For over two decades the Undertaker has been burying people at Wrestlemania. Win after win, year after year the Undertaker's streak grew until it had become arguably the most important happening at Wrestlemania. Twenty-one wins in a row for the Undertaker at the WWE's biggest event of the year.
The Undertaker walked into Wrestlemania 30 looking to extend the streak against former WWE and UFC champion Brock Lesnar. Unfortunately, to the fan's disappointment, the Undertaker walked out with a loss.
I was there on Sunday night at the Silverdome err Superdome (Thanks Hulk). When Lesnar pinned the Undertaker, there was such a feeling of disbelief that the crowd was virtually silent. The looks on the fan's faces that were shown on the screens and on the broadcast was a complete representation of how every fan's face looked including mine.
Fans were in such shock that you could feel the arena wide expectation of a swerve. Would Vince come out and restart the match? Would Sting appear and right the clear wrong that had just taken place in the ring?
From my seat in section 340 the pin almost looked like it was botched. Of course after I watched the replay and then watched it on WWE Network it was clear that was not the case. The WWE did a tremendous job of selling the shock. They waited a while for the graphic of 21-1 to show and did not play Lesnar's music until after a prolonged silence.
As soon as it was obvious there was not going to be a swerve, the B.S. chants began. When the lights went out for a brief video only to come back on with all of the divas in the ring and it was clear that the Undertaker's loss was final, that was when the crowd boo'd as if 1,000 kittens had just been murdered in the middle of the ring.
The next morning during the hotel's complementary breakfast, I could hear other fan's dismay. As I was waiting to make a waffle, one fan casually asked me if I had attended Wrestlemania, of course I told him yes. He told me it was great except for that 'one thing.' We both knew what he was talking about.
He then proceeded to tell me his theory that Brock Lesnar stole the win, that Lesnar did not move from the pin when he was supposed to. Of course I didn't want to say to him that was ridiculous, so I just suggested to him that it is very rare that anything happens in the ring that was not supposed to happen to which he quickly reminded me of Survivor Series 1997.
Conspiracy theories aside, it is two days later and I still have a hard time believing it.
From the moment that it was announced that the Undertaker was facing Brock Lesnar, people asked me if I thought this was the year that the streak would be ended. The answer I always gave was a confident no. In my humble opinion there was no reason for the streak to end.
What made the streak so special was that it began organically. It was like all of the sudden, 'hey, do you realize the Undertaker is like 9-0 at Wrestlemania?' It wasn't planned out for the Undertaker to be undefeated at Wrestlemania but all of the sudden you had something and then the WWE ran with it.
The streak was as important to the appeal of Wrestlemania as anything else they run out there but now it is over. The reality is that there is not doubt that the one that made the call for the streak to end was the Undertaker. He is closing in on 50 and at some point he will hang it up for good. Was Sunday the last time we will see the Undertaker wrestle, my guess is no.
To make sense of it all, the pressure of carrying on the streak and stealing the show each year is now off the shoulders of the Undertaker. Those shoulders have carried the WWE for over two decades. The Undertaker is the greatest 'wrestling character' of all time. His loss can be attributed to one thing and one thing only, passing the torch.
Was Brock Lesnar the right guy to beat the streak? That is an entirely different subject for another day. Right now it is time to recognize the Undertaker as the cornerstone of the WWE and without a doubt one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots.
The streak is over, but hopefully his career is not. Yes there has been some decline in his performances over the last couple of years but as a fan, I don't care. I will selfishly continue to want to see the Undertaker once a year in the ring at Wrestlemania even without the streak.