The Undertaker gestures after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday night.. (By Arrangement)
Dallas: There was action unlimited at WWE’s SmackDown but it was the day’s non performer that took the cake. Wrestling giant Mark William Calaway, better known by his ring name The Undertaker, had the crowd on their feet, vigorously clapping for prolonged periods as he was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame in a glittering ceremony at the American Airlines Centre here on Friday night.
It was an emotional moment for everyone involved with the WWE as the 57-year-old accepted the honour fighting back tears after WWE chairman Vince McMahon personally inducted the superstar into the Hall of Fame.
The 6-foot-10 giant, who made his wrestling debut in 1987 and enthralled fans for over three decades before retiring in 2020, later delivered a passionate speech that was laced with humour and had the fans chanting his name, thanking him for all the action over the years.
He returned the compliment. "The WWE Universe, thank you for the loyal and passionate support for over three decades. It was an extreme honour to step into the ring to perform," The Phenom said to thunderous applause.
Mark then spoke about his passion to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. "My parents wanted me to be a basketballer but I had other plans. They were initially disappointed with me but later became my greatest fans," he said, adding "my Mom once rushed into the ring from her second row seat to save me from a chin lock (by an opponent)."
The Undertaker spoke to wannabe stars as well. "Dream big and inspire," he exhorted them. "Your actions matter in the ring as well as outside the ropes, so treat everyone with respect."
He also thanked his wife Michelle for "restoring my relationship with my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ."
The towering personality parted the stage in his trademarks — black coat and hat, saying now that he was in the Hall of Fame, he would "rest in peace."
Other inductees into the 2022 Hall of fame included The Steiner Brothers Rick and Scott, Queen Sharmell, Late Shad Gaspard and Vader.
Earlier in the SmackDown event, Sasha Banks & Naomi crushed Tag Team champions Carmella & Queen Zelina; Austin Theory & The Usos got the better of Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs in the fast-paced Six-man Tag Team match; Ricochet defeated Angel and Humberto in Intercontinental Title Triple Threat Match while Madcap Moss eliminated United States champion Finn Balor.
Live on TV: WWE WrestleMania Day 2 from 5.30 am and Extraa Dhamaal from 9 am (Monday), WWE Raw from 5.30 am (Tuesday) on Sony Ten 1 (English), Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) and Sony Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu).