Tiffany reviews the legendary Streak of The Undertaker at WrestleMania, including the night where The Streak…ends?
The years of 2013 and 2014 were a turning point for Undertaker and the Streak. After years of facing contemporaries and young up-and-comers, Time was catching up to the Deadman and his opponents in these years would step up their games to be the man to defeat the unbeatable Streak and one of them would succeed.
The brash CM Punk would be the first to step up. Targeting the Undertaker and mocking the Deadman in a time of genuine grief and vowing to be the one to end the Streak and proving himself to be the best in the world.
Brock Lesnar, returning from UFC, would be the next to step up in a brutal encounter with the Deadman that would have a shocking outcome for both the Streak and, seemingly, the Undertaker.
WrestleMania 29 Punk Gets Schooled:
CM Punk vs. The Undertaker
The start of this feud was actually pretty innocuous. CM Punk won a Fatal Four Way match to earn the right to be the man to face the Undertaker at WrestleMania, no big deal, until Paul Bearer, Taker’s longtime friend and manager died just weeks before WrestleMania. As Taker took to the ring to mourn his friend, he was interrupted by Punk and the sleazy Paul Heyman, Punk’s manager at the time. Punk would spend the next few weeks mocking and belittling Undertaker, and his genuine grief, even stealing the sacred urn and dumping its contents on the Deadman. It was time for Punk to meet the Reaper.
Punk, and the slimy Paul Heyman, come out, Heyman carrying the urn. Both of them seem to be relishing the boos they’re getting.
The Deadman Cometh. Taker from the floor, with a lot of smoke, and his entrance looked like he’d literally walked out of hell, backlit in his cape thing and moving toward the ring. It was time for the brash Punk to to pay for his many sins. I will say that the cockiness that Punk showed in his entrance faded quite a bit when Taker came out, but he recovered quickly, even tossing the urn into the air and playing catch with Paul Heyman, but it was time to face the Reaper
Of all the matches in the Streak, this is the first one I can remember where I really wanted Taker’s opponent to get the snot beat out of them. I never liked CM Punk and this feud only furthered my dislike. That said, this was a really good match. Taker and Punk had had a rivalry a few years before, so it’s not like this was a cold match.
It sound trite to say Taker was in a BAD mood in this match, but he was. Punk definitely got the snot kicked out of him for his sins, but Punk proved that he was more than capable of hanging with the Deadman. Paul Heyman nearly paid for his own misdeeds with a chokeslam, but was saved by Punk.
There was a NASTY botch. Punk went for his elbow drop from the top turnbuckle to the Spanish announce table where Taker was and he nailed it, but the table didn’t break, hurting Punk and Taker more than either of them wanted. Taker went for Hell’s Gate, but Punk BARELY got out and barely managed to get a roll through attempt. Punk then went for the Anaconda Vise but that just ENRAGED Taker. Punk then went for GTS, but Taker was a little too tall for him to hit it properly.
In the end, even getting conked on the head with his own urn wasn’t enough to keep the Deadman down and Punk would learn that it wasn’t nice to mock the Reaper as he suffered a Tombstone to be the 21st victim of the Streak.
Victorious, Taker went outside the ring and found the urn that Punk and Heyman had desecrated and brought it into the ring for a celebration, just he’d done with Paul Bearer countless times.
Highlight: Heyman visibly asking Punk if he was okay. Taker celebrating with the urn.
Rating: 7/10. It was an okay match, but not as good as it could’ve been.
WrestleMania 30 – The End of the Line:
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker had a BRUTAL feud back in late 2002, but as the road to WrestleMania 30 got going, Brock Lesnar wasn’t thinking about facing the Deadman, he, through his mouthpiece, the still sleazy Paul Heyman, thought he should be included in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match that was going to be happening. To appease Lesnar somewhat, and probably keep him from destroying the place, the Authority offered him a match with anyone else on the roster, Lesnar’s decision was made when Taker interrupted the proceedings. Lesnar signed on the dotted line and Taker signed in a way fitting for the Deadman: He stabbed Lesnar’s hand and signed the contract with Lesnar’s blood.
Lesnar comes out first, with Paul Heyman. Even though it’s usually mild in New Orleans, Lesnar is wearing a beanie.
The Deadman Cometh, and because it’s the thirtieth WrestleMania, the WWE pulled out all the stops with a montage of the Streak along with a casket for each opponent Taker beat. It was suitably frightening and cool. Taker came out of the back in his Deadman gear and made the long walk to the ring and very kindly showed Lesnar that there was a casket made for him too, and then set it on fire. Lesnar looked LEGIT freaked out. It was time.
I’m going to be honest, when I heard what happened, I refused to watch the match. I didn’t want to see the Streak end, and certainly not to Brock Lesnar, who I can’t stand. When I watched the match last year, I was shocked at how…old Taker looked, even compared to 2013.
The thing that struck me most about this match is how…not good it was. I don’t expect art from Taker, but this was just not a good match for the Streak to end on, especially after Taker was VISIBLY out on his feet about halfway in and made the whole thing much worse.
Another thing that struck me was how the commentators tried to warn the audience watching at home what was coming. They didn’t come straight out and say ‘BTW, Taker’s losing’, but they kept hinting that Taker was going to lose.
The end would come, but it would take five F-5s for Lesnar to finally be the first man to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania. The crowd was stunned silent as the music hit, no one expected Taker to lose, not when he’d beaten the best the business had to offer. Lesnar and Heyman beat a pretty hasty retreat, leaving Taker in the ring. Taker finally got up to a standing ovation, looked around at the crowd, and slowly made his way up the ramp. The Streak was over.
Highlight: Heyman’s reaction to Lesnar winning. The standing ovation of the audience and commentators.
Rating: 6/10. It wasn’t a great match to end the Streak on.
Chairshot Classics: The Streak Part 13 – Riding Into The Sunset (2017-2018)
The end of The Deadman’s run at WrestleMania…?
Tiffany takes a look back at The Undertaker competing at the last two WrestleMania events, against Roman Reigns and John Cena.
As 2017 dawned, it became clear to many WWE fans that the Undertaker’s 30 year ride in the WWE seemed to be coming to a close. The Deadman was visibly slowing down, but his drive to remain the Big Dog in the Yard was as strong as ever. However, there were new and older dogs in the Deadman’s yard now and they each wanted to stake their own claims on the Yard…and the WrestleMania Streak.
Roman Reigns, the controversial Guy of WWE, staked his claim when he eliminated the Undertaker at the 2017 Royal Rumble and refused to back down, even spearing the dreaded Deadman, vowing to be only the second man in history to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
In 2018, John Cena, the long-time face of WWE, found himself on the Road to WrestleMania without an opponent after failing to capture the WWE Championship from AJ Styles. Determined to NOT miss the Show of Shows, he set his sights on getting the match that had always eluded him: The Streak.
WrestleMania 33 – Battle of the Big Dogs
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
This battle for the yard started at the 2017 Royal Rumble. Taker and Reigns were entered when Reigns eliminated the Deadman, mouthing to the stunned Phenom that ‘It’s my yard now’. That seemed to be the end of until Taker attacked Roman a month later. The stage was set for a National Geographic level fight to see who would run the yard, Undertaker or Roman Reigns.
As a special surprise, this match was called by Good Ol’ JR! Jim Ross hadn’t been part of WrestleMania for a few years and it’s great to see him back, especially since he’d just lost his beloved wife, Jan, a few weeks before. Ross got such a huge pop, you almost couldn’t hear Jojo’s announcing. JR was greeted by Cole and JBL with hugs and a good wishes from the the crowd.
Reigns came out to a LOUD chorus of boos, but didn’t seem that concerned about it. He punched the ground and flames shot down the ramp and ignited the fireworks set up for him. It was announced that the match would be No Holds Barred. Reigns was the picture of cool confidence, seemingly unaffected by the huge match or the reaction of the crowd. However, as his music ends and we wait, the nerves began to set in.
The Deadman Cometh. There’s been a little dispute about where Taker appeared from in his entrance, but it LOOKED to me like he rose from about halfway down the ramp, but didn’t really matter, the entrance was still all the Undertaker in his creepy glory. Reigns had his ‘Oh shit, here he comes moment’ but was still stoic in the ring. It was time to decide who really owns this yard.
I’m going to be honest, this was the hardest match of the Streak for me, as a life-long Taker fan, to watch. WWE had been able to really disguise how limited Taker was becoming in the last couple of WrestleMania matches, especially the one with Shane, but there was no hiding it in this match. Taker could barely move, none of his signature moves, outside of a few moves were in this match. This was a fight, pure and simple. It was a fight straight out of a National Geographic documentary about lions fighting for dominance.
Roman Reigns took a LOT of heat from smarks about his performance, but watching it back after two years’ time, it’s clear that Roman was doing everything he possibly could to hide Taker’s limited ability, but there’s only so much you can do with a 52 year old man who needs a hip replacement.
Roman really got into this match after he speared Taker through the Spanish announce table. After Taker sat up, Reigns got MAD and just beat the shit out of Taker. Taker would turn it around with a Last Ride, but Reigns kicked out.
One of the things the smarks most complained about was a botched spot where Reigns tried to Tombstone the Undertaker, the ultimate act of disrespect that has been performed by almost every major rival of Taker’s since Kane in 1998. However, watching that spot back a few times, I think I’ve figured out what went wrong: Reigns was exhausted and had taken quite a beating from Taker and couldn’t quite get a grip on Taker and Taker couldn’t help him as much as he normally would have.
Towards the end, Reigns begged Taker to stay down, but the old lion refused, forcing Reigns to beat Taker into submission with a steel chair and countless Superman Punches before finishing the match with a spear and becoming only the second man in WWE history to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Roman Reigns vacated the ring, and the significance of what had just happened began to hit the audience. Undertaker was seemingly done. It took several minutes, but Taker got to his feet and put on his coat and hat, then slowly took them off, folding his coat and leaving it in the middle of the ring, along with his iconic hat and his gloves. The crowd chanted ‘Thank you, Taker’ as the Deadman made what seemed to be his final walk away from a WWE ring, pausing to kiss his wife, Michelle McCool, and taking one last look at the crowd that he’d entertained for nearly thirty years before disappearing in a wave of smoke.
Rating: 8/10 This match wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but it told a great story.
Hightlight: Taker sitting up. Reigns begging Taker to stay down. Taker’s final farewell.
WrestleMania 34 – Be Careful What You Wish For
The Undertaker vs. John Cena
As the Road to WrestleMania 34 got underway, John Cena, the once untouchable face of WWE found himself sitting on the sidelines after failing to capture the WWE title from rival AJ Styles. Determined to not miss WrestleMania, Cena set his eyes on the one WrestleMania opponent that had always eluded him: The Undertaker. When Taker seemed deaf to Cena’s pleading, the leader of Cenation resorted to taunting Taker like a petulant child who wasn’t getting his way.
Finally frustrated that he didn’t seem to be getting his way, Cena ‘bought’ a ticket to WrestleMania and sat in the audience, oohing and awing over the superstars of WWE pulling out all the stops. As Charlotte vs Asuka was finishing, one of the WWE refs approached and told Cena something and Cena went into the back. Mr. Cena was about to learn why it is always wise to be careful what you wish for, especially when dealing with the Undertaker.
Cena comes back to the ring later in the show, and unlike most people in the Streak, Cena seemed extremely excited by the prospect of facing the Undertaker. Then another ref comes and says something like Taker’s NOT there or he changed his mind. Poor Cena is dejected, but the crowd isn’t giving up. As Cena leaves, the lights go out.
The Deadman Cometh. Wait, that’s Elias. The crowd is FURIOUS over the trick, but Elias doesn’t care, claiming that he’s better than the person everyone wanted to see. The crowd gets even angrier and I can’t repeats some of what they seemed to be saying. Enraged, Cena leaves while Elias mocks him in song. Finally sick of this, Cena beat Elias like he owed him money. Kudos to the kid smack talking Elias.
The crowd won’t give up, even when Cena’s music hits again. Frustrated, Cena prepares to take his leave, but then…the music stops and it takes Cena a moment to realize it and now…
The Deadman FINALLY Cometh. A spotlight hits the ring, revealing the folded hat and coat Taker left in the ring the year before and lightning strikes and the items are gone. It finally, FINALLY hits Cena just what he’s getting himself into and it’s too late to change his mind.
Out of the gates of Hell comes the Undertaker. Back to the arena where the Streak ended four years before. Cena’s ‘Oh Shit!’ hits and it is time.
For all the anticipation, the years of waiting, and having to sit through Elias, this match was kind of an ‘eh’. It was the shortest match of the Streak and I can’t say it was a shining moment for either man. To give Cena his due, he sold the return of Undertaker like he should have. He LEGIT looked scared out of his wits to FINALLY be getting this match.
As if to exorcise the previous loss in New Orleans, and pay Cena back for his remarks, Taker dominated the match from the start. Taker did hit most of the greatest hits of his arsenal, almost like he’d never had a bad hip, including Old School. Still, this wasn’t a great match by any stretch of the imagination, sadly. Though Cena tripping and falling when Taker sat up was hilarious. One tombstone later, and it was over. The dream match finally happened, but it could’ve been so much more.
Rating: 6/10 This match could’ve been so much more if it had happened a few years earlier, but it was an okay match for what it was.
Highlight: Elias getting cussed out by the crowd. Taker’s entrance. Cena falling on his ass when Taker sat up.
Post-Script: As of 10pm, March 25, 2019, while I’m writing this final part to the Streak rewatch, Undertaker has not been scheduled for a match of any kind at WrestleMania. As of now, the match against Cena was the final match of the Streak and the Deadman walked off with his head held high. Thanks for the memories, Taker.
Steve Cook’s Top 5 Pro Wrestling Tournaments
Wrestling’s best tournaments?
The NCAA Tournament is in full swing, and Steve Cook is inspired to take a look back at wrestling’s tournaments!
Who doesn’t love a good tournament? This is the time of year where we all become obsessed with brackets. March Madness is in full bloom, and we’re all keeping track of who beat who and who’s playing next. We all know that pro wrestling lends itself well to a tournament format… Do I need to go any further? Probably not. Here are the Top 5 Pro Wrestling Tournaments of all time.
5. Ultraviolent Tournament of Death II
I know some people are not going to be happy with this pick. Thing is, I don’t feel a list of American wrestling tournaments would be complete without a selection from the deathmatch genre. It was the bread & butter for many indy companies back in the day, and I’m sure there’s still something of an audience for it now.
I’ll admit it. There was a period of time where I was into guys getting hit with light tubes & thrown into barbed wire and fun stuff like that. I’m over it now, so I can’t tell you if any of the tournaments over the past ten years have blown the stuff from the 2000s out of the water. What I can tell you is which deathmatch tournament was most memorable to me. The second TOD made “Sick” Nick Mondo a CZW legend. Dude got thrown off a building by Zandig! Mondo beat JC Bailey in a Light Tubes & Ladders match, Zandig in a 2 out of 3 fall Light Tube Log Cabins match, and Ian Rotten in a Barbed Wire ropes, 200 Light Tubes match.
Mondo became a star that night. Unfortunately it was his last night in the business, as injuries suffered during the evening made him think twice about the whole wrestling thing. Hey, at least give him credit for being smart enough to get out.
4. 2008 Battle of Los Angeles
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s strength over the years has been staying in their lane. Sometimes people would like to see the company get bigger, but they’ve spent most of their existence working around other promotions’ rules. As long PWG they remained DVD-only, companies that had TV & PPV with not many other dates on the schedule were happy to let some of their guys get a payday out west.
Since 2005, PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament has featured pretty much anybody that ever made any kind of name on the indy wrestling circuit. Winners include the likes of Kenny Omega, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Ricochet, and Sami Zayn’s mentor El Generico (RIP). The best one I’ve seen, the 2008 edition was won by none other than Low Ki. It was when he wasn’t jobbing to anybody, so the result was kind of obvious.
It was still a fun show with a ridiculously stacked roster. Ki, Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson & Chris Hero made up the final four. Danielson had matches with Hero, T.J. Perkins & Davey Richards. Hero also had a Necro Butcher Rules match with Necro Butcher. The finals featured Ki & Hero working with only one rope…and having a pretty darn good match.
3. 1993 King of the Ring
Every so often, fans clamor for the return of King of the Ring to WWE programming. It’s like they forget King Sheamus, King Barrett and the other weak noblemen to rule over WWE’s kingdom. The event definitely had its ups & downs, but it certainly got off to a good start in Dayton, Ohio.
Let’s be honest, any show in 1993 that had Bret Hart wrestling three times was bound to be a good one. He went through Razor Ramon in the first round in a solid starter. Mr. Perfect awaited in the semi-finals, and the two men had a classic match like they always had with each other. Then Bret took on Bam Bam Bigelow in the finals, and overcame the odds against a bigger man that had the semi-finals off thanks to a Lex Luger/Tatanka draw.
Bret’s goal on this evening was to prove that he was the best wrestler in the WWF, even if he had been taken out of the championship picture at the moment. He did just that, and put the KOTR tournament on the map in the process. Owen Hart following in Bret’s footsteps and winning the next year meant so much because people remembered that performance.
2. 1987 Crockett Cup
Going back to the days of Jim Crockett Sr., the Mid-Atlantic territory was always a tag team-heavy promotion. Fans in the Carolinas, Virginia & surrounding areas loved that style of wrestling. The tradition continued after Jim Sr’s death, and when it was decided that a major show was needed between Starrcade & the Great American Bash tour, the idea of the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament was hatched. The Crockett Cup featured most of the best tag teams in the world coming together for a twenty-four team tournament where the winners would split $1,000,000 & get a trophy.
Jim Crockett Promotions held three of these events from 1986-88. The first edition in the Superdome didn’t draw much of a house, but Baltimore came out in full support in 1987. A who’s who of tag teams from the Road Warriors to the Midnight Express & the Mulkeys were there, but at the end of the night it was the Super Powers, Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff beating the Horsemen team of Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger to take the prize.
Even bigger than all that…Magnum T.A. made his first appearance in a wrestling arena since his car accident the previous year. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and not a doubt that his friends Dusty & Nikita would win the main event.
1. The Deadly Game
Survivor Series 1998 is one of those shows that people either really love or really hate. Workrate fans really hate it, as there wasn’t a classic match to be found on the card. Fans that are more into characters & story really love it. To me, this night was Vince Russo’s highpoint as a wrestling writer.
Stone Cold Steve Austin had lost the WWF Championship in September, getting pinned by both Kane & Undertaker. Austin refereed a match between Kane & Undertaker in October, where he knocked them both out & made the match a no-decision. Vince McMahon came up with the idea of a tournament after that, and his primary objective was to keep Austin from winning it. It became known as the Deadly Game…I’m still not sure why, but it gave us one of the best PPV theme songs of all time.
Mankind was thought to be Vince’s favorite, while The Rock was seen as the next worst option for Vince other than Stone Cold. After a night of seemingly never-ending twists & turns, including Austin getting screwed yet again by a McMahon (Shane this time), Rock & Mankind met in the finals. And wouldn’t you know it, a year after Survivor Series 1997, which Jim Ross kept dreading a reprise of all night with Mankind winning at the behest of Mr. McMahon, it turned out that Rock was the man locking in the Sharpshooter while Vince yelled to ring the damn bell.
Fourteen year old me couldn’t have enjoyed the show more, even if Rock was my third choice behind Austin & Mankind. Yeah, this time period was tough for me as far as favorite wrestlers feuding went.
Opinion2 days ago
Beyond The Mat: That Time My Two Favorite Shows Met And It Wasn’t Awful
NJPW PPV Coverage2 days ago
Andrew’s New Japan Cup 2019 Final Day Ratings & Analysis
News1 day ago
Chairshot Wrestling News Shuffle: WrestleMania To Get Stone Cold? Alexa Bliss Returns To The Ring, Gronk To WWE? and more!
Opinion2 days ago
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling YouTube Ratings & Analysis (3/22/2019)