Wrestlemania Count-Up – #13: Stop It After The Street Fight

Wrestlemania 13
Date: March 23, 1997
Location: Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois
Attendance: 18,197
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
America the Beautiful: N/A

The company was severely on the ropes at this point with WCW and the NWO running rampant in WCW. The company was still putting on everything they could think of to keep up in the ratings but at this point it just wasn’t working at all. The television shows weren’t to the levels of the Attitude Era that we remember but they were coming fast.

This show more than any other was the launching pad for the Attitude Era but I’ll get to that when the time is right. The main event for this show is the Undertaker vs. Sid for the title, despite the fact that Steve Austin won the Rumble. This one is a bit complicated but here we go. Austin was eliminated by Hart in the Rumble but came back in without the referees seeing him.

He eventually put Hart and the rest out to win the match and the title shot. That same night, Shawn won the WWF Title back from Sid but had to vacate it due to “losing his smile” (more on that later). This led to a four way match at In Your House between Taker, Vader, Austin and Hart who were the last four men in the Rumble. The next night, Bret defended against Sid, losing due to Austin interfering.

A few weeks later there was a cage rematch, before which Austin and Hart were scheduled for a submission match at Mania. Taker interfered to help Sid, hoping to get a title match at Mania. Austin interfered, hoping to get Hart the title so he would defend it in the I Quit Match. Taker got his wish and the title match with Sid who won the cage match. That all brings us here, so let’s get to it.The show is presented by Playstation. That’s never go anywhere.

The opening video is about how there is an anger growing in the company that has messed up a lot of things recently. That would ultimately be called Attitude. No real opening other than that and it’s time for our opening match.

Headbangers vs. New Blackjacks vs. Godwins vs. Doug Furnas/Phillip LaFon

This is under elimination rules and the winners get the tag champions tomorrow on Raw. Headbangers were the guys that wore skirts, the Blackjacks were Justin “Don’t call me JBL just yet” Bradshaw and Barry “I had a career once” Windham, the Godwinns you know and Furnas and LaFon were a team that were just kind of around but never did much. They were more famous in ECW and Japan. Not bad, just not great.

Two guys in the ring at once and anyone can tag anyone. We get a quick clip of the original Blackjacks and the new ones say they’re awesome. It’s a big brawl to start of course thanks to the Blackjacks. Henry Godwin and Bradshaw start us off. Bradshaw hasn’t even been able to get his vest off yet. Ah there it goes.

One of the Headbangers in now against Phineas. This is a bit of a mess so far. Now it’s time for the Headbangers to explode but instead they dance a bit. Not as good as Too Cool but they’re trying at least. LaFon comes in and after a bit of a beating for him it’s off to…I think that’s Windham. Furnas comes in and gets a rana for two.

This is going all over the place and it’s hard to get into for the most part. Some Blackjack double teaming results in a suplex for Furnas over the top to the floor. Furnas/LaFon and the Blackjacks get into a brawl on the floor and I think it’s a DQ for the Blackjacks for shoving a ref and Furnas/LaFon are counted out.

It’s down to the Godwins and the Headbangers for the #1 contender spot. This turns into a regular tag match between two teams the feuded for what felt like forever and never got anywhere at all. Henry vs. Thrasher at the moment. Vince clearly doesn’t know which Headbanger is which and it’s kind of funny. Oh and Hillbilly Jim is the manager of the Godwins.

Phineas and Thrasher spit on each other a few times as Vince implies bestiality between Phineas and a few farm animals. Lawler calls Vince out of that and Ross of course talks about food. Mosh beats on Henry a bit and gets a nice springboard clothesline to Henry on the floor. To top that Mosh pops back up onto the apron and we get a Rocket Launcher to send Thrasher onto Henry on the floor.

Jerry asks Vince about White Zombie. Apparently Vince thinks Fleetwood Mac is a new burger at McDonalds. Ok a point there for a funny line. Thrasher misses a moonsault off the top and here come Phineas and Mosh again. Phineas cleans house and there goes Thrasher. Most breaks up the Slop Drop and it’s a big brawl. Mosh gets a top rope seated senton to Phineas to end it out of nowhere. They would lose the next night.

Rating: D+. This was ok, but that’s it. Having two teams go out that fast just didn’t work at all and this might as well have been the Godwinns against the Headbangers. Not terrible, but not great at all. The tag division was a total and complete mess at this point and it didn’t get any better for a few years and then it died completely for the most part.

Brian Pillman and Sunny talk about the WWF Hotline.

Honky Tonk Man joins us on commentary as he continues to look for his protégé. JR says that he and Lawler look like cousins (they really are.) Joke for insiders there. Obviously, Honky is here for the IC Title Match.

Lou Albano and Arnold Skaaland are in the front row.

Intercontinental Title: Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan

Rocky Maivia would drop the y Maivia and add a The, becoming far more famous. Sultan is more commonly known as Rikishi and is famous in his own right. At this point, Rock is still a very nervous rookie but he won the future award or something like that the previous night at the Slammys, so the people knew he had it in him. For no apparent reason, Bob Backlund and Iron Sheik are managing Sultan here.

No one, I mean NO ONE, cares about Rocky at this point. Tony Atlas, Rocky’s dad’s former tag partner is here. Honky is looking for a perfect champion or something like that. Rocky is a nervous wreck it seems. He hammers on Sultan which gets him nowhere. Rocky can nip-up which is always cool to see. Sweet goodness how big of a push did both of these guys get in the future?

We head to the floor and Rocky clotheslines the post to give Sultan control. Honky goes into a big rant about how you can’t make mistakes when you’re the champion. That’s very funny considering who Honky is. Clothesline gets two for Sultan and we hit the nerve hold. Honky says he’d already have won the match and be in the dressing room combing his hair. He’s rather funny at this indeed.

Rocky tries to get something going but runs into a knee. Top rope headbutt by Sultan puts Rocky down even longer. One handed cover gets two. Rocky gets a sunset flip but Sultan chokes away instead. Belly to belly by the future Samoan gets two. This is painfully boring by the way. We hit the chinlock to continue the boring nature of this match.

Make that a LONG chinlock to continue the boring nature of this match. Here’s the comeback and it’s a double clothesline. Are they just not wanting this show to be interesting at all? Rocky hammers away and doesn’t do much else. A slam gets two. Rocky’s offense is painfully limited at this point. Maivia Hurricane (Spinning DDT) gets two and Rocky goes up top.

Cross body connects but there’s no referee due to the Sheik. Rocky goes back at Sultan and gets his head kicked off in a nice shot. Naturally it only gets two because an Arabian character can’t win anything in this era of course. Rocky gets one of the worst rollups I’ve ever seen to end this awful match.

Rating: D. How could a Rock match be this boring? This was completely awful and just boring beyond believe. Sultan was somehow less interesting than he would be as heel Rikishi which I didn’t think was possible. Rocky was getting there in the ring but the crowd HATED this gimmick he had so thankfully The Rock was born soon after. Anyway, awful match.

Post match the evildoers do evil and beat down Rocky until the other Rocky, Johnson in this case, comes in to save his son in a moment that is supposed to be charming I think but just extends this already bad segment.

The previous night’s Slammies are recapped.

Ken Shamrock, in this case not a wrestler yet, is the referee for the submission match later on and won’t be intimidated by either guy. He showed what he could do against Billy Gunn. He was a UFC star at the time so this was a big cross promotion thing. He had been what would become the world champion of UFC less than a year ago, so this would be like Randy Couture showing up. Big deal indeed.

HHH says he’s going to destroy Goldust. Chyna is with him and she has NO chest at all.

HHH vs. Goldust

The main point here is that HHH has Chyna who no one knows anything about. She’s supposed to be opposed by Marlena. Think about how this is going to go. HHH had been hitting on Marlena around this time and Goldust wasn’t happy. There’s your backstory. HHH’s music is just freaking sweet for a wrestling theme. When Goldust had his mind right he was a very good worker. Sadly enough that doesn’t happen often.

It’s weird to see Chyna this…manly looking. Yes somehow the more famous version of her was the girly one. Goldie goes into his crouch to start and comes out with the clothesline to get us going. Atomic drop and a clothesline to HHH sends him to the floor. Jerry makes fun of Goldie’s hair and says that Vince has a wig. Vince implies he wears a toupee which has always been a point of uncertainty.

HHH gets tied up in the ropes and it’s all Goldust to start us off here. The future Game can’t get anything going and walks into a powerslam after his tiny bit of offense. Goldust goes up but HHH makes the stop. He sets for a suplex but instead throws him over the ropes and down to the floor where his face hits the apron. Nearly a FREAKING OW MAN moment but not quite.

Helmsley starts to loosen Goldust’s jumpsuit to get better chops in. Why does Goldie’s clothing always come off at Mania? King makes fun of Chyna as HHH takes over completely here. Swinging neckbreaker gets two. Off to an abdominal stretch which was invented by someone named Wilbur Snyder apparently. This show is staying boring for a very long time and it’s not good.

We’re about 45 minutes into this and there hasn’t been a good match yet. Good thing one of the best matches of all time is coming. HHH gets a Flair knee drop for two. Small package from Goldust for two. HHH takes him right back down with a clothesline. Goldust can’t get a slam but can get a cross body for two. And now they hit heads to waste some more time.

HHH tries to go up top but Goldust gets a flying back shot to HHH to take him down. Why do I think that’s something the Ambiguously Gay Duo uses as a double team move. HHH eats buckle and Goldust hammers away. Bulldog takes HHH down. Chyna moves for the first time all match, going after Marlena. Goldust has the Curtain Call but has to save Marlena. HHH knocks into Goldust which knocks Marlena into Chyna. Pedigree FINALLY ends this.

Rating: D. This went on nearly 15 minutes. This was far too long and far too boring. We’re almost an hour into this show and there hasn’t been a single good match in sight. Terribly boring match and thankfully this was the last time they fought as HHH started feuding with Cactus soon after this.

Shawn is on AOL and isn’t very good at typing.

Tag Titles: Owen Hart/British Bulldog vs. Mankind/Vader

There’s really no backstory here. Mankind now has Paul Bearer as his manager following Bearer’s betrayal of the Undertaker at Summerslam. On the way to the ring, the champions say they’re going to keep the belts. Ross interviews them and the champions also argue over who the leader of the team really is. This is an issue because Bulldog recently beat Owen to win the first ever European Championship.

Heel vs. heel here which isn’t something you see that often, at least not for a title. Owen and Vader start us off which is good as they had a solid match on a European PPV. After getting pounded down for awhile, Hart speeds things up to start which works pretty well, even taking Vader down with a spinwheel kick. Vader finally is like boy I’m Vader and powerbombs him.

Davey breaks up the Vader Bomb and somehow that counts as a tag so it’s Bulldog vs. Mankind. Delayed vertical to Mankind and Vader comes in to break up a pin. Here’s a (non-delayed) suplex for you too Trixie. Vader pulls the rope down as Bulldog hits it, sending him out to the floor. With Bulldog hammering on Mankind Vader drills him with the Urn to take over.

Vader kills Bulldog with a corner splash and adds on a middle rope splash which somehow only gets two. Off to Foley who hammers away on Bulldog in the corner. Backdrop takes Davey down and it’s off to Vader again. I love that move Vader does where he more or less hits a standing splash to take someone down. Davey managers to slam Vader off the top and here comes Owen.

Top rope dropkick takes down Vader and a sunset flip causes Vader to fall on his back. Cross body gets two. Vader is like screw this and runs him over. Why mess with the basics? The challengers get a Demolition Decapitator to Owen on the floor to more or less end him. Hey Stu and Helen are in the front row! I wonder if the fans know they’re sitting next to perhaps the best trainer of all time.

While Mankind puts on a chinlock we look at the crowd and announce the attendance plus say that we are LIVE. Owen gets a DDT out of nowhere but runs into a knee lift to take him down. We get a Wrestling Classic reference of all things. Vader hammers away at Owen in the corner then calls a spot to him. A suplex is reversed and Owen gets a spin kick to get two.

Out to the floor again and Owen gets a belly to belly suplex on the floor to Mankind. Enziguri back in the ring takes Mankind down and it’s off to Bulldog and Vader. Vader’s mask is off and Davey cleans house. He sets for the powerslam on Mankind but he hooks in the Claw. They get knocked to the floor and Mankind gets the Claw again on the floor. Yep it’s a double countout.

Rating: D+. Nothing special at all here and the ending completely sucked. This was a disjointed mess the entire time and it went over 16 minutes. It’s not completely horrible as the talent in there brings it up (I mean dude, the Bulldog is the worst wrestler in there. That says a lot) but still, this wasn’t anything special in the slightest. A definitive ending would have been nice too.

We recap Bret vs. Austin. Ok here we go. The idea is simple: Bret is losing his place in the company and thinks everyone is out to get him. He isn’t ready to go yet and wants to stay around. After losing the title he left for six months and when he came back the company was different. He talks about how everyone has screwed him over and how he doesn’t like it that well.

There was one guy that Bret thought was the cause of this whole thing: Enter Steve Austin. Austin calls Bret out on his complaining, saying that since he got back he’s done nothing but cry about how much he hates this new WWF. Austin went after Bret and drove him insane, resulting in a huge profanity laced tirade against Vince and the company on Raw.

Bret had already beaten Austin in a classic at Survivor Series, but Austin met up with him again at the Rumble. There Bret eliminated him but Austin came back in and threw Bret out and was declared the winner. Due to Shawn losing his smile, Bret won the title at Final Four and then lost it the next night but still wanted Austin more. Bret’s hatred of this new era was manifested in the form of Austin. The buildup here is incredible to say the least and there was almost no way this wasn’t going to be a classic. The question wasn’t would it be great, but how great would it be.

Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

Ken Shamrock is guest referee due to knowing submissions. Remember that this is submission only. Nice ovation for Shamrock. Austin gets his famous entrance as actual glass shatters in front of the entrance when he walks through. The idea here is simple: Bret is a submissions master, but Austin can beat on you until you say you quit.

Austin gets in Shamrock’s face which goes nowhere. Bret definitely gets a face pop but it’s not as strong as it was before. Just to be clear: Bret is the face and Austin is the heel coming into this without question. Austin spears Bret down almost immediately and the fight is on. They slug it out and hit the floor for more punching. Austin gets sent into the post but manages to crotch Bret on the railing.

A clothesline sends Bret into the crowd. They head into the crowd and thankfully unlike ECW, there’s a camera there to get a good shot of the vast majority of the action. Bret takes over for a bit and there’s a guy with an NWO shirt on. Austin takes over and tries a Piledriver on the steps. Bret manages to backdrop him down the steps to regain control.

Back to ringside and Austin reverses Bret to send him CRASHING into the steps which go flying. He manages to knock the steps into Austin and hammers away. Hey we’re actually in the ring! Austin steps on Bret’s fingers which is a nice move. Spinning neckbreaker gets Bret out of trouble. The fans are still behind him at this point.

Vince bashes Bret saying that he’ll have an excuse for losing. Bret complained about Vince burying him in the commentary on his matches with Austin and he might have a point actually. Bret cannonballs down onto the knee of Austin and the Rattlesnake is in trouble. He works on the knee with his usual attacks but misses a second cannonball.

Austin pops up and drills Bret with a Stunner to take over. No pins though so he doesn’t have a ton to work with. Jerry says that isn’t good as it could cost him the match. Ross jumps in there and says that if someone is unconscious the referee would stop the match. That is a very important line as it establishes the procedure so they can say “we said that’s what we would do” if that came up.

Bret busts out the Heartbreaker (figure four on the post) for I think the first time on PPV and the crowd is into it. No submission of course as we’re not far enough into the match at this point. Bret grabs the bell and the fans aren’t sure about this. Scratch that as he gets the chair and tries to Pillmanize the leg. Yep the fans still love him.

Austin gets up and CRACKS Bret with the chair as he goes up to the top. Austin is all fired up now and pops Bret across the back with the chair. The fans sound afraid to cheer. Suplex puts Bret down. Middle rope elbow, a Bret move, hits for Austin. Ross gets in some GREAT jabs at WCW, talking about how this is a fight, not about covering a bald spot and various other jokes like that.

Stone Cold hits a Russian Leg Sweep (stealing the Five Moves of Doom again and busts out a Koji Clutch of all things. Never let it be said that Austin can’t wrestle when he has to. Boston Crab goes on to further work on the back. A rope is grabbed though and Austin isn’t happy at all.

Austin tries a Sharpshooter to a GREAT pop. Jerry: “Bret Hart could never submit to the Sharpshooter!” Vince: “Hey it could happen!” I wonder if Vince had some plans for Montreal already. Austin throws Bret to the floor to BIG heat. It’s very interesting to keep an eye or ear in this case on the crowd and see what they think of this match.

Out to the floor and Bret reverses Austin into the timekeeper’s table and ultimately the railing. Austin is busted open and now we get into the meat of this one. Bret hammers away on the cut to a pop but a far more mild one. Backbreaker and elbow off the middle rope from Bret and he grabs the chair. Down into the knee and Ross is morphing into JR.

Sharpshooter coming but Austin rakes the eyes to break it up. Bret hammers in the corner so Austin punts him in the balls which Vince says might have been deserved. Vince be nice. Austin wakes up and turns into the Rattlesnake, stomping the mudhole on Bret in the corner and adding a middle rope suplex for good measure. He gets the electrical cord from ringside and wraps it around Bret’s neck.

He tries to hang Bret over the top rope but Bret grabs the bell. He DRILLS Austin in the head with it to a pop from the crowd. They’re not sure what to do now. There’s the Sharpshooter and everyone rises to their feet. We get one of the most famous images in wrestling history as Austin screams in agony with the blood gushing down his head.

Austin starts to lose consciousness and JR is in his element here, shouting the entire time and it’s just great. For the first time ever, Austin breaks the Sharpshooter but Bret gets it right back on. Crowd is completely behind Austin here. He keeps fighting but eventually passes out and Shamrock stops it. Austin is DEAD but Bret isn’t done.

Bret tries to go after Austin again and the heat on him is insane. Shamrock grabs Bret and throws him off Austin. Ken is all like BRING IT ON but Bret walks away to some of the loudest booing you’ll ever here. Austin tries to get up and Shamrock leaves. Another referee tries to help Austin but he gets stunned. Austin walks to the back on his own and gets a standing ovation. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the double turn. The fans chant for Austin as he goes to the back, and the WWF has its savior.

Rating: A+. This is one of the greatest matches of all time. It’s a war from start to finish and also one of the most complex matches you’ll ever see. Bret was fighting time and the new Attitude in the form of Austin and despite the absolute best he could do, he couldn’t get his way in the end.

The fans are as big a part of this match as the guys out there, making Austin the new hero and Bret the top heel in the company in a single match. That’s hardly ever done and this is the perfection of it. Excellent match and 100% required viewing for fans, as well as the only reason to watch this show at all.

Also, some people, myself included, believe that that match was the official dawning of the Attitude Era. Truly historic.

The blood stain on the mat is kind of creepy. The announcers talk about what we just saw and how awesome it was.

The Nation talks about how they’re going to take it to the Legion of Doom and Ahmed.

Nation of Domination vs. Legion of Doom/Ahmed Johnson

This is a Chicago Street Fight and about the 19th blowoff to Ahmed vs. the Nation. The Nation has like 8 guys with them here but the official team is Farroq/Crush/Savio Vega. The Nation would have actors come out with them to make the Nation look bigger which is kind of a great idea. We hear that Mania 14 is in Boston but tickets aren’t on sale yet.

Remember this is the LOD’s hometown so they’re mad over. Ahmed even has the spikes going on. Ahmed is the original Ezekiel Jackson if you aren’t familiar with him. The LOD brings a kitchen sink with them, starting a joke that was funny a grand total of once. This is going to be a big old wild brawl.

The Nation jumps the good guys as they’re taking off their pads. Crush gets left alone in the ring and then the lackeys come in. Yeah that doesn’t work. No tags here thank goodness. The lawyer gets beaten up, prompting JR to shout that he just got debriefed! The nightstick comes into play as there is too much to call here.

Ahmed JUMPS over the railing with a tope con hilo into the crowd. Not bad for a guy that weighed about 280. Since that isn’t good enough he jumps back over it with a big shoulder block to take down Crush. Hawk swings a big board at Savio but it hits the rope and flies into the air. He catches it but misses Savio. Farrooq gets….I think that was supposed to be a piledriver on the French announce table but they fall off to the side.

The board is used on Hawk in the ring. Total insanity here. Farrooq gets shot in the face by a fire extinguisher. The guy that would become known as D’lo brings out a street sign. This is pure anarchy. Ahmed blocks a trash can shot and puts Farrooq through the French announce table. Crowd is totally behind LOD. The fire extinguisher is used again.

It’s rope time and apparently they’re going to lynch Ahmed. Animal CRACKS Farrooq with that sign. Back to the lynching, this time with Hawk getting in trouble. Crush hits Animal with a wrench of all things. Farrooq goes up with the rope in hand and gets pulled down to the floor by Hawk. Things start to slow down a lot due to exhaustion.

There goes the fire extinguisher again. Spinebuster to Farrooq by Ahmed and I think it’s Hawk firing the extinguisher at Crush. The Nation jumps into the ring and they all beat down Ahmed but the LOD pick off Crush and it’s a Doomsday Device for him. The 2×4 is used as a clothesline to take down Farrooq for the pin. Post match PG-13 takes Doomsday Devices and D’Lo takes a Pearl River Plunge.

Rating: B+. That’s probably way too high but I loved this match when I was a kid and I loved it here. It’s a total brawl from the minute the bell rang and they kept it up for about ten minutes. All kinds of weapons, all kinds of violence and Ahmed showing off the whole time. This match was fun and they did exactly what they said it would be: a fight. Fun match.

In Your House is back next month. I think that would be Revenge of the Taker which was pretty good.

Here’s Shawn to do commentary on the main event. This was kind of a big issue as he was supposed to lose the title back to Bret in the rematch here. Obviously that didn’t happen as he “injured his knee” which he’s hinted at being fake over the years. His entrance takes forever as he’s limping and high fives everyone in sight.

Sid flubs his lines and says he isn’t afraid of the Deadman. Can we PLEASE get someone to say something else when they’re fighting Taker? It can’t be that hard, truly it can’t be.

WWF World Title: Sid vs. Undertaker

This is happening due to Shawn sitting out. It was supposed to be Bret vs. Shawn but Austin was substituted in for Shawn to face Bret. I’m assuming Austin would have gotten one of these guys instead but that’s never been fully answered. It’s weird seeing no Bearer with Taker in this time period. They’re filling in time here as Taker’s entrance takes forever. Shawn and Taker’s combined have taken about six minutes. Also, when’s the last time you saw Taker come out first?

JR points out that Taker has never lost at Wrestlemania, although he doesn’t mention the Streak directly. I love Sid’s pyro. Always awesome. And here comes Bret Hart to take some spotlight up. Vince cuddles Shawn, telling him not to go after Bret in a funny bit. Bret says he and Taker aren’t friends anymore and that Sid is a fraud as champion. He yells a lot and gets powerbombed for his troubles. Sid yells at him and Taker jumps him to start us off.

This might be the least interesting Mania main event in a very long time. Big boot by Taker and he throws Sid into the corner and hammers away even more. Splash in the corner and we hear about Taker never being given the chance to lead the company which is rather true indeed. Old School hits and Shawn says neither is used to not being the bigger man. One is listed at 6’10 and one is listed at 6’9. Wouldn’t one be bigger?

Sid throws on a bearhug as I guess he needed a rest two minutes in. He hammers away as the fans are more or less silent. They’re not sure who to cheer for as Sid is almost universally popular but Taker is Taker. Sid knocks him to the floor and Taker is sent onto the French announce table. Why pick on the Spanish when you can pick on the French I guess.

Gorilla has sent in word that this is No DQ. Good to know. Sid’s offense is rather limited shall we say. Camel clutch goes on as we rest even more. Middle rope double axe handle takes down Taker. Taker whispers powerslam to Sid, Sid says “HUH” Taker whispers again. Powerslam gets two for Sid.

Sid chokes away as this is already boring. Jerry and Shawn make fun of Bret to pass the time. Big right hand in the corner by Sid. Shawn says you can’t beat Sid while he’s standing up. What incredible insight! To the floor and Taker sends him over the railing. They slug it out over the railing and Sid comes back to ringside again. Back into the ring with Taker having a slight advantage.

Yep it’s another rest hold. This one goes on for awhile as have the vast majority of them so far in this match. Taker fights up from his knees and gets a powerslam to take Sid down for two. Oh look it’s ANOTHER rest hold, in this case a nerve hold. Big boot is blocked by a clothesline by Taker for two. Double big boot spot and both guys are down. Can someone put on a test pattern to give us something interesting to watch?

Sid crawls over to get two. He gets another axe handle off the middle rope for two. A clothesline gets no cover as we’re filling in time until the ending here. Another double axe gets punched in the ribs but Sid rakes the eyes to break the momentum. Sid goes up for like the 9th time but Taker stops him for once. Taker gets a top rope clothesline of his own for two.

Neither guy will go for their finishers yet and Jerry thinks they’re afraid of a kickout. Taker slits the throat but Sid reverses into one of his own. Wow that actually worked. Naturally it only gets two because this is Wrestlemania. They slug it out on the floor and Bret Hart pops up again to hit Sid in the back with a chair. Taker rams Sid into the post and back in the ring a chokeslam gets two. Jumping clothesline is ducked and Sid sets for the powerbomb. Bret comes back AGAIN and clotheslines Sid on the top rope. Tombstone gives Taker his second world title.

Rating: D. Sweet GOODNESS this was boring. This is one of the most lackluster matches I can remember in a long time. After two very good matches, one being a classic, just before this, this is a terrible way to end the show. Who though Sid going over 21 minutes was a good idea in the slightest? Taker’s title reign, much like this match, was boring. The commentary would make you believe he never held the title before.

Taker poses with the belt to end the show. Shawn applauds for like two minutes straight. Sid was gone after this.

Overall Rating
: D. This is a show where one match was supposed to be a classic and it was. The other good match was more or less by accident and meant nothing. This was a bad time for the company but the brighter days were coming. The Border War was coming soon and it would breathe life into the company. Montreal would be the big break they needed and then Starrcade 97 completely saved them. The rest is history. If you didn’t guess, I’m trying not to talk or think about this show anymore. Terrible Mania and one of the worst ever.

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  1. Eric says:

    I’ve been hearing for years that Bret/Shawn 2 was suppposed to main event this show but I have my doubts. Why then have Austin win the rumble? Why not have Bret win it? Unless your plan is to have Bret beat Austin for the title shot, leaving Austin to build a feud with whomever in a month, I’m not sure it all makes sense. I mean it’s not like I believe Shawn’s injury was 100 percent legit but at the Rumble no one knew about it. Thus, the results of the Rumble really burn a hole in the Bret/Shawn theory.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’ve heard that theory as well but the “knee injury” stopepd it. With the Austin/Rumble win, they changed that to him not getting the title shot already so it could easily be changed again.

  2. A King says:

    One interesting thing people tend to overlook is that the fans were already turning on Bret and siding with Austin prior to this show. Look at the shows leading up to this and Austil was already getting some support while Bret’s pops were beginning to shrink. The match just pretty much completed the double turn, but it didn’t instantly happen here.