When I attended WrestleMania XXX in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, I fully expected to look back and remember Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as the most memorable match of the night. The last thing I expected to see was The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak come to an end. Although the aging wrestler would be no match for Brock Lesnar in a real fight, “The Streak” had become a brand in and of itself in the WWE.
Although recent WrestleMania main events between John Cena and The Rock have failed to live up to their billing, The Undertaker’s recent matches on wrestling’s grandest stage have always left fans feeling satisfied. Despite wrestling well into his late 40s, The Undertaker has worked great WrestleMania matches recently against CM Punk and Triple H. However, The Undertaker never looked right against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX.
Fans at WrestleMania have been known to boo bad matches when the wrestlers have failed to deliver. 10 years earlier, Brock Lesnar was on the receiving end of a chorus of boos when he fought Goldberg in an utterly forgettable match at WrestleMania XX. Although I was seated far from the ring in the plaza (middle) level of the Superdome, I could tell something wasn’t right in the Lesnar vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania XXX. However, out of respect to The Undertaker, the crowd never directed any derogatory chants towards the wrestlers.
Since that night, I’ve gone back and watched the replay of the match on the WWE Network. I can personally attest that the Superdome truly was that quiet throughout the match. It was as though we couldn’t tell if The Undertaker was just acting lethargic to put Lesnar over or if he really was in distress. Despite this, no one believed there was even a snowball’s chance in New Orleans that Brock Lesnar might actually end The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak.
To give you an idea of how my mind couldn’t fully grasp The Undertaker losing, I could have sworn that he raised his shoulder before the referee counted three. I thought I had just witnessed a New Orleans Screwjob much like the Montreal Screwjob between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. But when I watched the replay, I realized it was a legitimate three count. That just goes to show how unlikely I thought it was for The Undertaker to lose at WrestleMania.
There are many funny videos and pictures of fans in attendance looking on in shock after The Undertaker lost. But the WWE wasn’t cherry picking for gasped looks in the aftermath of the match. Everyone in the Superdome was in shock. For at least five minutes, most of the fans seated around me had become mouth breathers. I can’t even describe how my body went numb when the WWE displayed the 21-1 graphic in the Superdome.
After we realized that we weren’t going to awaken from this nightmare, the next emotion was extreme anger. I can’t include the expletives I heard from other fans in this article. But if you follow wrestling even as a casual fan, you can probably imagine what was said. The anger stemmed not from The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak ending, but rather from who ended it. Many wrestling fans do not respect Brock Lesnar because he left the WWE for an MMA career and he is now only a part-time wrestler.
The Undertaker looked like a broken man after the match as he struggled to get to his feet to exit the ring for the long walk backstage. However, the anger we felt was not directed towards him. As The Undertaker slowly walked down the ramp, the Superdome fans gave him a standing ovation and chanted, “Thank you ‘Taker!” At a time when fans complain that wrestling has become too predictable, the end of The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak is the most shocking event I’ve ever seen in person. And I believe about 75,000 other wrestling fans would say the same thing.
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