By: Connor Lenahan
I’ll be the first to admit I am a gigantic nerd. I am obsessed with many different things that could be considered embarrassing for a 19-year-old to spend considerable amounts of time thinking about. It’s just part of how I live. I tend to have things stick with me for a while. That’s my Irish heritage for sure.
Last night was Wrestlemania XXX. Between 2004 and 2008, I was overwhelmingly obsessed with professional wrestling. This makes sense when you realize I was 10-14 at the time. I began caring about Wrestlemania and wrestling as a whole during 2004’s Wrestlemania XX. It made me feel old when it dawned on me last night that a full decade had passed from my glory days spent watching the gladiators of the squared circle with frightening intensity.
Again: I’m a nerd.
Wrestlemania XX featured one of my personal favorite wrestlers, The Undertaker, winning his twelfth consecutive match at the “Super Bowl of Wrestling.” It wasn’t until a year later that I remember “The Streak” becoming a narrative. After picking off Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Batista, and Edge the next four years, heading to sixteen consecutive wins, did it become apparent that Taker wasn’t losing at Wrestlemania. I realize this is all scripted, but there’s a certain magic to Undertaker that removed all the skepticism from my brain. I quit being logical on purpose. I was emotionally invested in the streak at this point.
My obsessive fandom of wrestling came to it’s natural end with the match between Shawn Michaels and Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXV. I watched this match live. This is not an exaggeration: this match ranks as one of the greatest sporting moments in my life. I had an entire suspension of disbelief. I didn’t know what would happen. I loved every second of this. I’ve never been closer to my brothers Chase and Cary than when we all watched this match together. It helped that more people than just me have referred to this match as the greatest in wrestling history. I must have subconsciously realized I wasn’t topping this match. That, and high school happened.
After that match, I was not really interested in wrestling. Save for the summer of 2011 where CM Punk took a wrecking ball to the fourth wall and made my brain explode.
Save for the two months of that storyline, I was finished with the WWE. The only time I even looked for a result was to confirm the inevitable. I still followed “The Streak.” I still was emotionally invested. I still am. That’s why I’m writing today.
No one, read, no one, thought “The Streak” would ever end. Taker would win as many as he wanted in a row until his brain or his body decided that it was time to go. I knew this was the plan. So did every other wrestling fan I know. Then Wrestlemania XXX happened.
Last night Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar. Yes, Brock Lesnar. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. Enormous (literally and figuratively) goofball Brock Lesnar.
What. The. Hell.
I wasn’t watching the event live. I didn’t need to. I would just look up the result the morning after to find that 22-0 was a reality. My twitter keyed me into the change to that plan. I saw “Taker” and “Lost” in the same tweet and panicked. This couldn’t be real.
It’s real. People were stunned.
I still am stunned. My friends Alex Mehan, Pat Allen, Jack Malafronte, Brandon DeLeva, and I all watched the match in our common room off of Alex’s computer this afternoon. We agreed that it was a universally sad moment. Odds are you grew up with a boy who was a wrestling fan once upon a time. We all were. No need to deny it. To see this staple of our childhood destroyed, and by Lesnar of all people, was a swift shot to the feels. As Pat put it, “it’s like watching your Dad getting beaten up.”
This wasn’t supposed to happen. I don’t care that technically there was a script that called for this to happen, therefore meaning this was supposed to happen; this is not acceptable. Undertaker doesn’t lose at Wrestlemania. You have infuriated my inner 14-year-old. You have some serious hell to pay as dictated by my recent AIM and MySpace conversations.
In all seriousness, this is a genuinely weird moment. I can remember the last time wrestling provoked actual emotions from me (2011) and I wasn’t anticipating to have them return. Yet here we are. This is a weird day. Nothing seems right. Hopefully this is a nightmare.
Again: I’m a huge nerd.
And I’m proud.
Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is a freshman at Boston University, majoring in journalism. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org