By the time Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak in 2014, it had become almost as big as the man himself.
Since 1991, ‘Taker had been retiring legends, Tombstoning World Champions, and making WWE Hall of Famers rest in peace. Many believed that The Deadman would never be beaten at WrestleMania, while others thought an upcoming coming star would take out the legend on their rise to superstardom.
In the end, neither of these things happened and Brock Lesnar shockingly defeated the star in one of the most remarkable WWE moments of all time. However, Lesnar wasn’t the first man pitched to end ‘The Streak.’ Over the years numerous names were in the frame, with one even turning it down.
Speaking in a new interview with Ariel Helwani for BT Sport, The Undertaker revealed the two names who came the closest to ending his WrestleMania run. The Hall of Famer said that Vladimir Kozlov was once a favourite of Vince McMahon, while Edge said no to being the man to pin the veteran.
“By the time we got to WrestleMania, we pretty much knew what was going to go down, but there were a few people I guess that he wanted to break the streak. (Vladimir) Kozlov, he wanted him. It was early on, and I think he wanted Edge to go over and Edge refused. He said, ‘No. I can’t do it.’ That’s how much he respected the streak and me and what that streak meant to the business. I didn’t know that at that time. I didn’t know that until years after. That says a lot about the human being he is.”
When asked whether Lesnar should have also said no, The Undertaker said he was against the finish before being talked around by McMahon. He added that The Beast “didn’t need” the win, and the moment might have been better utlised by being given to Roman Reigns who was on the rise during this period.
“It’s hard to say. I don’t think Brock needed it. I think Brock was a major attraction, he was a star, and he was made. I don’t know that it enhanced him anymore. I think it would have been great for Roman if Brock hadn’t already done it. It would have been a huge thing for Roman. I don’t know that it meant the same to Brock as it would have meant to Roman or anybody else who would have done it because Brock had already been there. Brock had already gone off to UFC. He already had all these major accomplishments. I think it could have helped somebody else.
When I got there that day, I was still going over. It’s in the early afternoon. I remember sitting in the dressing room and came in, and as soon as he came in, I knew what it was. He changed the finish. I gave him my spiel and what I thought. It wasn’t no for the sake of not wanting to do the job. It was ‘no’ in the sense that I didn’t feel like Brock needed it.
Vince’s counter was, ‘If not Brock, then who beats you?’ Vince can sell ice to an Eskimo. I brought up as many points as I thought, like, looking long term down the road. Vince, his deal too is, who down the road? At that point, I’m year to year. I don’t know when I’m going to pull the trigger and say enough’s enough, so I think he wanted to make sure he got that. I don’t think he ever envisioned that character riding off into the sunset with a perfect record.
I don’t know when I’m going to call it a day, but if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it for somebody, like I said, it would be very impactful for that person’s career. Selfishly, I mean that would have been great to walk off being undefeated, but that’s just not how the business goes.
There’s a lot of people through the years that laid down for me to help me build the mystique of my character and do that, so it’s only natural and only right to pay it forward. The business itself is bigger than the one character. Brock was worthy of it. He was a huge draw at this point, but I don’t think that it helped him the way it would have helped, say Roman at the time.”
The Undertaker Argued With Vince McMahon
During the interview, The Undertaker also lifted the lid on an argument he had with Vince McMahon the day before the Executive Chairman “retired” in July 2022.
H/t to WrestlingNews.Co