December 16, 2007
Undertaker 15-0 lacks celebratory feel to WrestleMania undefeated streak
By RICHARD KAMCHEN - SLAM! Wrestling
It was a long time in coming, but the WWE has finally released the compendium of perhaps the most significant individual achievement on the world's biggest wrestling stage -- the Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania.
The main shortcoming, though, is that the WWE doesn't really make much of a big deal out of it.
Appropriately titled Undertaker 15-0, the approximately three-hour single DVD reveals 'Taker's various incarnations, starting as an unbeatable monster heel to babyface, "American Bad Ass" biker, and a return to his popular "Dead Man" gimmick.
The Undertaker's ‘Mania debut comes in 1991 at WrestleMania 7, in what is essentially a squash match against Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. The looks of wide-eyed wonder on many of the faces in the crowd as ‘Taker makes his slow entrance to the ring reveals the freshness of his gimmick, (first debuted at 1990's Survivor Series), as the fans don't seem to know what to make of this apparent giant zombie.
By WrestleMania 8 against Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Undertaker has gone from creepy ghoul to fan favourite. Even during subsequent heels turns in the years to come, ‘Taker's supporters don't seem to significantly diminish.
One wonders that if in an effort to keep things interesting, the WWE begins pitting Undertaker against opponents far greater in size than ever before, as he takes on a series of super heavyweights like Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Sycho Sid, Kane (twice), Mark Henry, and Batista. ‘Taker even faces A-Train and Big Show alone in a handicap match at WrestleMania 19.
Perhaps most striking is the Undertaker's endurance as a top big man performer, best demonstrated by his amazing suicide dive against Batista at WrestleMania 23. His dominance as a main-eventer is also not lost on the viewer, as he wins two heavyweight crowns at the WWE's headline show -- versus Sid and then Batista at the thirteenth and twenty-third instalments of WrestleMania, respectively.
Given the importance attached to the streak, one should be able to forgive the WWE for releasing a DVD that contains matches previously released on the last ‘Taker collection -- Tombstone: The History of the Undertaker, -- namely his WrestleMania 12, 14, 17, and 20 performances.
Less acceptable is the fact Undertaker's matches from six WrestleMania's -- 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 21 -- aren't shown in their entirety.
Another bizarre drawback is the DVD case's false promise of interviews from "many" of the Undertaker's opponents, for there isn't even one to be found.
The fact the unbeaten streak is a big enough deal to warrant a DVD suggests the WWE could have done more to hype the achievement. But for whatever reason, no extras whatsoever have been included. There isn't even a pull out inside the case to read (at least not in mine), which further gives the package a rather slapped together feel to it.
U.S. buyers also might have felt aggravation over the WWE's decision to only allow Wal-Mart to sell this disc.
Undertaker fans, though, should still get a kick out of the DVD as this amazing streak has finally been compiled for easy viewing.
Winnipeg correspondent Richard Kamchen can be e-mailed at email@example.com.