Joel: I forget sometimes, when it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, just how good that Bret Hart and Stone Cold match really is. I think that the hype surrounding that match is making me remember it as a better match than it actually way. But then, when I watch it again, It blows me away every time. This match is near wrestling perfection. Everything about it just clicks into place. The double turn is something that should be close to impossible to effectively pull off, yet these two guys do it is a way that is so smooth and natural, the entire thing feels like a seamless part of the match and the storyline. This is, without a question the best WrestleMania match that we’ve seen so far in this series. Unfortunately, that match pretty much had to carry the entire rest of the card. No other match stands out in any positive way. At best we get moments like seeing Rocky Maivia and knowing that guys going to be a big star in a few years, but as far as his actual performance at WrestleMania 13, the kindest way to describe it is forgettable. The Undertaker main event was not a terrible match, but it was not a match worthy of being the Main Event of a WrestleMania, and it’s not a highlight in the Undertaker’s streak.
There is one match here that is a must watch, if you have any interest in professional wrestling at all, but don’t bother with anything surrounding that match.
Best WrestleMania so far: We’re past the point where one match can make a WrestleMania, so as good as Bret and Stone Cold are, it’s still XII.
Kue: The event itself is, at best, mediocre. What’s worth taking away from it, though, is the seeds of the Attitude Era being sewn. The likes of Rocky Maivia, Helmsley, Mankind, the Nation were all seen before their “cranked to 11” peaks in an array of forgettable matches.
Two matches stood out from the card for two very different reasons. The main event marked Taker’s premier Mania closer in a god awful match. The other defining match is, of course, Austin/Hart. The birth of anti-hero Stone Cold, the descent of the cookie cutter good guy (at least for the foreseeable future), the overall mass transition of the entire WWF product, it all originated from here. Those traits alone would be enough to have this in the top five Mania matches of all time. Added to all of that, this was an exceptional match, and arguably Austin’s career best.
Sanders: While this certainly wasn’t the beginning of anything for Stone Cold as far as getting over with the crowd but his match here against Bret Hart was a turning point skyrocketing him to the top regardless if that’s what WWE wanted or not. And I’m not one to condone the need for blood in any match, especially through blading but the whole “double turn” formula or having a wrestler passing out rather than tapping concept that has been replicated a few times since hasn’t quite hit that level of impact that this match did. That image of Stone Cold screaming with blood pouring down his face is an iconic image and it just doesn’t have the same effect if it’s Ryback or Roman Reigns. I will say this, the double turn at Payback between Del Rio and Ziggler was incredible and sure, it was to a lesser impact than Hart/Austin but it was still jarring to watch. Above all else, the biggest reason this match worked was because of the people involved. WWE can recycle the formula all they want but until that formula includes two wrestlers at the talent level of Hart and Austin or above, it’s not going to be nearly as convincing. My brain doesn’t even want to tackle Taker vs Sid.
BD: This is one of the most poorly-rated WrestleMania’s in history, and all the matches aside from Austin / Hart are the reason why. From a storyline perspective and just for historical, significance, this is a fantastic WrestleMania that took place during that totally transformative time where WCW was kicking WWE’s ass to Stanford and back. WWE had started experimenting with “shades of gray” characters that even today they struggle with, but that I’ve always thought worked very well.
Shawn Michaels had to surrender the title to injury, and then Bret won it in a Fatal 4-Way, before Austin caused him to lose it to Sid. Bret fought Sid in a rematch, but Undertaker, who was scheduled to fight Sid at WrestleMania, wanted it to be for the title, and interfered on Sid’s behalf. Repeat same scenario for Austin / Bret – so all these guys are fucking each other, and you get Bret / Austin in the semi-main, which was a good match, and Undertaker / Sid for the title in the main, which is about as good a match as it sounds like it would be.
Austin once recalled hearing how this match came about: “I was sitting at home watching RAW and they announced I was in a Submission Match against Bret Hart and that really pissed me off, not just because it was the first I’d heard about it, but also because I’m not a submission wrestler – I don’t know if you noticed, but I only have one or two offensive moves at all.”
Shawn had to come out to ringside for the main event, of course, and the ending was a complete cluster.
Tags: Bret Hart, clashy ring attire, Psycho Sid, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, undertaker, wrestlemania 13