Deadman Tells No Tales – Six Names Rumored To Have Broken The Undertaker’s Streak

Eric Urbanowicz
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In professional wrestling, there are but a few accomplishments that rival the Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak. From 1991 through 2013, “The Deadman” won 21 consecutive matches at the pay-per-view, defeating iconic names like Triple H, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Kane. It made it all the more shocking when in 2014 Brock Lesnar handed him his first WrestleMania loss at the Caesar’s Superdome.

While the Lesnar win was surprising, over the years multiple people have come forward alleging they were supposed to break the streak. In total, there have been six wrestlers who were supposed to win against the Undertaker at WrestleMania but either refused or in one case, saw the idea scrapped.

Who are these six names? Well let’s rank them and see. We’ll judge each person based on their worthiness as well as their believability of ending the streak.


6. Vladimir Kozlov

Do you remember Vladimir Kozlov? Probably not. A former tag-team champion, Kozlov was seen as a force when he debuted in 2006. Dubbed, “The Moscow Mauler” it was clear to see he had the look, but needed polishing.

By the time WrestleMania 24 came around in 2008, it was clear that Kozlov wouldn’t be ready for the spotlight. Despite owner Vince McMahon’s desire to use it to build Kozlov up, he just wasn’t ready, and they opted for a match with Edge instead.

Overall, it was definitely the right call. Despite a few pushes to make Kozlov a legitimate threat to the WWE Championship, he just never got there. Having Kozlov break such a hallowed mark could have worked wonders for his career, but judging by what happened afterwards it’s safe to say that it would have been wasted.


5. Brock Lesnar

Yes, even though he ultimately broke the streak, Brock Lesnar actually had turned down the opportunity in the years leading up to it. It was reported that Lesnar could have been the one to end the streak as early as 2011 but due to his UFC contractual obligations, Lesnar had to say no.

When he returned in 2012 Lesnar had feuds with John Cena and Triple H, both of which he lost. To become a threat again, WWE had to build up Lesnar’s character and it got to the point where people within the company felt Lesnar needed the win.

The reason it’s low in this ranking is that despite the ultimate result, Lesnar breaking the streak in 2011 wouldn’t have held the same impact. Let’s say UFC let him fight around the time of the face off at UFC121: would the fans have that reaction? Lesnar hadn’t been in a WWE for over half a decade at that point – some fans didn’t even know who he was unless they watched UFC.

In layman’s terms, he needed to get back into the ring before he did it. Even in defeat, Lesnar was able to build momentum in his matches with Cena and Triple H, adding a threat level back to character. This was definitely the right call.


4. Mark Henry

Most people know Mark Henry for his earlier work in WWE or his later years with the “Hall of Pain” gimmick that finally got him over enough to win a World Heavyweight Championship. However, the years in between were not overly kind to “The World’s Strongest Man.” While he would be in championship pictures, he would never really be seen as likely to hold gold until 2011.

So this brings up the crossroads of “The Streak.”

If Henry had ended the streak, he’s probably one of the few that would have seen a championship window open sooner. There’s a chance that the win would have given him a boost in legitimacy that could have lead to earlier title chances in his career.

However, the opposite could have also happened. Henry was seen as a threat but never a real contender until 2008 when he won the ECW Championship (and as mentioned, 2011 when he won the World Heavyweight Championship). Henry faced Undertaker at WrestleMania 22 (which he ultimately refused to win, claiming he didn’t want to carry the weight of that win), two years earlier than the start of his title wins. In that time, he ended up back at middle ground between developmental and the main roster (ECW) and became a tag team competitor after being traded back to RAW. Again, this one could have gone either, planting him in the middle of these rankings.


3. Edge

Probably one of the more interesting ideas, Edge was approached to break the streak at WrestleMania 24. When asked, he gave an interesting response: “Absolutely not. Why would we do that? That makes zero sense to me. I’m already a made man. I’m in the main event of WrestleMania. What’s it going to do for me?”

In a sense, Edge was right. By WrestleMania 24, Edge had already won the WWE Championship twice and the World Heavyweight Championship twice, as well as was facing Undertaker in the Main Event of the show. What more did Edge need to accomplish (even though he did win more championship gold)?

On the other hand, he may have been the most qualified. Needing the win is one thing, but being someone who was fit to do it is another thing. The two had been connected in feuds in the past, had the championship lineage to boot, and given that both of them broke out in the Attitude Era and saw themselves elevated as the Ruthless Aggression Era, the parallels were there.

It wouldn’t have done a lot for Edge’s career ultimately, however, other than Shawn Michaels in the next two WrestleManias, it probably would have been the most fitting.


2. Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle and the Undertaker never faced off at WrestleMania. However, it almost happened at WrestleMania 22, before Angle refused to beat him. Instead, “The Deadman” faced the previously mentioned Mark Henry in a casket match.

So why didn’t Angle want to break the streak? In subsequent interviews, Angle has said he felt the streak should never be broken and The Undertaker should have went undefeated at the event forever.

What adds an even more interesting wrinkle into this instance is that Undertaker said he was willing to lose this match. It’s been said he wanted to work a WrestleMania match with Angle because he wanted to have a WrestleMania moment with a five-star match, something he hadn’t had up to that point. He felt Angle would have been his best chance to do that, even if it meant giving up the streak.

Both Angle and McMahon rejected the idea, meaning the match never happened. Instead he would face him at the pay-per-view prior, No Way Out.


1. Randy Orton

“You asked about me versus Taker, that was WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles, I was 25, my birthday always falls around the show, so I’m a kid, I’m a greenhorn, I grew up in the business but now I’m in a match in the biggest show you can be at, participate in as a professional wrestler, as a WWE Superstar, and I’m facing in a singles match the most legendary character that’s ever graced our presence – with maybe a few exceptions. I was nervous, but I also knew I was in good hands. We went out there, we killed it, I reversed the chokeslam into the RKO, everybody bought it, he beat my a** and that was it. He picked up another win at ‘Mania and rightfully so because I think the WrestleMania brand and Undertaker go hand in hand. I think a lot of that had to do with the streak so I’ll never think that was the right thing to do, for him to pick up that loss….”

This quote from Randy Orton from a 2017 interview tells you all you need to know. A young Orton who faced the Undertaker at WrestleMania 21 was supposed to be the man who ends the legendary streak. In the end though, it was respect that killed that idea.

The thing is, while it would have been erased nearly a decade of incredible matches, this may be the one that would have changed everything for “The Legend Killer.”

He was already a World Heavyweight champion (the youngest one to do so as well) and an Intercontinental Champion at that point. Despite them not going over as well as WWE would have liked, this was something that could have turned his fortunes around.

While his career in the end would turn out fine, there’s a chance that this could have catapulted Orton into a whole new stratosphere. Instead of talking about him being tied with John Cena for the second most World Championship reigns, this is something that could have pushed him past his former Evolution stable Ric Flair for the most all time.

Eric Urbanowicz


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