The Three Count

T3C: The Undertaker Never Loses at WrestleMania OK!

The arena goes dark and smoke begins to appear as the druids make their return to WrestleMania. The music that stills sends shivers down our spine echoes around the arena and another opponent of the Phenom awaits his fate. Because you see, The Undertaker never loses at WrestleMania OK! It was at the Survivor Series in 1990 that The Undertaker made his WWE debut and as the latest in a seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of gimmicks arrived, none of us could dare to believe The Deadman would still be at the top of the tree 18 years later…

The arena goes dark and smoke begins to appear as the druids make their return to WrestleMania. The music that stills sends shivers down our spine echoes around the arena and another opponent of the Phenom awaits his fate. Because you see, The Undertaker never loses at WrestleMania OK! It was at the Survivor Series in 1990 that The Undertaker made his WWE debut and as the latest in a seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of gimmicks arrived, none of us could dare to believe The Deadman would still be at the top of the tree 18 years later.

After initially having links with Brother Love and Ted Dibiase, The Undertaker found a regular manager in the pasty faced Paul Bearer. A series of convincing victories followed as The Undertaker dispatched one victim after another. After each opponent had been vanquished, the loser was placed in a body bag and taken from the ring. By the time WrestleMania VII came round, Undi was still very much mid-card but he was gradually climbing his way up the ladder. At WrestleMania VII he faced the veteran Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka who was still capable of giving any of the WWE roster a tough battle. However, The Undertaker wasn’t at WrestleMania to see his unbeaten record go up in smoke and Snuka became his first restleMania victim sending out a message to the other WWE superstars,

Later that year The Undertaker won the WWE Title for the first time with a victory over Hulk Hogan at the Survivor Series. Such was the controversy of the chair-assisted victory that a rematch was ordered for ‘Texas on Tuesday’ and in another controversial match Hogan regained the title only for President Tunney to declare the title vacant. As WrestleMania VIII approached The Undertaker found himself embroiled in a feud with his one-time friend Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Having previously helped terrorise Savage and his new bride Miss Elizabeth, The Undertaker drew the line when Roberts tried to attack Elizabeth with a chair. When Roberts was a guest on Paul Bearer’s Funeral Parlour, he questioned the loyalty of The Undertaker asking "Whose side are you on?" Undi replied ‘Not Yours’ and so it was at WrestleMania VIII that The Undertaker, now a fan favourite, took on Jake Roberts. Again Undi was victorious and took his WrestleMania record to 2-0. The Royal Rumble of 1993 was an historic one for WWE. For the first time in their history the winner of the Rumble would earn themselves a place in the main event at WrestleMania IX against the WWE Champion Bret Hart. The Undertaker was considered one of the favourites but his hopes were destroyed when out of nowhere Giant Gonzalez burst onto the WWE scene. Although not even entered for the Rumble Gonzalez, who was accompanied by Harvey Wippleman who was still sore at what Undi had done to Kamala, came to the ring and man-handled Undi like no-one before him.

At Caesar’s Palace The Undertaker faced his toughest ever task at WrestleMania, namely getting a good match out of Gonzalez. Despite being rendered unconscious by a chloroform coated cloth placed over his mouth, The Undertaker returned to the ring to get revenge on the Giant and win the match. In 1994 again the Royal Rumble affected The Undertaker’s WrestleMania hopes. He challenged Yokozuna for the WWE Title only to be placed in his casket and ascending to heaven or somewhere up in the upper balcony. The Undertaker didn’t return until Summerslam so missed WrestleMania X.

By the time WrestleMania XI came around The Undertaker was embroiled in an on-going feud with Ted Dibiase and this resulted in another forgettable match as Undi defeated King Kong Bundy. Undi was 4-0 at WrestleMania now but continually stuck in mid-card matches that most people wanted to forget. 1996 began with Undi again getting a title shot at the Royal Rumble, this time against Bret Hart. However, his chances of regaining the title were destroyed by the interference of Diesel. Cue a ‘you robbed me of my chance of winning the title’ storyline setting up Undi v Diesel at WrestleMania XII. Most people expected another terrible match but surprisingly it was one of Undi’s better WrestleMania matches and of course another victory. Undi was 5-0 now but had still never had a title match at WrestleMania. No one expected that to change at WrestleMania XIII as the plan was for Bret Hart to face Shawn Michaels. However, Michaels lost his smile and amazingly the WWE Title match at WrestleMania ended up as Sid defending the belt against The Undertaker. No one expected a classic and we didn’t get one but the title changed hands and Undi didn’t just leave WrestleMania as 6-0 but the new WWE Champion as well. His second title reign lasted longer than the first but titles were the last thing on his mind when his supposedly dead brother Kane arrived in WWE. Despite continually being attacked by his nemesis Undi refused to fight his brother. After yet another title challenge at the Rumble, this time against Shawn Michaels, ended in defeat and his being placed in a casket which was then set on fire, enough was enough and the two brothers faced off one-on-one at WrestleMania 14. It took three tombstones to get the pinfall but this was the last time The Undertaker would be cheered at WrestleMania for some time.

January 1999 saw The Undertaker form the Ministry of Darkness allying himself with the Acolytes and threatening to crucify all his enemies, of which there were plenty. At the St Valentines Day Massacre PPV The Ministry attacked The Big Boss Man and Undi’s next WrestleMania victim was confirmed. At WrestleMania XV The Undertaker faced The Big Boss Man in the only Hell in a Cell match held at WrestleMania. No one else was supposed to be able to get into the cage but that’s easier said than prevented. The Ministry descended down from the rafters and not only did Undi get the win but his opponent was hanged. Injury prevented The Undertaker from appearing at WrestleMania 16 where the plan had been for him to face Triple H in a casket match. Undi returned the following year and this time he did face Triple H but not in a casket match. It proved to be one of Undi’s best ever matches at WrestleMania in a bout that saw the pair battle all over the vast arena. Undi was 9-0, could anyone beat him at WrestleMania?

At WrestleMania 18, The Undertaker faced perhaps the greatest wrestler of all-time as Ric Flair had made his return to WWE. Even the dirtiest player in the game couldn’t defeat the Undertaker at restleMania. Undi had not just made it to 10-0 but the quality of opponents was getting tougher and tougher. Such was the desperation to beat Undi at WrestleMania the following year he had to face two opponents (though he did get a little bit of help from the useless Nathan Jones). Undi found himself facing both A-Train and The Big Show. Even a handicap match wasn’t enough to beat him and The Undertaker was again victorious at WrestleMania.

As the year progressed, The Undertaker pursued Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title and also found himself again at loggerheads with Mr McMahon. At the Survivor Series he faced his boss in a Buried Alive match but it was Undi, who thanks to Kane, was the one eating dirt and looking like Max in Eastenders. An appearance at WrestleMania XX wasn’t looking likely as he failed to return from his grave. However, Kane began to be haunted by his supposedly dead brother. It appeared that the Undertaker was indeed still alive but even when Kane stood in the ring at Madison Square Garden he didn’t believe his brother would return. But of course he did and accompanied again by Paul Bearer, The Undertaker was back as The Deadman (with a touch of biker) and Kane became the first wrestler to lose twice to Undi at WrestleMania. Twelve wins in a row now, could 13 be an unlucky number for The Undertaker? Such a record was now legendary so it was no surprise that the legend-killer Randy Orton chose The Undertaker as his next victim. Despite the interference of Orton’s father, Bob Orton Jr, another victory took place and Undi was 13-0.

The Undertaker had never competed in a Casket match at WrestleMania but that was to change at WrestleMania 22 as he faced The World’s Strongest Jobber, Mark Henry. Undi deserved better, the crowd deserved better and as the casket lid closed on Henry, The Undertaker had made it 14 wins at WrestleMania. The Royal Rumble has caused The Undertaker many a problem over the years but in 2007 that all changed. Finally he won the Royal Rumble match to win himself a crack at the World Heavyweight title held by Batista. It was the title v the streak and in one of his better WrestleMania matches The Undertaker finally beat the champion to go 15-0 and begin another reign as World Heavyweight Champion. Injury cut short that title reign but after his win in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match at ‘No Way Out’ The Undertaker found himself back where he started winning with another title shot at WrestleMania 24 but this time against Edge.

Edge had also never lost a one-on-one match at WrestleMania but despite a titanic effort that many voted the match of the year, The Undertaker was again victorious. Not just with a title belt around his waist but now up to 16-0.

A longer title reign was expected by many but that wasn’t to be. Vickie Guerrero in her wisdom stripped Undi of the title because of the illegal move he used in the title match at WrestleMania. Since then Undi hasn’t really been in the title picture having battles with The Big Show, Vladimir Kozlov and Shelton Benjamin. Failure to win the Rumble or the Elimination Chamber left him in no-man’s land and with pundits wondering just who he’d be facing at WrestleMania.

Actually when it came to deciding who he was going to face, The Undertaker had little say in the matter. Wrestlers were lining up to take him on with JBL demanding a match only to be thwarted by Shawn Michaels. Vickie Guerrero put Vladimir Kozlov forward as a possible opponent considering Undi is actually on Smackdown. Fans didn’t want that match for sure and breathed a sigh of relief when Michaels beat Kozlov on Raw to earn his match with Undi.

So we find ourselves with another inter-brand match and yet another wrestler vowing to end the winning streak. Shawn Michaels says he doesn’t fear The Undertaker and will defeat him at WrestleMania but we’ve heard it all before, though at least in recent years the quality of the opposition has improved considerably. But there’s just one thing you have to remember. The Undertaker never loses at WrestleMania OK!

Stephen Ashfield