This year, at Wrestlemania 29, the phenom known as The Undertaker will attempt to continue his Wrestlemania dominance and score his 21st victory at the biggest event of the WWE calendar year.
The Undertaker is possibly the most highlyrevered wrestler the WWE has ever featured. He's not only great in the ring, but he's every bit as emotional and psychological as he is physical.
This was not always the case.
Taker's amazing WrestleMania "Streak" isn't twenty straight show-stealing bouts but that's what makes the evolution of Undertaker that much more impressive. Paul Bearer did what he could to distract everyone from Undertaker being green in the early going, and by the end, we were all better for it. Even some of his later matches aren't worthy of "all time" status.
The Undertaker's early WrestleMania moments are sometimes harder to watch than people remember. Here are 10 of the worst matches from "The Streak."
The Undertaker vs. Mark HenryWrestleMania 22
If this match took place today, it would probably crack my top five. Mark Henry wasn't in the best shape, and was receiving zero reaction from crowds during this time.
The Casket Match gimmick didn't hinder the proceedings, which I usually find happens with a bunch of silly spots. There was a point where Henry goes for a pin on Undertaker, but I'm not sure if that was just solid storytelling or a botch. Taker clearing the casket while jumping out of the ring, and actually being able to Tombstone the gigantic Mark Henry, blew my mind a bit. Gone are the years when Undertaker would take the easy way out against freakishly huge opponents. Undertaker's knees were an inch or two away from being shredded on the edge of that casket, but he made it.
These two big men kept it short and sweet, I respect that.
The Undertaker vs Triple H III WrestleMania 28
The world didn't need a third Triple H match against Undertaker at WrestleMania. The WWE tried hiding the fact that Triple H was 0-2 in the feud at WM, but any wrestling fan older than fifteen knew the eventual outcome of this match. WWE tried to make the bout more interesting by tacking HBK on as a special referee, and surrounding the guys with a Hell in a Cell, but I never bought into Triple H's chances of actually ending "The Streak."
I was a big fan of Undertaker's entrance robe, which made him look something like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' villain. This match, unlike the previous two, felt more like the spotlight was on Triple H and HBK. When your main plot point is having the referee feeling bad for an unstoppable force like The Undertaker, you lose fans.
This match was longer, had more action, but just didn't captivate me in the slightest. I did like the Charles Robinson ref run-in, as Undertaker matches can never have too many of those. The highlight had to be Undertaker kicking out of a Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combo, when it all devolved into a handicap match.
The Undertaker vs. Kane II WrestleMania 20
I was never huge on Kane taking off his mask, but this match made it all worth it. The actual in-ring action isn't all that fantastic, but the story being told is top-notch. Kane's face showed extreme emotionality, which wouldn't have been possible had he been wearing his old mask.
Undertaker returned from the dead, finally had a WrestelMania match at Madison Square Garden, and Paul Bearer had come full circle to return as Taker's manager. The match wasn't very long, a lot like Undertaker's strangely trimmed hair, but it was memorable for a few reasons, and certainly entertaining.
The Undertaker vs Big Bossman WrestleMania 15
This encounter felt like it could have been the main event of an episode of Monday Night Raw. I've always been a huge Big Bossman fan, but charater-wise, I don't see much here.
This is one of the shortest matches during "The Streak", and while it's nice to see Paul Bearer putting black hair color in, it's not very memorable. Undertaker let loose with chair shots and he came out to the fantastic Ministry theme. If those are the highlights I remember, it must have been an awful match.
The Undertaker vs Psycho Sid WrestleMania 13
This was during the "make Bret Hart look as bad as possible" era, with the match beginning with Sid powerbombing Bret Hart like he was a rag doll.
The actual match is similar to 'Taker against Diesel at the previous Wrestlemania but it just didn't work as well. Watching Sid so eager to climb the ropes in this match reminded me of his ugly leg injury in WCW that came from jumping off the ropes.
The biggest problem I have with this match is that it's about Undertaker winning the WWE Championship, and the focus is on everyone else except The Undertaker.
The Undertaker vs. Big Show/A-Train WrestleMania 19
Undertaker's athleticism was never more successfully displayed than during this Handicap Match at WrestleMania XIX. The guy basically carried 800 pounds of dead weight, unless you count his would-be partner, then it's over a 1000 pounds.
I can't even begin to understand the thought process that led to this match being booked, but it's fun watching Taker do laps around other giants, and I mean that literally. This is one of those matches you'll never hear mentioned on WWE TV because it makes everyone involved look bad.
Interesting anecdote to this non-interesting match-up, I saw Big Show and A-Train (now known as Tensai) in a handicap match together against John Cena for the dark match of Monday Night Raw episode 999. They also lost the dark match.
The Undertaker vs HHH I WrestleMania 17
This was a lot more of a brawl than a wrestling match. It's fitting that Paul Heyman is commentating, as the match came off like many crowd-centric bouts on ECW cards during the late 90's.
The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez WrestleMania 9
The Undertaker rolling to the ring in a chariot, with a vulture in tow, is my favorite entrance of his career. The rest of the match is pretty ugly, but if you have a good sense of humor about wrestling, you can find something to smile about.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage, Jim Ross, and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan are practically a wrestling commentary dream team, and one I don't think ever joined forces again. This match would be nearly unwatchable without that three headed narration combination.
Undertaker wasn't exactly at his best in 1993, but Giant Gonzalez was the epitome of a stiff. The Great Khali moves like Kofi Kingston in comparison.
The Undertaker vs Jimmy Snuka WrestleMania 7
An extremely forgettable match began The Undertaker's fabled WrestleMania streak. This was the night that Undertaker took Jimmy Snuka's nickname of "The Phenom".
One of the funniest things about this match is Jimmy Snuka received the proverbial "jobber entrance" at WrestleMania which I don't think I've ever seen before or since. It says a lot about how important Vince McMahon thought Undertaker was, even at the start of his run in the WWE.
The Undertaker vs. King Kong BundyWrestleMania 11
This took place at what many call "the worst WrestleMania ever." Matches like Underaker vs. King Kong Bundy help make it a valid point.
I see the potential in an Undertaker vs. Million Dollar Man feud. DiBiase was the man who originally brought The Undertaker into the WWE, but the stable they fed to the Undertaker during this time (Kama Mustafa, King Kong Bundy, etc) was either green or over the hill.
The match took place during the MLB's infamous strike, so an MLB umpire was the special guest referee which just added to the awkwardness. It's a struggle to even come up with a highlight of this match. I'm not sure whose idea it was to have Kama Mustafa cut a mid-match promo about melting the urn. He threatened to melt the Urn into a chain, which he did, and the dude still couldn't get any heat.
The finish was a dud. It was a poor decision putting an aging King Kong Bundy, who Undertaker could hardly lift, into this match.
The lone positive of this match would have to be Jerry Lawler verbally abusing Vince McMahon on commentary.