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Wrestlemania 13

"You screwed me, everybody screwed me, and no one's doing a goddamn thing about it!  No one in the building cares, no one in the dressing room cares, so much goddamn injustice around here...everybody in that goddamn dressing room knows that I'm the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be!  If you don't like it, tough shit!" - Bret Hart, Raw (a week before WM13, uncensored during the live broadcast)

"Every week you talked about how Vince screwed you, how Shawn screwed you, how I screwed you...let me tell you son, I ain't bringin' a condom to the ring, just a big ol' can of whoop-ass!" - Steve Austin (pre-match, WM13)

Following last year's Wrestlemania, Bret Hart took some time off while Shawn Micheals carried the company as the champion.  But when Hart eventually returned (after endless tauting by Stone Cold Steve Austin) things had changed.  Fans were starting to get behind Austin, even though he was one of the most dispicable heels in recent memory.  Hart, once the biggest fan favorite in the WWF, started to receive jeers from the jaded crowds, sick of typical babyface heroes.  It was speculated that this year's main event would be a rematch from last year, with Hart winning the title back from Micheals.  But suddenly Micheals came out and vacated the title, stating he had a "knee injury" and that he'd "lost his smile."  Of course there was speculation that Micheals was faking and didn't want to lose to Bret, continuing their little saga.  So Psycho Sid was given the title and put into a feud with The Undertaker, while Bret & Austin continued their war. 

At this point the Monday Night Wars were in full swing, and the nWo angle was running rampant through WCW, leading to their monster two-year dominance over the WWF.  Vince & the boys were in serious trouble here, but leave it to Vince to come up with a trick or two up his sleave...

Wrestlemania 13 (March 23, 1997)

We're live from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, IL.  Our hosts are Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross.  Whoa, they finally let JR do a damn Wrestlemania again.  This would actually be the last WM where Vince did commentary now that I think about it.  This was also the first WM since 2 not to use roman numerals for some reason.

Match 1: Fatal 4-Way Tag: The Headbangers vs The New Blackjacks vs The Godwins vs Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon

This is under elimination rules, kind of like the fatal four-ways that took place at my ex-girlfriend's house.  They put all the jobber tag teams in this one, probably to give them all a quick paycheck.  The Blackjacks (Barry Windham & Bradshaw) are DQ's and Furnas & Lafon are counted out like a minute into the match, leaving the 'Bangers and the Hillbillies.  That's what I always hated about these 4-Way matches...they always had to have half the match get eliminated right away for no reason...what was the damn point of having them in there, then?  Anyway, the Headbangers win after a cannonball onto one of the idiot Godwins.  Feh.

Match 2: IC Championship:  Rocky Maivia vs The Sultan

Hey, remember when Rocky sucked?  Here you go.  He was just a rookie here, and they had him run with the IC title until people REALLY got sick of him.  And that's what turned him heel and he went on to become...well, you know.  The Sultan was Fatu of the Headshrinkers, in gimmick #38 of his career, before he became Rikishi (who would've thought a fat guy in a thong dancing and rubbing his ass in people's faces would be the BEST character he ever had?) Rocky wins with some generic move, then he gets jumped by the Iron Shiek & Bob Backlund (Sultan's cornermen) until Rocky's daddy Rocky Johnson makes the save.  That never ended up going anywhere.

Match 3: Goldust vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley

This was after Goldy's face turn, when he went from homosexual sleaze bag to a guy that was just "playing mind games."  Alright, then.  Looks like Triple H has Lou Ferrigno with him...oh wait, that's Chyna.  Anyway, this match blows.  Triple H wins with the pedigree after like 15 damn minutes of nothing. 

Match 4: Tag Team Championship:  Owen Hart & The British Bulldog vs Vader & Mankind

I loved Owen & Bulldog as champs, Owen was such a snivelling jackass, always subtly making fun of the Bulldog and bragging about his Slammy Awards (that he didn't actually win) and naming himself the "captain" of the team.  This was also after the Bulldog beat Owen to become the coveted European Champion, and the seeds were planted that they were on the verge of breaking up.  They threw Vader and Mankind together for the hell of it, since both were managed by Paul Bearer.  Mankind puts the claw on the Bulldog outside the ring and they both get counted out.  Pretty good match.

Match 5: Submission Match: Bret Hart vs Steve Austin

It's been awhile since we've had one of the most important matches in the history of wrestling (Hogan/Andre WMIII) but here we go.  Ken Shamrock is our special guest referee, before he became a wrestler for the next few years.  Like I wrote above, during the buildup for this one Bret became more and more paranoid and whiny, constantly yelling about being screwed out of the title whenever he had a shot (which was actually true, making it even better.)  The fans were getting sick of the whole routine, and started rallying behind Austin, who constantly talked trash and robbed Bret of the title whenever he could get away with it.  And besides the awsome back story, this match might be the greatest match in WM history as well.  These two just go ALL OUT and literally beat each other up.  The crowd is rabid for the whole thing, especially when Austin's on top.  Austin is split wide open and bleeds a gusher during the match, and Bret ends up taking control with the sharpshooter.  The sight of a screaming Austin with blood POURING out of his head while trying to escape the hold is one of the most memorable sights in wrestling history.  He eventually passes out from the pain and blood loss and Bret wins, which should've been a return of the great hero good guy.  But wait...he decides to attack Austin afterwards for some payback for all the previous attacks, and the fans tear him apart.  Shamrock pulls Bret off by THROWING him across the ring, and when challenged by Shamrock, Bret instead walks off to massive boos.  Austin is helped by another official and as he stuggles to get up, he nails him with the stunner to massive cheers and chants of "Austin!" 

This match made the show, no question about it.  The gradual buildup and execution of the Hart/Austin double-turn was the greatest angle in wrestling history, in my opinion.  It led to the Hart Foundation vs Austin angle that carried the WWF throughout the summer (including the awesome stretch where the Harts were cheered heavily whenever they went to Canada) and then led to Hart & Micheals and the screwjob, etc.  So it can be traced to this point where the WWF started to get competitive again with WCW (even though it took them another year before they started winning the ratings war again.)

Match 6: Chicago Street Fight: Ahmed Johson & Legion of Doom vs Nation of Domination

Another heated match here, as Faarooq & co. have been kicking Ahmed's ass for half the damn year, so he finally got help in the form of the returning LOD.  And this match kicks ass too, but it's mostly people getting hit with weapons for 15 minutes.  But it's still cool.  Fire extinguishers, chairs, night sticks, 2x4's, wrenches, street signs...you name it, they get used.  Ahmed gets the pin on Crush after a 2x4 shot.

Main Event: WWF Championship:  Psycho Sid vs The Undertaker

The now smiling and walking Shawn Micheals is here for guest commentary.  But wait, here's Bret again.  To drive home the point that Bret's now a jerk, he calls HBK a "phony little faker" and tells him to take his "pussy-foot injury get the hell out of here."  He then calls Sid a "fraud" claiming that the belt is his.  Sid then powerbombs him and says "now, get your whiny ass outta here!" to the delight of the crowd.  Undertaker and Sid have a decent match, with 'Taker getting the pin following yet MORE interference from Bret.  Shawn: "Damn, isn't he getting tired of getting beat up?"  Undertaker gets his Wrestlemania moment with the title.

Match of the night:  Bret/Austin of course

Mark-out moment of the night:  Hearing the fans chant "Austin! Austin!" as he left the ring

Summary:  Well, the show as a whole sucked, with only the Bret/Austin match and the Chicago Street Fight being good.  But since Bret/Austin was so legendary and influential it made the show that much better.  Can't beat that I guess.


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