The Undertaker appears out over the WrestleMania 33 mob .

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When the WWE universe woke up Monday morning still groggy after a terrific( if long) WrestleMania 33 on Sunday night, there was more than a indication of sadness.

The Era of the Undertaker had come to an end.

In the main event of Sunday’s athletics entertainment spectacular, the new love-him-or-hate-him face of the company, Roman Reigns, defeated the Undertaker( real epithet Mark Calaway) in a match that was brutal for long-time devotees to watch.

After the fireworks went off and Reigns departed as conqueror, Taker’s music played. The Dead Man rose one last period, and, in a stunning move, took off his gloves, coating, and hat, leaving them in the centre of the ring while his ominous topic played and dozens of thousands of devotees made one of pro wrestling’s greatest performers his due.

After more than 26 years as one of WWE’s most prolific and successful wrestlers, it looks like the Undertaker is hanging up the boots. And not a few moments too soon.

Anyone who watched last night’s match between Reigns and Taker surely seemed a sense of increasing dread as it became clear Taker’s body has completely broken down. While there was only one real botched move, Taker was slow and lumbering, seemingly in pain and unable to perform in the way that’s stimulated him the icon that he is( remember the top rope walk ?).

Thankfully, the match go down in history not for what happened during, but for what happened afterward.

There’s something of a tradition in the industry of “going out on your back”losing to help promote the new, up-and-coming flair. And given how much WWE has been pushing Reigns as its new hotshot over the past two years, the Undertaker’s defeat also indicates the proverbial pas of the torch.

Other signs were there, too. Announcing legend Jim “J.R.” Ross returned specifically to call this match, and Taker’s wife, former WWE star Michelle McCool, was at ringside. Taker violated character in his exit to display affection.

Taker’s own face after the matcha mournful, wide-eyed look of raw emotion seemed to indicate that the icon knew it was over.

Other members of the WWE universe were in on the tributes, too, entailing this probably isn’t “kayfabe”( the wrestling word for the fictional storylines ).

While it appears that his in-ring career is overeven WWE got in on the #ThankYouTaker hashtagthe Undertaker won’t fade away altogether. Expect to see his face return at some point in some kind of promotional way. After all, a paycheck is a paycheck and WWE has plenty of old starrings on retainer for appearings and promotions via its Legends contracts.

In fact, I’d set pretty good fund on Undertaker getting top billing at next year’s WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, which happens during WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans next April. That happens to be the same place that Undertaker’s decades-long undefeated streak came to an end during WrestleMania 30 in 2014 at the hands of current WWE Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar.

For now, wrestling fans and workers are still coming to clutches with the departure of one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. Even as the WWE crew dismantled the gigantic determine, they left Taker’s clothes alone until the last possible moment.

The show will go ontonight, actually. It’s period for the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania, an event that’s become almost as big as WrestleMania itself.

But there’s ever chamber for one last tribute to one of the best.

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