Opinion: The role of The Undertaker and 'The Streak' in the life of a WWE fan
I was watching a video titled ‘The Undertaker: Long Term Story Telling In Wrestling’ on Youtube, and some 15 minutes into the video, there is this segment on the Streak being broken by Brock Lesnar. As I watched The Undertaker land onto the mat after the third F5, and his shoulders being counted down onto the mat- One, Two, Three- tears started to fill my eyes.
I was unconsciously crying. I quickly wiped away the tears, and paused the video.
And then, this thought dawned upon me…
It was all scripted, it was just kayfabe. Why then, did it trigger such wide ranging emotions in me, and the millions of fans across the world?
The reason is this- ‘The Phenom’, and The Streak were interwoven with the lives of millions of WWE fans. If you are a fan of the WWE, especially from the 90s, and grew up watching the Undertaker and the Streak grow year after year, then let me tell you: Lesnar breaking it was one of the hardest moments for all of us to digest.
And that is precisely why, whether I watched the other shows from that year or not, I was definitely eager for WrestleMania, for the return of Taker. To listen to the sound of the gong, to watch his dominant aura engulf WrestleMania, to see which Superstar would fall next to ‘The Phenom.’
But, on the night of April 6th, 2014, something that was not supposed to happen, took place. Yes, all of us felt that way. We all expected that whatever happened, Taker’s shoulders are not supposed to be counted down at WrestleMania.
And that is why, when Lesnar ended ‘The Streak’, it felt like the end of our childhoods...
You see, all of us have our own problems in life. And to escape it, we find different ways to find solace. And for us WWE fans, ‘The Streak’ was one way to convince ourselves that yes, there is something in this world that will last forever, there is something in this world we can cling onto, something that is immortal.
I have always thought about this. How many Superstars can make a crowd go berserk with just the sound of a gong? How long can the gimmick of a man, having to answer to the dark side, last?
But then, The Undertaker made it special, and he made it last for three decades. And every time he entered the ring, he made all of us wait in anticipation. And that is precisely why, The Undertaker's character will go down as the greatest gimmick in the history of Pro Wrestling…
Yes, we have had the Austins, The Rocks and The Hogans, but none of them match the aura that the Undertaker exuded at ‘The Grandest Stage Of Them All’. He made every WrestleMania special in his own unique way, that was inaccessible to the lesser mortals of the business.
And that is why, no matter what happens during the rest of his career, The Undertaker, without a shadow of a doubt, will go down is history as the greatest of all time.
On that fateful night, Vince McMahon took a last-minute decision, that ended up breaking millions of hearts, including mine.
After that night, WrestleMania was never the same again.