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The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Matches Ranked

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The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Matches Ranked

Ranking Undertaker’s WrestleMania Matches

Wrestlemania and the Undertaker go together like the British and pessimism. ‘Taker’s legacy will forever be associated with ‘The Granddaddy of Them All’ and in return, The Streak will always come to mind when Wrestlemania season comes a-knockin’.

Now that ‘The Deadman’s Hall of Fame-worthy career has come to a close and Wrestlemania is just around the corner, let’s have a look back at every ‘Mania match The Undertaker was a part of and criticize it with a level of scrutiny that only an internet community could produce.

To make this colossal task easier, each bout will be ranked on the select few categories listed below.

The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Matches Ranked

Warning: Opinions included, proceed with caution.

Story: Professional wrestling is, in essence, a soap opera with intermittent fisticuffs. So let’s rate it accordingly.

Wrestlemania Feel: A concoction of grandeur, atmosphere, production and, especially, how commentary sells the match, ‘Mania would be nothing without it.

‘Taker’s Performance: How well did ‘The Deadman’ play his part?

Opponents Performance: It does indeed take two to tango, same goes for rasslin’.

Overall Match Quality: Irrespective of either man’s individual performance. Solely on the match as a whole, even if both men performed well it may not have necessarily melded overall.

Total: Each category is rated out of ten and combined for a grand total of fifty. Ranked from worst to best.

Now that’s established, let’s get on with it. We’ve got a long way to go. 

Wrestlemania IX – Giant Gonzalez
Image via WWE

27. Wrestlemania IX – Giant Gonzalez

Whoever decided to put Giant Gonzalez in that horrendous costume deserves all manner of punishments, watching this match being one of them. Insult to the eyes aside, the bout was horrendous. Not only is this an unsightly stain on the precious, glimmering-ish Streak, but the DQ ending tarnishes the decisive nature of all the other results.

‘Taker did his best to take this lumbering tree trunk to a competitive match, but years of experience and training with the world’s best talents can only get you so far. Plus, the oddly loose ropes didn’t help anything, adding to the already painful clunkiness.

While you can appreciate the ridiculously over-the-top theme of Wrestlemania IX in all its pomposity, all the elements don’t quite blend together, making for a jumbled mess.

What a way to start a list. Thankfully, the only way is up. 

Story: 1
Wrestlemania Feel: 6
‘Taker’s Performance: 5
Opponents Performance: 1
Overall Match Quality: 2
Total: 15/50

Wrestlemania XIII – Psycho Sid
Image via WWE

26. Wrestlemania XIII – Psycho Sid

Before this match took place we were given a ridiculously long ovation to Shawn Michaels that went on for such a time that his theme looped twice, the start of the match was also delayed by a Bret Hart promo followed by a Sid promo, thankfully ‘Taker intervened to kick things off.

We had repeated split-screen cuts to HBK on commentary which proved to be more interesting than the match itself. It really was a dull affair, just an unpleasant slog of rest holds and strikes -at least Giant Gonzalez had the courtesy to get DQ’d early. Bret Hart came out to hit Sid with a chair which, for some reason, wasn’t a DQ. A chokeslam followed which Sid kicked out of. Bret Hart appeared for a third time, distracting Sid enough for ‘Taker to set up a Tombstone and getting the three count. The only redeeming features of this match were HBK’s commentary and seeing ‘Taker win the title.

Story: 3
Wrestlemania Feel: 7
‘Taker’s Performance: 4
Opponents Performance: 2
Overall Match Quality: 3
Total: 19/50

Wrestlmania XV – Big Boss Man
Image via WWE

25. Wrestlmania XV – Big Boss Man

It may be an unpopular view, but ‘Taker’s Ministry of Darkness look was visually terrible. While the whole era may have seen some of his most iconic moments, the look definitely wasn’t one of them. Controversial opinions aside, we can all agree that this match against the Big Boss Man was rubbish. The first Hell in a Cell match to take place at Wrestlemania had high expectations, and like a lot of matches with this much hype in the WWE, it was awful.

A thankfully short brawl between the Ministry leader and Corporation enforcer ended abruptly with a Tombstone Piledriver, followed up with an incredibly controversial moment in the form of a hanging. Post-match, The Brood were lowered down from the rafters and on to the cage roof where they dropped a noose through to ‘Taker. ‘The Deadman’ then secured it around Boss Man’s neck and Paul Bearer giddily pressed the button that raised the cage. The screen faded to black as Boss Man hung unconscious. A dance party video followed to really nail on the tonal shift, says it all really.

Story: 3
Wrestlemania Feel:  4
‘Taker’s Performance: 4
Opponents Performance: 4
Overall Match Quality: 4
Total: 19/50

Wrestlemania XXII – Mark Henry
Image via WWE

24. Wrestlemania XXII – Mark Henry

The Casket Match: a stipulation that’s never really been good and the one that retired HBK for the first time. This time, however, it was Mark Henry’s turn at mediocrity.

The skyline set of Wrestlemania XXII looked very odd with the druids spilling out of it, and the following appearance of ‘Taker didn’t make things any less surreal. Cole and Tazz did a reasonable job at selling the action, but when it’s this slow they can only do so much. The crowd didn’t really help things as they didn’t seem to care at all, and who can blame them?

The only moment of excitement came from a scary looking Suicide Dive courtasy of ‘Taker. Apart from the risky spot, the entirety of the bout was slow, bumbling and uneventful.

Story: 4
Wrestlemania Feel: 4
‘Taker’s Performance: 5
Opponents Performance: 4
Overall Match Quality: 3
Total: 20/50

Wrestlemania VII - Jimmy Snuka
Image via WWE

23. Wrestlemania VII – Jimmy Snuka

The first match of The Streak, and bit of an odd opponent, with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka being the first to take the fall on the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’. Up until this point ‘Taker had gone the usual Vince McMahon booked route of being the big guy who squashed jobbers. Even though Snuka was meant to be seen as legitimate competition he was quickly disbanded within a few minutes.

Still, in that time the pair got in a few good moves with Undertaker’s flying clothesline always being a delight to see, but other than that it was fairly tame, nothing offensive but nothing special either. Commentary was a bit of a non factor in this match, neither aideing nor taking away from the action, and while the crowd was hot for the entrances the enthusiasm died off pretty quickly.

Story: 3
Wrestlemania Feel: 4
‘Taker’s Performance: 5
Opponents Performance: 5
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 22/50

Wrestlemania XI – King Kong Bundy
Image via WWE

22. Wrestlemania XI – King Kong Bundy

After missing the previous Wrestlemania through extended injury, ‘Taker was back with a vengeance at possibly the most star-studded Wrestlemania of all time. Undertaker vs King Kong Bundy had a big match feel and a hot crowd that had the potential for a memorable Wrestlemania clash, but in reality was a slow, clunky slog with a lousy finish.

Bundy was almost a non factor in this match with the focus primarily on retrieving Undertaker’s urn. We also had a run in from Karma who re-stole the urn and did a mid-match interview, again taking focus from the action – which may have been a blessing in disguise. While the match was weak, the feel and crowd redeemed it slightly.

Story: 4
Wrestlemania Feel: 8
‘Taker’s Performance: 5
Opponents Performance: 3
Overall Match Quality: 3
Total: 23/50

Wrestlemania XXXIII – Roman Reigns
Image via WWE

21. Wrestlemania XXXIII – Roman Reigns

This was painful. Nobody wanted Roman to win, or for him to be there in general. To quote the live crowd: “Boo”.

There’s no point delving too deep into this one on the in-ring front, to summarize: It was painful. The only saving grace is the iconic moment of ‘Taker leaving his hat and coat in the ring for a supposed retirement. Oh how wrong we were to expect that.

The story was built on the childish premise of “no, I’m the big dog and this is my yard.” Dreadful.

Story: 3
Wrestlemania Feel: 6
‘Taker’s Performance: 5
Opponents Performance: 7
Overall Match Quality: 3
Total: 24/50

Wrestlemania XX – Kane 2 Undertaker
Image via WWE

20. Wrestlemania XX – Kane 2

It was during Wrestlemania XX that ‘The Deadman’ persona truly returned. Well, sort of. It was a hybrid version that would grow to become the best version of ‘Taker. It also saw the return of Paul Bearer.

The story going into this was excellent. Kane buried ‘Taker alive, kayfabe killing Big Evil/American Badass and allowing him to go away for a bit -wrestling is a funny ol’ thing. The bells tolled at the Royal Rumble signalling an upcoming return, this distraction caused Kane to be eliminated. Naturally, a match was set down the line for Wrestlemania.

Now, the match. Shame. It was short and not very eventful. Though Kane did do well selling the shock of the return, doing his best to make the moment feel big. Great story, bad match.

Story: 9
Wrestlemania Feel: 8
‘Taker’s Performance: 3
Opponents Performance: 4
Overall Match Quality: 2
Total: 26/50

Wrestlemania X8 – Ric Flair Undertaker
Image via WWE

19. Wrestlemania X8 – Ric Flair

Hogan vs The Rock wasn’t the only Icon vs Icon match at wrestlemania XVIII. This was disappointing however. On paper it looks like a classic, but when it got down to it all we were given was a ponderous, awkward brawl of repeated strikes and an occasional weapon spot. The only redeeming elements were Arn Anderson’s run in and Flair’s selling. Considering the caliber of participant in this match you’d expect an electric atmosphere, somehow it fell flat with the crowd barely reacting -apart from an occasional big spot.

This match really highlights how weak ‘Taker’s American Badass run was with him looking lackluster throughout. The finish was rushed and uninspired as well with what looked like a botched power move attempt leading into a half-arsed tombstone. ‘Taker being a heel in this match just sapped the crowd even further, they wanted to cheer him, but considering he was doing things like breaking his own pin attempt just killed an already struggling crowd. Not quite Giant Gonzalez bad, but bad nevertheless.

Story: 4
Wrestlemania Feel: 7
‘Taker’s Performance: 4
Opponents Performance: 6
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 26/50

Image via WWE

18. Wrestlemania XII – Diesel

A fued built on costing title shots which culminated in this bout at Wrestlemania XII, marking the fifth match of The Streak. Undertaker’s entrance was ruined by Jerry Lawler’s broken run down of the fued so far and Vinny Mac’s incessant need to shout ‘Big Daddy Cool!’ every ten seconds had all the appeal of knee-sliding on sand paper.

This was the first of Underaker’s ‘Mania matches to up the pace from the regular, glacial squashes -which was a welcome change. The crowd absolutely hated Diesel here, which he utilised well. Though you can hear how much Vince McMahon absolutely adores ‘Big Daddy Cool’, making for a confusing concoction of tone -should I boo or should I cheer? Baffling. The bout consisted of a back and forth with both men taking turns beating the other down until a pair of Jackknife Powerbombs brought the match down to a dawdle.

They told a great story throughout with ‘Taker showing his resilience against Diesel’s power offence. The match finished with a scary looking Tombstone Piledriver followed with ‘Taker’s signature pin. As a whole, not too bad.

Story: 6
Wrestlemania Feel: 5
‘Taker’s Performance: 6|
Opponents Performance: 5
Overall Match Quality:5
Total: 27/50

Wrestlemania XXXIV – John Cena Undertaker
Image via WWE

17. Wrestlemania XXXIV – John Cena

Barely a match, but still relatively entertaining.

The build up to this involved Cena calling out ‘The Deadman’ on a weekly basis only to receive no reply. This continued onto the ‘Mania card itself where the question still loomed on whether he answered the call. Obviously he did, or that would’ve been some grade A deception from WWE, and ‘Taker appeared to squash Cena in a matter of minutes. We wanted more, but considering what ‘Taker could achieve at the time it was probably for the best.

Story: 5
Wrestlemania Feel: 5
‘Taker’s Performance: 6
Opponents Performance: 7
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 28/50

Wrestlemania XXIII – Batista
Image via WWE

16. Wrestlemania XXIII – Batista

Fresh off of a Rumble win, ‘The Deadman’ elected to challenge Batista over Cena and Lashley. The post-Rumble run is always an exciting one, this was no exception, but of the three options to face at ‘Mania, Batista was probably the best option at the time.

It played out as you’d expect: strike, power move, strike, power move, big spot, finisher, near-fall, finisher and pin, all intermittent with lurching around -the hoss match in a nutshell.

A standard, middling affair.

Story: 7
Wrestlemania Feel: 6
‘Taker’s Performance: 6
Opponents Performance: 4
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 28/50

Wrestlemania XIX – A-Train & Big Show
Image via WWE

15. Wrestlemania XIX – A-Train & Big Show

A Handicap match brought on by the ineptitude of Nathan Jones. The Aussie was due to compete for the duration of the match as Undertaker’s partner, but due to him not being quite ring-ready, the match was changed to a 2-on-1 in which Jones had been “taken out” backstage earlier in the night.

For a bout consisting of competitors of such size, the pace was kept impressively high and due to the experience of all involved -Nathan Jones excluded of course- a good match was always a possibility; and for a relatively short duration, they did just that. The match was well worked taking advantage of the forced stipulation and telling a good in-ring story. It’s just a shame that the story going in was so haphazard.

It may seem odd to rank this match so highly, but in retrospect they did very well under the circumstances. Kudos.

Story: 3
Wrestlemania Feel: 6
‘Taker’s Performance: 7
Opponents Performance:7
Overall Match Quality:6
Total: 29/50

Wrestlemania XIV – Kane Undertaker
Image via WWE

14. Wrestlemania XIV – Kane

Fresh off one of the greatest debuts, for one of wrestling’s greatest characters, Kane’s build up to Wrestlemania XIV was electric. ‘The Brothers of Destruction’ had to put on one hell of a good match to justify the hype, unfortunately it was a bit naff.

The few exciting moments were marred by slow, clunky action based on strikes and rest holds. A highlight did come in the form of a suicide dive from ‘Taker, jumping clean over the top rope and subsecuently crashing through the announce table in nasty looking fashion. While Kane being the first to kick out of a Tombstone Piledriver was exciting, doing it twice in fact, the match barely got going. The choice of a post-match beatdown kind of killed off the atmosphere and would’ve probably been best saved for weekly TV. Great story, bad match, all in all a missed opportunity.

Story: 9
Wrestlemania Feel: 8
‘Taker’s Performance: 4
Opponents Performance: 4
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 30/50

Wrestlemania XXXVI – AJ Styles Undertaker
Image via WWE

13. Wrestlemania XXXVI – AJ Styles

The wonderfully named Boneyard Match was always going to be a tricky one to rank. For one, it was a cinematic match so it’s difficult to know how to rate it against your more traditional bouts. Also it took place during the pandemic, so there wasn’t a traditional, bombastic Wrestlemania set.

Still, looking at the match itself it, well, wasn’t really a match. Most of the affair boiled down to ‘Taker dragging a semi-prone AJ to various locations while saying some mean things about him and following it up with a stiff right jab. The wrestling part aside however, the rest of the match turned out to be incredibly entertaining for what it was. The set pieces they shot in the Boneyard were fitting and the key moments -mainly ‘Takers showdown with AJ’s druids, the infamous shot of Undertaker teleporting out of the grave, and AJ being buried alive with a sole hand sticking out of the ground- were all unintentionally hilarious, making it fascinating to watch.

Combine the dramatic story with a few fairly outlandish scenes and you have a match comparable to any Wrestlemania with a crowd.

Story: 9
Wrestlemania Feel: 6
‘Taker’s Performance: 4
Opponents Performance: 6
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 30/50

Wrestlemania XXXI – Bray Wyatt
Image via WWE

12. Wrestlemania XXXI – Bray Wyatt

The first Wrestlemania match post-Streak.

Wyatt’s entrance screams shonky B-movie and the lack of darkness makes it look even sillier -plus, the first words on commentary are “creepy Bray Wyatt!” which is just so incredibly lame. ‘Taker’s entrance wasn’t too much to write home about either, it all looked so cheap and lazy.

Commentary really tried to hammer home the motivations of ‘Taker in a way that would suggest that we’d never heard of The Streak before, surely the motivations of Wyatt would be more of a necessity?

The whole bout played out like a highlight reel of ‘Taker’s moveset: Old School, Snake Eyes, the Big Boot and Leg Drop on the apron, over the top rope and landing on his feet, Hell’s Gate, Chokeslam, Tombstone Piledriver all very routine.

The reversal from a Sister Abigail into a Chokeslam was fun, but apart from that it was pretty formulaic and fairly dull. Story wise it played out well, Wyatt’s spooky crab walk followed by ‘Taker sitting up is an image that will go down as iconic.

A Tombstone finished it off which garnered a massive reaction from the live crowd. I know, looking back, that Bray really could’ve done with this win, but considering the version of the character we have today -The Fiend- this blip in Wyatt’s career is a relatively harmless one.

Story: 6
Wrestlemania Feel: 5
‘Taker’s Performance: 7
Opponents Performance: 8
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 31/50

Wrestlemania VIII – Jake Roberts
Image via WWE

11. Wrestlemania VIII – Jake Roberts

A solid story going into this one with the usual friends to enemies storyline. What gave it such a high rating in this category was the in-ring storytelling which was compelling throughout. Considering Roberts’ DDT was one of the most protected finishers in wrestling at the time, it was shocking to see ‘Taker do his trademark “sit up” schtick in response to not one, but two DDTs -it was a pair of monumental moments and the crowd reacted to it accordingly. However, “The Snake” not going for a pin after hitting either DDT was an odd one, but that’s possibly the only gripe.

The biggest detracting feature was, unexpectedly, the commentary team of Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon. While arguably the greatest ever duo behind the desk, the bickering and jokes from the pair took away from the drama of the match, it would’ve been wonderful in any bout but this one.

Story: 8
Wrestlemania Feel: 5
‘Taker’s Performance: 7
Opponents Performance: 6
Overall Match Quality: 6
Total: 32/50

Wrestlemania X-Seven – Triple H Undertaker
Image via WWE

10. Wrestlemania X-Seven – Triple H

The worst version of The Undertaker, the American Badass. The name is terrible and ‘Taker coming to the ring to Limp Bizkit is terrible. When ‘The Deadman’ wrestled slowly it made sense in regards to the character, when Biker ‘Taker worked slowly he just looked lazy.

This may be the first of ‘Taker’s ‘Mania matches where his opponent is better than he is. Triple H does a great job of dragging ‘Taker to a good match here, and it is a good match mind. It may be sluggish at times, but from the big Chokeslam spot off the sound stage onwards it is genuinely exciting.

Mike Chioda lying unconscious for fifteen minutes because of a simple Elbow Drop was ridiculous though  and Lemmy from Motorhead forgetting the lyrics to Triple H’s theme ruined things a bit, but regardless it was a great penultimate match to possibly the best Wrestlemania.

When rewatching this match, the near fall from Triple H’s sledgehammer shot is still effective even if you know the result going in, really lovely stuff. Paul Heyman and Jim Ross are up there with Heenan and Monsoon as the best ever commentary duo and they are a fundamental part of why Wrestlemania X-7 is so iconic. A good match, but not top tier.

Story: 6
Wrestlemania Feel: 9
‘Taker’s Performance: 5
Opponents Performance: 7
Overall Match Quality: 6
Total: 33/50

Wrestlemania XXVII – Triple H 2 Undertaker
Image via WWE

9. Wrestlemania XXVII – Triple H 2

Oh the entrance, the marvelously silly entrance. You have to love Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

The sheer size of the set is so ridiculous that it’s a joy to see. This combined with the grandeur and pomposity of the entrances makes for a real Wrestlemania moment. JR was on form, doing a stellar job at telling the story of The Streak.

The first half of this match did follow a certain formula: Spot, rest, finisher, rest, repeat. But after ‘Taker kicked out of Triple H’s Tombstone Piledriver things really went up a gear, then the finish came shortly after and hastily put to bed any hopes of a classic match. In a move that was quite unexpected Triple H tapped out to Hell’s Gate after being in the submission for what felt like a millenia. They did however execute it well with a grasping hand for the nearby sledgehammer adding tension, but an interesting finish wasn’t enough to call it great. Still better than their first, just.

Story: 6
Wrestlemania Feel: 10
‘Taker’s Performance: 7
Opponents Performance: 7
Overall Match Quality: 5
Total: 35/50

Image via WWE

8. Wrestlemania XXX – Brock Lesnar

Let’s be honest here, ‘Taker’s hair and beard combo during this match was awful. A small gripe admittedly, but one nevertheless. Fortunately, this didn’t detract from the sheer over-the-top nature of his entrance.

This wasn’t really a match. It was more of an experience. If it was to be rated on the in-ring work alone it would rank amongst the worst of The Streak, but what it does deliver on is a tense and compelling story that keeps you on edge throughout. Plus, that ending, just, that ending.

People complain about the decision to give The Streak to Lesnar, but in hindsight it’s hard to see why. Mark Calaway always wanted to give up The Streak, but if anyone else would’ve done it, would it have been believable? Would anyone else have followed it up with a more dominant run than Brock has to this day? Sure it would’ve been nice to see Edge, Punk, Orton or Wyatt, but would you really have been happy to see it? Think about it.

Story: 10
Wrestlemania Feel: 8
‘Taker’s Performance: 5
Opponents Performance: 6
Overall Match Quality: 7
Total: 36/50

Wrestlemania XXXII – Shane McMahon
Image via WWE

7. Wrestlemania XXXII – Shane McMahon

Well, well, well. Wasn’t this an interesting one. A cage match against the boss’ son.

‘Taker’s entrance looked beautiful, not necessarily showmanship-wise, but the lighting and fog -lovely stuff. Shane’s on the other hand felt awkward, while it might’ve been nice for him to have the kids come along for the entrance, for us it just looked strange.

It played out as it should’ve. They were never going to have a thirty-minute, mat classic so they resorted for a brawl with some massive spots. It worked too, it was a very enjoyable match. The McMahons have a habit of putting on really entertaining matches whenever they’re involved: Steph and Triple H teaming at ‘Mania 34, and Shane vs Vince at ‘Mania X-7 being prime examples.

Obviously, the moment everyone remembers is the leap from off of the top, but it would be a disservice to discount all that led up to it. One thing that can be said about Shane’s leap is that Michael Cole shouting “For the love of Mankind!” while reading it off of a queue card is the worst call in Wrestlemania history, abhorrent.

Story: 6
Wrestlemania Feel: 9
‘Taker’s Performance: 7
Opponents Performance: 8
Overall Match Quality: 7
Total: 37/50

Wrestlemania XXIX – CM Punk Undertaker
Image via WWE

6. Wrestlemania XXIX – CM Punk

Living Colour played Punk to the ring with one of the best ever live renditions of a wrestlers entrance, and ‘Taker’s entrance, with accompanying creepy hands from the fog, was glorious.

Before and during the first half of this match it was hard to believe that CM Punk could beat The Streak. From the questionable booking in the latter stages of his record title reign to his overselling of ‘Taker’s moves in the match, it would’ve been tough to justify any scenario in which this could’ve played out in any way favourably for Punk. They, however, crafted a compelling match which managed to pose Punk as a legitimate threat in defeat while still maintaining The Streak’s credibility.

It was by far the most unique match of ‘Taker’s Wrestlemania run purely by the moves on show alone. This, twinned with the distinctive storyline, managed to make for a really enjoyable match that stands out from the rest of this list for its individuality.

Story: 7
Wrestlemania Feel: 10
‘Taker’s Performance: 7
Opponents Performance: 7
Overall Match Quality: 8
Total: 39/50

Wrestlemania XXI – Randy Orton Undertaker
Image via WWE

5. Wrestlemania XXI – Randy Orton

The best version of Randy Orton. ‘The Legend Killer’ was a wonderful gimmick and the idea that he was targeting ‘Taker for his Wrestlemania streak makes it even sweeter. It’s odd looking back at Orton in his younger days, his performance here is far removed from his “clinical” resthold-based bouts of his later years.

Randy’s selling is exceptional, making ‘Taker look like the biggest threat of all and therefore making his resilience seem more impressive -truely a natural, you can see why he was pushed to the top so early. The crowd was lively throughout taking great joy in telling the young Orton how much they hated him.

The match was eventful, there was: a run-in from Bob Orton, a ref bump, and a lot of clever finisher reversals in the closing few minutes. The near fall from Orton’s RKO was exceptionally well done, genuinely enthralling. An excellent match.

Story: 8
Wrestlemania Feel: 7
‘Taker’s Performance: 8
Opponents Performance: 10
Overall Match Quality: 9
Total: 42/50

Wrestlemania XXIV – Edge Undertaker
Image via WWE

4. Wrestlemania XXIV – Edge

This Wrestlmania set is incredible. They took the theme of XXIII and took everything up a notch. Beautiful.

When you think about the best years of ‘Taker, ‘Mania XXV through XXVIII comes to mind, but in reality, it begins here. This is where it started to feel truly special. It was here where the storytelling aspects of The Undertaker’s matches were taken to a new level. Up to this point The Streak had become pretty routine -apart from Randy Orton at XXI- where the opponent would hit ‘Taker with their biggest moves, only for ‘Taker to kick out and Tombstone them. This was something new.

It was a battle of tactics, with Edge’s repeated reversals hinting at a possible changing of the guard and that ‘The Deadman’s’ traditional approach would work no longer. If it wasn’t for the proceeding few years it wouldn’t have been remiss to say that this is where The Streak should have ended. This bout also included possibly one of the greatest ever near falls with Edge kicking out of the Tombstone after referee Charles Robinson’s long run down the ramp -the delay giving Edge time to recover.

The only issues are the lazy use of a run-in -seeing Hawkins & Ryder in the main event of Wrestlemania is an odd one- and a presumably burnt out crowd for the first half of the match. However, we were given a lovely bout, one that was well crafted and played wonderfully to the strenghts of both participants.

Story: 8
Wrestlemania Feel: 10
‘Taker’s Performance: 8
Opponents Performance: 9
Overall Match Quality: 8
Total: 43/50

Wrestlemania XXVIII – Triple H 3
Image via WWE

3. Wrestlemania XXVIII – Triple H 3

The best of the trilogy.

Most will probably disagree, but Hell in a Cell is a rubbish stipulation. Pretty much every Hell in a Cell match would play out identically if the cage wasn’t there at all -‘Taker vs Mankind being an obvious exception. This match went pretty much the same way, it might as well have just been a No Disqualification match and it would’ve played out identically. The unnecessary camera inconvenience that was the cage, aside, this proved to be a masterpiece of storytelling throughout. It also included the iconic nearfall where ‘Taker kicked out of a Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combo to much appreciation by the live crowd.

It’d be higher if it didn’t have one major issue: The Undertaker kicked out of far too much. It became a bit ridiculous with 15+ chair shots, 2 sledgehammer hits to the head and simply a ludicrous amount of finishers. This however fades into insignificance when confronted with the emotion of the finishing sequence and proceeding fallout where the trio of ‘Taker, Triple H and HBK walked to the back together. Beautiful.

Story: 10
Wrestlemania Feel: 8
‘Taker’s Performance: 9
Opponents Performance: 8
Overall Match Quality: 9
Total: 44/50

Wrestlemania XXVI – Shawn Michaels Undertaker
Image via WWE

2. Wrestlemania XXVI – Shawn Michaels 2

Higher stakes and bigger spots than the first, but not quite as good in-ring. Main eventing despite the lack of title, and justifiably so, this second bout in a row at Wrestlemania for the two legends told an equally compelling story without it being a rehash.

Both performed as admirably as the year before, but it lacked the polish and crafting. What it wasn’t short of however was the storytelling. The nigh-on year long build up to the Career vs Streak match made for wonderful anticipation and the story they told on the night was a marvel in itself, HBK telegraphing his own doom before the finishing Tombstone being a particular highlight.

Even with it being  a Wrestlemania main event this time around, it lacked the grandeur of the year previous -though the post match display made up for the fact.

Both men put on a terrific match, one that made for a fitting finale for HBK. Let’s just agree to forget about Crown Jewel, deal?

Story: 10

Wrestlemania Feel: 8
‘Taker’s Performance: 9
Opponents Performance: 10
Overall Match Quality: 8
Total: 45/50

Image via WWE

1. Wrestlemania XXV – Shawn Michaels

It’s a rarity in the modern era for a match such as this to be truly impactful. That may sound odd looking at the caliber of the participants, but hear me out.

Kicking out of a finisher has lost a lot of its mystique as of late. Seeing the likes of The Fiend and Reigns lifting a shoulder at two and three-quarters after being hit by a plethora of match-ending power-moves has numbed us to the concept of a shocking nearfall. This match against Michaels is when it meant something. To see HBK kick out of not just a Chokeslam, but a Last Ride and a Tombstone was both captivating and shocking.

The whole match had a certain fluidity that demanded attention. While never at a high-pace, it never became tedious. It was the first true battle of attrition of The Streak, the first time it felt like an even playing field throughout.

The only downside could be that there wasn’t too much of a story going in, it was more just legend vs legend, the great build up would be saved for a year later in the ‘Streak vs Career’ match. Still, they managed to tell an incredible story in the ring.

The terrifying botch where ’Taker landed headfirst on the outside didn’t detract from the match, it maybe even improved it. It added a sense of realism and didn’t seem to affect the flow going forward, a testament to the talent involved.

A true classic.
Story: 8
Wrestlemania Feel: 9
‘Taker’s Performance: 10
Opponents Performance: 10
Overall Match Quality: 10
Total: 47/50

By Tyler Bramley

Currently residing in a quiet village in Cumbria, England; you'll likely find Tyler watching pro rasslin', playing games, or gardening -give him a version of Stardew Valley with suplexes and he'll be in his element. A Freelance writer that you'll find dotted around the web, primarily right here at Goomba Stomp, on his personal blog The Wibbler.com, and writing for the TripleJump YouTube channel.

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