As we get set for the Royal Rumble and the run through to Wrestlemania all eyes, as ever, are on The Undertaker and his famous winning streak. It has become as pivotal to the success of Wrestlemania as anything else that features on the card.
It all begun back in 1991 at Wrestlemania 7 when The Undertaker defeated the legendary Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka in a four minute match halfway down the card. While that is where that streak began, another streak would later hit 6 in a row later that night. Namely Tito Santana’s Wrestlemania losing streak.
And to think Santana’s role in Wrestlemania history started to brightly as well. At the very first Wrestlemania, held on 31 March 1985 at the famous MSG, he became the first competitor to win a match at Wrestlemania when he defeated The Executioner, on this occasion it being “Playboy” Buddy Rose under the mask. It would take until 1993 for Santana to rack up a victory at Wrestlemania and even that was a dark match.
MSG is an arena that holds special memories for Santana as it was also where he had his first real success with the WWF. Back in 1979 he teamed with Ivan Putski to win the tag team titles from Johnny and Jerry Valiant.
Santana was somewhat of a tag team specialist and would have a total of two runs with the tag titles – one with Putski and one with Rick Martel – and a number of his Wrestlemania defeats would come as part of a tag team. Wrestlemania 2 isn’t an event held with much regard by wrestling fans – with 12 matches taking place across three different cities – and the feeling will be shared by Santana who was in the losing end on his match.
In the Los Angeles leg Santana was in the penultimate match of the evening teaming with Junkyard Dog in a losing effort against Terry and Hoss Funk with JYD being pinned by Terry Funk, who had used their manager Jimmy Hart’s megaphone to gain the advantage.
The following year Santana was again part of a team – this time a 6 man team – as he sided with The British Bulldogs to take on WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis. Again it was Jimmy Hart’s megaphone that got Santana’s opponents the win with Davis pinning The British Bulldog at the end of the 9 minute match.
While all eyes at Wrestlemania 4 were on who would be crowned the WWF Champion it wasn’t the only title on the line at that show. Earlier in the card the tag team champions Strike Force – Santana and Martel – lost their tag titles to Demolition when Smash pinned Martel after using Mr. Fuji’s cane to knock out Martel.
Yet another tag match at Wrestlemania 5 and yet another defeat as Strike Force lost to The Brain Busters. This time it was Santana who took the pinfall after a spiked piledriver but the match is more famous for Martel turning heel on Santana and walking out on his tag partner.
At Wrestlemania 6 Santana was back to being in singles action. That year he took on former Powers of Pain member Barbarian, newly a singles performer but still wearing POP garb, and a top rope clothesline left Santana staring both at the ceiling and a losing streak now at 5.
The WWF may have had to change their venue for Wrestlemania – due to lack of ticket sales – but Wrestlemania 7 saw no change in fortunes for Santana. And it was that man Jimmy Hart that would again manage the man that defeated him.
At the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena Santana would compete against another former tag team champion in Jacques Rougeau, now wrestling as ‘The Mountie’ and it would be The Mountie that would get the win after using his cattleprod.
1992 may have seen Santana compete at Wrestlemania with a new gimmick, as ‘El Matador’ – a Spanish bullfighter – but it was the same result with Shawn Michaels picking up the victory after countering a slam attempt and using the ropes to fall on top of his opponent for the pinfall win.
The Wrestlemania losing streak would finally come to an end at Wrestlemania 9 when Santana defeated Papa Shango. The bad news for Santana? It was the dark match so wasn’t broadcast to fans as part of the show.
So whilst it may not be as memorable as The Undertaker’s streak, and rightly so, it probably does have something in common with Taker’s. Namely that it too probably started as an accident.
It’s not all bad though. After all, Santana did lose to some legendary names including Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Terry Funk, but it’s still seven losses in a row. And while not as prestigious as the Undertaker’s streak there is every chance that Santana’s streak could still be beaten.
Either way, it is still an interesting enough part of Wrestlemania history.