Last night wasn't just the premiere of Game of Thrones/another Sunday where you stop to consider that you will have to go to work until you're 70 years old. It was also one of the most insane nights in the history of WrestleMania, a.k.a wrestling's Super Bowl.
If you were looking at Twitter between 9 and 10 p.m. ET last night (which you were), you noticed that all of a sudden a lot of dudes on your timeline were shouting at the same time about something, almost as if someone had died. What actually happened was that The Undertaker—a WWE/WWF legend—lost a match to Brock Lesnar. So, why exactly was that a big deal?
For one, The Undertaker hadn't been defeated at WrestleMania ever. He had won 21 straight matches at the event, a fact that was promoted by WWE like it was an actual feat of human achievement (after each Undertaker victory at WrestleMania, his record would flash on the Jumbotron). But The Undertaker is almost 50 years old now, and so he wrestles infrequently, with the specter of a career-changing loss hanging over every match.
Still, the expectation was that, regardless of how close he came to losing, The Undertaker would end up prevailing, not unlike an action hero, over Lesnar, an ex-UFC champion finding his footing at WWE as a classic heel. That belief did not waver, even as the match was drawn out by Lesnar kicking out of a pin move.
But soon after that, once the men had finished crawling around the ring, Lesnar hoisted the 7-foot-tall Undertaker onto his shoulders in preparation of delivering his signature move the "F-5" (for the third time that night), in which he basically throws his opponent onto his face. After tossing The Undertaker, who flopped onto his back, Lesnar slithered on top of him for the pin. Yet, even still, every single person in the Superdome in New Orleans expected The Undertaker to triumphantly kick out and rightfully win his 22nd WrestleMania match against one of WWE's most hated wrestlers.
"Every single person" is not an exaggeration, and it explains the sheer hilarity of those images you probably saw last night of wrestling fans reacting to the end of the match like The Undertaker's leg had shattered completely in half.
This was an arena full of adults finally losing their innocence. The internet immediately became a place of mourning. #ThankYouTaker trended on Twitter for all of last night and the better part of this morning. Reddit's WWE subreddit was flooded with people attempting to "make sense" of The Undertaker finally losing. Current and ex-wrestlers were equally as stunned. This woman literally posed on top of a grave.
— Paris Kennedy (@pariskennedy) April 7, 2014
Almost immediately, several conspiracy theories were offered up as explanations, the most popular being that The Undertaker was the victim of a "screwjob," a reference to a 1997 match in which champion Bret Hart was told he would defeat challenger Shawn Michaels, only for WWF brass to plot behind his back for him to lose. But it appears that The Undertaker took a willing loss in the most dramatic way possible.
It was an honorable decision by The Undertaker—who could have bitterly refused to be defeated at wrestling's most high profile event—and a canny move by WWE, who overtook Game of Thrones as Sunday night's most talked about event. Still, if you're considering "getting into" wrestling, remember that something this exciting could only be as such because it can't ever happen again.