From now until the end of time, there will be one wrestler and one wrestler only that will be synonymous with WrestleMania, and that is the Undertaker. Throughout the course of three different decades, Undertaker has provided us with some exciting moments, including some of the best matches in WrestleMania history. With the good also comes the bad as there have been some terrible matches, but mainly due to the talent that was placed in the ring, and not due to the skill of the Undertaker.
Before the amazing 25 year run the Undertaker has had at WrestleMania, he had made a name for himself in the southern territories with World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and United States Wrestling Association (USWA), wrestling under such names as Texas Red, The Master Of Pain, and The Punisher before getting some mainstream notoriety in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1989 and 1990.
The streak of 21 straight WrestleMania wins by the Undertaker will probably go down as the greatest feat in professional wrestling history. While being a 16-time world heavyweight champion like Ric Flair is great, that also means he lost the title 15 times prior. The Undertaker showed up at the biggest professional wrestling stage of the year and defeated opponents for 21 straight matches (not years as he missed a couple of WrestleManias due to injury).
This article contains a picture from every WrestleMania that the Undertaker participated in from WrestleMania 7 to last year’s WrestleMania 31, along with a preview of his upcoming WrestleMania match with a returning Shane McMahon. Which of these WrestleManias was your favorite? Continue on to relive some great moments.
23. The Beginning Of The Streak – Jimmy Snuka – WrestleMania 7
The first appearance of the Undertaker was at WrestleMania 7, which was known for Sgt. Slaughter becoming a turncoat and Iraqi sympathizer in fighting Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship. Undertaker had debuted just a few months before at the Survivor Series as a surprise member of Ted DiBiase’s team.
Fast forward to WrestleMania 7 where Undertaker took on Jimmy Snuka. There really wasn’t much of a build up for a feud leading up to this match. It was basically a situation where they threw a known veteran who was nearly 50 years old to be destroyed by the fresh new face of the Undertaker. ‘Taker won the match in just over four minutes.
22. Two Dark Souls – Jake Roberts – WrestleMania 8
The Undertaker’s first actual feud leading to a WrestleMania match would occur in 1992 with the legendary Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Early in the year, Roberts and The Undertaker were allies until Roberts viciously attacked the “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Undertaker would stop Roberts from attacking Savage, turning his face for the first time in his career.
This would lead to a confrontation on Paul Bearer’s Funeral Parlor where Roberts would attack The Undertaker, setting up their match at WrestleMania 8. Much like his first WrestleMania match, The Undertaker made pretty short work of Jake “The Snake” Roberts by defeating him in about six and a half minutes.
21. One To Forget – Giant Gonzalez – WrestleMania 9
The Undertaker’s match with Giant Gonzalez was significant for a few reasons, and none of them were really good. As a whole WrestleMania 9 is considered to be one of the worst in the history of the pay per view series, and this match definitely didn’t help things out. This would be the only time that the Undertaker would win via disqualification during his historic streak.
The match was basically set up due to Undertaker’s feud with manager Harvey Wippleman and Kamala. To get revenge, Wippleman introduced Giant Gonzalez, who not only looked ridiculous with painted on muscles and hair on a body suit, but he could not wrestle either. Thankfully, the match was short at around seven minutes, and Giant Gonzalez didn’t even last a year in the WWE.
20. Facing A Forgotten Million Dollar Ally – King Kong Bundy – WrestleMania 11
In the 1994 Royal Rumble, Yokozuna took out the Undertaker in a Casket Match which was a way to write Taker off of story lines, and he would miss WrestleMania 10. He would return later in the year at SummerSlam to feud with Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation who had introduced a fake Undertaker in a very atrocious story line.
Taker would feud with DiBiase’s group all the way to WrestleMania 11 and would face one of the forgotten members of the Million Dollar Corporation, King Kong Bundy. As with all Undertaker matches at WrestleMania, this one was short as well clocking in at just over six and a half minutes as The Undertaker would extend his WrestleMania record to 4-0.
19. Clash Of Titans – Diesel – WrestleMania 12
Late in 1995 Diesel had lost the WWF Championship to Bret Hart, and in his attempt to try to get back into the title picture, he would cost The Undertaker’s chance at the Championship at the 1996 Royal Rumble, and then again on the first Raw of February shortly after. At February’s In Your House pay per view, Diesel was facing Hart, and The Undertaker would get his revenge, costing Diesel the match.
After weeks of attacking each other, the feud finally came to a head at WrestleMania 12 in Anaheim, California. This would be The Undertaker’s first long match. Previously Taker’s WrestleMania matches would be six to seven minutes long, but his battle with Diesel would last over 16 minutes for his fifth victory in as many matches.
18. Going Psycho On Sid – Sycho Sid – WrestleMania 13
Going into 1997, Undertaker continued to feud with Bret Hart, including screwing him out of his championship match with Sycho Sid just before WrestleMania, while earning himself a shot at Sid at WrestleMania 13 in Chicago, Illinois.
Though everyone is going to remember WrestleMania 13 for the epic battle between Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin, these two giants didn’t disappoint, with a grueling match that lasted over 21 minutes. It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but it told a great story. Even with the interference of Bret Hart, The Undertaker was able to overcome the odds and capture the WWE Championship for the second time in his career.
17. Brother v. Brother – Kane – WrestleMania 14
At the In Your House pay per view Badd Blood in October 1997, Kane made his shocking debut as the brother of The Undertaker and then cost his brother against Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship by ripping off the Hell In A Cell door and giving a stunned Taker the Tombstone. The feud would continue to boil and come to a head at WrestleMania 14 in Boston, Massachusetts.
The match itself would start with Pete Rose insulting Boston for his first of many encounters with Kane. There would be many encounters between The Brothers Of Destruction, but this was their first and it was at WrestleMania. Undertaker would defeat his brother in over 16 minutes, and it is regarded as one of the better WrestleMania matches pre-Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
16. A Gruesome Hanging – Big Boss Man – WrestleMania 15
Early in 1999 Undertaker would return to the WWE with a new and darker priest gimmick and formed a stable called the Ministry of Darkness that included the Acolytes, The Brood, Mideon, and Viscera at one point. It was revealed that Undertaker was answering to a higher power. Undertaker’s goal was to take over the entire company and that led to a lengthy feud between the Ministry of Darkness and the Corporation.
At WrestleMania 15, Undertaker would represent the Ministry of Darkness while the Big Boss Man would represent the Corporation. Boss Man would take control by handcuffing Undertaker to the ropes and beating him with his nightstick. Taker would eventually break free and destroy Boss Man in just under 10 minutes.
After the match The Brood scaled down from the rafters to the top of the Cell and hooked up a noose for the Undertaker to put Boss Man in. It was a gruesome visual that the TV-PG WWE won’t show on current programming.
15. The Forgotten Match With The Game – Triple H – WrestleMania 17
Before these two future WWE Hall of Famers squared off in two classic matches at WrestleMania 27 & 28, they fought each other at WrestleMania 17 in Houston, Texas. Taker had missed WrestleMania 16 due to groin and pectoral injuries and came back as the “American Badass,’ a biker gimmick that was considerably different than his “Deadman” persona.
When Undertaker came back at Judgement Day 2000, he targeted the McMahon-Helmsley Faction and this feud carried on to WrestleMania 17 where the legendary Motorhead performed Triple H’s theme. This was a brutal 20-minute fight where Triple H had Undertaker on the ropes, but eventually went for the Last Ride and Undertaker went to 9-0 at WrestleMania.
14. Two Legends Square Off – Ric Flair – WrestleMania 18
In 2002, the WWE was in the midst of the Invasion story line after Vince had purchased WCW from Ted Turner. After his feud with Diamond Dallas Page, Taker would go into a feud with The Rock and the two would have a match at the No Way Out pay per view. Ric Flair would interfere and cost Undertaker the match which led to WrestleMania 18 and a clash of WCW and WWE’s greatest icons.
The match between two of the best would become a no-disqualification match, and it was a classic. There was even interference by Flair’s Horsemen running buddy Arn Anderson who delivered his trademark spinebuster on Taker. Eventually Taker would dispose of Anderson and catch Flair in the Tombstone to capture his tenth win at WrestleMania with zero defeats.
13. A Handicap Victory For 11 Straight – Big Show & A-Train – WrestleMania 19
For those who remember the hype surrounding Nathan Jones in 2003, you’ll remember that he was supposed to be Undertaker’s tag partner for the match. Jones had a great build up with some intense vignettes, but unfortunately he was a terrible wrestler.
Big Show and A-Train were feuding with Undertaker and Jones would make the save to set up a tag match at WrestleMania 19, but at the last minute Jones was pulled from the match and it would be a handicap contest.
As one would expect, A-Train and Big Show gained the upper hand early since they had the numbers advantage. Jones would eventually run in and attack Big Show which enabled Taker to deliver the Tombstone to A-Train to get his 11th WrestleMania victory.
12. Brother v. Brother II – Kane – WrestleMania 20
The Brothers Of Destruction would clash again at the historic 20th WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Kane sported a different look as he lost the mask from the year prior; while Undertaker brought back the Deadman persona after being the American Badass for three years.
At Survivor Series a few months before, Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker in a Buried Alive match after Vince McMahon and Kane interfered. The Undertaker wasn’t seen for a while after this which led to Kane proclaiming he was dead and gone forever, but at the Royal Rumble the Undertaker’s bell tolled, distracting Kane, which led to his elimination.
The official return of the Deadman would occur on the road to WrestleMania 20 as a match with Kane was set up. Unfortunately, this was not as good as their first WrestleMania match and only lasted a little over six minutes as the Deadman exacted his revenge.
11. Silencing The Legend Killer – Randy Orton – WrestleMania 21
After Evolution had disbanded, Randy Orton was making a name for himself as the Legend Killer of the WWE. He was the young star that was looking to retire everyone from Mick Foley to Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Orton wanted to make a name for himself by (oddly enough) taking the advice of a legend in “Superstar” Billy Graham to “go where no wrestler has gone before”. Meaning, putting an end to the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak.
The young and cocky Orton started to taunt The Undertaker and goaded him into a match at WrestleMania 21. The match itself started off with Randy’s dad “Cowboy” Bob Orton nailing Taker with his trademark cast to enable Orton to get the upper hand early. Orton’s key mistake was trying to use Undertaker’s finisher the Tombstone, and it was reversed as Orton took the Tombstone and Undertaker went to 13-0.
10. World’s Largest Casket – Mark Henry – WrestleMania 22
Undertaker was once again in the championship picture early in 2006 as he had challenged Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship, but Mark Henry came in and caused the disqualification by attacking Undertaker and preventing him from obtaining the championship.
On an edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event, Henry called out the Undertaker, who would answer the call with druids and a large casket. Henry’s manager Daivari would get choke-slammed into that casket, setting the stipulation of a Casket Match at WrestleMania 22.
Henry would last less than ten minutes as Undertaker gave him an impressive tombstone and rolled him into the casket for his 14th straight WrestleMania victory.
9. Choosing The Animal – Batista – WrestleMania 23
It is an amazing fact, but in his 16-year career, the Undertaker had never won the Royal Rumble. That is, until he won the 2007 Royal Rumble by eliminating Shawn Michaels in an epic final two match-up that would lead to a WrestleMania feud later. Taker looked the two world champions in the eyes and decided he wanted to take a shot at Batista’s World Heavyweight Championship.
The match itself was a very entertaining 15-minute match. Batista hit his spear finisher on Undertaker right as the bell rang to make you think the streak could end just like that, but Taker kicked out. The momentum for Batista would soon end though, and the Undertaker would land his famous Tombstone for the win to become the first WWE wrestler to obtain the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.
8. The Winning Edge To 16 Straight – Edge – WrestleMania 24
Only 37 days after Undertaker’s WrestleMania 23 win over Batista, Edge cashed in his Money In The Bank contract to defeat Taker for the World Heavyweight Championship. We came full circle a year later and Edge regained his championship after having to vacate it due to injury, and Undertaker earned the #1 contender status after winning his match at Elimination Chamber to set up their match at WrestleMania 24.
The match itself was phenomenal as Taker and Edge battled back and forth for a good 24 minutes. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder (The Edgeheads) tried to interfere on behalf of Edge, but it wasn’t enough and Edge tapped out in the Hell’s Gate submission. It was definitely an instant classic, but sometimes gets lost in the shuffle due to the Undertaker’s WrestleMania match the following year.
7. The Best Match Of All-Time? – Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25
WrestleMania is known for its amazing matches, but when it came to WrestleMania 25 in 2009, we saw arguably the best match not only at WrestleMania, but in professional wrestling history. Leading up to the match, HBK had to defeat JBL and then Vladimir Kozlov in order to get the chance to end the Undertaker’s streak.
You have to feel sorry for the two title matches that followed this classic because it COMPLETELY stole the show. Even the entrances were great as HBK was dressed in all white and appeared to ascend from the heavens while Taker was in all black and came from underneath the stage to symbolize he was coming from hell.
It is hard to put the match in words, so if you are a subscriber to the WWE Network and have never seen this match, go watch it! It was a 34-minute epic that will forever be remembered.
6. Rematch of a Classic – Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 26
How do you even begin to write a sequel to one of the greatest matches of all-time? You do it again, and do it nearly as good as the first one. After the amazing WrestleMania 25 match with the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels was completely convinced that he could defeat Taker at WrestleMania and end the streak, but Taker didn’t want anything to do with a rematch. Only when HBK put his career on the line did Taker accept the rematch.
The match was no disqualification and no countout and many regard this to be the second best match in WrestleMania history just behind their match a year prior. This match closed the show and went on for 24 grueling minutes. It took an amazing three Tombstone piledrivers to put HBK down for good, and as you can see in the photo above, respect was given as HBK rode off into the sunset.
5. The Game Tries What HBK Could Not – Triple H – WrestleMania 27
Being the cocky Cerebral Assassin that Triple H is, he set off to do what his best friend Shawn Michaels couldn’t do the previous two years. End The Streak. In February, Undertaker made his long awaited return to the WWE. Before he could utter a single word, Triple H’s music hit and the crowd went nuts as everyone knew what it meant. The two men would stare each other down and not a single word was uttered, they simply pointed to the WrestleMania sign.
This match is considered by many as a Top 5 WrestleMania match of all-time, and it was the third straight year that the Undertaker was involved in a classic match at WrestleMania. These two battled for nearly 30 minutes, and as you can see in the photo above, it ended with Triple H falling victim to the Hell’s Gate submission as Triple H has his hand on the famous sledgehammer.
4. The End of an Era – Triple H – WrestleMania 28
At WrestleMania 27, the Undertaker was carted off after the match marking the first time he was never able to walk away from a match due to the brutality he suffered at the hands of Triple H. After 10 months off, Undertaker finally returned and challenged Triple H to a rematch to erase that memory from Taker’s mind. Triple H initially refused the re-match on the grounds that he didn’t want to permanently hurt the Undertaker, but with the coaching of Shawn Michaels he accepted.
Triple H told Undertaker he would accept on one condition; if the Undertaker wanted a true end, then they would go all the way with a match inside of Hell In A Cell. Triple H labeled this match as “The End Of An Era” and none other than Shawn Michaels would be the special guest referee.
The match itself was actually better than the first with a lot of drama. HBK would even hit Sweet Chin Music (and immediately regret it) on Taker after a couple of Pedigrees and that wasn’t enough to keep the Deadman down. Triple H was beating Taker so bad that HBK was debating on calling for the bell, but didn’t. Taker would hit one of several Tombstones to get the victory and go to 20-0 at WrestleMania, and the show would end with those three men standing on top of the ramp taking in the ovation from the crowd.
3. Besting The Best in the World – CM Punk – WrestleMania 29
After disposing of Shawn Michaels and Triple H in the past four WrestleManias it was time for someone else to challenge The Streak. Taker returned at Old School Raw to find a new challenger. The call was answered by CM Punk, Randy Orton, Big Show, and Sheamus. CM Punk would win the Fatal 4 Way match to determine who would face Taker.
The night after Punk won, Paul Bearer unfortunately passed away. During his tribute the next week on Raw, CM Punk did the unthinkable and interrupted the tribute ceremony to make this feud personal. Punk would even steal the famed urn and open it up to pour the ashes on the Undertaker to escalate things even more.
The match itself definitely did not disappoint and many rank it in the top 5 of all of the Undertaker’s matches at WrestleMania. The match would last 23 minutes with Undertaker hitting the Tombstone after they traded near finishers, and that propelled the Undertaker to 21-0.
2. The Impossible Happens – Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania 30
Paul Heyman would proclaim that his client Brock Lesnar was extremely upset at the fact that he was not in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture for WrestleMania 30. To try to help ease the pain, The Authority offered Lesnar a contract to face anyone he wanted at WrestleMania. The Undertaker would interrupt the open contract signing, sign the contract, and then stab Lesnar’s hand with the pen!
The match itself was lengthy at 25 minutes, but was not the classic that the Undertaker had put on the past five years against Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and CM Punk. This was mainly due to Taker suffering a concussion early in the match. The ending was insane though with Taker and Brock trading submissions and finishers. Lesnar hit Taker with a third F5 and covered for the one, two and we all expected a kick out but NO!
The unthinkable happened and The Undertaker’s streak ended at 21. No one saw it coming and the crowd in New Orleans had a shocked hush- it took some time to recover the energy for Daniel Bryan’s moment in the end.
1. Bounce Back from The Streak Ending – Bray Wyatt – WrestleMania 31
Many were wondering what was next for the Undertaker after his streak ended at an amazing 21 matches at WrestleMania. He had not been heard from for nearly a year, until Bray Wyatt decided to try to “raise the dead” so to speak. Undertaker would answer the challenge through the TitanTron, but would not appear back in the WWE until WrestleMania itself.
If Bray was booked better, this would have been more intriguing, but they have built up the Wyatt Family and then just tore them down when it comes to a big feud. The match itself was pretty good, though, but no one had the belief that Wyatt would win the match. The cool moment of the match is pictured above when Bray is doing his trademark spider walk, and then crumbles to the ground when Taker did his trademark sit-up.
As we look forward to WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, there is a lot on the line as The Undertaker takes on Shane McMahon inside Hell In A Cell. If Shane wins, he has control of Monday Night Raw, and Undertaker will have to retire. It will be an interesting match for sure since Shane has been gone for six and a half years.