Adventures in Gambling: Yes, People Lost Money Betting on the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30
All good things must come to an end.
For some people, "good things ending" means the end of the Undertaker's remarkable 21 match winning streak at wrestling's annual "showcase of the immortals," Wrestlemania, which actually occurred on Sunday night as Brock Lesnar shockingly ended the "Dead Man's" string of dominance with a pinball win in New Orleans' Superdome.
For others, "good things ending" means the end of their bank accounts having a positive balance because they wagered on the Undertaker.
Yes, you read that correctly -- wagering on the Undertaker in a scripted wrestling match. That happened, and has happened for the last few years.
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTSA Roadrunners Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 6:00pm
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 22, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UCF Knights Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 11:00am
Further proof that you can wager on almost anything, overseas wagering websites have been taking action on big wrestling cards for the last few years. In the age of the Internet, Reddit, Twitter, and every other possible avenue for information leaks, not surprisingly, the results of the matches get leaked by some mole to the betting public, and while the books still take action on the matches, the odds are so ridiculously skewed that they become as much de facto spoiler as they are an actual mechanism by which to win (or, in Sunday's case, lose) money.
Which brings us to the Undertaker-Lesnar match.
For over two decades now, the Undertaker has dominated Wrestlemania. I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, WWE realized that the Undertaker had never lost a Wrestlemania match and the streak -- oh wait, sorry, The Streak (proper noun status) -- was born.
It gave WWE one more thing to market every year at Wrestlemania, and the privilege of losing to the Undertaker at the year's biggest event became a badge of honor in the business. It also gave bettors one seemingly sure thing to wager on, if you could stomach having, say, three grand sitting out there for an evening to wait on a $100 payoff.
Those would normally be the odds, too, something crazy like -3000. In fact, according to Pro Wrestling Torch, this year the odds got as high as -6000 (with Lesnar coming back at around a +5000 underdog, or in English, you could risk $100 to win $5000).
But then something weird happened on the day of the event. Undertaker's odds dipped all the way to -2000, with Lesnar improving to +1000, a massive shift that would indicate someone knew something earth shaking (at least, on wrestling's earth) was afoot.
And as it turned out, it was.
Lesnar pinned the Undertaker, which silenced the room in the bar where I was watching the event, sucked every bit of air out of the live crowd in the Superdome, and began the clock ticking on this guy's 15 minutes of fame:
— Joel Gan (@imjoelyourenot) April 7, 2014
It also emptied several bettors bank accounts, including one bettor who became a prominent Twitter punching bag for the evening:
Some guy lost £35,000 betting The Undertaker to beat Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Surely not pic.twitter.com/qAgGqH6EA8
— j (@jamesm) April 7, 2014
For a variety of reasons, the betting community probably thought they were bulletproof on the Undertaker wager. For one, all indicators from insiders were that Taker was "going over" (wrestling speak for "winning"). Secondly, if Taker were going to lose at Wrestlemania, it would (SHOULD) be to a younger star that is looking for one more nudge up the Hall of Fame ladder (like C.M. Punk last year), not a guy who wrestles a handful of times a year like Lesnar. Third, um, how do I say this....HE'D NEVER LOST AT WRESTLEMANIA BEFORE!!!
Sometimes, the rationale is that simple, and on Sunday, that deadly.
All good things must come to an end. However, one of those things will NOT be the thirst of bettors to wager on the inane, like scripted matches. Just after Wrestlemania was over, the odds for whether or not Undertaker would wrestle again next year were posted:
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) April 7, 2014
And on and on we go.....
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.