WWF WrestleMania 13
March 23, 1997
The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: Psycho Sid (2/17/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia (2/13/1997)
European Champion: Davey Boy Smith (3/3/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/1996)
INTRO VIDEO: No one is smiling this year – specifically not Shawn Michaels.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.
- The New Blackjacks vs. The Godwinns (w/Hillbilly Jim) vs. The Headbangers vs. Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon – Four Corners Match
Winner gets a tag titles shot the next night on Raw. And here come the Godwinns! This is certainly not the strongest way to start off a WrestleMania. Poor Phil LaFon and Doug Furnas get ZERO reaction from the crowd. Vince takes a look back to August 1975 when the original Blackjacks (Mulligan and Lanza) were the tag team champions. WILL HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF TOMORROW NIGHT? Apparently they are favored to win since they are the only team that gets any interview time. Big eight man brawl to start until everyone finds a corner to stand in except Bradshaw and Henry Godwinn. To push the rules, Henry tags in Thrasher. He eats a boot and takes a pumphandle slam from Bradshaw. Tag to Phineas, who then gets walloped by Bradshaw. He backdrops Thrasher and tags in Mosh? Lawler pokes holes in the logic of this match where even tag team partners can be tagged in to face each other. Vince plays it off like the cruel carny that he is. The Headbangers do a little dance, but however fail to make a little love. LaFon gets tagged and receives a flapjack. From there, LaFon proceeds to make everyone else in this match look terrible by comparison with his VINTAGE kicks and suplexes. Furnas tags in and HURRACANRANAS Windham! That gets two. He tries another and Windham catches him for a slam. Back to Bradshaw, he brings Furnas over the top rope for a suplex in a nasty looking bump. This ends up becoming a two-team brawl as Furnas and Windham join in the fight. Bradshaw shoves a ref, but apparently both teams are either counted out or DQ’ed at 4:47. That leaves the Headbangers against the Godwinns. Back in the ring, Henry slams Phineas onto Thrasher for two. The Godwinns stay on Thrasher for a good while. After all that, all it takes is an eye rake to allow Mosh to receive a tag. Henry and Mosh take a clothesline bump to the floor. Back in, Mosh necksnaps Henry and delivers the springboard clothesline to Henry on the apron. With Henry on the floor, Thrasher heads up top for the Rocket Launcher! Awesome. Back inside, that gets two. Thrasher tries a Moonsault and completely misses. HOT TAG TO PHINEAS! He calls for the SLOP DROP on Mosh, but Thrasher saves with a clothesline. The match breaks down and during the chaos, Thrasher hits Phineas with the Whoopie Cushion for the 1-2-3. (10:40) Don’t ask me because I don’t know what he calls that move. Sadly, this was the best choice for the opener. Tomorrow night on Raw, the Headbangers gets the winners of tonight’s tag team championship match. **
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan (w/Bob Backlund & Iron Sheik)
The Honky Tonk Man does his thing before joining our commentary threesome at the table. Three’s a crowd, but these four together are just incredibly ridiculous. Hall of Famers Arnold Skaaland Capt. Lou Albano, and Tony Atlas are shown sitting in the front row. How many 1980s has-beens who are still trying to hang onto some former glory can we show for this match? Wow, and I call myself a WCW fan. Where did THAT reaction come from? Anyways, the Sultan is one of the shorter lived gimmicks of the man we know best as Rikishi. He wears a Hannibal Lecter mask and Iron Sheik boots. Rocky layeth the Smackethdown early on Sultan, but then misses a clothesline up against the ringpost. Sultan grabs a nerve hold and then delivers a Flying Headbutt. However, there’s only a super delayed cover that gets two. Time to hit the chinlock. There’s loads of “Rocky sucks” and “boring” chants although this match. Rocky fights out into a double-KO. He reaches over and with an arm on Sultan gets a nearfall. Here comes the Rocky Johnson/Peter Maivia comeback. Belly to belly suplex by Rocky gets two. Now the Hurricane DDT sets up the FLYING BODYPRESS, but Iron Sheik has the ref’s attention. Rocky looks to get rid of Sheik, but then turns around into a Thrust Kick. Cover, 1-2-NO! Piledriver gets two. Sultan goes for a slam, but Rock slips out and a schoolboy gets the win. (9:47) What’s with the fluke win? Afterwards, Backlund and Sheik join Sultan in a three-man beatdown until Rocky Johnson shows up for the save. Well, not exactly. As they beat the heck out of Rocky Johnson, that fires up Rocky Maivia as he clears the heels out of the ring. He and his daddy take turns slamming the Iron Sheik and then embrace in a seemingly forced sympathetic moment. Knowing now how much Rock’s character would change, it’s so weird seeing him showing any kind of affection towards another human being. *
In the back, Todd Pettingell interviews Ken Shamrock backstage. Shamrock says what he has said all along – he will not be intimidated by either Bret Hart or Steve Austin.
We see a quick recap of the Slammy Awards that aired the previous Friday night. Sable wears one of the skimpiest bikinis I’ve ever seen and cleans up with a bunch of awards. Owen steals another award. Bret and Shawn share an awkward moment winning the ‘match of the year’ award. Did I mention how Sable left little to the imagination at this award show? Todd Pettingell is looking all kinds of embarrassed and must be thinking – BUT WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS, VINCE? WHY DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT THE KIDS ANYMORE? GEEZ.
- Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
This feud was already boring me back in January, but now HHH has brought Chyna into the mix and things just got real. So what if you couldn’t get Marlena, did you have to give up on women all together? Goldust squats down to start. He’s just staring at Helmsley. Then he pops up and clotheslines him down. He beats the heck out of HHH in and out of the ring, smashes his head on the top of the ringpost, and snaps off a quick powerslam. HHH tries to deliver a superplex, but ends up dumping Goldust face down to the apron below. Back inside, Hunter stomps a mudhole and walks it dry. A couple hard whips into the corner leads to a swinging neckbreaker for two. HHH cheats with an ab stretch Mike Rotunda style, but the ref kicks his arm and that allows Goldust to hiptoss him over. Nevertheless, HHH hits the High Knee for two. Helmsley does the Arn Anderson spot where he tries to hold the knuckles down on the mat. He tries to splash, but hits knees – just like Arn Anderson. Even so, a suplex sets up the knee drop for two. Goldust calls for the crowd to fire him up, but HHH cuts him off with a DDT. Backslide by Goldust gets two. He tries a slam, but he collapses as HHH falls on top for two. Crossbody gets two for Goldust. And now a double-KO. Helmsley comes off the top, but Goldust jumps back and gives HHH a flying butthole. Goldust mounts a comeback and hits the Bulldog for 1-2-NO! If this were 1992, it would be ALL over. Chyna starts to make her way over to Marlena. Meanwhile in the ring, both guys trade finisher attempts. Goldust catapults out of the PEDIGREE and when he sets up for the CURTAIN CALL, he spots Chyna getting up in Marlena’s face. He heads over and lifts Marlena up onto the apron. Here comes HHH with the High Knee to knock Goldust into Marlena who falls off the apron and into the arms of Chyna. She swings her around just like a rag doll, says JR. Back in the ring, HHH delivers the PEDIGREE for the win. (14:29) More interesting than they had at the Royal Rumble, but still not all that fun to watch. Since HHH got the win and Chyna left Marlena laying, they head out leaving Goldust to carry the remains of his beautiful wife. My gosh she was hot. Nevertheless, there’s a NEW leading male-female duo in town and it’s now HHH and Chyna. *½
- WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. Vader & Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)
JR meets Owen and Bulldog in the aisle to stir the pot, but they won’t have any of it tonight. Owen plays right into Vader’s plan to start as he gets cornered. He fights back with a Spinning Heel Kick, but then fails with a crossbody block. Owen tries a rana like a retard and falls victim to a POWERBOMB. Instead of going for the pin, Vader wants a VADERBOMB. Davey Boy walks over and puts a stop to that. Mankind comes into save his partner, but the tag champs prevail. DBS gives a Stalling Suplex to Mankind, then Vader just to show off. Mankind escapes a chinlock while Vader pulls down the top rope to let Bulldog tumble to the floor. Mankind attacks with the urn, but Bulldog prevents the urn smash with a drop toe hold. Vader makes sure the urn leaves a mark on Davey Boy’s cranium though. Back in, Vader delivers a nice suplex for two. More of the corner mugging from Vader. Second-rope splash gets two. Tag to Mankind, he hits the running knee in the corner. Vader tries something off the second rope and gets slammed in mid-air. You knew it was coming. HOT TAG TO OWEN! Missile Dropkick to Vader and we see the kip up! Flying crossbody gets two, but then Vader runs him down. To the floor, Vader and Mankind deliver the Demolition Decapitation. More ringside violence occurs right in front of Stu and Helen Hart. Back inside, Owen slips out of a reverse neckbreaker and hits a DDT. Nevertheless, a splash off the ropes hits knees. They collide in the corner and then Owen catches Mankind with a Spinning Heel Kick for two. Vader grizzly bears Owen some more in the corner. Here comes Owen with a receipt as he nails Vader with another Spinning Heel Kick. Back over to Mankind, he dumps out Owen and runs around ringside, but Owen catches him for a Belly to Belly Suplex on the floor. Back in, an Enziguri knocks Mankind silly long enough for Owen to make a tag to DBS. He goes clothesline crazy and delivers a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! Off comes the Vader mask! Davey Boy goes for the RUNNING POWERSLAM on Mankind, but he slips out into the MANDIBLE CLAW. Owen comes into the match to save the Bulldog, but Vader stops him with a Body Attack that knocks Owen into Mankind and DBS, which sends them tumbling through the ropes. Since Mankind will not let up on the claw, that costs himself and Vader the tag team titles as both teams lose by countout. (15:51) I’ve heard Vader and Mankind were supposed to get the belts here, but Vince was talked into having them retain as they were building up to the reformation of the Hart Foundation. Match was okay, but it’s just two heel teams and who do you root for there? **
- Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Submission Match (Special Referee: Ken Shamrock)
Oh, I’ve been waiting to review this match for a long time. Just think – if Shawn had not lost his smile, this match might have never happened. It might have taken Steve Austin another year before he got his big break on this type of stage (granted, it’s one of the lower attended and lowest buy-rate for a WM to date) to finally become the *man* in all of wrestling. Right out of the gate, this match turns into a fight that spills into the crowd for a couple minutes. It’s intense and feels real just like you knew it would. Back to ringside, Bret takes a nasty spill into the steps. Five minutes in, they meet back in the ring. Bret catches Austin with a swinging neckbreaker to stun him long enough to keep Austin on his back as he goes for the legs. You KNOW exactly why: the Sharpshooter. Austin stops him temporarily with a STONE COLD STUNNER and the crowd explodes. However, Austin can’t capitalize as Bret kicks him in the leg to knock him down to debut the Ringpost Figure-Four. Bret finds the ring bell, but then decides on a steel chair instead. He looks to PILLMANIZE the leg as he heads up top, but Austin recovers and decks Bret with the chair. Austin delivers one sick chairshot to the back and starts whipping Bret from corner to corner to continue weakening the back. Suplex sets up the Vertical Flying Elbow as the crowd is just going nuts. Austin gives Bret a Russian legsweep into the KOJI CLUTCH. SAY WHAAAAAT? When Bret starts to wiggle out, Austin changes over to a Boston crab. Bret makes the ropes, so Austin goes for the SHARPSHOOTER! Bret rakes the eyes to put a stop to it. He fires back, but Austin dumps him to the floor. Bret reverses a whip on the floor that sends Austin over the timekeeper’s table and cuts his forehead open as he eats the guardrail. Austin starts to bleed everywhere as Bret smashes his face off everything around ringside. Back inside, Bret delivers the backbreaker and the Vertical Elbow Drop before grabbing the chair and working over Austin’s knee. Austin blocks the Sharpshooter and kicks Bret in the nuts. He comes back and stomps a mudhole in Bret. Austin hits a superplex and grabs an extension cord from ringside. He tries to hang Bret on the apron, but Bret knocks Austin away with the ring bell he grabbed earlier. Time for the SHARPSHOOTER! Austin writhes in pain as we get some great looks with the blood running down his face. Finally, Austin MANS UP and breaks the SHARPSHOOTER for what JR and Vince call the first time that had ever happened. However, Bret sits back down on the hold as Austin passes out from the pain. Ken Shamrock calls the match and raises Bret’s arm as the winner. (22:05) Boy, that match is intense. By itself, you probably think that it’s a great match and you would be right in thinking so. There would be nothing wrong with just leaving it at that. But then I think this match goes a little deeper than being just a great match. I can’t think of one single match (not even Hogan-Andre) that had more impact on the world of wrestling than this one. This match was a changing of the guard if I ever saw one and Austin didn’t even beat Bret, which proves how little wins and losses matter in wrestling when its booked correctly. When you were watching Austin fighting the chance to give up when he clearly could have, you weren’t watching Bret anymore or even paying him any attention. Like you might have six months earlier, you didn’t want to see Bret make Austin submit anymore. You wanted to see Austin prevail by escaping this hold and winning this match. Think of how many matches over the years people had cheered Bret Hart to overcome odds and how many matches over the years people had booed Steve Austin to get his tail beaten by someone. In just a short time, Bret goes from the classic hero to being the complete opposite in many people’s eyes and vice versa. Just history-making booking that comes sometimes only once in a generation. *****
After the match, Bret takes a couple more kicks at Austin’s knee and Ken Shamrock has to interject himself and throws Bret away to trigger a stand off. The crowd goes insane. Bret punks out and walks away before anything else can happen. An actual ref comes down to help Austin and takes a STONE COLD STUNNER for his troubles. That’ll teach you to do your job. A bloody Stone Cold Steve Austin limps back to the locker room on his own power with the entire building chanting his name.
- The Legion of Doom & Ahmed Johnson vs. Faarooq, Crush & Savio Vega (w/the NOD)
The Nation of Domination bring out most of the toys used for this match, so Hawk brings with him the kitchen sink. Now I’ve seen EVERYTHING! Ahmed is wearing the shoulder pads too. He looks pretty awesome with them on too. LOD and Ahmed clean house with press slams to start. That’s how it should always be done. It’s just a crazy ECW hardcore-style match using trash cans and 2x4s. Animal and Faarooq screw up a piledriver on the French announce team table spot. Ugh, this really is ECW. Just so the table goes to waste, Ahmed slams Faarooq through the table. Somebody shoots off a fire extinguisher. Inside the ring, Savio Vega tries to hang Ahmed with a noose rope. LOD tries to save as Ahmed and Savio end up in the front row, but then Hawk gets caught with the rope around his neck. Faarooq climbs to the top turnbuckle with the rope in his hand, which means he gets pulled down to the floor. Faarooq gets the rope put around his neck, but PG-13 and Crush make sure Faarooq doesn’t get choked out. Hawk shoos PG-13 away with the fire extinguisher. Meanwhile, Ahmed hits the Spinebuster and calls for the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE. The Nation of Domination and D’Lo Brown (who is called “that guy” by JR) starts pummeling on Ahmed. Oh wait, Crush takes the DOOMSDAY DEVICE. While Hawk and Ahmed hold up a 2×4, Animal whips Crush into the 2×4 for the win. (10:46) Afterwards, D’Lo takes the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE. Then Ahmed and Animal hold up PG-13 for the DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Awesome. A mess of a match though that’s probably more fun if you were there to see it live, kind of like most every ECW match in my opinion. *½
Shawn Michaels makes his WrestleMania appearance and joins us for commentary. He sure embraces a lot of fans with the Kliq hand sign, which was then used as the Wolfpac sign. After Undertaker and Sid make their entrances and go nose-to-nose, Bret Hart emerges and grabs a mic. He tells Shawn to take his little pussy foot injury and go find his smile. Whatever he does, just don’t interfere in this match. Since Undertaker slammed the cage door on him the previous week on Raw to cost Bret the WWF title in the cage match with Sid, they are no longer friends. As for Sid, everybody knows that the WWF championship belongs to Bret because Sid’s a fraud and simply because Bret is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Bret says that everybody in the WORLD knows it, almost as if he’s trying to convince himself. Sid has enough of Bret and POWERBOMBS him to get rid of him.
- WWF World Champion Psycho Sid vs. The Undertaker – No DQ Match
Okay, time for the main event. Undertaker is wearing the same gear he wore against Jimmy Snuka in his first WrestleMania match back in 1991. UT controls early and hits Old School. He tries what appears to be a Stinger Splash and gets caught in a bearhug for a few minutes. He finally escapes, but takes a Big Boot and a clothesline that sends him to the floor. He grabs Sid by his boots, but gets kicked back across the Spanish announce table. There’s some guardrail stuff and then Sid slams UT on the table to turn it over. Sid runs Taker into the ringpost and covers him inside for 1-2-NO! Sid works on a camel clutch and then delivers a flying double sledge to keep UT down. Powerslam gets two. Legdrop scores another nearfall. Taker fights back with a Flying Lariat and now we’re back on the floor for a little brawling here and there. UT slams Sid’s face off the steps as they head back inside. Jumping elbow drop misses and Sid grabs a chinlock. UT fights out and powerslams Slam before grabbing a nerve hold. Sid punches out, but goes down to a clothesline. Cover gets two. They wind up catching each other with a Big Boot. Sid covers for two. He catches UT with a few moves off the second-rope. Taker nails him in the gut on the third attempt. A FOURTH try and UT slams him down. Flying Lariat by UT gets 1-2-NO! Taker calls for the TOMBSTONE, but Sid reverses into one of his own. Cover, 1-2-NO! To the floor we go again, Bret comes by and takes Sid out with a couple chair shots. Back in, UT delivers a Chokeslam for 1-2-NO! As Taker misses a Jumping Lariat, Sid goes for the POWERBOMB. But wait, Bret breaks loose from the refs and agents and he’s interfering again. Sid lets go of UT and gets a hold of Bret. He beats Bret on the apron, but then Bret neck snaps him on the top rope back into the arms of the Undertaker for the TOMBSTONE! Cover, 1-2-3! (21:22) So Undertaker wins his second WWF title. While I do believe Sid takes half of the honor for worst WrestleMania main event ever, it’s not for this match. It’s the other one – you know, with the Hulkster, that ends on a DQ, because of Harvey FN Wippleman. I actually like Bret’s constant interference. It just makes sense because of the way his character developed. However the match itself where Sid and Taker are trying to wrestle, it isn’t worth your while unless you’re a huge Undertaker fan and a mark for his WrestleMania win streak. *½
Final Thoughts: If not for Bret-Austin, this would be the WORST WrestleMania from top to bottom. In this day and age, you can watch that match on another much-heralded WWE DVD release: the Bret Hart DVD, so that pretty much makes this show obsolete since that DVD set is such a must-have for any fan. Even so, factoring that match into the show, I would give it a thumbs in the middle because you must see that match and I think big-time wrestling fans will appreciate its context. But if you already have that match on a DVD, I’ll easily go with a thumbs down. Just don’t bother with WrestleMania 13.
Posted on June 25, 2011, in WWE and tagged Ahmed Johnson, Barry Windham, Big Van Vader, Bob Backlund, Bradshaw, Bret Hart, Chyna, Crush, D'Lo Brown, Davey Boy Smith, Doug Furnas, Faarooq, Godwinns, Goldust, Headbanger Mosh, Headbanger Thrasher, Headbangers, Henry O. Godwinn, Hillbilly Jim, Honky Tonk Man, Iron Sheik, JC Ice, Ken Shamrock, Legion of Doom, Mankind, Marlena, Nation of Domination, Owen Hart, Paul Bearer, PG-13, Phil LaFon, Phineas I. Godwinn, Psycho Sid, Road Warrior Animal, Road Warrior Hawk, Rocky Johnson, Savio Vega, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Blackjacks, The Rock, The Sultan, Triple H, Undertaker, Wolfie D, WrestleMania. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.