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Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania 13

And Part 2 of the Austin stretch of matches in this project.

I thought about doing Rocky vs. The Sultan and coming back with Rock-Rikishi at Survivor Series 2000 but that disjointed angle makes my head spin.

Also the pre-match promos for both of the Austin-Bret classics are great (and attached).


Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania 13: Heat
From the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois
Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Ken Shamrock is your special referee. No time for wrestling as Austin rushes Bret and they exchange some ground and pound until they roll to the floor. Just a total slugfest right now until Hart sends Austin into the ring post. Bret goes for a suplex on the floor but Austin counters and posts him on the ring barricade. He follows with a clothesline to send him out into the crowd. Austin sends Bret into the barricade again and they fight into the stands. Austin gets Bret a refreshing diet coke and stomps away on the second level. Hangman slam by Austin but Bret battles back and sends Austin into the hockey boards as they fight up on the third level. Austin goes low and goes for a piledriver but Hart back drops him down the steps. The wrestlers move back towards the ring and Hart sends Austin over the railing. Hart climbs on the barricade and drops an elbow. Hart tries to take control but Austin sends Hart into the steps. Austin climbs on the ring and jumps off with a forearm. Austin grabs the steps but Bret kicks and takes control with the fists. Austin comes back and sends Hart into the post and finally they can back in the ring.

Austin sets too early on an irish whip and Hart gets a swinging neckbreaker. Hart to the second rope and hits the elbow. Hart goes to the knee with a hamstring puller and a sit down splash on the knee. Hart drops an elbow on the knee and a second one, another hamstring puller and a third one. Austin tries to get to his feet but Bret kicks his leg out. He misses a sit-down splash on the knee, however and Austin hits the stone cold stunner. Still Hart is firmly in control as Austin is on one leg. He slaps on the ring post figure four (one of the five greatest wrestling moves I’ve ever seen on first look) to a massive pop. Hart sends Austin back in the ring and grabs the ring bell. He reconsiders and takes a chair in instead. He sets it up to Pillmanize Austin’s knee but Stone Cold is too fast for that and waits for Bret to climb before giving him a MASSIVE chair shot. A second one looks even worse than the first. Irish whip from Austin, actually a corner whip. Suplex from Austin and he climbs the ropes, tells Bret he’s number one, and drops the point of the elbow. Austin kicks Bret low as Bret’s daughter hides her eyes. Russian legsweep from Austin and some form of a spider submission there (trying to rack my brain for what they called that in Tecmo Wrestling on the NES). Austin’s second submission is a boston crab.

Hart inches his way to the ropes…and…why did Austin break it? There’s no disqualification. Austin teases going for the sharpshooter but Hart rakes the face. Hart tries to rally but Austin tosses Hart out of the ring with a leverage move. Crowd is trending Austin a little more than 50-50. Hart reverses an Irish whip and sends Austin into the timekeeper’s area. Austin pops an artery as Hart sends him into the ring barricade. Hart sends him into the steps and back into the ring. Crowd finally sees the blood and pops huge. Hart slows things down and works on the cut. Side backbreaker from Hart and he goes to the middle rope to drop the front elbow. He grabs the chair and goes right after the knee. He goes for the sharpshooter but Austin fights out before he can get it on. Bret corners Austin but Austin goes low to stop the assault. Austin gets his second wind and sends Bret into the corner face first. Austin follows in and stomps a mudhole in Hart while walking it dry. Austin posts Bret on the ropes and hits the superplex. He sort of overturned on that move and probably gave himself a stinger. Austin goes to the floor and grabs a ring cable just to choke Bret out…well it’s a submission I suppose. Hart grabs the ring bell that he placed at that area of the ring 20 minutes ago and whacks Austin with it. Sharpshooter time to a huge pop. Austin fights valiantly as we see the iconic shot of him screaming with blood running down his face. He makes one final push and actually breaks the hold for a second but Hart gets it back on and Austin passes out due to the blood loss as Shamrock calls for the bell.

(Hart def. Austin, referee stoppage, ****3/4, classic brawl between two of the best to ever do it. Post match antics see Hart go full blown heel as Shamrock steps in to stop him. Really awesome suplex from Shamrock actually. Hart leaves the ring to a host of boos while Austin fights back to his feet and becomes the biggest selling superstar in wrestling history.)

The Challenger

Survivor Series 1996
From Madison Square Garden in New York City
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross

Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

This is their first encounter I believe, “Stone Cold” is about to become the biggest pro wrestling star in history and what better place to start that quest than Madison Square Garden. This was also Bret’s return to the ring after a seven-month layoff. You just knew it was going to be good. Pre-match jibber jabber sees Austin telling Bret that he’s No. 1

We have a little lockup and a clean break with some more trash talk from Austin. Wrap around by Hart and Austin goes back in the ropes. Another waistlock by Austin and a switch around from Bret into an armbar from Austin. A punishing armbar at that. Kip up by Bret and a reversal. Austin flips off Bret again so Bret takes him to the canvas. It’s so good to see Austin at full strength here. Wristlock into a takedown for Hart and we go to the mat with the hammerlock where Bret drops a couple of knees on the exposed arm. Nice pacing as Austin with a reversal and a drop toe hold but Bret counters and goes right back to the hammerlock. Back to the feet and Austin hits the first high-impact move — a back elbow off the ropes. He adds two more elbows to the fallen Hart. Short-armed clothesline from Austin and a he goes for a modified camel clutch but Hart counters with with the armbar again and drops a leg on it. Bret has went from the hammerlock to more of a cross armbreaker.

More reversals and counters until Austin says “enough with this shit” and hits the Stun Gun. Time for some action as Austin drops a couple of forearms and chokes Bret out on the bottom rope. Austin with the bottom rope whiplash and another choke on Hart. I’m thinking he’s working on the throat. With Hart’s head exposed off the ring Austin hits the elbow and Bret falls to the floor. Austin with a hangman on Bret and a snapmare into a reverse chinlock. Austin with a couple of snap knee drops on the head and a two count. Back with a reverse chinlock. Bret fights to his feet and we get a slugfest that Austin wins and he stomps a mudhole in Bret and walks it dry. Bret with a reversal on the corner whip and a clothesline. Inverted atomic drop and a lariat give Hart some momentum. A shot to the gun and a rollup gives Bret a two count. Side Russian legsweep gets another near fall. Bulldog, however, is countered as Austin sends Bret face first into the turnbuckle. He must’ve scouted the five moves of doom. They fight over a suplex and Austin posts Bret for a superplex but Hart counters it into a gordbuster and Bret follows with a TOP ROPE elbow for two (see how they are adding extras to their basic move set). Bret goes for another side backbreaker but fails to execute it when Austin rakes him in the eyes.

Using the leverage of an irish whip, Austin sends Bret to the floor and hits him with an axe handle from the ring apron. Austin pounds Bret with forearms on the back and then sends Bret into the post, further damaging the back. More fighting on the outside as Austin takes a second to tell some punk fan to piss off. Bret uses the distraction to send Austin into the railing and they are out in the crowd. Bret rams Austin’s head into the railing and they get back to the ring but Austin crawls back out of the ring. Bret hits him with an axe from the railing but Austin catches him with the double leg and catapults him into WWF Deportes. Austin jumps right on Bret with the fists. Austin breaks the count and continues the fighting on the floor with a bodyslam on the Spanish table and another elbow from the ring apron to the chest. Austin is on fire. Hart struggles to the ring apron and Austin suplexes him back in. Another middle rope elbow for Austin and a near fall. Another elbow (not the fuck you version) and another near fall. Frustration starts to set in for Stone Cold. HARD Irish whip keeps Bret on the ground and Austin chokes out Bret on the middle rope and hits the sit down splash for another near fall. I’m shocked Austin hasn’t punched the referee yet (if this was no DQ he would have). Abdominal stretch time as we prepare for the next chapter of this match. Austin sneakily uses the ropes, which is a perfect move at this stage of the match.

The referee finally catches him, although I don’t think Austin was trying to hide. He breaks on four, shoves the ref and gives him a double bird. Bret rallies back with punches and finally drop the rattlesnake. A double reversal on an irish whip and it’s Bret with the Stun Gun. Awesome. 3/4 roll up gets a two count. Beautiful piledriver gets another two count. Side backbreaker for Bret and he’s going to go to the top rope again, this time Austin catches him and posts him. Austin lays in the chops and punches to set up the top rope superplex but Bret does the small package out of the hold and gets two. Austin finally hits the Stone Cold stunner and gets two. Huge crowd pop for that. Austin with a second cover and a third, each time getting a two count. Now rightfully pissed Austin mounts Bret and beats the shit out of him before another near fall. Austin goes for the Texas Cloverleaf but Bret is able to get to the ropes. Austin keeps the hold on forcing the ref to count and he breaks at four. I love that. In the corner Austin goes to the body and sends him across the ring and into the post.

That gets two so Austin goes to a bow and arrow but Bret pulls an awesome counter and almost gets the sharpshooter. Bret instead goes with the sleeper but Austin uses the jawbreaker to get out of that one. Million dollar dream by Austin and Bret pulls out the old turnbuckle counter from his Wrestlemania VIII match with Roddy Piper and he gets the pinfall to end this amazing exhibition.

(Bret Hart def. Steve Austin, pinfall, *****, I’d go higher if I could.)

The Decision

Match: Survivor Series and I say that definitively. Both men were healthy and at full strength. To be honest the Wrestlemania match is closer to ****1/2 than ***** in my opinion because it’s slow in some areas. Now the latter is a great brawl and set up a lot of the WWE/F style in the future but the former is a better match and holds up better over time. Argue it as you must but I’m not budging. EDGE: Survivor Series

Storylines: The Survivor Series storyline was beautifully simple. Austin thought he was the best so he challenged the guy that he felt was the best. By Wrestlemania the feud had taken all kinds of twists and turns with the initial challenge turning into out and out hatred. It made for a hot period of the WWF that started after the 1997 Royal Rumble and carried into Survivor Series of that year. At Summerslam Austin suffered a near debilitating neck injury in a match that shouldn’t have happen since it was my feeling that Austin was long past needing an I-C title run. Hart should have won the title at Summerslam in a rematch of the Fatal 4-way with Shawn as the special referee (they could have still done the chair angle and set up and the Shawn-Undertaker stuff) and Austin should have chased Hart and eventually won it at the Survivor Series or Royal Rumble or wherever and just went over HBK and Bret at Wrestlemania XIV (they could have re-done what they pulled off at Wrestlemania X with the two heavyweight title matches or just make it a three-way). I understand the long-term booking and Bret wanting to put Austin over at Wrestlemania but he didn’t need to be the champion to do it. Even though things turned out extremely well the WWF could have printed money with a three-way Bret-Austin-HBK feud IMO. EDGE: Wrestlemania

Intangibles: Obviously the Wrestlemania match changed the face of wrestling and ushered in the attitude era. The Survivor Series match put Austin at a level where few workers could reach him. HUGE EDGE: Wrestlemania

Verdict: Survivor Series is one of the greatest wrestling matches in WWF. Wrestlemania is one of the most important so Wrestlemania gets the nod.