WM Top 25: #12 – The Undertaker’s streak begins

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At the time no one could have predicted that The Undertaker versus “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka at WrestleMania VII in March 1991 would really amount to anything in grand scheme of WrestleMania history. Undertaker had only been in the WWF a few short months at this point but he had absolutely steamrolled every warm body that was put in front of him. Even though he had only been with the company for a short while he looked absolutely dominant in every performance.

His match against Superfly Jimmy Snuka at WrestleMania VII seemed as if it would just be another quick victory for Undertaker in the company’s quest to put over their hot new villain. It was an essentially meaningless match on an overstuffed 14-match card. The match went just most expected, as Undertaker beat Snuka in less than five minutes with his patented Tombstone piledriver. It was just there as a vehicle to showcase Undertaker’s abilities, and a way for Snuka to pass the mantle of the company’s “phenom” onto the new guy in town.

What no one could expect was that eighteen years later Undertaker would still be dominating in WWE rings and his winning streak at WrestleMania would now reach an unprecedented 16-0. What started as a series of coincidental victories at WrestleMania soon evolved into a hyped winning streak that has become one of World Wrestling Entertainment’s most fabled narratives. Since 2001, the Undertaker’s “streak” has become a powerful storyline tool as each year his potential WrestleMania opponent steps up to boast that he will be the one to finally end Undertaker’s unblemished record at wrestling’s biggest supercard.

The “Streak,” as it is simply called these days, is such a hotly contested legend in WWE lore that this year three men fought each other for the privilege and honor to challenge Undertaker and his WrestleMania record. Fellow legendary performer Shawn Michaels won the right to face Undertaker this year and the two will battle at WrestleMania XXV in both men’s home state of Texas.

The Undertaker is a unique figure in WWE canon for a variety of reasons. When he debuted in the WWF in 1990 he blended right in to the cartoon-y landscape of the company. A gimmick like “The Undertaker” could have just as easily fallen by the wayside quickly and landed on the pile of wrestling’s past fans lovingly call “WrestleCrap.” But the man behind the character, Mark Calaway, made the gimmick work, and stand out from other seemingly bad ideas. He has also been able to constantly evolve the character through the changing times and landscape of World Wrestling Entertainment in order to keep relevant. The other thing that makes him unique is the fact that he has worked with the company uninterrupted since his debut in 1990. He has remained a top card attraction through his entire career and “The Streak” only adds to his mystique.

His longevity within the company is unparalleled, and other than a violent crime against society I don’t picture a world where Undertaker and WWE aren’t linked in some way. And frankly I don’t imagine someone breaking “The Streak” either. At this point you are going to have to do a lot to convince me that there is someone out there right now worthy of beating Undertaker at WrestleMania.

And just think, this WrestleMania legacy started innocently enough when Jimmy Snuka got dumped on his head eighteen years ago.

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