Remembering Tatanka’s WWF Undefeated Streak

Brian Damage

Who doesn’t like a good undefeated streak in pro wrestling? If done properly, a wrestler’s unbeaten streak could elevate not one, but two people at the same time. The one who has the streak and the wrestler who finally ends it. Today, we look at an undefeated streak that lasted nearly three years in the World Wrestling Federation.

From February 1991 to October of 1993, WWF star Tatanka had an unblemished win/loss record on television. He may have lost a match or two on untelevised house shows by count out but back in the early 90’s, the internet really wasn’t prevalent. So if a fan was watching the WWF at home, those count out losses did not exist.

Vince McMahon loved the idea of giving Tatanka (a legitimate Native American wrestler) a huge push as a top star. For over two years, Tatanka buzzed through his competition. He defeated everyone he faced. Whether it was the Brooklyn Brawler, Skinner, ‘The Model’ Rick Martel or Shawn Michaels, Tatanka beat them all.

According to Tatanka himself, if his unbeaten streak got over enough, there was some serious consideration of putting the WWF world title on him. So there seemed to be a plan in place. A plan that would build Tatanka up to become a top contender for the WWF title. McMahon also said, that when the time was right, he wanted Tatanka to lose to somebody that would make a difference and mean something.

The idea on paper seemed absolutely brilliant. Not one, but two stars would be created in this “master plan.” As Tatanka continued defeating every wrestler booked against him, it came as no surprise that some of the other wrestlers became jealous of his push. Tatanka said that some wrestlers he once considered friends, started acting differently towards him backstage. He was also told that wrestlers started going back to Vince saying that Tatanka had developed an ego and had a serious attitude problem.

Naturally, Tatanka denied all of these accusations saying he was still the same guy he was when he first started out with the WWF. It was just a matter of jealousy from these unnamed wrestlers who wanted his spot and his push. Regardless of who said what, Tatanka was still getting his push and it was business as usual.

Before a round of television tapings in 1993, Vince McMahon approached Tatanka and told him that he found the man who would end his streak. Vince seemed really excited to tell him that the wrestler who would finally defeat him would be a Ludvig Borga. Ludvig was a wrestler from Finland who Vince seemingly fell in love with and felt had a great upside to him. Borga had a made a name for himself internationally in Japan and McMahon saw big things in him.

Tatanka wasn’t exactly excited about McMahon’s choice and felt that he was rushing his decision before thinking it through. Instead of being difficult and voicing his objections, Tatanka agreed to the match. During his bout with Borga, manager Mr. Fuji came out and distracted Tatanka allowing Borga to use a steel chair as a weapon. Ludvig Borga then covered Tatanka and got the pinfall victory, thus ending his unbeaten streak. After the match, WWF champion Yokozuna came out and attacked Tatanka to cause further damage.

It was all set up, Tatanka’s streak ends and moves on to face Yokozuna for the WWF title and Ludvig Borga becomes a huge star. Except, that’s not exactly what happened. Tatanka was taken off TV for about three months and during that time, Ludvig Borga tanked as a top WWF star. Borga had a legitimately bad attitude and supposedly never gave 100% when he was in the ring.

It became apparent that Ludvig Borga ending Tatanka’s streak was a huge mistake. Tatanka and Borga were booked for a big rematch at the Royal Rumble in 1994 but Borga complained about an ankle injury and did not wrestle. Some feel, Borga was just trying to get out of that match. Ultimately, Borga never became the huge international star Vince McMahon envisioned and Tatanka’s WWF career sputtered after that loss. Not exactly what was drawn up when this was all planned.

9 thoughts on “Remembering Tatanka’s WWF Undefeated Streak

  1. I remembered Tatanka’s streak and thought it was impressive as I felt he was in line for a shot at the IC title but I was conflicted because Razor Ramon was the IC champ and was becoming one of my favorites. Jobbing to Borga in retrospect was a mistake as it should’ve gone to someone else who was hot or on the rise as a top heel. Instead, they gave it to a moron with 0 personality and how Borga got over like that was bullshit.


      • Oh now that is a better idea. Have Bam Bam return with a chip on his shoulder and then take it out on Tatanka to the point that he becomes the one to beat his streak and bring heel heat for it.


  2. I think Vince messed up when he didn’t give Tatanka a IC reign earlier in 93 when he wrestled Shawn at Wrestlemania. That’s when his momentum was hottest and the crowd was really into him. To win by count out in Las Vegas robbed him of the Wrestlemania moment that could have gotten Tatanka over even more. As by that point, Shawn had been champion for nearly six months and really didn’t need the belt for a little while. But as always, Shawn being Shawn back then likely refused and kept hogging the title until Summer time when the drug episode happened and he walked out.

    As for Tatanka, he never recovered from losing to Ludwig and his heel turn in summer 94 killed any interest in him by fans and really himself., You can see him going through the motions for the rest of his wwf run. The unbeaten streak was really what Tatanka had going for him.


      • Yeah, Shawn tested positive for Steroids in Sept 93, a charge he denied. He threw a hissy fit as Shawn did often back then and walked out, WWF covered it up by claiming he was stripped because of not defending his title often. This led to Scott becoming IC after a battle royale and defeating Martel on Raw. Shawn came back at Survivor Series to replace Jerry when he had the rape accusation, not humbled at all. Which led to the classic ladder match at Wrestlemania X between Shawn and Scott.


  3. I wouldn’t say he would be “difficult” if he had voiced his objections. An atmosphere of open feedback with arguments is better than politicising in the back. Difficult is doing things like “losing your smile” to avoid losses 😉 . But maybe that is a traditional problem of the WWF/WWE: a lack of real open discussions because of the fear of punishment and a superset of other backstage politics, leading to bad decisions like this one.


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