Undertaker's 18-0 Wrestlemania Record -- The Definitive Anthology (with VIDEO)
Yeah, it's Final Four weekend in Houston. We're all very excited. But a little secret (that's not very well kept) -- for me, the Saturday and Monday games are a mere buffer surrounding Wrestlemania Sunday, baby!
This year is special because Houston's very own Undertaker (real name Mark Calloway, Waltrip High School, class of 1983) tries to do what the New England Patriots couldn't do, and that is go 19-0.
19-0 at Wrestlemania, that is.
The Undertaker's 18-0 Mania undefeated streak has taken on a life of its own. I don't exactly remember when the WWE started marketing his annually defending it as part of the Wrestlemania experience, or if they even meant for it to evolve to this point. Whatever the case, this year it's Triple H's (0-1 in Wrestlemania matches with the Undertaker) turn to give it a go.
I was at the Undertaker's WWF debut in 1990. When this streak started, I was still in college. In short, the Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak has seen me blaze through one marriage, one head of hair, (almost) one liver, and spawn three kids. The internet was still a good three or four years away from being a prominent part of our daily lives when the streak started. Now, millions will watch the attempt at 19-0 on their phones or iPads.
This is the closest thing the wrestling world has to a "real life" sports feat right now. And for those who laugh at an "undefeated" streak in a genre where the outcome is predetermined, just know that the durability and the ability to navigate the political minefield that is necessary to go 18-0 on the biggest card of the year is as just as amazing as going 18-0 in an actual season of a "real" sport.
So here you go, WWE fans -- the Undertaker's 18-0 streak in video form. Enjoy!
1-0 WRESTLEMANIA VII (vs Jimmy Snuka)
This match was sad for me at the time. I remember Jimmy Snuka as the high-flying acrobat who terrorized Bob Backlund back in 1982. By 1991, the WWF had turned Snuka into a grunting, twitching jungle freak. In retrospect, it would have been better if the Undertaker actually killed him.
2-0 WRESTLEMANIA VIII (vs Jake "TheSnake" Roberts)
This was Undertaker's first Wrestlemania as a babyface (good guy). Jake Roberts had just spent the winter terrorizing Randy Savage and Elizabeth, and Undertaker had spent most of the previous year partnering with Jake Roberts. However, at some point Undertaker decided that he was going to be the quasi-zombie with a heart of gold, and he saved Elizabeth from a Roberts chair shot. And eventually it culminated, like most feuds, at Wrestlemania. If you had bet on Elizabeth being the only player involved in this match (Taker, Jake, Savage, Paul Bearer, Elizabeth) to have passed away by 2011, you would be sitting on a yacht in the Caribbean.
3-0 WRESTLEMANIA IX (vs Giant Gonzalez)
I have to admit that this is the only wrestling match I've ever seen end on a disqualification because of the use of an ether-soaked rag, and thanks to Giant Gonzalez "Slim Goodbody/Shaved Gorilla" outfit and the entire WWF staff wearing togas, the ether was only the third strangest thing about this match. Only thing saving it was the fact that it was Jim Ross' debut in WWE (then WWF).
4-0 WRESTLEMANIA XI (vs King Kong Bundy)
I always wondered why King Kong Bundy was such a big star. Fat, bald, ugly. How did I never headline Wrestlemania?