Although WWE sort of stumbled into its good fortune with Undertaker's streak of wins at WrestleMania, now up to 21 in a row without a loss, in recent years it has become the stuff of legend. Simply challenging it is considered an honor as great as -- or perhaps even greater than -- challenging for the WWE world heavyweight championship title.
Considering the fact that the streak is held in such high regard, and Undertaker is set to defend it once again against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 on April 6, 2014, in New Orleans, we're going to rank each match from worst to best. Considerations will be made for both the work within the match and the story heading into it, not to mention historical significance.
Today we tackle numbers 21-17:
21. Giant Gonzalez, WrestleMania 9
This was Vince McMahon going the Vince McMahon route and booking two big old bastards against each other. The idea was rather simple: Undertaker is an unstoppable living "Deadman" but Gonzalez is such a mammoth, surely he'll be able to kill a man who is already dead, right?
The idea itself was intriguing enough.
The trouble, of course, is that Gonzalez wasn't any good. They started with a staredown and Gonzalez wailing on Undertaker with big punches. 'Taker wasn't selling for them, as per the norm. Eventually, though, that changed because Giant was such a monster there was no other choice.
The entire match basically consisted of Gonzalez beating on Undertaker and Undertaker repeatedly coming back from it. This culminated in Harvey Whippleman tossing a cloth with chloroform on it into the ring and Gonzalez getting himself disqualified for using it.
To prove that even chloroform couldn't keep him down, Undertaker came back out after a stretcher job and laid waste to his foe. And when I say "laid waste to his foe", I mean he clotheslined him before security came out to take Gonzalez away. It was dumb.
This marked the only time Undertaker won a match at WrestleMania via disqualification.
20. Big Boss Man, WrestleMania 15
This match occurred not too far into the Ministry of Darkness Era when Undertaker was running around kidnapping Stephanie McMahon and trying to get married to her while she was strung up on a cross. The Attitude Era, man. It was wild.
I'm not entirely sure why this encounter ever needed to happen to begin with, but it happened and we're all worse off for it. To this day, Boss Man had the least credibility of anyone on the list of streak victims.
For good reason.
Because of the blood feud with McMahon, the boss, this was a Hell in a Cell match. To show you how little planning was put into this, they went all of 10 minutes and the cell structure was used to awful effect, such as Boss Man handcuffing Undertaker to the fence. How did he get out? The cuffs broke when he fell to his ass selling a gut shot from a night stick. That same spot featured Undertaker blading in plain view of the camera, what with his hair actually braided in the back to keep it out of his face.
The best part? He hardly drew any blood.
The pacing was slow, the action nearly nonexistent, and the crowd was absolutely bored to tears. When the two were exchanging punches late in the contest, in what would normally be an epic back-and-forth in a good match deep with meaning, the audience booed them.
The ensuing Tombstone for the pin wasn't so much an exciting finish but a reprieve from the pain.
The worst part of all this was the post-match angle featuring The Brood (Edge and Christian) rappelling from the rafters to set up a rope attached to the Cell structure, dropping it down into Undertaker and having him hang Boss Man with it.
Everything about this sucked.
19. King Kong Bundy, WrestleMania 11
The story here was Ted DiBiase's corporation stealing the urn from Paul Bearer and using it against him. Yes, they were still rolling with that at this time.
Things got off to a rough start here when DiBiase dropped the urn before the match even got underway. Undertaker then stole it back about three minutes in by just lifting it right out of Ted's hands. Then we got Kamala out to take the urn and run off with it, leading to an interview near the entrance mid-match.
The crowd was killed dead.
It didn't help, then, that Bundy worked a headlock that Undertaker treated like a sleeper. The pacing of all this was awful and to make matters worse, the match ended out of nowhere just after Undertaker's comeback when he hit a flying clothesline following a bodyslam.
Yes, that was the finish.
Bundy no sold the loss and just walked out with DiBiase while Undertaker was left in the ring rolling his eyes and kneeling in front of nothing in particular.
18. Jimmy Snuka, WrestleMania 7
Undertaker had debuted just a few months prior at Survivor Series 1990 and he was in full blown gimmick mode at that time. That means he wasn't ever allowed to sell because, uh, he's supposed to be a dead man who wrestles.
Either way, Snuka was the old dog with no new tricks here to do a job for the young star on the rise.
The match itself was short and, really, just a squash. The offense from either guy consisted of punch, punch, and a failed springboard from Snuka that was designed to be a feat of strength from Undertaker. But when he caught "Superfly", he was so low and heavy he couldn't get him back up proper, so he just set him down and punched him again.
This wasn't very good, but it was never really going to be. It's historic, though, because it was the first win in the streak.
17. Jake Roberts, WrestleMania 8
Not unlike the match with Snuka, this was Undertaker in his prime and not all that far removed from a brief WWF title win over Hulk Hogan against "The Snake" getting long in the tooth.
And, not unlike the match with Snuka, they were severely limited by Undertaker's playing his gimmick to the fullest. He didn't sell getting hurt, he just slowed down a little after each punch and whip into a turnbuckle, all while Bobby "The Brain" Heenan explains to us "he's not human, you can't hurt him".
It was slow, a methodical destruction played out to a mostly bored crowd. The highlight was Roberts hitting the DDT out of nowhere and Undertaker sitting up from it after about 20 seconds. For maximum effect, they repeated the spot and the commentary team put over how amazing it was.
Roberts, psychological mastermind he was, used the second DDT to get after Paul Bearer and the urn giving "The Deadman" all his powers. He ended up getting tombstoned on the outside, rolled back in the ring, and pinned.
Tomorrow we get to numbers 16-12.