Many times in the last few WWE WrestleMania’s whenever The Undertaker’s match would come on, I always figured that no matter how worked up I got over every close 2-count, The Undertaker would prevail. After going 21 straight matches with a victory, it was a farfetched idea that The Undertaker would ever lose. So when Brock Lesnar came along, the general consensus was that they wouldn’t book him to lose to another part-timer. And then the 3-count happened.
And the world went silent. I could only look at the TV screen at disbelief. WWE had managed to pull off their best swerve ever since The Montreal Screwjob. Only The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Vince and Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H were aware. While some still believe Chad Patton knew, every referee knows to always count until there’s a kickout. But there was none on that night. The best way that this moment was described was that The Undertaker looked human.
A few days later it was a popular rumor that The Undertaker was going to retire as there was the tradition that the wrestlers on their way out lose. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels did it. John Cena will most likely do it. But then Wrestlemania 31 rolled around and Bray Wyatt became the next victim for The Undertaker. But somehow, there wasn’t really any excitement or tension. There was no mystique about the match. And after The Undertaker won, there wasn’t a sigh of relief, no matter how hard the commentary team tried to push for it. And then Shane McMahon fell victim to The Undertaker with the stipulation of if The Undertaker loses, he’s fired. But even with this stipulation, the IWC and the WWE universe weren’t convinced that they would have The Undertaker have his swan song match against Shane McMahon. And right they were.
As I write this today, Wrestlemania 33 tickets have already gone on sale and the Road to Wrestlemania has already begun at the Royal Rumble (1/29). There’s been rumors that John Cena, AJ Styles, and the recently implicated Roman Reigns will be The Undertaker’s opponent. But that shouldn’t be the focus at this point. Strangely, after The Undertaker lost, the interest in his Wrestlemania appearances have diminished, even if it’s slightly. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who he faces as his record never end with “-0”. There will always be a loss there. To his credit, 21 victories is quite an accomplishment. But with WWE pushing the “New Era” talent, there is bound to be a debate over The Undertaker’s streak for years to come.
So at this point the first question is plain and simple: DOES THE UNDERTAKER’S STREAK DESERVE TO BE SURPASSED?
After quite some thought, the answer is actually as simple as the question; YES. Whether you the reader or we the people like it or not, records are not meant to be the limit to what people can do, but merely be the goal for future generations to come. Some records like John Stockton’s “All-time NBA steals” record or Cal Ripken Jr.’s “Most consecutive MLB games played” are high marks that are not impossible to pass, but improbable for the time being. But the point stands: The Undertaker’s streak deserves to be exceeded. The New Day has set the record for longest individual reign, Roman Reigns had set the record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble, and John Cena is on the cusp of surpassing Ric Flair’s record number of major title reigns. If Vince McMahon was comfortable enough to end the streak, he is most certainly comfortable enough with someone surpassing it down the line, even if it falls on Stephanie or Shane’s hands.
But the real question simply stands as this: WILL THE STREAK EVER BE SURPASSED?
It’s a tough question to truly answer. It’s a record that is extremely difficult to reach. Let’s look at a couple of statistics.
- The Undertaker was 26 when The Streak started.
- He had only missed two events before his last victory in 2013 at the age of 48 before the streak ended.
Looking at the first line of wrestlers which we can consider the veterans, John Cena, Randy Orton, The Miz, Sheamus, and Dolph Ziggler have already lost. Multiple times. The likely candidate now shifts to the next generation, which we can identify as the “PG Era”. However, big names such as Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, and Rusev have all also lost. So the focus now turns to “The New Era”. But from this batch of superstars, only three likely candidates comes to mind; Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, and Samoa Joe. All three follow two completely different selling points. Balor follows the mind game strategy of The Undertaker while Samoa Joe and Strowman are the legitimate ass-kicking machines that could force their way to the streak. However, one glaring issue arises. Joe is 37 while Balor is 35 and Strowman is 33. They are 11, 13, and 15 years respectively away from the age where the streak ended. And that’s the major problem in answering this question.
With NXT serving as both a developmental territory and a proving ground for indie wrestlers, it’s rare that we get an immediate debut like Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows received. By age standards, Jason Jordan and Andrade “Cien” Almas, who are both 28 and 27 respectively, have a chance. But with their current paths, it’s unlikely that Jordan will get the singles push at the right time and it’s even more unlikely that Almas will be pushed at all. And for those IWC critics who are still wondering, NO, Shinsuke Nakamura will not pass the streak either. He’s currently 36 and will most likely head back to NJPW before we can even hope he gets half as close to the streak as we want him to.
Like I had mentioned before. Surpassing the streak is not impossible. But for now, highly improbable. Unless…
WILL THE POWERS THAT BE ALLOW FOR A FEMALE TO PASS THE STREAK?
It’s an interesting question that many have not thought of and that many probably do not want happening. But keep in mind, Charlotte has won 15 straight singles matches in PPV’s, the longest streak of any wrestler. Though it’s highly rumored that she will drop the streak to Bayley at Wrestlemania, that’s just a testament to how much WWE has changed from their “Divas” days. But with Charlotte projected to lose, that’s another credible woman that won’t get a shot at the streak. From the current crop of wrestlers, only Bayley and Nia Jax are the only credible contenders. However, it’s tough to see Jax not losing to put over an underdog babyface at Wrestlemania. It’s even tougher to not see Bayley losing as a way to pass the torch to a younger babyface.
With the majority of the youngest active wrestlers, both on the main roster and NXT being female and with the upcoming all women’s tournament, perhaps there’s a sliver of a chance that we might witness the start of the journey to the streak. But my guess is that the chosen woman will need an almost celestial presence and skillset to convince the WWE and more importantly, the world.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments or shout me out on twitter @gnxt7!