It all started innocently enough on March 24th, 1991 at Wrestlemania VII in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. It took just under 5 minutes for The Undertaker to defeat Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka ( Who by this time was a glorified jobber ) in a rather unmemorable match. Nobody knew….not the fans…not Mark Calaway…not even Vince McMahon that this match would lead to an unprecedented streak that has taken on a life of it’s own.
Since that victory over Jimmy Snuka, The Undertaker went on to defeat Jake Roberts, Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Sycho Sid, Kane,( 2 times) The Bossman, Triple H,( 3 times ) Ric Flair, The Big Show/Prince Albert, (Handicap match) Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Batista, Edge, Shawn Michaels, ( 2 times ) and CM Punk. All together he has amassed an undefeated streak of 21 wins and 0 losses. Some will argue that the streak isn’t impressive considering wrestling’s pre-determined nature…I say if that’s how you feel, you are either not a wrestling fan or a really uneducated one.
The streak has become an event within the event. From the elaborate entrance, to the quality of the match itself…to the final result which ends in fireworks and celebration for the dead man. With Wrestlemania XXX on the horizon in New Orleans…the questions begs to be asked…is this the last ride for The Undertaker?
By the time Wrestlemania 30 is upon us….Mark Calaway will be 49 years old. He’s already reduced his schedule from a full time wrestler, to part time, to now wrestling once, maybe twice a year. Every year becomes cloudier if he will even compete due to various aches and pains. There is no question that his career is in its final stages. The only thing keeping him active as a wrestler is the streak. If or when that ends…his career will end as well.
So will he compete at Wrestlemania 30? That is up in the air, but most likely it will be a yes. Assuming he does, who should be his opponent? There are two ways to consider this…First, the Undertaker will not go against just anybody. It has to be someone with established name recognition and tremendous value. You will not see the Undertaker against Fandango or Big E Langston. It would have to be someone currently on the WWE payroll whether that be Chris Jericho, John Cena, Brock Lesnar etc…OR someone not on payroll currently but still has big name recognition like Sting, Goldberg or Hulk Hogan.
If not already an established name and icon, then it would have to be younger up and comer that Vince and the WWE feels will benefit the most from an Undertaker Mania match. Someone that the company is convinced will be the next Undertaker as a superstar. Could that be Bray Wyatt? Cody Rhodes? Dean Ambrose? Maybe even Daniel Bryan? Someone who is on the cusp of greatness. If this is the route they choose, then it would make the most sense to have that person break the streak and allow that wrestler to carry the mantra of the man who ended The Undertaker’s streak. It would be monumental and would elevate said wrestler to heights that a WWE title victory could ever hope to achieve.
Regardless of what the outcome of another Undertaker Wrestlemania match will be, there is no question of his greatness and value to the WWE and pro wrestling…
Since his debut in 1984 in World Class Championship Wrestling under the moniker and mask of “Texas Red” managed by none other than Percy Pringle III (Paul Bearer) against Bruiser Brody….Mark Calaway has had several name and managerial changes. He’s wrestled in a number territories, as well as Japan and WCW winning a few regional titles along the way. After finally debuting in the WWF at Survivor Series 1990…he has won a total of 7 world titles and 7 tag team titles. A much respected man in the lockerroom and ultimately a future WWE hall of famer. Mark Calaway has had a career that has been anything but dead.