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By Ciaran-James @TheCiaranJames
Wrestlemania 13, March 23rd 1997
Steve Austin Vs Bret Hart – Wrestlemania 13, 1997
This match is one of the greatest and arguably the greatest Wrestlemania match in history, for over twenty minutes we witnessed maybe the most important match in WWE history. In July of 1996 the US wrestling scene was turned on its head as WCW looked to become the dominant company, helped significantly by the cheque book of Ted Turner the Atlanta based group looked to crush Vince McMahon. Over the next two years WWE looked at various ways to hold back the flood, their product was becoming stale and old hat. In late 1996 Bret Hart returned looking to take back his place, however while away Steve Austin emerged from the ashes of his Ringmaster gimmick as was making strides as a singles star. Although Stone Cold was a heel he appealed to the common working man who took shit from their bosses just to earn a few dollars, in the mid 1990’s this gimmick took off. In the meantime Hart took offence to Stone Cold’s characteristics and became disillusioned with the WWE product, Bret found himself at odds with the new direction Austin was leading the company towards. Bret had never been better, his promo work benefitted as he tore into the young, brash, beer swilling Stone Cold.
Their differences would be settled in a No Disqualification Submission match at Wrestlemania 13, refereed by former UFC competitor Ken Shamrock the contest had a big fight feel. As expected the two super-workers excelled, from wrestling to brawling to submission style they fed of each other as the contest wore on. Back and forth they both went trying to gain an advantage as Shamrock attempted to keep the violence in check, after brawling through the audience they returned to the ring. The claret then flowed as Bret caught Austin with the Timekeeper’s Bell, the blood was everywhere as the seriousness of the match became apparent. Stone Cold retaliated with numerous chairs shots to keep Hart at bay, they momentarily stopped the onslaught but then Bret targeted the knees of Austin. As the blood covered the face of Stone Cold, Hart applied the Sharpshooter but Austin would not submit, as this was happening the audience started to urge on Steve Austin who was writhing in pain on the canvas. Shamrock it seemed wanted Steve to give up but he instead passed out from the blood loss and physical anguish he was in, Hart however did not let up, driven by vengeance he would not let go of the hold.
The live audience turned on Bret as a chorus of boos rang out, Shamrock then physically pulled Bret off Austin, Hart rejected by former fans walked away disgraced. As Stone Cold finally recovered he refused the help of the referees, he wanted to stand on his own two feet and walk out of Chicago a proud man. Stone Cold left the arena to the sound of cheers, it then occurred unbeknownst and not originally intended that an infamous “Double Turn” had taken place. After entering the contest as opposites the roles had reversed, by the time Austin had awoken from unconsciousness he was WWE’s biggest weapon against the incoming tide from WCW. This match is a must see for the moment a wrestling legend was born and for arguably the greatest match in Wrestlemania history.
WrestleMania 13, March 23rd, 1997 – Full Results
Rosemont Horizon (Rosemont, IL)
Full WrestleMania results
No. 1 Contenders Tag Team Fatal Four Way Elimination Match
The Headbangers def. The Godwinns w/ Hillbilly Jim, The New Blackjacks and Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon
Rocky Maivia def. The Sultan w/ Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik to retain
Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/ Chyna def. Goldust w/ Marlena
World Tag Team Championship
Owen Hart & British Bulldog vs. Mankind & Vader w/ Paul Bearer went to a double count-out
Bret “Hit Man” Hart def. Stone Cold (Ken Shamrock was special guest referee)
Chicago Street Fight
Ahmed Johnson & Legion of Doom def. Nation of Domination
WWE Championship Main Event
The Undertaker def. Sycho Sid to become new champion