Date: 23rd March, 1997
Venue: Rosemont Horizon
City: Rosemont, Illinois
The opening contest of the card was a four-way elimination tag team match which I thought was a little strange because it was to determine the number one contenders for the WWF tag team Championship. It was contested between The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The New Blackjacks (Blackjack Windham and Bradshaw) vs. The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas with Hillbilly Jim) vs. Doug Furnas & Philip Lafond. The Headbangers came away with the win but the reason I'd found it strange was because it was a number one contenders' match. The Headbangers would then get a title shot on the following RAW. Wouldn't it have made more sense to have the no#1 contenders match on the RAW before Mania, and then have the title match on the grand stage? I'm just saying.
The future, 'People's Champion' Rocky Maivia successfully defended his Intercontinental championship against The Sultan, who was accompanied by the Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund. I actually had no clue on who was under that Sultan mask as we were watching this. Anuj had a look around on the net and found that it was someone I knew, that had wrestled for the WWE but no longer did. It was only until a close-up on the face of the Sultan while he had a rest-hold on Rocky that I was able to get a better look, and figure out who was under that mask. When he hit a shuffle superkick there was no doubt in my mind.
Who knew that a few more years down the line The Sultan would end up running over 'Stunning' Steve Austin. Running him over for The Rock. Or so he said at the time. I will never forget that whole angle, which ended up with a 6-Man Armageddon Hell in a Cell match for Kurt Angle's WWF Championship. I was 11 years old at the time and I remember Undertaker chokeslamming Rikishi off the top of the Hell in a Cell right down to the truck below like it was yesterday. Anyway! Back to WrestleMania 13, after the match ended Rocky Maivia got jumped by the Iron Sheikh and Bob Backlund, but was saved by his daddy, Rocky Johnson. Nice father and son moment right there.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley would have a slightly longer match this year at WrestleMania than he did the previous year at WrestleMania XII. His opponent this time was the bizarre one, Goldust accompanied by Marlena. I enjoyed this match between these two superstars, minus Chyna's face that was there in Helmsley's corner. The memory that sticks out from this match was the finish. Marlena was brought up onto the apron by Goldust who tries to keep her away from Chyna, Helmsley ends up hitting the high knee in the back of Goldust, which causes him to push Marlena off the apron into the arms of Chyna. Can anyone tell me why Chyna looks so undesirably hideous during this point in her career? She doesn't even look like a woman. It's almost it was like a different person compared to the mamacita that would accompany Eddie Guerrero down to the ring. Anyway, Marlena is caught in the arms of Chyna, who viciously squeezing and snapping her left to right while Marlena flails around helplessly. For some reason I found this hard to watch. They must have sold it really well, because I was feeling some heat towards Chyna!
The WWF tag team champions Owen Hart and The British Bulldog fought Vader and Mankind to a double count out after Mankind refused to let up the mandible claw on British Bulldog on the outside. I believe that this was the only match of the night where there was a wardrobe malfunction: The leather strap mask of Vader had come off.
Now during this next match I have to admit that I committed a cardinal sin and I had a pretty heavy meal before this next match, and the heating was up so it was warm, and the sun (from the light bulb) was in my eyes and I dozed off a little during the submission match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret 'HitMan' Hart with Ken Shamrock as the special guest referee. I guess it was really bad timing since this match was placed at #1 on IGN's list of Top 20 matches in WrestleMania history and described as a match that "launched an era." I woke up and regained consciousness just as Stone Cold was fading away, bloody faced and tied up in the sharpshooter. The ironies of life. The good news is that Anuj was watching the whole thing and provides us with the following account:
'In a match that can only be described as "awesome", two legends gave it their all in what would be one of the most gruelling matches in WrestleMania history. The crowd was absolutely crazy for this match as Austin and Hart squared off in a gruelling 20 minute No Disqualification Submission match.Both men tore each other apart, in the ring and out for the entirety of the match, neither one showing any signs of defeat. Nearing the end of the match was when Austin had began to bleed profusely after being thrown face-first into the guardrail, however not even the sight of his own blood would cause Austin to give up and as JR would say, "Austin is one tough S.O.B!"
Not long after Austin was bust open, was he put in the Hitman's signature Sharpshooter. Austin's face now more red than ever as blood poured down his face. The crowd was going crazy as Austin remained locked in the Sharpshooter, but it was all over once he passed out, declaring the winner of this bout The Hitman.'
Both Anuj and I agreed that the best part of that match was Austin's resilience at the end where he was in that sharpshooter and refused to give up. Anuj had told me that there was something a little extra special about this match, and it seemed to him almost like, nothing like this had ever been done before. But what does he know? This was still 10 months before he was born. I think he's on the right track though, this match is iconic! Having said that, does anyone remember the World Heavyweight Championship match between Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio earlier this year when Del Rio went in as the face, and Ziggler went in as the heel champion? It was at WWE Payback. Dolph Ziggler (who had suffered a legit concussion prior to this match) was getting his head pounded in by Del Rio. As this match went on you could feel the crowd favoring Ziggler and his resilience to not stop, and got behind him. At the same time you could see that Del Rio's viciousness was costing him the adoration of the fans. Now correct me if I'm wrong but, the things this match had in common with that of Austin/Hart at WrestleMania 13 was Austin and Ziggler's resilience, as well as the double turn. Going in a heel, and coming out a face - in the case of Dolph Ziggler and Stone Cold. The opposite for Hart and Del Rio, as they went in as babyfaces and came out heels. Complete win-win situations that happen so organically through the responses evoked from the audience. Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin will always be down in the books as a masterpiece in my opinion!
Chicago Street Fight. Shouldn't this have been called the Rosemont Street Fight? Either way it was an entertaining brawl which featured the Nation of Domination against The Legion of Doom and Ahmed Johnson. The weapon of choice in this match had to be the fire extinguisher, at one point Hawk just went absolutely nuts with it. The Legion of Doom & Ahmed would pick up the win and Animal would hit a double doomsday device on members of the NOD.
Main event time, and Pyscho Sid would be defending the WWF title against the phenom, The Undertaker. Two titans in the ring, one of which who really knows how to break a leg in that squared circle. Shawn Michaels would join the commentary team and Bret Hart would make an appearance at the very start of the bout. Hart would grab a microphone and tell Shawn Michaels how he felt about Michaels 'pussyfooting' around his injury, telling the Undertaker that their friendship was over and, would bad mouth Sid and say that he should be champion because he was the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Sid hits the powerbomb on Hart and the match was underway. This wouldn't be the last time we would see Hart's involvement in this bout. These two would have a colossus match going on for about 20 minutes, a true battle between two of the WWF's giants. It appeared that Sid had Undertaker right where he wanted him, about to lift him up for his powerbomb when Hart re-appeared at the ring apron. A distracted Sid goes over to Hart and punches him once, and then falls victim to a hotshot, which stuns Sid momentarily and turns him around to the Undertaker. Tombstone piledriver! The Undertaker was crowned the new World Wrestling Federation champion. Sid Vicious became victim number 6 in the infamous streak. Shawn Michaels would continue the search for his smile.
WrestleMania Moment: Steve Austin's refusal to tap out to the sharpshooter, blood pouring down his face.
Move of the Night: Double Doomsday Device from Hawk, Animal and Ahmed Johnson to the Nation of Domination.
Match of the Night: Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Submission Match.
If you watched WrestleMania 13, let us know what you thought and fill us in on your favorite moments! Join the blog next weekend as we take a look back at WrestleMania XIV from 1998 as a part of the 'WrestleMania CountDown'! You can also tweet to us from anywhere!Whether you're in the United Kingdom, United States, Sri Lanka, India, Germany, Australia, Spain, the Maldives or even the Philippines, send us a shout via our Twitter: @RoadToWM30
Thanks for taking the time to read,
There's plenty more to come /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (09/12/13) 02:15