Undefeated WrestleMania streak of The Undertaker

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The Streak[1][2][3] was a series of 21 straight victories for professional wrestler The Undertaker (Mark Calaway) at WWE's premier annual event, WrestleMania. It began at WrestleMania VII in 1991 when he beat Jimmy Snuka, with the final win coming against CM Punk at WrestleMania 29 in 2013; The Undertaker was absent from WrestleMania X (1994) and WrestleMania 2000, owing to injury.[4][5] Overall, he defeated 18 men during The Streak, which included three bouts with Triple H and two each opposite Kane and Shawn Michaels, as well as a handicap match against Big Show and A-Train at WrestleMania XIX. Although part of pro wrestling storyline, this run of victories was called the "greatest winning streak in sport",[6] and was compared to that of Floyd Mayweather, Jr.[7]

The Streak became a pivotal component of WrestleMania, with a potential win over The Undertaker at the event being described as a greater honor than winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship;[3][8] Henry Tiger Oliver of The Oklahoman wrote in 2014: "The Streak is not just a WrestleMania match. It is the WrestleMania match".[3] At that year's WrestleMania XXX, The Undertaker finally lost to Brock Lesnar. For years, debate had revolved around who, if anybody, should break The Streak,[2][9][10] with prominent former and current wrestlers giving comment.[11][12][13][14]

Background[edit]

WrestleMania[edit]

The official WrestleMania logo.
Main article: WrestleMania

WrestleMania is the premier annual event of the largest professional wrestling promotion in the United States, WWE. Formed as a counter to Jim Crockett Promotions' successful Starrcade event, WrestleMania I was broadcast to one million nationwide via closed-circuit television and pay-per-view. WrestleMania's widespread success helped transform the sport of professional wrestling and made WWE the most successful wrestling promotion in the world, prompting WWE to promote the event as the Super Bowl of sports entertainment.[15]

The Undertaker[edit]

The Undertaker makes his elaborate ring entrance.
Main article: The Undertaker

Born Mark William Calaway on March 24, 1965 in Houston, Texas, The Undertaker is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he has worked since 1990, making him the company's longest-tenured performer. Calaway began his wrestling career with World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) in 1984. After wrestling for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as "Mean" Mark Callous from 1989 to 1990, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 1990. In WWE, The Undertaker is a seven-time world champion, having won the WWF/E Championship four times and the World Heavyweight Championship three times, as well as the winner of the 2007 Royal Rumble. He is recognized as the fourth youngest WWF/E Champion in history, having won the title aged 26 years, 8 months, and 3 days.[16]

Match statistics[edit]

Undefeated WrestleMania streak of The Undertaker[17]
Streak Date Match time Venue
1–0
Jimmy Snuka
March 24, 1991
WrestleMania VII
4:20
Pinfall
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Los Angeles, California
2–0
Jake Roberts
April 5, 1992
WrestleMania VIII
6:36
Pinfall
Hoosier Dome
Indianapolis, Indiana
3–0
Giant González
April 4, 1993
WrestleMania IX
7:33
DQ
Caesars Palace
Las Vegas, Nevada
4–0
King Kong Bundy
April 2, 1995
WrestleMania XI
6:36
Pinfall
Hartford Civic Center
Hartford, Connecticut
5–0
Diesel
March 31, 1996
WrestleMania XII
16:46
Pinfall
Arrowhead Pond
Anaheim, California
6–0
Sycho Sid
March 23, 1997
WrestleMania 13
21:19
Pinfall
Rosemont Horizon
Rosemont, Illinois
7–0
Kane
March 29, 1998
WrestleMania XIV
16:58
Pinfall
Fleet Center
Boston, Massachusetts
8–0
The Big Bossman
March 28, 1999
WrestleMania XV
9:46
Pinfall
First Union Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
9–0
Triple H
April 1, 2001
WrestleMania X-Seven
18:17
Pinfall
Reliant Astrodome
Houston, Texas
10–0
Ric Flair
March 17, 2002
WrestleMania X8
18:47
Pinfall
SkyDome
Toronto, Ontario
11–0
Big Show and A-Train
March 30, 2003
WrestleMania XIX
9:45
Pinfall
Safeco Field
Seattle, Washington
12–0
Kane
March 14, 2004
WrestleMania XX
7:45
Pinfall
Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
13–0
Randy Orton
April 3, 2005
WrestleMania 21
14:14
Pinfall
Staples Center
Los Angeles, California
14–0
Mark Henry
April 2, 2006
WrestleMania 22
9:26
Casket
Allstate Arena
Rosemont, Illinois
15–0
Batista
April 1, 2007
WrestleMania 23
15:47
Pinfall
Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan
16–0
Edge
March 30, 2008
WrestleMania XXIV
23:50
Submission
Citrus Bowl
Orlando, Florida
17–0
Shawn Michaels
April 5, 2009
WrestleMania XXV
30:41
Pinfall
Reliant Stadium
Houston, Texas
18–0
Shawn Michaels
March 28, 2010
WrestleMania XXVI
23:59
Pinfall
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona
19–0
Triple H
April 3, 2011
WrestleMania XXVII
29:22
Submission
Georgia Dome
Atlanta, Georgia
20–0
Triple H
April 1, 2012
WrestleMania XXVIII
30:50
Pinfall
Sun Life Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida
21–0
CM Punk
April 7, 2013
WrestleMania 29
22:07
Pinfall
MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Streak[edit]

WrestleMania VII (1–0)[edit]

I looked forward to that, brother, when Vince Jr. told me to wrestle The Undertaker. Brother, I loved it. I loved it. I said, "Why not?". Here's a kid that's blowing up. He looks the part. He looked good. It was a pleasure for me to go in there and work with him.

Jimmy Snuka in 2013.[18]

The match ended when Snuka's attempted springboard manoeuvre was countered as The Undertaker caught him, and he then hit the Tombstone Piledriver before pinning Snuka.[19]

WrestleMania VIII (2–0)[edit]

After delivering his finishing move, the DDT, to The Undertaker for the second time, Jake Roberts went to the outside to attack Undertaker's manager Paul Bearer. The Undertaker then delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to Roberts, before rolling him inside the ring and pinning him.[20]

WrestleMania IX (3–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania IX

The 7 ft 7 Giant González was disqualified when he covered The Undertaker's face with a cloth covered in chloroform. Currently, this is the only DQ win in the Undertaker's streak, as all other wins were obtained by pinfall, submission, or casket.[21]

WrestleMania XI (4–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania XI

The match, refereed by baseball umpire Larry Young, finished when The Undertaker first bodyslammed and then delivered a flying clothesline to King Kong Bundy before pinning him.[22]

WrestleMania XII (5–0)[edit]

Prior to leaving for WCW, Diesel lost to The Undertaker via Tombstone Piledriver.[23]

WrestleMania 13 (6–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania 13

In a match for the WWF Championship, the finish came when Bret Hart distracted Sid long enough for The Undertaker to take advantage and deliver a Tombstone Piledriver.[24]

WrestleMania XIV (7–0)[edit]

Getting to work with The Undertaker right off the bat was a tremendous opportunity. It was an opportunity to be a career-maker, and fortunately I was able to take advantage of that.

Kane in 2010.[25]

After Kane had kicked out of two Tombstone Piledrivers, The Undertaker delivered a third to pick up the win over his storyline brother.[26]

WrestleMania XV (8–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania XV

The first WrestleMania match to take place inside a Hell in a Cell ended when Undertaker delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to Big Bossman, who was then hung from a noose by The Brood.[27]

WrestleMania X-Seven (9–0)[edit]

Following a match involving a brawl through the crowd, The Undertaker finally pinned Triple H after using the Last Ride.[28] This bout marked The Undertaker's first WrestleMania appearance under his "American Badass" biker persona.

WrestleMania X8 (10–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania X8
The Undertaker delivering a Tombstone Piledriver to Flair.

Fought under No Disqualification rules, The Undertaker beat Ric Flair after delivering a Tombstone Piledriver, despite interference from Arn Anderson.[29]

WrestleMania XIX (11–0)[edit]

Despite The Undertaker's scheduled tag team partner Nathan Jones being removed from the match beforehand, Jones helped Undertaker win by delivering kicks to both Big Show and A-Train, and allowing The Undertaker to hit a Tombstone Piledriver on A-Train to get the pinfall win.[30]

WrestleMania XX (12–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania XX

Reverting to his Deadman persona, The Undertaker defeated Kane for the second time at WrestleMania by executing a Tombstone Piledriver.[31]

WrestleMania 21 (13–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania 21

The finish to the match came when Randy Orton attempted to execute a Tombstone Piledriver, only for it to be reversed by The Undertaker into one of his own.[32]

WrestleMania 22 (14–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania 22

The Undertaker won the casket match when he put Mark Henry inside the casket.[33]

WrestleMania 23 (15–0)[edit]

When we get in the ring together, I think it’s magic. I think we always have the same goal, and that’s just to give a heck of a competitive match. It’s not easy with us both being babyfaces, but as long as we’re competitive and we’re physical and give the crowd their money’s worth and take them on a ride, then it’s going to work. It’s like a dream come true. Him being such a large man and so athletic, he’s the perfect opponent for me.

Batista in 2007.[34]
See also: WrestleMania 23

Having won the 2007 Royal Rumble,[35] The Undertaker earned the opportunity to select his opponent for WrestleMania 23.[36] With the option to wrestle WWE Champion John Cena, ECW Champion Bobby Lashley, or World Heavyweight Champion Batista, The Undertaker chose Batista.[37]

Undertaker used his signature moves Snake Eyes, Old School, and a flying clothesline early on, before executing a suicide dive to Batista, who then retaliated by performing a running powerslam through the announce table. Batista put Undertaker back in the ring and attempted a pin to no avail as Undertaker kicked out, who then did the Last Ride and a chokeslam, but was unable to score a pin from either move. Batista then hit a spear and his finishing move the Batista Bomb, but Undertaker stunned everybody by kicking out. Batista tried another, but was countered and Undertaker hit a Tombstone Piledriver on Batista to win the World Heavyweight Championship.[38]

WrestleMania XXIV (16–0)[edit]

Although The Undertaker entered the event undefeated to much acclaim, Edge had also never lost at WrestleMania.[39] Edge described the match as "the biggest match of my career, bar none. The main event, against Undertaker for the world title, it doesn't get any better".[40]

The match was full of reversals by Edge, who was defending his World Heavyweight Championship, including Undertaker's signature moves Old School, the big boot, the Last Ride, and the Tombstone Piledriver, while hitting big moves of his own such as the Impaler DDT and the Edge-o-matic. The end of the match came when, despite Edge using a camera as a weapon, and interference from La Familia members The Edgeheads (Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder), Undertaker locked in the Hell's Gate after being hit with Edge's finisher, the spear. Edge would submit, and for the second year in a row, The Undertaker won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.[41]

WrestleMania XXV (17–0)[edit]

What more could you ask for as a wrestling fan?

Jim Ross at WrestleMania XXV.[42]

After defeating Vladimir Kozlov on March 2, 2009, Shawn Michaels earned the right to challenge The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV.[43]

The Undertaker, after defeating Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXV.

During the match, Undertaker attempted his signature suicide dive, but Michaels pulled a cameraman in the way, leaving Undertaker to land awkwardly on his neck; the spot was said to have "added more drama and emotion to the match, and gave it an element of realism". The finish, described as "emotionally charged", involved Undertaker using all four of his recognised finishing moves (Tombstone Piledriver, Last Ride, chokeslam, Hell's Gate) without managing to finish the match on any occasion; Undertaker's "wide eyed look of sadness and desperation on his face" after Michaels kicked out of the Tombstone Piledriver was described as a "snapshot of the heart and passion that was on display at the spectacle".[42][44] Michaels made a comeback, and eventually hit Sweet Chin Music, but Undertaker kicked out. Soon after, Michaels attempted a top-rope moonsault, but was caught by Undertaker, who executed a second Tombstone Piledriver and finally won the match.[42]

The match was described as "show-stealing" and an "instant classic", and was eventually hailed as the greatest bout in WrestleMania history.[44][45][46]

WrestleMania XXVI (18–0)[edit]

The Undertaker initially rejected a rematch with Shawn Michaels, saying "a rematch at this year's WrestleMania will only result in more bitter disappointment for yourself. Shawn, I've got nothing to prove to you. My answer is 'No'", before Michaels retaliated by saying "I'll see you at WrestleMania. Your streak, your title, your soul will be mine".[47] At Elimination Chamber, Michaels cost Undertaker his World Heavyweight Championship, coming out from under the ring and connecting with Sweet Chin Music and allowing Chris Jericho to pin him.[48]

Towards the end, Michaels hit Sweet Chin Music on the outside, leaving Undertaker lay on the announce table, before performing a top-rope moonsault, breaking the announce table.[49] At the end of a 24-minute match, after kicking out of a Tombstone Piledriver, Shawn Michaels slapped The Undertaker, leading to Undertaker executing a jumping Tombstone Piledriver on Michaels.[50][51] As a result of the loss per the pre-match stipulations,[52] Michaels retired from professional wrestling,[53][54] a moment described as "the end of an era".[55]

WrestleMania XXVII (19–0)[edit]

After a near-30 minute bout, in a match contested under No Holds Barred rules,[56] and after both men kicked out of each other's finishing move, The Undertaker was triumphant when he locked in the Hell's Gate on Triple H; Triple H attempted to use a sledgehammer while in the hold, but was unable to do so before tapping out.[57][58]

WrestleMania XXVIII (20–0)[edit]

Contested inside a Hell in a Cell, and refereed by Shawn Michaels, the match, billed as the "End of an Era" began with both men brawling in and around the ring. Shortly afterwards, with the steel steps inside the ring, Triple H hit a spinebuster on Undertaker, who then managed to lock in the Hell's Gate, which was countered when Triple H lifted him up and slammed him on the steel steps. The match was littered with weapon shots, including 16 consecutive chair shots by Triple H, followed by a sledgehammer shot to the skull, all the while Undertaker instructed Michaels not to stop the match. When being checked on by Michaels, Undertaker locked him in the Hell's Gate, leaving him out cold. Replacement referee Charles Robinson ran down to the ring after Undertaker hit a chokeslam on Triple H, but could only make a two-count, and was then on the receiving end of a chokeslam himself. Michaels recovered and hit Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music followed by a Triple H Pedigree, but this wasn't enough for the three count. Both men traded finishing moves for near-falls, before Undertaker delivered his own series of chair shots for another two count. Undertaker won shortly afterwards with a Tombstone Piledriver.[59][60][61] It was praised as one of the greatest Hell in a Cell matches of all time,[62] while Triple H thought it was one of his favorite matches of his career.[63]

WrestleMania 29 (21–0)[edit]

See also: WrestleMania 29

In a controversial angle the week before WrestleMania 29, CM Punk's manager Paul Heyman, dressed as, and using the mannerisms of, the recently deceased Paul Bearer, came out to confront The Undertaker whilst flanked by Undertaker's signature druids. As Undertaker attempted to assault them, Punk, in disguise as a druid, assaulted Undertaker before pouring the ashes of an urn, purporting to be those of Bearer's, over Undertaker.[64]

During the 22 minute match, in which fans chanted "this is awesome", Punk delivered a Macho Man elbow drop from the top rope onto The Undertaker, who was draped on the Spanish announce table.[65] Undertaker survived this, and, after Punk hit The Undertaker with the urn containing the alleged ashes of Paul Bearer, Undertaker reversed CM Punk's GTS finishing move and hit a Tombstone Piledriver on Punk to mark the final victory in The Streak.[66]

End of The Streak and aftermath[edit]

Brock Lesnar wore merchandise celebrating the end of The Streak.

On October 23, 2010, after losing his UFC Heavyweight Championship to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121, Brock Lesnar was confronted by The Undertaker, who asked, "you wanna do it?"[67][68]

On the February 24, 2014 episode of Raw, Undertaker appeared for the first time since The Shield powerbombed him through the announcers table ten months earlier, to challenge Lesnar to a match at WrestleMania XXX, held on April 6 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.[69] Undertaker went into the match as the massive odds-on favorite,[70] but after one Kimura Lock and three F-5s, Brock Lesnar pinned The Undertaker in 25 minutes and 10 seconds to end the undefeated WrestleMania streak, silencing and shocking the entire crowd in the process.[71][72] Undertaker was legitimately hospitalized afterwards with a severe concussion suffered early in the match.[73][74] Lesnar's music was not played for a few minutes while WWE cameramen continued to highlight the reaction of a stunned crowd. His manager, Paul Heyman, thereafter began using the victory to further promote his client, and referred to himself as "the one behind the one in 21 and 1".[75]

The result was described by Sports Illustrated as being "the most shocking result since the Montreal Screwjob".[76] A great number of fans objected to the outcome; Justin Henry of WrestleCrap gave an impassioned defence of the decision, arguing that it elicited an emotional response that reduced him and other viewers "to the most base-ishness of our fanhood".[77] Quizzed by Stone Cold Steve Austin about his decision to terminate The Streak, Vince McMahon said it was done to make a big deal of Lesnar, and that there were no other viable candidates for the role. He added that The Undertaker was shocked by the decision, but willingly participated since he wanted to give back to the business.[78]

At the following year's WrestleMania 31, The Undertaker rebounded with a victory over Bray Wyatt.[79]

Media[edit]

WWE has released various DVDs covering The Streak, including a three-disc set to mark the 20–0 milestone.[80]

Video game WWE 2K14 features The Streak mode, in which players can attempt to defend The Streak as The Undertaker. Alternatively, they can try to break it as any other wrestler in the game.

References[edit]

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