, WWE Hall of Famers in the likes of Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, The Godfather, Booker T, Rikishi, Ric Flair, The Godwins (Henry'O and Mideon), WWE Alumni The Big Show, Kane, Kevin Nash, JBL, Savio Vega, and current veteran Superstar Jeff Hardy.
Some of The Undertaker's achievements and highlights as a wrestler include: a seven time WWE Champion (four time WWE/WWF and three time World Heavyweight Champion), a Royal Rumble winner, and main evented WWE's biggest pay-per-view event Wrestlemania for several times, with his famous undefeated streak which lasted for 21 consecutive years which is the longest winning streak on any pay-per-view event in the history of WWE (broken by former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30 in 2014).
The 'Phenom' of WWE arrived at the very last part of this year's Survivor Series. He spoke for a while, thanking the whole WWE universe for their never-ending support to him for the past 30 years. After that he posed his signature gesture, with his former manager Paul Bearer's projection being shown on the screen, signaling the end of an era. All of these were witnessed by the fans, through a virtual stage.
The Virtual WWE Universe at The Thunderdome
Since the start of the pandemic, WWE did not miss a single episode to shoot and air, and single pay-per-view to broadcast where wrestlers still performed even without a live audience. All their flagship shows' episodes, namely Raw, Smackdown and NXT are all being broadcasted from the WWE Performance Center (PC) in Orlando, Florida, as well as their past and present pay-per-views when the pandemic arrived.
Now they call it the WWE Thunderdome where the audience could pay to secure their slot to be a part of the virtual audience, where they are projected in a dome-structured LED screen surrounding the ring.
This year's Wrestlemania, which was its 36th installment also took place in the WWE PC. It was broadcasted as a two-part episode series in pay-per-view. Although it was the first time that WWE held their flagship event and pay-per-view without a live audience, matches from the event were highly praised.
It was The Undertaker's last match before his farewell today that was critically acclaimed by both the fans and the critics. He used his "The American Bad Ass" Undertaker character and faced WWE Superstar AJ Styles in a cinematic and narrative-heavy match that was called the "Boneyard Match." Styles lost and was buried by the Legend to an empty grave to win that match.