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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 XIII

March 23, 1997
Location: Chicago, IL
Location: Rosemont Horizon
Announced Attendance: 18, 211

*The Headbangers defeated The New Blackjacks (Barry Windham and the debuting Bradshaw), Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon and The Godwins to win a WWF Tag Team championship bout on Raw the next night.

*WWF Intercontinental champion Rocky Maivia pinned The Sultan with a rollup. The crowd isn't into Maivia at all, which is amazing to watch seeing how things change in a few years. The Sultan is longtime WWF performer Fatu (now Rikishi) and was managed by Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik. Maivia's father Rocky Johnson saves his son afterwards from a beating.

*Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with the debuting Chyna and wow she looks different) pinned Goldust with the Pedigree

*WWF Tag Team champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith fought Vader & Mankind to a double countout. The Vader/Mankind duo was to build to a WWF feud between the former WCW rivals but it never happened. Paul Bearer managed the Foley-Vader duo. This would be Foley's first Wrestlemania appearance as well. .

*Bret Hart defeated Steve Austin in a No Holds Barred I Quit match with Ken Shamrock as the special referee. An amazing must see match and the match of the night. Austin bleeds a gusher here, which runs down his face as he struggles to get out of the Sharpshooter in one of the most famous scenes in Wrestlemania history. He blacks out and Shamrock stops the match. A great brawl around the building with the excellent storyline of anti-hero Austin being cheered while Bret Hart, the bastion of integrity for the company for years, turns heel as the crowd rejects him. This was the match that saved the company.

*The Legion of Doom & Ahmed Johnson defeat The Nation of Domination, Farrooq, Crush & Savio Vega in a Chicago Street Fight. The inspiration here is ECW as there are tons of weapons used and tables broken. A fun brawl.

*The Undertaker pinned Sid to win the WWF championship. Shawn Michaels, who "lost his smile" during the build to the PPV, does commentary. Bret Hart shows up before the match and cuts promos on everyone, upset about earlier. Sid powerbombs him for his troubles. This would be Sid's last Wrestlemania appearance.

Celebrities: Nada.

Kevin Kelly on Wrestlemania 13: WrestleMania 13 was my first with the company and to be quite honest, I was underwhelmed. It didn't feel like a bigger show than normal and certainly not what I had imagined a Mania to be like. Maybe it was the venue... The Rosemont Horizon was quite a dump and still is today. That being said, the Austin-Bret Hart match still gives me chills when I think about it. That match was so perfect, as Austin was made as a top guy and a babyface in one night. Whiny babyfaces like Bret and Shawn never did well with smart crowds who loved the heels but this was different. Bret and Austin turned simultaneously without doing a thing. That is when a turn is special. That Chicago Street Fight nearly meant the end of the French announce team as a chemical fire extinguisher was used as a prop instead of a CO2 style. The powder flew everywhere and Ray Rougeau and his partner got choked by the stuff.

Notes: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, and Vince McMahon were the hosts. It would end up being the last Wrestlemania McMahon would host as his Mr. McMahon character would take off soon enough....In the Free-For-All match on the PPV countdown, Billy Gunn pinned Flash Funk (2 Cold Scorpio) with a tornado DDT in a decent bout....Brian Pillman made his only Wrestlemania appearance here, hosting 900 line segments backstage....The promotion did another Slammy Awards as well as a fashion show with talent at a local mall as Wrestlemania weekend events....The Undertaker plaque that was issued for this PPV is pretty hard to find. It has rarely, if ever, popped up on Ebay.

Then-WCW Vice President Eric Bishoff on Wrestlemania 13: "I fell asleep halfway through it. I tried to watch it on tape, and just got too damned bored." (Prodigy chat, April 1997)

Mike Johnson: The most important Wrestlemania ever, although one of the worst in terms of the actual show. I say most important because this was the night Steve Austin turned the corner and took off. "WWE Attitude" was built on his shoulders and the company went to heights it never before reached. The show also featured the debuts of The Rock (who was completely hated by the fans while working as Rocky Maivia) and Mankind, who would be responsible for being three of the major building blocks for the company as it rose to take on and defeat WCW. Without Austin vs. Bret Hart though, all would have been lost in a matter of time. This was an interesting show as well because it was at a point the company was beaten down so low in the Monday Night Wars, that there was no way to go but up and up they went. As a show itself, this is a skip beyond the I Quit match.

Dave Scherer: Mike is absolutely right here. The show itself wasn't anything to write home about, but they turned the corner as far as the overall tone of the company. They finally showed that they were going to lay there and get beaten up by WCW, and that was the most important part of the show for me.

Jess McGrath: In many ways this was the low point for Wrestlemania. It did the worst, in terms of PPV buys, of any Wrestlemania. Starrcade later that year with Sting vs. Hogan crushed it. And the company was badly losing the Monday Night Wars. All the star power was in the other company. Hence, we have Rocky Maivia as Intercontinental champion. Not to mention, with Shawn Michaels walking out and killing off the anticipated Bret vs Shawn match, we had for the main event - The Undertaker vs. Sid. Steve Austin and Bret Hart's match was so excellent, it would just about make you forget all that. This is the model match for the double turn. I haven't seen anybody since come close to pulling it off like this one did. If you haven't seen this match, you are doing yourself a disservice to not track it down. Just fast forward through everything else.

Buck Woodward: If ever there was a "one match Wrestlemania" this was it. Hart vs. Austin is easily one of the greatest WWF matches ever, and arguably in the top three Mania matches. The double-turn, the way the match was worked, the visuals of Austin bleeding in the Sharpshooter. This match made Steve Austin's career, and was the beginning of Bret Hart's heel run. ... I liked that the winner of the opening tag match got a title shot the next night. It gave an otherwise throwaway match meaning. ... Boy, was The Rock anything but "electrifying" at this point. If it wasn't for his dad doing the run-in, I think the fans would have been happy to see Sultan squash him. ... Chyna was such an amazon at this point. The footage of her swinging Terri around in a bearhug that lead to this match was wild. ... The heel vs. heel tag title match seems to just leave the fans without anyone to cheer. ... The streetfight was cool because of the LOD being in their gimmick hometown of Chicago, so the fans were really into it. ... The Undertaker vs. Sid was cool in that Taker went "old school" and finally got to headline a Mania, which he deserved, but the circumstances surrounding it was the real story. Shawn Michaels was supposed to return the favor to Bret Hart for Mania 12, and he instead "lost his smile" and set into motion the chain of events that would eventually result in the Montreal incident.


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