The Streak: 21 to 0: An In Depth Look at The WWE WrestleMania Streak of The Undertaker
This year in the lead up to Wrestlemania XXX, I will personally be going back through The Streak of The Undertaker. We are going to go through all 21 victories one match per day which will climax with the quest for Brock Lesnar to become number 22. Try to think of this as a 21 Days of Wrestlemania Marathon. The Streak begins today March 16th as we start at the beginning against Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka at Wrestlemania VII for the first victory. I’m excited because we get to go back through and watch some great matches. We’re going to go through the trilogy of Triple H, the Wars with Kane, the title wins and the history of The Streak. It is undoubtedly the greatest record in wrestling history and I never sat down and thought about how important The Streak has been and how it is the untouchable record of professional wrestling. So before we get into the specific matches, let’s talk about the Streak a little bit.
MLB has the Dimaggio’s 56 Hit Streak just like WWE has The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Win Streak. Two iconic records in professional sport that have the illusion of immortality. The Immortal Undertaker holding 21 wins in 21 tries is unprecedented. Dimaggio hitting for 56 straight games is unprecedented, but these records have the illusion of being unbreakable, the importance of their power is that they very much are breakable. When I started think about The Streak, it occurred to me that it is so important because of The Undertaker. He’s had a wrestling career that has lasted over two decades and The Streak has just become the calling card of The Undertaker character. Dimaggio was a great baseball player, but he is most known for the number 56. That is how important streaks are. They don’t just make careers. They define careers into immortality.
Think about how huge it would be for someone to get to 57. It’s not just the thrill of the last hit, or the 56 that came before it. It’s the question of what if. Every single year in baseball, a hitter or two go on a decent hit streak which typically tops off in the high twenties or thirties somewhere. It’s not even about the player, it is simply that little extra magic of the game that allows every baseball analyst, fan or personal member to question whether or not it is possible. The “What-If” factor that keeps us wrestling fans questioning even though in a scripted sport we are aware that The Undertaker is going to win. I never really though how even though I’m one-hundred percent positive that Taker is winning, I watch the referee’s hand go down for three and I can’t help but wonder if THIS is it. Do any of us honestly believe that Brock Lesnar is going to conquer The Streak? Of course not, but the result isn’t what is important as long as the match is good to great. The story is what is important and it creates enough magic that allows The Streak to get bigger every year.
It is a testament to The Undertaker that in over twenty years of wrestling, he will be defined by the selected Streak matches. In the career of The Undertaker, The Streak will act as the tip of iceberg with only twenty or so matches to see, but under the surface there is 20 years of history to dive into. It makes me wonder if The Streak made The Undertaker, or if The Undertaker made The Streak. More cynical people would say The Streak has kept him relevant. That isn’t wrong in the slightest, but I prefer to see that The Undertaker made The Streak. Who else could carry that load of being undefeated at Wrestlemania? Paul Heyman just talked about how in their prime the titans of the wrestling industry never got higher than four wins. Taker has been able to carry 21 wins because of who his character is. No one else could pull it off. Rob Van Dam is actually 4-0 at Mania, but could you imagine someone trying to conquer his streak? Could you imagine The Miz talking about being 21-0? I couldn’t even see Stone Cold Steve Austin undefeated at Wrestlemania. What would that build up be like? “This year Brock Lesnar, Stone Cold Steve Austin is going to walk into New Orleans, stomp a mudhole in you, walk it dry and drink 22 cans of beer on your ass.” I could totally see Austin doing that, but there is a mystical element to the way The Undertaker carries the streak. It is a testament to The Undertaker that his quality of performance is so epic that it can handle an undefeated streak at Wrestlemania.
What makes The Streak important is that every single year like clockwork now, The Undertaker sleeps, rests, kicks ass at Wrestlemania and repeats. But every single year, The Streak gets bigger because for at least one match a year, a lot of us get to hold our breath and ask the question of what if. As you’ll see, The Streak isn’t perfect, not every match is good to great, but the sum of its parts add up to create a legacy. Examining every piece of The Streak puzzle will not only help us appreciate The Streak, but it will allow us to appreciate the magic of professional wrestling at that most wonderful time of the year where we should. For the next 21 days of Wrestlemania, let’s go through The Streak to remember how important it is and how much we are going to miss it when it’s gone.
On a fairly related note, I had another idea that I want to run by you guys. I thought of The Taker marathon when I found myself going through the Shawn Michaels matches at Mania 25 and 26. I realized that I should go through The Streak, but I also realized how much Wrestlemania has changed without The Heartbreak Kid. I looked through the history and Shawn Michaels only won six matches out of seventeen at Wrestlemania. I realized that Mr. Wrestlemania got that name because of how many important matches he was in and how the HBK match at Mania was always a really big deal for me. So if you guys would like to see it and you’re having fun with The Streak Marathon, let’s go through the Wrestlemania Career of Shawn Michaels the same way. Actually, the two would eventually combine together as one when we cover those matches at 25 and 26. I like both ideas a lot, so let me know if you guys are interested.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.