Career records at WrestleMania usually don’t matter that much. Shawn Michaels lost nearly twice as many matches as he’s won at the event despite being nicknamed “Mr. WrestleMania.” Triple H has lost more WrestleMania matches than anyone, but is still the embodiment of success in the WWE. For The Undertaker, however, it’s an understatement to say that his record at the biggest show of the year is pretty important. For over two decades, The Deadman’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania grew into one of the greatest traditions in all of wrestling. When Brock Lesnar broke the streak at WrestleMania XXX with a clean win, the New Orleans Superdome went silent and millions around the world were stunned at having just witnessed the most shocking moment in wrestling history.
The world had to get used to The Undertaker’s WrestleMania record going from 21-0 to 21-1, and six years later The Phenom has continued to compete at nearly every event since. His first match after the streak ended was a victory over Bray Wyatt, improving his record to 22-1. The next year he defeated Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match at AT&T Stadium, making him 23-1. In the main event at WrestleMania 33, he lost for only the second time to Roman Reigns and teased heading into retirement with a record of 23-2. But the next year, John Cena got him out of retirement so the Deadman could squash him and up his record to 24-2. Surprisingly, Undertaker did not appear at WrestleMania 35, but a year later he made up for his absence with one of the most unique matches in history against AJ Styles. Styles and Undertaker battled in a campy and fun Boneyard match, with the American Badass burying his opponent alive and boosting his WrestleMania record to 25-2. Or did he?
On the latest episode of RAW, The Undertaker’s most recent WrestleMania opponent AJ Styles made his triumphant return to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match. In wrestling lingo, trying to recover from being buried by one’s booking is one thing, but recovering from being literally buried alive is another thing entirely. Despite the humiliation of how he lost the Boneyard match, Styles was still his same cocky self as before WrestleMania. He did his best to downplay his loss saying that he didn’t really lose, he was just buried.
Even though he couldn’t take out Undertaker despite assistance from the O.C. and unnamed minions, Style’s pointed out that there are no rules in a Boneyard Match. It was Styles himself who challenged The Deadman to a Boneyard Match, meaning that he likely knew in advance that he could fall back on that loophole if things didn’t go well. There was no referee, ring announcer, bell, or wrestling ring at the Boneyard, elements that are seen in 99% of WWE’s matches. So, is The Undertaker technically still 24-2 at WrestleMania, or does a Boneyard Match not really “count” as an official match?
Despite being more of a fight than a match, there’s no question that The Undertaker won the battle. The WWE made it plenty clear who won when Styles was buried alive, had his own engraved tombstone unveiled, Undertaker’s pyro went off and his logo being lit up in the background, and Styles’ hand was left sticking out of the dirt as the Undertaker rode away on his motorcycle. The Phenomenal One’s insistence that he didn’t lose this match makes him comes off as an arrogant heel who won’t admit that he lost to someone with a legitimate claim to the victory.
Considering that there’s likely not going to be a rematch between Styles and The Undertaker, it makes perfect sense that the WWE will do its best to rebuild The Phenomenal One as fast as possible. Having him in the Men’s Money in the Bank match will help him, as will his attempts at downplaying the most embarrassing loss of his career.
WrestleMania 36 will go down in history as the most unique, but least epic event of it’s kind. It makes the original WrestleMania show in Madison Square Garden look like a modern stadium spectacle. However, the WWE still took advantage of the circumstances by creating the cinematic fight between Undertaker and Styles. Their battle was an entertaining conclusion to the first night of the show and created great interest for the following night. It was probably the most intriguing Undertaker moment since the end of his streak, and if that turns out to be The Phenom’s final “match,” it’s a pretty good one to go out on. Whether one wants to argue that his “official” WrestleMania record is 24-2 or 25-2, his WrestleMania win total is a record no one else will ever come close to matching.
Although it looked like The Undertaker was the victor of Boneyard match, his opponent believes the ending wasn't so clear-cut.