The Streak (wrestling)
The Streak[a] 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. 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 A-Train and Big Show at WrestleMania XIX. Although part of professional wrestling storyline, this run of victories was described by sports news publication The 42 as the "greatest winning streak in sport", while Sky Sports likened it to that of boxer Floyd Mayweather.
The Streak became the cornerstone of WrestleMania, with a potential win over The Undertaker at the event being described as a greater honor than winning the WWE Championship. For years, debate had revolved around who, if anybody, should break The Streak, with prominent wrestlers giving comment. At WrestleMania XXX in 2014, The Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar.
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".
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 in-ring 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, later 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.
WrestleMania VII (1–0)Edit
Early into Undertaker's career, he would smash various jobbers and other established stars in squash matches. This led to a feud with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.
WrestleMania VIII (2–0)Edit
In mid-1991, Taker would be allying himself with Jake "The Snake" Roberts in his feud with the Ultimate Warrior. During the 1992 Royal Rumble, however, Taker turned face and defended Randy Savage's manager and wife, Miss Elizabeth, from Roberts's attack. When berated by Roberts on whose side he was on, Taker retorted "Not yours". The feud would culminate in a match at Wrestlemania.
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.
WrestleMania IX (3–0)Edit
During the Royal Rumble 1993, Undertaker, who had now been feuding with Harvey Wippleman, began engaging in matches with the wrestlers managed by Wippleman. During the Royal Rumble, Wippleman introduced the Giant Gonzales, who would illegally enter the match to eliminate the Undertaker. This would set up a match against the two at Wrestlemania.
Giant González was disqualified when he covered The Undertaker's face with a cloth covered in chloroform. This was the only DQ victory in the Undertaker's streak, as all other wins were obtained by pinfall, submission, or casket.
WrestleMania XI (4–0)Edit
Throughout 1994, Undertaker would be sidelined through injury, and during this time, Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase Sr., would introduce his own Undertaker, prompting a feud between the two. King Kong Bundy, who was being managed by DiBiase, would step up to face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania in 1995.
WrestleMania XII (5–0)Edit
On the Royal Rumble of 1996, Undertaker faced then-WWF champion, Bret Hart for the title, but an interference by Diesel costs him the match. As revenge, Taker would then cost Diesel his opportunity for the title at In Your House: Rage in the Cage. The two would settle their feud at Wrestlemania, which would be Diesel's final Wrestlemania match before departing to WCW a month later.
Diesel lost to The Undertaker via Tombstone Piledriver.
WrestleMania 13 (6–0)Edit
In 1997, Shawn Michaels vacated the WWF Championship, leaving the new holder to be decided in a four-way elimination match between Undertaker, Bret Hart, Vader and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Bret won the match and the title but then lost it to Sid in a match the next night on Monday Night Raw. While Hart and Austin would continue their feud, Undertaker was left free to challenge Sid for the title at Wrestlemania.
WrestleMania XIV (7–0)Edit
At Summerslam 1997, Undertaker dropped the WWF title to Hart after an accidental attack by Shawn Michaels, setting up a Hell in a Cell match between the two. During the match, Kane was brought by Paul Bearer to cost Taker the match. After being defeated by Michaels at the Royal Rumble 1998 in a casket match thanks to Kane, Undertaker would challenge his brother to a match at Wrestlemania.
WrestleMania XV (8–0)Edit
Mid-1998 would see the creation of Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness, as it would reignite his pursuit for the WWF title. In his way, however, he opted to switch targets, and aimed to take control of the entire WWF corporation instead. Feuding with The Corporation, Undertaker faced the stable's enforcer, Big Boss Man.
The first WrestleMania match to take place inside a Hell in a Cell ended when Undertaker delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to Big Boss man, who was then hanged from a noose by The Brood. This bout was during the "Ministry of Darkness" era.
WrestleMania X-Seven (9–0)Edit
Returning with his "American Badass" character in 2000 after an injury the previous year, Undertaker reignited his feud with Vince McMahon, who now allied themselves with Triple H to form the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. Undertaker would find Hunter's statement of having "already beaten everyone in the business" as arrogant as the two never met in a one-on-one match before. Following various brawls between their respective allies, Undertaker would have Kane hold Stephanie McMahon hostage unless then-commissioner, William Regal, give them matches against Triple H and the Big Show respectively.
Following a match involving a brawl through the crowd, The Undertaker finally pinned Triple H after using the Last Ride. This bout marked The Undertaker's first WrestleMania appearance under his "American Badass" biker persona.
WrestleMania X8 (10–0)Edit
During No Way Out 2002, Undertaker would face The Rock after the two had been feuding, but he would lose the match thanks to Ric Flair's interference, sparking a feud between the two which led to a match at Wrestlamania.
WrestleMania XIX (11–0)Edit
In late-2002, Big Show kayfabe injured Taker, but Taker would make his return at the 2003 Royal Rumble to engage Show. Though Taker came out victorious at No Way Out in their submissions match, A-Train would attack Taker, while Nathan Jones would aid Taker. Just prior to their match, however, Jones would be attacked by their opponents at Wrestlemania, turning the tag team match into a handicap match instead.
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. This bout at WrestleMania XIX would be the last match Undertaker would have under the "American Badass" persona.
WrestleMania XX (12–0)Edit
Survivor Series 2003 spelled the end of Undertaker's Big Evil persona, as he would lose his Buried Alive Match against Vince McMahon due to interference from Kane. Reverting to his Deadman persona, The Undertaker would haunt Kane throughout various matches in vignettes, resulting in his eventual return at Wrestlemania.
The Undertaker later defeated Kane for the second time at WrestleMania by executing a Tombstone Piledriver.
WrestleMania 21 (13–0)Edit
As part of his "Legend Killer" gimmick, Randy Orton began seeking out the Undertaker, hoping to be the one to finally end the deadman's legendary streak. Orton would go as far as attacking his on-screen girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, and WWE Legend, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and was able to eventually get Undertaker to accept the challenge.
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.
This match marked the first time an opponent of the Undertaker's wanted to face him at WrestleMania explicitly to end his undefeated streak, as opposed to having a primary grudge with him.
WrestleMania 22 (14–0)Edit
During 2006, Undertaker began his pursuit for the World Heavyweight Championship, held by Kurt Angle at the time. In No Way Out, Mark Henry would cost Undertaker the match. As a result, the Undertaker then challenged Henry to a Casket Match.
WrestleMania 23 (15–0)Edit
Having won the 2007 Royal Rumble, The Undertaker earned the opportunity to select his opponent for WrestleMania 23. With the option to wrestle WWE Champion John Cena, ECW Champion Bobby Lashley, or World Heavyweight Champion Batista, The Undertaker chose Batista.
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 ECW broadcast 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.
WrestleMania XXIV (16–0)Edit
Though he successfully defended his title against Batista in a Steel Cage Match at Smackdown, the Undertaker would fall victim to a returning Mark Henry's attack. Edge would then cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the title from the beaten champion. Though Batista would defeat Edge for the title, the trio would have a Triple Threat match at Armageddon for the title, which Edge won. Undertaker would then prevail at Smackdown's Elimination Chamber at No Way Out 2008 to become the number one contender for Edge's title at Wrestlemania.
Although The Undertaker entered the event undefeated to much acclaim, Edge had also never lost a singles match at WrestleMania. 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".
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.
Edge later revealed in a podcast, that the original plan for the match was to be "Streak vs Streak", as he was originally slated to win Wrestlemania 23's Money in the Bank Ladder Match, but booking eventually shifted the win to Mr. Kennedy instead.
WrestleMania XXV (17–0)Edit
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 recognized finishers (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". 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.
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". 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.
Towards the end, Michaels hit Sweet Chin Music on the outside, leaving Undertaker lay on the broadcast table, before performing a top-rope moonsault, breaking the table. At the end of a 24-minute match, after kicking out of a Tombstone Piledriver, Michaels slapped The Undertaker, leading to Undertaker executing a jumping Tombstone Piledriver on Michaels. As a result of the loss per the pre-match stipulations, Michaels retired from professional wrestling, a moment described as "the end of an era".
WrestleMania XXVII (19–0)Edit
In the lead-up to WrestleMania XXVII, Triple H vowed to do what his best friend, Shawn Michaels, could not: end The Streak. After a near-30 minute bout, in a match contested under No Holds Barred rules, 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. Although victorious, it was the first time that The Undertaker legitimately could not walk out of the arena, and had to be stretchered to the back by paramedics.
WrestleMania XXVIII (20–0)Edit
The Undertaker made the challenge, as he wanted to redeem himself against Triple H from the previous year's WrestleMania, where he had to be stretchered out of the arena. Triple H initially rejected before accepting. 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. It was praised as one of the greatest Hell in a Cell matches of all time, while Triple H thought it was one of his favorite matches of his career.
WrestleMania 29 (21–0)Edit
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.
During the 22 minute match Punk delivered a Macho Man elbow drop from the top rope onto The Undertaker, who was draped on the Spanish broadcast table. 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.
End of The Streak and aftermathEdit
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?" The incident led to speculation about a WrestleMania match between the two, and was described by Fox Sports as the "genesis" of their feud.
On the February 24, 2014 episode of Raw, Undertaker appeared for the first time since The Shield performed a powerbomb on him through a broadcast table ten months earlier, to challenge Lesnar to a match at WrestleMania XXX, scheduled for April 6 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Undertaker went into the match as the massive odds-on favorite, but after one kimura lock and three F-5s, Lesnar pinned The Undertaker in 25 minutes and 12 seconds to end the undefeated WrestleMania streak, silencing and shocking the entire crowd in the process. Undertaker was legitimately hospitalized afterwards with a severe concussion suffered early in the match. Lesnar's music was not played for a few minutes while WWE cameramen continued to highlight the reaction of a stunned crowd, while 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". The result was described by Sports Illustrated as being "the most shocking result since the Montreal Screwjob". 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". 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.
Taking exception to Lesnar's boasting about ending The Streak, The Undertaker cost him a WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory at Battleground in July 2015, instigating a rematch between the two at the next month's SummerSlam. At that event on August 23, after a distraction and a low blow, Undertaker gained his first televised singles victory over Lesnar when the latter passed out to Hell's Gate. A Hell in a Cell match between the pair at October's Hell in a Cell, billed as their final meeting, was won by Lesnar after a low blow and an F-5.
Following the Undertaker's WrestleMania XXX loss to Lesnar, he had further matches at the annual event against Bray Wyatt (WrestleMania 31), Shane McMahon (WrestleMania 32), Roman Reigns (WrestleMania 33) and John Cena (WrestleMania 34), winning all but the Reigns encounter.
WWE has released various DVDs covering The Streak, including a four-disc set to mark the 20–0 milestone in 2012. An updated version including the final victory over CM Punk, as well as the loss to Brock Lesnar, was issued in 2015.
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