Contrary to popular belief, Shawn Michaels is not Mr. WrestleMania.
That honor has to go to The Undertaker. There is no other wrestler today whose name has become more synonymous with WWE’s grandest stage than the Phenom.
Yes, most of Michaels’ best performances of his career were at WrestleMania. But WrestleMania was just one of several events that Michaels worked in any given year.
Undertaker comes out of his self-induced hibernation once a year—twice, maybe, if WWE has a special event planned—and it is to keep the undefeated streak going. Right now, the streak stands at 20-0 and likely will go to 21-0 after this year.
Michaels has done well at WrestleMania, but even he cannot claim an undefeated streak. Two of his losses were to the Deadman in classic matches. Perhaps the most famous was at WrestleMania 26 when Michaels retired after the loss.
Both men list an impressive roster of opponents. Michaels has faced the likes of Kurt Angle, John Cena, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho and Triple H. Undertaker also has faced Flair and Triple H (twice), along with Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, Kane (twice), Mark Henry and Randy Orton.
So you cannot knock the wrestling pedigree of either list. The difference is that Undertaker has beaten them all. Michaels has not.
And what gives Undertaker the “Mr. WrestleMania” title over Michaels is the fact that Undertaker has gone into his last several matches practically put together with fishing line and chewing gum. His rundown of career-caused injuries—knee, shoulder, facial bones, hip, etc.—keeps him on the Christmas card list of many orthopedic doctors and physical therapists.
Undertaker’s detractors may point to the fact that he wrestles only once a year. They may say it is easy to build a winning streak when you wrestle that infrequently.
His supporters (who likely outnumber the detractors by far) would beg to differ with that. They would be likely to tell you that, while it would be great to see Undertaker in action more frequently, they would rather have him save up his energy and perform at the most important time of the WWE calendar.
When he retired, Michaels’ greatness was judged on many levels. When Undertaker finally retires, his greatness, too, will be judged on many levels. And his performance at WrestleMania events will stand above all others.
That is why The Undertaker is Mr. WrestleMania.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963