wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Did The Undertaker Ever Pin Brock Lesnar?

July 5, 2024 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Undertaker Brock Lesnar WrestleMania 30 WWE Image Credit: WWE

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 . . . the last surviving weekly column on 411 Wrestling.

I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling. If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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David keeps rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ rollin’:

Brock Lesnar and Undertaker fought many times over the years, including the legendary match where Brock Lesnar broke The Streak™️. But my question is, did Undertaker ever get a 100% clean pinfall or submission victory over Brock? I can only remember one controversial Summerslam match that came off as Undertaker winning via screwjob. Did Undertaker ever get a full clean win over Brock, before or after The Streak was broken?

Yes . . . kind of.

On the episode of Smackdown that aired on August 28, 2003 (taped on August 26), the main event was a triple threat match between the Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and the Big Show to determine the number one contender to the WWE Championship. While Brock was attempting to superplex Show, Undertaker caught the Next Big Thing with the Last Ride, allowing him to pin Lesnar. It was a clean victory over Brock, though admittedly it was not a one-on-one match, as Big Show was competing as well.

Taker did pin Lesnar a second time on the October 23, 2003 Smackdown (taped October 21), this time in a handicap match in which Brock and Big Show teamed against the American Badass. This match featured the gimmick where heel authority figure Paul Heyman kept changing the stipulations for the match every time Undertaker won or came close to winning, for example announcing a no count out stipulation once Brock had been counted out of the ring. However, after Heyman declared the match no DQ, Taker clocked both of his opponents with a biker chain and pinned Brock again.

That’s not one-on-one again, and it’s not exactly a clean win, but technically it was a win within the established rules of the match.

As far as totally, unquestionably clean one-on-one matches are concerned, I was not able to find one of those, at least not as far as televised bouts are concerned.

Donny from Allentown, PA has a question about Tony and Toni, but not Tone:

It’s no secret that Tony Khan is a huge fan of Timeless Toni Storm as she has been booked as a strong AEW Women’s World Champion since last October. Do you see evidence or a scenario where Toni Storm’s current championship reign is somewhat similar to that of Roman Reigns In length and importance?

I didn’t realize that Roman Reigns once held the AEW Women’s Championship.

Seriously, though, I don’t think anybody has this kind of direct insight into Tony Khan’s long-term booking plans for this far out. You’d have to ask the man himself to get the real answer . . . and he may not even have the full answer, either. I would be amazed if, when Roman Reigns first won the WWE Title April 3, 2022, the company’s top brass said, “Okay, guys, now he’s going to hold the title for two years and drop it at Wrestlemania XL.” It’s far more likely that plan developed as the reign moved on . . . and the same could be true of AEW and Toni Storm.

Also, even though it’s theoretically possible for AEW to book a title run for Storm that matches Roman’s in terms of length, I have a hard time believing that the two champions could match each other in terms of importance. That’s because AEW books it’s Women’s Title as a midcard championship and really always has. Though that could certainly change, we have no indication that it will, and a midcard title reign in a secondary promotion will never match the importance of a reign with the top title in the world’s largest promotion.

Redmond isn’t just snapping Slim Jims anymore:

Randy Savage was a pioneer in bringing top rope maneuvers to the mainstream and the main event – were there ever any epic top rope fails from the Macho Man? Any Macho botches from the top rope?

The first thing that came to my mind upon reading this question was the May 17, 1999 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, which featured a tag team match with Randy Savage and Madusa on one side of the ring and Ric Flair and referee Charles Robinson on the other. At the time, Savage was having significant problems with his hip, and, to protect it when delivering his top rope elbow drop, he was actually landing on top of his opponents rather than taking the brunt of the impact himself, as he had done for years. (Which is really what probably caused the hip issues in the first place.)

In the match, Savage was to deliver his big elbow to Robinson, and he came down full force on him. Not being near as large as most of the men Macho had dropped hard elbows on, the referee was truly screwed up. According to Charles himself on a December 2020 episode of WWE’s After the Bell Podcast, the elbow left him with fractured vertebrae and a collapsed lung, requiring a two week hospitalization.

”Triple T” Ticking Time Bomb Taz is missing a “b” in there:

What was the plan with Mr. Perfect after Wrestlemania 10? He was the special guest ref and basically cost Lex Luger the title against Yokozuna. Was he supposed to return and feud with Luger? Was he not cleared? It would be kind of silly to have him play a major role in an angle if he was not cleared yet, however, that may have just been the case.

Yes, he was supposed to return and feud with Luger and was booked to face him on the company’s post-Wrestlemania house show tour. However, according to the April 18 and 25, 1994 editions of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, he broke his foot in an accident outside the ring and had to push back his in-ring return due to surgery. That 1994 return never occurred. Hennig gave an interview to the Wrestling Flyer, a newsletter published by Philadelphia sportscaster John Clark, around the time and said that his planned return fell apart due to money. Perfect wanted a guaranteed payment to start wrestling again, and this was at a time when Vince McMahon and the WWF still were not offering guaranteed contracts, instead opting to primarily pay wrestlers a portion of the houses for the shows that they were on.

Bryan wants to expand his horizons:

Considering Shad Khan does so much business internationally, do you think AEW will ever do a show in Saudi Arabia? I don’t know if the royal family has a brand loyalty to WWE or just likes pro wrestling in general, but he’s gotten the Jacksonville jaguars games in Europe. Do you think he would at least offer to do businesses in Saudi Arabia?

I doubt that you would see this partnership anytime in the near future. First, we would have to ask whether there is an exclusivity provision in WWE’s deal with the Saudi government, which is a question that I have been unable to answer myself up to this point. If there is, an AEW show there would be a no go.

Second, you have to look at the reason Saudi Arabia is bringing in companies like WWE and UFC to run shows there. Does it help with economic development for the country? I’m sure it does, to some extent. However, the main purpose of these business relationships is to legitimize Saudi Arabia and make them look like major players on the world stage. To put it into professional wrestling terms, the country is trying to babyface itself by showing that major American entertainment companies are interested in doing business with them.

To that end, Saudi Arabia doesn’t need AEW. It already has WWE helping it accomplish its goals in that sphere. They have the number one company in the wrestling space, and adding the number two company wouldn’t really do anything to further their goals.

Tyler from Winnipeg wants you to acknowledge the Voodoo Child:

Do you see any parallels between The Bloodline and the nWo?

In a very general sense that they are long running, dominant heel factions, sure.

However, I don’t think that there’s much comparison when you get into the particulars of the two groups. The nWo was portrayed as an invading faction that was attempting to destroy the promotion that they were actually under contract to. The Bloodline was simply about the protection of one champion, Roman Reigns. The nWo had a bloated roster of over twenty members at one time. The Bloodline maintained a much more manageable size of maybe half a dozen members at any given time. The nWo started to act as “cool heels” and undercut the babyface. The Bloodline, though they have fans that respect them, never actively sought out crowd approval and allowed faces to get over on them. The nWo story went on for far too long and ended without the babyfaces ever really getting a fully satisfying victory. The Bloodline story, though it is still ongoing, has run for a significant amount of time but has included sufficient twists, turns, and development so that it has never felt as stale as the nWo got. I do acknowledge, though, that this could still come some day.

Long story short, I think there are significant differences between the two stables.

We’ve got some Stromi weather ahead:

In June of 1985, there was a WWF taping in which Terry Funk, the British Bulldogs, and Randy Savage all debuted on the same night. That got me wondering, if you don’t count the Raw/Smackdowns after WrestleMania, what would be the program in which the most wrestler debuts occurred? I mean first-time-in-the-company debuts, not returns. We can stick to just WWF/E, if you like.

Wellll . . . here’s the thing. I’m not sure what your source is, but Funk, Savage, and the Bulldogs actually DIDN’T debut on the same show.

It is true that there was a TV taping on June 17, 1985 held in the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York that included Funk defeating Mario Mancini, Savage besting Aldo Marino, and the Bulldogs going over Barry O and Dave Barbie. I assume that is the show that Stormi is referring to. (Though it’s worth noting that the matches aired on different TV programs, with the Bulldogs and Savage being on the July 6 edition of WWF Championship Wrestling and Funk’s match airing on July 13.)

More importantly, though, the June 17, 1985 taping actually wasn’t the debut for all these wrestlers. Even if we’re only talking about televised matches, Davey Boy Smith worked on a televised WWF Maple Leaf Wrestling show on September 24, 1984 and Dynamite Kid wrestled Tiger Mask on a show aired on the MSG Network on August 30, 1982. Even if you’re limiting yourselves the the British Bulldogs as a tag team, they beat Barry O and Rene Goulet on the March 23, 1985 WWF All-Star Wrestling.

The June 17 show may have been Terry Funks’ first WWF television match, but he did wrestle four times for the then-WWWF between 1971 and 1973, all four times in Madison Square Garden. (It was not uncommon in those days for MSG cards to feature wrestlers from outside the territory as special attractions.) Though they may not have been televised, those were major cards for the company in an era in which TV wasn’t quite as important, so it still feels odd to call the 1985 match his debut.

Thus, I would say that of those three acts, only Randy Savage truly debuted for the WWF on June 17, 1985.

Let’s change gears a bit, though. Even if the basis for Stromi’s question is a bit off, we can still answer the question itself.

This one is hard to come up with a definitive answer for, because there’s not a resource that gathers this information in a way that can be quickly synthesized, and I don’t really feel up for reading the results of every WWWF/WWF/WWE card ever to track when ever wrestler they’ve ever had debuted. Thus, I’m taking a bit of an educated guess on this one.

If we are talking about wrestlers debuting at the same TV taping as opposed to on the same television broadcast – which we almost have to be given the basis for Stromi’s question – then I think the answer may very well be the first round of the 2017 Cruiserweight Classic tournament, as all the first round matches were taped on June 23 of that year.

Though you had some WWE veterans like Tajiri and Brian Kendrick in the tournament, by my count 24 of the 32 competitors were making their debuts with the company, namely:

1. Akira Tozawa, 2. Jack Gallagher, 3. Fabian Aichner (a.k.a. Giovanni Vinci), 4. Damian Slater, 5. Alejandro Saez, 6. Gran Metalik, 7. Harv Sihra (a.k.a. Samir Singh), 8. Drew Gulak, 9. Zack Sabre Jr.,
10. Noam Dar, 11. Gurv Sihra (a.k.a. Sunil Singh), 12. Ho Ho Lun, 13. Raul Mendoza (a.k.a. Cruz del Toro), 14. Anthony Bennett, 15. Tony Nese, 16. Kota Ibushi, 17. Sean Maulta, 18. Cedric Alexander,
19. Clement Petiot (a.k.a. Tristan Archer), 20. TJ Perkins, 21. Da Mack, 22. Mustafa Ali, 23. Lince Dorado, 24. Jason Lee

In retrospect, it’s impressive how many of these guys went on to sign full-time deals with the company.

Before anybody asks, yes the 2017 and 2018 Mae Young Classic tournaments followed a similar format, including taping all the first round matches on the same night, but they didn’t feature as many debuts, because those tournaments included a few outsiders but also included a higher concentration of existing WWE developmental talent.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.