This Sunday is Wrestlemania. Many people don't care but there are a few that do. It's the super bowl of Wrestling. Where the spectacle is usually more important than then the actual product on the field.
One of the constants of Wrestlemania is the Undertaker. He is 23-1 at Wrestlemania which doesn't mean much in a pre-determined sports exhibition. But some of the matches that he has put on have been some of the most memorable and emotional moments in wrestling history. This weekend he faces Roman Reigns in what could possibly be his final match on the grandest stage of all. So to prepare you I watched all 24 matches the Undertaker has performed in and ranked them all because that's what happens when your girlfriend goes to Chicago for a weekend and you are left all alone to your own devices.
Wrestlemania XI - King Kong Bundy
Okay, this match is just bad. Undertaker is at a different level than King Kong Bundy in just about every aspect. But really the weirdest thing about this match is that they had an American League baseball umpire as the referee. The match has a lot of shenanigans on the outside with Ted Dibiase and the Urn, but for some reason the match ends when Undertaker hits his flying clothesline on King Kong Bundy. That’s right, King Kong Bundy was defeated by a clothesline.
Wrestlemania IX - The Giant Gonzalez
This match took place at Ceaser’s Palace in Las Vegas. The best thing about the match is Undertaker coming out on a chariot with a vulture. The Giant Gonzalez wore a terrible Slim Goodbody suit and was “8 Feet Tall.” The match ends in a disqualification when The Giant Gonzalez uses chloroform to knock out the Undertaker. That’s pretty much all that happens.
Wrestlemania VII - Superfly Jimmy Snuka
Undertaker’s first Wrestlemania, it really serves as a squash match for the Undertaker. The match is made by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby the Brain Heenan giving commentary. Most notably Bobby wondering what’s in the urn that Paul Bearer is carrying around and Monsoon telling Bobby to go and ask him and Bobby, as always, chickening out saying he doesn’t want to. Just listen to them, don’t worry about the match.
Wrestlemania VIII - Jake the Snake
Jake the Snake was on the back end of his career while Undertaker was on the upswing. This match is really made by the greatest commentary duo of all time Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby the Brain Heenan calling this match. Undertaker takes two DDT’s during the match which at the time was a devastating move. But Undertaker gives Jake a Tombstone on the outside rolls him into the ring and gets the three count in a very quick match.
XXII - Mark Henry
Mark and Taker have a casket match. That means you beat your opponent by putting them in a casket and shutting the lid. Mark Henry goes for a pin in this match. That really tells you all you need to know about this match.
Wrestlemania XV - Big Boss Man
This was creepy Ministry of Darkness Undertaker. This match pits the Undertaker against the Big Boss Man of the Corporation in a Hell in a Cell match. This match is slow, plodding and ends with a dud. It’s most known for Undertaker “hanging” the Big Boss Man from the Hell in a Cell.
Wrestlemania XIX - A Train and Big Show
Undertaker rides his bike down the aisle of Safeco Field in Seattle and took on two of the bigger guys in WWE at the time in A Train and Big Show. This is the second match of the card so it’s not going to steal any show what-so-ever. It is a match you would see on TV on PPV.
Wrestlemania XII - Diesel
The first high profile opponent the Undertaker faces at Wrestlemania. The match is super slow and it almost seems like Undertaker is slowing down for Diesel. It doesn’t help either that Undertaker delivers a less than stellar chokeslam to Diesel. It’s the first formidable opponent the Undertaker faces at Wrestlemania and for the most part it goes quickly up from here.
Wrestlemania XXXII-Shane McMahon
This match was just weird from the get-go. Shane was making his return to the WWE after being gone a number of years. His Dad was punishing him so he makes him face the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match. If Undertaker loses he is fired. But everything leading up this match lead no one to believe that Shane would win. Shane cuts a promo against the Undertaker where he says, I’m going to throw a punch and you’ll duck. They find a tool box and cut themselves out of the cage and then brawl on the outside. The match is truly known for Shane climbing to the top of the Hell in a Cell and trying to drop an elbow on Undertaker who is on the announce table. Undertaker moves and Shane crashes through the table/crash mat. The Undertaker gets probably the coolest entrance ever but that still isn’t enough to save this match. Also, Shane is terrible at pulling a punch. I mean they don’t look believable at all. It’s just bad.
Wrestlemania XIII- Sycho Sid
Taker’s first title win comes at the hands of Sycho Sid. This match has Shawn Michaels on commentary which really makes this match go better. This also has Bret Hart coming out many times and interfering. This match has some really bad kickouts that don’t look all that good. This is Taker’s first Wrestlemania without Paul Bearer but he does just fine without him. This is the first time an opponent does the Tombstone on Undertaker. He of course kicks out and goes on to win the title after Earl Hebner gives the longest three count in the history of professional wrestling.
Wrestlemania XXX- Brock Lesner
It’s a bummer the streak ends in this way. But when you watch the match you can see something is off with Undertaker. Come to find out he needed to go to the hospital after the match. It lead to one of the greatest wrestling memes of all time with one fan staring in shock at the outcome. When the ref hit the hand down for the three count the air left the arena, no one really believed that it had happened. It wasn’t until it was announced that Lesner had won that people started going crazy. Many thought Undertaker wouldn’t lose at a Wrestlemania until he would retire but it came a lot sooner. Even stranger with this match is that they put on 21-1 on all the screens in the Superdome.
Wrestlemania XX- Kane
In the storyline, Kane beat Undertaker in a Buried Alive Match months before. Then Undertaker’s gong hits at the Royal Rumble which freaks Kane out and he gets eliminated. Undertaker shows up at Wrestlemania to face Kane, but he ditches the Biker Taker persona and he is back to being evil Taker. It’s not much of a match, very quick, but it re-establishes Undertaker as the force he has always been.
Wrestlemania XIV - Kane
It was brother vs brother in this match. If anything it’s one of the first matches where both wrestlers are going at a speed that is more suitable for them. The match is most notable for Pete Rose getting Tombstoned by Kane before the match. It’s also notable for Paul Bearer switching allegiances to Kane. Also, Undertaker moved into his Evil Ministry persona, so he ditched the rubber kitchen gloves and traded them in for a teardrop “tattoo.” The best spot comes when Undertaker dives over the rope and onto Kane who is on the Spanish announce table. This was back when announcers were right next to the ring, but it was a hell of a spot for the time. It’s also notable for Kane kicking out of 2 Tombstones before finally taking the defeat. Even though the ending did look a little bit like Kane might have kicked out.
Wrestlemania XVIII- Ric Flair
Ric Flair is the greatest for many reasons. He was the best talker in the business, he was the best heel in the business, but most importantly he could sell spots better than anyone. At this point Undertaker is still riding his bike and he still is coming out to Limp Bizkit. This No DQ match is okay, but watching Ric Flair wrestle Undertaker isn’t that great. It’s a fine match that they both do a great job in, but it really makes you wish they would have had this match 10 years earlier if possible.
Wrestlemania XXXI- Bray Wyatt
Once again the Undertaker didn’t wrestle any matches in between Wrestlemanias. He didn’t even appear on TV until Wrestlemania. The two work a great match with some good spots. The most notable part of the match comes when Bray Wyatt does his inverted spider on all 4 fours and then Undertaker does his sit-up. Undertaker gets his win back at Wrestlemania but the most unfortunate thing is how this doesn’t help Bray Wyatt that much in the grand scheme of things.
Wrestlemania XXVII- Triple H
This was their second matchup at Wrestlemania. It was a no-holds barred match but it really just gave an excuse to use a sledgehammer way more than is necessary. The Undertaker does his dive over the top rope and it doesn’t go that well. This match is pretty slow and it just turns into a finish fest with each guy kicking out a ton to each other’s finishers and sledgehammer shots. Then doesn’t end with a finishing move. Instead, Undertaker locks in his submission and Triple H taps out. It would set up a good story for the next year’s Hell in the Cell Match but it is probably the weakest of their trilogy.
Wrestlemania XXI- Randy Orton
At the beginning of this match they mention the 12-0 record he has at this point and it being a Who’s Who, but it really hasn’t been up to that point. At the time of this match Randy Orton had been taking out legends and this was his way to prove that he could take out another one. This was Undertaker’s first match against a younger wrestler. For the most part Undertaker holds his own with the kid. The crowd isn’t that into the match at first but things pick up when Randy Orton’s Dad Cowboy Bob Orton gets involved. The best spot of the match is Randy Orton countering the chokeslam with an RKO. But after just one tombstone ‘Taker improves to 13-0.
Wrestlemania XXIV - Edge
Once again Undertaker found himself in a title match. This match features another young wrestler that had been crushing it. Edge going as the R Rated Superstar was one of the best workers in the business. Leading up to this match it was Edge who used his desire to beat the streak as his motivation. Edge also had his own undefeated streak going at Wrestlemania’s which was even more amazing considering the Ladder matches he seemed to find himself in every year leading up to this match with the Undertaker. This was also one of the first years that Wrestlemania started doing cooler entrances for it’s wrestlers and with cooler entrances means longer aisles to come down, which happens when the ref takes a bump and Charles Robinson has to run 14 miles in a sprint to get to the ring. This match does a great job of telling the story of Edge preparing for Undertaker, countering moves and knowing what he’s going to do. But in the end Undertaker wins the title with his first win at Wrestlemania via submission.
Wrestlemania XVII- Triple H
The first match-up between ‘Taker and Triple H turns into a pseudo street fight pretty quickly. Triple H comes out to Motorhead playing his entrance music which almost guarantees an L at Wrestlemania. The two find themselves all the way back in the technical area where most of the action takes place. Undertaker delivers a chokeslam from the scaffold to the floor and then does a elbow drop for good measure. This leads to one of the first “Holy Shit” chants during an Undertaker match. The match started out as a dud but they get the crowd invested. Undertaker kicks out of a sledgehammer to the head which makes everyone in the crowd go crazy. ‘Taker hits the Last Ride powerbomb for the win and after this match the first mention of a streak happens.
Wrestlemania XXIX-CM Punk
The best part of this match is that it really is just a good wrestling match. It starts out with In Living Color playing “Cult of Personality,” CM Punk’s entrance song. And just like the last match you know what that means, losing at Wrestlemania. Also, leading up to this match Paul Bearer had recently passed away which was being used as fodder for Paul Heyman and Punk to antagonize Undertaker leading up to the match. The match showcases the great wrestling ability of CM Punk. Great wrestlers are the ones who can do their moves but other wrestler’s moves perfectly and Punk does a picture perfect Old School Tightrope Elbow to Undertaker. This match doesn’t rely too much on false finishes which is a nice change of pace for a Wrestlemania match. In the end, even Paul Bearer’s Urn to the Undertaker’s head can’t stop him from picking up the victory in New York.
Wrestlemania XXIII- Batista
This match was for the World Heavyweight Title and I’m kind of surprised that this match is this high up on the list. This match happens ten years after Undertaker wins his first title at Wrestlemania 13. The crowd in Detroit is hot from the get-go for this match. This was one of the rare times that ‘Taker went up against a younger competitor. Batista had not been in WWE for that long when this match takes place. One of the more positives of this match is the over the top rope dive goes much better than ones that happen in Undertaker’s career. Undertaker kicks out of one of Batista’s finishing moves, but the same can’t be said for Batista who falls to a single Tombstone. This match steals the show.
Wrestlemania XXIX-Triple H
This match takes place inside Hell in a Cell but once again Shawn Michaels is the best part of this match. Shawn Micheals is the special guest referee and Undertaker wants to have the rematch because he felt like he didn’t really win because he had to get help back to the locker rooms after the match. This match starts out pretty slow like most of the matches ‘Taker and Triple H had before this at Wrestlemania. The match gets super violent with chair shots to the back taking center stage. Shawn Michaels tells the whole story. He wants to be objective but he also doesn’t want the two to kill each other because he knows neither of them will quit. This match probably has the most false finishes ever but it’s the final finish that leads to one of the most iconic moments in Wrestlemania history. Undertaker delivers one of the most devastating Tombstones ever. Normally a Tombstone is a simple drop to the knees but ‘Taker jumps and slams Triple H’s head to the mat. After the match all three men carrying each other out of the Miami Stadium, truly an end of an era.
Wrestlemania XXVI-Shawn Michaels
This match picked up where 25 left off. But that’s the best match of all time. Everyone knew this was going to be one for the ages as well so they wisely had it close the show. This match is really about the story of Michaels wanting to redeem himself from the previous year. He put his career on the line and it was really the best way for him to go out. This match is about the ending. THe Heartbreak Kid clawing himself up the Undertaker and giving the throat slashing gesture. Undertaker picks him up hits him with the Tombstone and the match is over. Shawn Micheals takes his final bow at the Showcase of the Immortals. There are a few spots that don’t go quite the way they should have, but this match was never going to live up to the hype of 25. This was the first time Undertakers record was shown after winning.
Wrestlemania XXV-Shawn Michaels
It’s not a stretch to put this match at the top of Undertaker’s Wrestlemania run because literally everyone does. Not to mention many consider this the best match ever regardless of it being Wrestlemania. Two of the greatest wrestlers of the 90s were going to face off at the Silver Anniversary of Wrestlemania. This match is probably most notable for Undertaker diving over the top rope and landing on his head thanks to a “cameraman” not catching him good enough for the spot. We also get bewildered looking Undertaker as more and more people started kicking out of the Tombstone. But as much as this is Undertaker’s greatest Wrestlemania match it is made even better by Shawn Michaels. This match is in the middle of the card, and clearly steals the show.