April 10, 2013
Wrestlemania 29: The Undertaker’s Streak 21-0
Wrestlemania has made a huge impact on our pop culture since its annual debut almost thirty years ago. This was the birth of sports entertainment itself, the event that later would go on to help create Pay-Per-View, and has held more attendance records than any other sport or entertainment genre. Many names and adjectives are synonymous with Wrestlemania, like Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Hollywood, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Steve Austin; but no other name compares to that of, The Undertaker. Not only has he competed in more Wrestlemania’s than any other wrestler (twenty one), most were consecutive; and he has won them all.
This past Sunday, history was once again made as the Undertaker defeated his 21st opponent, CM Punk, to take his undefeated Mania streak to 21-0. There are several reasons why I still watch wrestling; I used to be a professional wrestler and the genre has always been in my nature, it’s nostalgic, and the Taker’s streak. I am sure I will still watch Wrestlemania when The Undertaker retires, probably all of them until the day I pass, but I don’t think there will ever be a better memory, than watching the streak grow every year. When the Undertaker is no longer a part of Mania, his streak will still be engrained, but it will be a bitter sweet end to something that has existed for most of my life.
I remember where I was, who I was with, and that time of my life for each and every one of his matches. Some were shared with parents, childhood friends, acquaintances, my ex-wife, ex-girlfriends (notice a trend here), by myself, and with best friends.
Any athlete who has crossed over to wrestling will always testify how they are some of the greatest athletes anyone will ever see, in any sport. The impact, the constant schedule, no off season; and the Undertaker is the epidemy of heart and passion for this relentless industry. He is one of those wrestlers where you a show a non-fan a match of his, and they thoroughly enjoy it.
Wrestlemania is an event where casual fans tune in, new viewers tune in, records are broken, and memories are made. I have seen many Mania’s with people who watched it with me for their first time, and all of them had one thing in common, the Undertaker match of that particular Mania was their favorite.
As the streak has gotten larger, so has the suspense of Taker possibly losing. This year it was clearer cut; any fan understood, storyline wise, that The Undertaker was going to win. But the four Manias prior were edge of the seat nail biting situations. Even this Mania provided us a few of those moments, thanks equally to CM Punk and The Undertaker.
A few weeks’ back, longtime friend and manager of The Undertaker, Paul Bearer, passed away. They then used that in the storyline between Taker and Punk, Punk mocked Bearer the last few weeks. So it was more than obvious that Taker was going to win, but what about the future?
Surely the retirement of the Undertaker is bound to happen, as he has been in this industry for almost thirty years. And lately he does one match at Wrestlemania, and then spends the majority of the year recovering from injuries incurred from those matches. Time is catching up with the dead man, like it does for us all, so what will happen on his last match?
Will his last match be next year? Will he win, retiring undefeated at Wrestlemania? Or lose, and pass the torch to another wrestle? A lot of critics say there is no point to him losing at the end of his career, but I disagree. I don’t necessarily think that’s the way to go, but I understand the story that tells.
In the business, a worker wins their first match, and loses their last. The Undertaker is old school, a traditionalist, so this wouldn’t surprise me. It would also be a beautiful story to add to the story of the Undertaker, going undefeated, until he lost his one and only Mania loss, thus marking his retirement. It would depend who he would face for it to work. But either way, it will be a sad day and I, for one, hope for a few more matches at Wrestlemania from him.
And many fans are still waiting for The Undertaker to face John Cena at Wrestlemania. This is would also be a match that would be filled with great suspense as it would be hard to guess who would win.
Regardless of how long he has wrestled, last Sunday the dead man showed yet again, he still puts on the best show of the night!
I have listed in order all the opponents he has beaten through the years in the order he has faced them and I will be covering the best of those matches in upcoming weeks.
- Wrestlemania VII: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka
- Wrestlemania VIII: Jake “The Snake” Roberts
- Wrestlemania IX: Giant Gonzalez
- Wrestlemania XI: King Kong Bundy
- Wrestlemania XII: Diesel (Kevin Nash)
- Wrestlemania XIII: Sycho Sid (Sid )
- Wrestlemania XIV: Kane
- Wrestlemania XV: The Big Boss Man
- Wrestlemania XVII: Triple H
- Wrestlemania XVIII: Ric Flair
- Wrestlemania XIX: Big Show and A Train
- Wrestlemania XX: Kane
- Wrestlemania XXI: Randy Orton
- Wrestlemania XXII: Mark Henry
- Wrestlemania XXIII: Batista
- Wrestlemania XXIV: Edge
- Wrestlemania XXV: Shawn Michaels
- Wrestlemania XXVI: Shawn Michaels
- Wrestlemania XXVII: Triple H
- Wrestlemania XXVIII: Triple H
- Wrestlemania XXIX: Cm Punk
Featured Image Credit: WWE.com / Associated Press