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WRESTLEMANIA RETRO LOOKS BACK AT TWENTY-SIX YEARS OF WRESTLEMANIA HISTORY

By PWInsider.com Staff on 2011-04-03 09:13:00

WRESTLEMANIA XII

March 31, 1996
Location: Anaheim, CA
Arena: The Arrowhead Pond
Announced Attendance: 18, 853

RESULTS

*Vader & Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith managed by Jim Cornette defeated Yokozuna & Jake Roberts & Ahmed Johnson when Vader pinned Roberts after a powerbomb. This would be the Wrestlemania debut for the former WCW World champion and the final Mania appearance for Yokozuna, who's babyface run never took off.

*Roddy Piper fought Goldust in a "Hollywood Backlot Brawl." They go back and forth with the fight, leading to Goldust peeling off in a car with Piper following in a white bronco. Piper would chase Goldust across LA in a cute usage of news footage from the OJ Simpson police chase. When they finally got the Arena, it ended with Piper beating Goldust down and stripping him of his clothes (cue Rocky Horror Show outfit), as well as planting a kiss on his lips. Piper was the winner by default in what would be his final Wrestlemania match appearance.

*Steve Austin defeated Savio Vega with a cobra clutch. A very good back and forth match that served as Austin's Wrestlemania debut, but doubly served as the background to the Piper-Goldust car chase using the OJ footage.

*The returning Ultimate Warrior pinned Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Warrior just destroys Triple H, kicking out of the Pedigree, and hits a gorilla press, drops the future McMahon family member and splashes him for the pin. Rena Mero was Helmsley's valet (at the time he had a bevy of beautiful women walking him to the ring.) Helmsley would end up in a backstage confrontation with the debuting Wildman Marc Mero (Imagine that) to set up a feud. Warrior would be gone within 6 months from the company, never to return. Helmsley would...what did ever become of Helmsley, anyway?

*The Undertaker pinned Diesel with a chokeslam and tombstone in Kevin Nash's final Wrestlemania match.

*Shawn Michaels pinned Bret Hart with a superkick in overtime of a 60 minute Iron Man Match. Michaels did the famous zip line entrance from the top of the Arena here. Highlights of the bout saw Shawn take a sick backwards bump over the ringpost to the floor, nearly killing a cameraman along the way. Timekeeper Mark Eaton was superkicked "accidentally" by Michaels when Hart moved out of the way. The finish saw Hart have Shawn in the Sharpshooter but time ran out. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon announced

Celebrities: None. Zilch. Nada.

Notes: Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler handled commentary....During the countdown show of the PPV, there was a sketch where "The Huckster" fought "The Nacho Man" with McMahon and Lawler handling Mystery Science Theatre 3000-esque commentary to make fun of WCW....The Bodydonnas, Skip and Zip defeated The Godwins to win the WWF Tag Team championships during the PPV preview as well....The marketing of the main event featured Michaels training under Jose Lothario while Bret returned to the dungeon. They teased it would be hard hitting wrestling vs. almost a Lucha Libre style....Razor Ramon was the original opponent for Goldust, but was suspended due failing a drug test. Ramon would serve out the suspension, then head for WCW with Nash....Wrestlemania weekend events including a Slammy Awards at the Anaheim Marriot. The black-tie presentation aired on the USA Network. As a rib on Kevin Nash, he was seated next to the WWF's Ted Turner parody Billionare Ted. Afraid to offend his new bosses, Nash refused and walked away....This event was the first Wrestlemania where the company began issuing main event plaques featuring signed photos of the victor and a piece of the actual ring mat from the show.

Roddy Piper on his Streetfight with Goldust: "I had a good friendly chuckle out of the match. You see, this Cadillac was coming at me, I would guess at a good 31 miles an hour. I was supposed to move. I looked at it and for some reason, I decided not too. The chuckle I got was when Dave Meltzer said in his scripture that he was 99% sure that it was a stuntman." Slam! Wrestling chat, November 2000)

Mike Johnson: A mess of a show. Nothing clicked here. They would have been better off advertising it as simply a championship match and doing the 60 minute draw, then having Monsoon saw that at Wrestlemania fans deserve a clean finish. WWF fans were bored and watching the clock tick down. The match never really kicks into high gear like you would expect with Bret and Shawn involved. I recall being completely bored watching at home as I expected a classic match and was treated to an endless stream of nothing. WWF was hurting bad at this point as a lot of talented performers (Vader, Owen, Austin) were completely underutilized. WWE pushed the Michaels win as the start of a new generation, but it would be a year later when Steve Austin took the reigns that things really kicked in.

Jess McGrath: Mike is dead-on about what they should have done with Bret and Shawn. Fans at the time were even less into sitting and watching a great match than they are today. The last time that they tried the Ironman match, HHH-Rock, they did a ton of pinfalls and lots of craziness throughout the hour. Here, they did straight wrestling. And I didn't even find it all that interesting. Like Mike, I couldn't wait for them to do the finish everybody knew they were going to do. They would have been better served having the match go to a one hour draw, though I guess some people would have been suspicious if they announced a time limit before the match. I remember there was a lot of hype over the return of Warrior. In particular, they never showed him at all on TV before the match, so it was the "What's he going to look like?" mystery too. A very forgettable Mania. If you've seen Shawn Michaels' ring entrance, you've seen all you need to see.

Buck: My problem with this Wrestlemania was that it seemed very predictable. ... The opening six-man was fine, but nothing special. ... I actually got a kick out of Piper vs. Goldust, but the use of the OJ footage was beyond hokey. ... Austin vs. Vega was actually my favorite match of the show. Vega was so underrated, and Austin was a few months away from starting his huge run with Austin 3:16. ... The Ultimate Warrior squashed Triple H in a match that started up another failed comeback. It also proves that HHH was getting buried even before the clique incident. ... WWE released a statement that Diesel was leaving the company, so the winner of the match with the Undertaker was hardly in doubt. ... I remember being bored with the Ironman match. I love mat wrestling, but after 20 minutes, it became very apparent that they were going to go the full hour with no falls. As a result, it was just waiting for the clock to run down. Still, HBK's entrance would become a permanent Wrestlemania highlight.

Dave Scherer: The best thing I can say about this show is that it was really the last year of the blah WWE product. Thank God that the Attitude era was about to start. With that said, Hart-Michaels and Austin-Vega were good matches, but this just didn't seem like what a WrestleMania should be.


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