WWE: Is the Undertaker's Wrestlemania Streak the Greatest Story in Wrestling?
No love triangle. No indentured servitude. No mysterious or cackling GM threatening the loss of a job. No hot-shotting.
Once in a while, a title has been present, but that's never the story.
This is professional wrestling/sports entertainment at its absolute best.
The Undertaker's streak of victories at Wrestlemania is by far the greatest story in the wacky wonderful world of WWE, and let's face it, the whole wrestling universe.
I even argue that it might be the greatest story ever told in the history of professional wrestling. For the time being, I am confident in declaring this amazing yet extraordinarily simple winning streak as the purest, most relevant and most satisfying concept in the game.
What's most remarkable is that it was 100 percent organic. When this streak began back at Wrestlemania VII against Jimmy Snuka, there was no grand plan in place (I highly doubt it anyway) to make sure that the Undertaker would embark on this journey. But after a few years, it began receiving mentions on the air.
Once the streak hit 10-0 I remember it becoming a minor point of the show every year. It didn't eclipse title matches in hype and it wasn't always against the best opponent, but just the concept of "The Streak" on the line made it a highlight.
A story had evolved out of nowhere. No writers or over-eager producers. It just... happened.
This annual highlight of Wrestlemania slowly grew into something more than a footnote to history. The most respected man in the industry puts on clinics in ring psychology, story-telling and physicality.
Wrestlemania is his master-class.
WWE has been brilliantly using this simple device to very slowly lift the Undertaker's annual outing at the "Granddaddy of Them All" to THE main event of the show.
Actually, WWE didn't even have to lift it. It became the main event all on its own.
Title or no title, last match of the night or not, make no mistake about it; 'Taker is the main event.
The Undertaker has an unparalleled reputation in the ring and in the locker room. This is a man who is respected and revered by every one of his fans and peers. Anyone losing to 'Taker at Wrestlemania considers it an honor just to be in that spot. Shawn Michaels thought so highly of it that he decided to use it to retire. Fans want to see if "The Streak" ever ends and if so, how? To Whom? Why? How will it end?
Who doesn't want to watch the next chapter in that kind of a saga unfold? The drama is unmatched.
Unlike title matches which can come and go weekly if desired, there is no way around "The Streak" being an annual event. There is zero risk of over-exposure or killing it off through strange story-telling devices. Not to mention that Mark Calaway probably has his say on how it all goes down, and Vince McMahon knows that he and the "Dead Man" have a gem, and they will ride it all the way to the end.
But that begs the question: How will it end?
When "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was on the Busted Open radio show, he said that no one will ever beat 'Taker at Mania.
Paul Bearer has also said that no one should end "The Streak" because it could never be repeated.
His peers have spoken, but fans are seemingly split. But the split is respectful because everyone, no matter their opinion, wants what's best for the Undertaker's legacy.
If there's one thing every wrestling fan can agree on, it's that Mark Calaway deserves to go out with the greatest respect and greatest adoration of any currently active performer in the business.
We're talking about a man with a tremendous respect for the business. He's also a master story-teller. What's best for his legacy is whatever is best for the character, the story, and the company—not his ego.
I believe that the story could end beautifully with a final win, securing "The Streak" at 20-0 or however long he feels he can go, but also with a loss to the right guy at the right time.
I don't know who that is or if that person or set of circumstances even exists.
What I do know is that if Mark Calaway chooses to lose a Wrestlemania match to someone, we should respect it. He won't end this legendary run without good reason, and he's earned the respect from all of us to give our blessing to whatever he decides to do.
The next chapter in this saga unfolds in just a few weeks and we'll see how it plays out this year against HHH. I think we all know what the outcome will be, but that doesn't stop us from sitting on the edge of our seats, savoring every minute of history, losing ourselves in the best story ever told in professional wrestling, and not having it any other way.
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