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Running the table in reverse: Booking a winless WrestleMania streak

The Detroit Lions won a playoff game for the first time in 32 years on Sunday night (Jan. 14), beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-23. To put that in perspective for the wrestling audience, the last time the Lions won a playoff game, WWE was still the WWF, and magazines were how most fans like myself got their wrestling news and information.

While I have no particular rooting interest in pro football, the Lions, who have been mediocre for most of my life, hold a special place in my heart.

During my first year in sports radio in San Diego in 2008, the Lions went 0-16, becoming the first team to finish a full regular season with no wins or ties since the NFL moved to a sixteen-game regular season in 1978. In doing so, they fulfilled the fantasy of famous sports radio host Jim Rome, who openly rooted for an NFL club to do the opposite of the Miami Dolphins, who completed a perfect season in 1972.

The fact that the Lions concluded the 2023 season as the top team in the NFC North division and won a playoff game for the first time since the presidency of George H. W. Bush has firmly gained my support for their Super Bowl journey.

Yet despite my full football support for the Motor City, I, like Rome, would love to see a professional wrestler suffer a similar fate to that of the ‘08 Lions, and the only place for that to happen is at WrestleMania.

Yes, Cagesiders, I want to see a wrestler run the Undertaker’s once-undefeated streak in reverse.

Now, before anyone comes to me with Goldust, I’m fully aware of Goldie’s 0-7 record at the Showcase of the Immortals. That’s not enough. I’m talking about seeing someone of high-profile status going on a celebrated winless streak that becomes a part of that person’s lore.

I almost had it with Tito Santana, who lost every ‘Mania match he was in from 1986-1992. However, Santana wasn’t pinned at the grand extravaganza until 1989. Before that, it was Santana’s tag team partners who failed him.

Ideally, that’s how such a streak should start for this possibly unfortunate superstar. First, with a loss or two in a battle royal, followed by defeat in tag team competition and multi-person matches where the individual in question never eats a pin or taps out in a contest.

But by the fifth or sixth year of this person’s WrestleMania campaign, the fun begins.

At that stage, this person presumably would have moved up the ladder of WWE’s singles division, winning a secondary title or two. Perhaps they’ve even won a world championship, a Royal Rumble match, or a Money in the Bank briefcase. Yet when it comes time to win on wrestling’s biggest stage, they continually come up short.

0-5.

0-10.

0-16.

0-20.

In this hypothetical scenario, a world championship-caliber superstar goes winless after 20 consecutive attempts at winning a match at WrestleMania. This prolonged run of defeats creates the perfect setup for an ultimate feel-good story when they finally break their winless streak. Unlike the Undertaker’s stunning loss to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX, which left many in mourning, the jubilant celebration of this proposed misfortunate soul achieving their first WrestleMania win could potentially become the most iconic moment in the event’s history.

And think what it would mean for the performer who becomes the one in 1-20.

If WWE scripts it accordingly, the person taking the loss should be a cocky no-goodnik who approaches that WrestleMania thinking they’re in for a guaranteed victory over someone they’ve dismissed as an easy target. It would be even better if said rogue came into that ‘Mania on a one- or two-match winless streak at the event, making for the most surreal torch-passing moment in pro wrestling history. It could also set in motion a new storyline as that person works feverishly to overcome their WrestleMania embarrassment.

However, if it’s going to happen, it needs to happen soon, ideally beginning this year. I’m not getting any younger, and I want to be alive to see this saga’s dramatic conclusion just as much as I want to see Detroit finish its story.

Go Lions.

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