There are a lot of things that wrestling fans disagree about, but one thing you won’t find them arguing about is as to who the two greatest performers in WrestleMania history are – Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. With nine WrestleMania main events between them (one being against each other) and a whopping 43 WrestleMania matches between them (two being against each other).
Between themselves, they’ve undeniably created a legacy of being immortals in the wrestling business. Without WrestleMania, there’s no doubt that Michaels and Undertaker both wouldn’t have reached the mythical, larger-than-life status that they did eventually reach. When it comes to WrestleMania records, there’s no doubt who the king is.
Not only has The Undertaker performed at the most number of WrestleMania’s (with only Triple H being close), but the streak helped cement his legacy and helped him become a top draw at WrestleMania. Every year at the grandest stage of them all, The Undertaker’s match would always be one of, if not the biggest draw on the card. As the streak grew in numbers, so did his drawing power at WrestleMania. While The Undertaker has been in great main events and all-time classic WrestleMania World title matches, the truth is that he never needed to be in one to be in a marquee match.
At one point, facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania itself felt as though it was as big as a world championship match.
When you look at Shawn Michaels’ WrestleMania record, it’s far less impressive. With 17 appearances at the PPV, he’s won just six, losing eleven of those contests. However, this hasn’t marred his reputation at the event nor has it been something that’s stopped people from calling him “Mr WrestleMania”.
Michaels’s 6-11 WrestleMania record should in no way, shape or form be an indication of his importance to the event. There are few superstars who we can confidently say helped build the event to the scale that it is today, but Shawn Michaels is most definitely one of them.
However, the argument as to who the greater WrestleMania performer boils down to this: Record on paper vs match quality. With the former, there’s no doubt that The Undertaker takes the cake. He’s been a part of several iconic matches through the years, but it should be noted that his greatest string of WrestleMania matches only happened after the turn of the 21st century. In the 90s, he did face some legends such as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Diesel, Sycho Sid, Kane, etc. but most of those matches really weren’t notable. In fact, it’s believed that WWE only realized towards the late 90s that The Undertaker hadn’t lost at WrestleMania, and soon after, the streak became one of the selling factors of The Phenom on the grandest stage of them all.
It was really from his American Badass phase where the quality of his matches at WrestleMania started to improve drastically. It was simply due to the fact that he had evolved as an in-ring competitor. This undoubtedly helped his legacy, and when he did face Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25, it truly was the culmination of two competitors who were all-time greats at their very peak.
It was not just any great match. It was a war between two men who developed the skills and evolved with it for many years. Their chemistry was unparallel and there’s no doubt as to why it’s considered one of the all-time great matches in WWE. They would run it again the following year, with Shawn Michaels losing again and retiring.
Shawn Michaels’ commitment to retirement (until Crown Jewel 2018), is certainly what has helped Shawn Michaels maintain his legacy as Mr WrestleMania. From the start, he’s had high-quality matches, and over the years in the earlier stages of his career, he would continue to improve and continue to steal the show. He’s been a part of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time and some of the biggest ones as well.
Being on the end of receiving a coronation and putting over other top stars, there’s no denying how important Michaels’ role in the grandest stage of them all has been. The fact of the matter is that The Undertaker after the streak ended, lost a bit of the character too. The aura of his was broken in many ways, and since then, it really didn’t recover as much as he’d have liked.
Moreover, The Phenom has performed the subsequent years at WrestleMania, with each passing year proving why he’s way past his prime. Even in his main event against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33, it was simply sad for fans to watch. Reigns had to do the carrying, and with The Undertaker being defeated at WrestleMania for the second time, it seemed as though he was going to retire….except he didn’t.
This only further hurt his reputation among the WWE Universe, one that’s become of a legend who’s been past his prime for far too long to continue.
With that and the fact that Shawn Michaels stole the show year after year, he was, is and always will be the real Mr WrestleMania.