WrestleMania 30 was significant for several reasons. But for wrestling fans, it is most remembered for what occurred at the end of the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar match.
Here is how one of the most shocking moments in the modern era of wrestling unfolded behind the scenes. It’s a visual that will be etched in the minds of wrestling fans forever.
“THE STREAK… IS OVER.” – Brock Lesnar Defeats The Undertaker
WrestleMania 30 went down on April 6, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is arguably the most important pay-per-view broadcast of the modern era due to it being the first show to air on the WWE Network.
The event is widely thought of as the home of two huge moments. There’s “Yes-lemania,” where Daniel Bryan finally overcame the evil top brass trying to hold him down. But before that happened, we saw the end of the undefeated streak of Undertaker at WrestleMania at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
Here is how it all unfolded behind the scenes.
Was Brock Lesnar the Right Man to End the Undefeated Streak of The Undertaker?
It’s a moment that will be debated until the end of time. Was Brock Lesnar really the right man to end the streak?
So many came close before him. Would it have better served a younger talent rising in the ranks? Did Brock Lesnar really need the rub a victory of this magnitude brought? You can ask these questions until you’re blue in the face.
At the end of the day, it was Brock Lesnar. The Beast Incarnate became the 1 in 21-1. He ate, slept, conquered, and then most certainly hit the repeat button. Lesnar has been kicking ass and taking names ever since.
With his victory at WrestleMania 30, Brock became the final boss of WWE. The big bad.
Things Go Wrong at WrestleMania 30
"Somewhere within the first five minutes of [my match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30], I get concussed. I don’t even remember this night. My last memory I can definitively tell you happened at about 3:30 in the afternoon when my wife came backstage, and we had a conversation. That’s the last thing that I remember on my own of that day."
Brock Lesnar made his long-awaited return to the WWE, without Paul Heyman, in 2012. It was the night after WrestleMania 28.
After eight long years away, he came out and dropped John Cena, which immediately set him on a path to wrestle Cena in the main event of Extreme Rules that year.
Brock would lose his first match back, but that’s a subject for another time. Lesnar then floated into a long feud with Triple H.
Paul Heyman would return soon after, and the dynamic duo was back together.
The Triple H feud involved matches at SummerSlam 2012, WrestleMania 29, and Extreme Rules 2013.
Next up was a rivalry with Heyman’s other managerial charge, CM Punk, which led to the amazing match between Brock and Punk at SummerSlam 2013.
There was a match at Royal Rumble with The Big Show in there, too. Then it came time for Brock Lesnar and Heyman to demand a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 30.
Only, they wouldn’t get that match. They’d get an open contract for any other opponent they wanted.
That’s when The Undertaker attacked, and we were on our way. Going into WrestleMania 30, Undertaker was still scheduled to win.
That is until Vince McMahon changed his mind.
Undertaker: “Brock Lesnar didn’t need the win.”
“Obviously, in Vince’s mindset, if it’s not Brock, then who?” Undertaker began in an interview with CBS Sports in 2020. “My biggest concern was I just wanted to make sure that [McMahon] was sure, and that’s what he wanted to do.
“I didn’t feel like Brock needed it. Brock was already a huge star, and it wasn’t going to help him one way or another. My only concern was there might have been someone down the line that could have benefited from it more, and that probably would’ve been Roman later on.
"That’s with hindsight being 20/20. But if I was going to get beat by someone, Brock was a guy who had the credentials, I think, to do it, and people would be like, ‘Um, okay, s***, that’s Brock Lesnar.’ That was my biggest deal. I just wanted to make sure that’s really what [McMahon] had wanted to do."
The match itself is not much to bite into. The Undertaker gets concussed early into it and has to be carried through the rest.
It’s a rough end to over two decades worth of a winning streak. So much so, Paul Heyman tried to take what really happened and flip it for his benefit.
At an Inside the Ropes event in 2016, Heyman cut a promo where he heavily implied that Brock Lesnar went into business for himself and stole the streak, saying, "There’s only a very select people that understand what happened that night. The referee is not one of them. The music guy is not one of them."
It’s nothing more than a tall tale, so we won’t drop the entire five-minute transcription. You can listen to Heyman spin his yarn in the video below:
I know, I know. Paul Heyman is very convincing, but there’s no way that Lesnar went into business for himself and stole the win by legitimately beating up Undertaker. With the amount of gossip in wrestling, you think Heyman’s the only one who would spill? It’s nothing more than fiction, but it’s important to take note of.
It is important because the fiction clearly illustrates one thing: the legacy of Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania.
Vince McMahon Changes the Outcome of Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar Match on the Day
According to wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, Vince McMahon decided to end the streak on the day of WrestleMania 30. The reasoning? McMahon thought Undertaker’s career was coming to a close.
“Vince McMahon was going on the assumption that this was Undertaker’s last hurrah, and he could either win or lose,” Meltzer revealed. “McMahon chose the idea that it was better to lose on your way out. One person close to the situation said McMahon talked Undertaker into doing it.”
Meltzer continued, “Another, who would also know, described it as McMahon making the call and Undertaker agreeing and that he wasn’t talked into doing something he didn’t want to do. It was not his original call, but he was in on it and never protested the call.”
In the time that has since passed, it is rumored that Lesnar wasn’t actually a fan of the idea of breaking the streak. He wanted to lose to Undertaker and was legitimately unhappy to see The Deadman have to go to the hospital due to the severe concussion caused minutes into their match.
During an interview with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on his podcast on the WWE Network, Austin asked Vince McMahon about the decision. McMahon asserted Undertaker wanted to give back and Lesnar made the most sense on the roster as the best person to break the streak.
“Nobody wants to give back to the business more than the Undertaker, more than Mark Callaway,” McMahon began. “He knew it was important to give back to the business. He knew there comes a time when it’s time to do that. So why not then [at WrestleMania 30]?”
McMahon continued, “When you consider, looking down the line when you look at the talent roster, who else could Undertaker possibly work with and at that time, give back in the biggest possible way he could to help them be the biggest possible star?
“When you look down the roster, who else was it going to be? No one on the roster, potentially. And the following year, year after that – it was timing. The one person whose time was there at that moment who Mark thought, ‘Okay, this is it’ — it was Brock. I made the decision," McMahon affirmed.
The Legacy of Undertaker’s Undefeated Streak at WrestleMania
“I think Undertaker and WrestleMania go hand in hand. It’s unfortunate that he picked up a loss a few years back. I think that was wrong, and I think everyone would agree with me for the most part, with the exception of maybe Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. I don’t believe that that loss tarnished his career. I just hate that his streak was tarnished.”
The Undertaker’s streak had been active as long as a lot of the audience had been alive. Even longer for plenty of them. It’s not often fully appreciated how long twenty-three years is (Undertaker’s first WrestleMania win was over Jimmy Snuka at WrestleMania 7 in 1991, and he would lose to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 in 2014).
The streak went long enough that most of the audience forgot how bad Taker’s early streak matches were. Matches with King Kong Bundy when he was way past his prime, Giant Gonzalez when he was Giant Gonzalez (that says enough), and even up until WrestleMania 15 with Big Boss Man in the Hell in a Cell and that ridiculous hanging finish they had worked up all come to mind.
On the topic of Undertaker’s match with Big Boss Man at WrestleMania 15, Senior Vice President of WWE Bruce Prichard admitted, “It was terrible. It just was absolutely terrible. The payoff to the whole thing was to hang a man in the Hell in a Cell.
“For people that have seen it, it’s a visual that will be etched in your mind forever. At the end of the match, Taker goes over, and now let’s hang Boss Man to the Heavens. It was a debacle in every sense of the word.”
There was a lot of rough stuff in the early years of the streak. Truth be told, it wasn’t until WrestleMania 25 with Shawn Michaels that “The Streak” became this mythological source of greatness at the Showcase of the Immortals.
Don’t get me wrong, not all of them were disasters. Batista, Randy Orton, and Ric Flair all had solid matches with Undertaker at WrestleMania, all of which helped build the streak up. By the time the twenty-fifth installment came, there was a lot put into the idea of beating the streak, and Shawn was a very credible threat.
“I look back at things, and I can be really critical of myself,” Shawn once said in a reflective moment. “There aren’t many times I’ve come out of the ring when I haven’t felt like, Oh, you know, I could have done something better, I could have changed this or changed that. But that match [with Undertaker at WrestleMania 25], that’s one that I don’t know I can say that with.”
Shawn Michaels wound up losing at 25 but also permanently changed the psychology around having a match with The Undertaker at ‘Mania.
After falling to The Undertaker, Shawn became obsessed with the idea of ending the streak. So much so, he puts his career on the line the next year, just to get another shot.
HBK only fought so hard through that year’s rumble with the intention of getting another try at The Dead Man, who was World Heavyweight Champion.
The idea of ending the undefeated streak became as important as main eventing, and exactly that happened at WrestleMania 26.
The two matches between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker elevated Taker’s streak into the benchmark.
Triple H and Taker had two more classics at 27 and 28. Then CM Punk took his turn at WrestleMania 29.
By the time WrestleMania 30 rolled around, Undertaker’s matches at WrestleMania had become the stuff of legend.
A lot of the fanbase hoped he would ride into the sunset with that legend intact.
Instead, Brock Lesnar conquered and laid it to rest in New Orleans.
These stories may also interest you:
- The Superstar Meant To Break Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak
- The Time Brock Lesnar Nearly Plunged WrestleMania 19 into Tragedy
- Brock Lesnar and Shinsuke Nakamura – Their Bitter Real-Life Battle
- Shawn Michaels and Undertaker | The Real Story Behind Their Feud