OSR: WWE WrestleMania 13 Review (1997)

Stone Cold Wrestlemania 13

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OSR: WWE WrestleMania 13 Review

Back in 1997, the WWE has at war with WCW. In order to move with the times, the WWE was slowly phasing out The New Generation. And coming in was The Attitude Era. This was seen none more so than at WrestleMania 13. In front of a packed crowd of 18,197 inside the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois. Bret Hart collided with Stone Cold Steve Austin in their infamous Submission match. Unfortunately, this event was brought to you, courtesy of the WWE Network – the VHS Player required cleaning. Remember the events of March 23 1997 in the WWE WrestleMania 13 Review!

The opening video package for the event showed a very intense view at the various feuds and matches which would be showcased on the event. The commentary team for the event was Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler as the show was then underway.  

1. Number 1 Contender Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship – Fatal-4-Way Elimination Match: The Godwinns (Henry O. and Phineas I.) (w/ Hillbilly Jim) vs. The Headbangers (Thrasher and Mosh) vs. Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon vs. The New Blackjacks (Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw)

Each of the teams made their way to the ring, with The New Blackjacks being given a brief interview beforehand. The match quickly got underway with all teams going at it. An interesting spot saw both members of The Headbangers are tagged in meaning they are required to fight one another.

This didn’t last long. The New Blackjacks were the first team eliminated, after they are disqualified. The match continued, with Furnas and LaFon being the next team eliminated. This brought it down to The Headbangers versus The Godwinns.

As Mosh and Thrasher attempted to remain in control, they were quickly overpowered by Phineas. Eventually, Mosh was able to pick up the win, which made The Headbangers the new number one contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship.

This was an okay opening match but there wasn’t nothing to it really. This match would  have being much better without The Godwinns in honesty, as a team and competitors they were diabolical.

Winners: The Headbangers

Match Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0 Stars

2. WWE Intercontinental Championship: Rocky Maivia (c) vs. The Sultan (w/ The Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund)

The Honky Tonk Man was shown in the ring dancing first, before he joined the commentary team. At this point Arnold Skaaland, Captain Lou Albano and Tony Atlas were shown in the crowd. The Sultan then made his way to the ring accompanied by The Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund.

Maivia then made his way to the ring, and the match quickly got underway where Maivia used his speed to remain in control. The match was very back and forth between both men, but Maivia picked up the win following a roll up.

Afterwards JR attempted to interview Maivia, but he was attacked by The Sultan. This lead to The Iron Sheik locking in the Camel Clutch. Eventually, Rocky Johnson attempted to aid his son but is quickly taken down.

They soon mounted a comeback, and take The Sultan and The Sheik out. The Sheik took a beating like a pro. This was an okay match, but Rocky was very green at this time and this match really highlighted that.

Winner: Rocky Maivia, to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship

Match Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

3. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena)

Helmsley made his way to the ring first, and was soon enough joined by Slammy Award winning couple of Goldust and Marlena. The match quickly got underway with Goldust taking it to Helmsley. Soon enough, Helmsley was able to maintain the control.

The match was really well contested, with great characterization by both men but also from Chyna and Marlena. The end of the match came when they played on vulnerability of Marlena around Chyna, which culminated in her literally being shaken like a rag doll.

This allowed enough of a distraction for Goldust, as Helmsley nailed him with a pedigree to pick up the win. This was an okay match, but there wasn’t really anything interesting about it.

Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Match Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

4. WWE Tag Team Championship: Owen Hart and The British Bulldog (c) vs. Mankind and Vader (w/ Paul Bearer)

Both teams made their way to the ring, and it quickly got underway. The match was very back and forth between both teams, but the dynamics within each team was really good and refreshing to see.

The bond between Bulldog and Owen was amazing, but in an odd way beautiful to watch. Also, it was really nice to see Vader with opponents he can work well with. It’s been said before…he truly worked so much better with smaller opponents.

The dynamic of Mankind in the match was also really cool, because it brought another dimension to the match. What made this match even better was Paul Bearer’s hilarious expressions but also the over-excitement of Jerry Lawler at the presence of Stu and Helen Hart.

Eventually, Mankind locked in the Mandible Claw on Bulldog, outside of the ring which lead to them being counted out. Vader eventually dragged Mankind off, as Owen and officials tended to Bulldog. That was a really enjoyable match which could appeal to most people.

Winners: No-contest, double count-out

Match Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

5. Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin with Special Guest Referee Ken Shamrock

The video package was shown for the match, which shown how Bret turned following his return at the fall of 1996 and become disillusioned with the direction of the WWE. It also shown the rising stature of Stone Cold in the WWE.

With Ken Shamrock in the ring before, Stone Cold soon made his way to the ring. It was really weird to not hear the crowd going insane for him, but the character here was probably at its best points. Bret then made his way to the ring, receiving an incredible reaction.

They go straight at it with one another. They don’t pussy foot around one another, they are so intense and brutal from the outset it was really great to watch. This match really showcased the Stone Cold character and how intense he can be but it also shown another side to Bret.

This was actually a completely different match to what we was accustomed to in the WWE at the time. Austin was soon busted open quite badly, which spelled the end for him, as he eventually passed out to the Sharpshooter which Bret applied with obvious intense pressure.

This match was incredible to see for the first time in its entirety, and it really captivated the sky rocketing stature of St0ne Cold. Even though it may not have being obvious at the time, both men did effectively do the double switch here.

Winner: Bret Hart, via Referee Stoppage

Match Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

6. Chicago Street Fight: The Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Crush and Savio Vega) (w/ Wolfie D, J.C. Ice, D’Lo Brown, and Clarence Mason) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) and Ahmed Johnson

Both teams made their way to the ring and the action quickly got underway. Despite a slightly similar environment to the previous match, it was still completely different.

An early spot that could have gone horribly wrong came when Animal attempted to pile drive Faarooq through the French Announce table, but he actually slipped off the table. This was in no way whatsoever a wrestling match, this was actually a really enjoyable fight.

If anything, it allowed the weaknesses of Ahmed Johnson to be hidden. Despite interference attempts from Nation members at ringside, LOD and Johnson were ultimately successful after they pin Crush following an attack with the 2×4.

The brawl continued after the match, which saw the remaining members of The Nation being taken out. For what it was, this was a really enjoyable “brawl”, not a match.

Winners: The Legion of Doom and Ahmed Johnson

Brawl Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

7. No Disqualification: WWE Championship – Sycho Sid (c) vs. The Undertaker

A brief history package was shown for the match, before we returned to the arena. Shawn Michaels made his way to the ring and joined the commentary team for the match. Sid was then interviewed by Todd Pettingell but as usual, he didn’t make any sense.

We then returned to the arena again, as The Undertaker made his way to the ring and was soon enough followed by Sid. As they prepared to get underway, Bret Hart made his way to the ring and cut a scathing promo on all of the competitors but was ultimately power bombed by Sid.

Sid then cuts a promo on Bret, referring to him as a crybaby but this distracted him for long enough which allowed Taker to attack him from behind and the match then got underway.

The match began very slowly between both men, with Sid taking a very methodical approach to the match and used a series of endurance moves in an effort to ground Taker. The problem with this match from the outset, was despite the No DQ ruling it was contested as a wrestling match.

Unfortunately, this meant it didn’t fair well because it didn’t suit the style of both men – especially Taker. It became apparent that working with the smaller opponent worked much better for him. The characterization in the match though was on par and really enjoyable.

The end of the match came following further interference from Bret which allowed Taker to nail Sid with a Tombstone to become the new WWE Champion. The match was horrible but the characterization made up for it slightly.

Winner: The Undertaker, to capture the WWE Championship

Match Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

WWE WrestleMania 13 Conclusions

If you was to ask someone on their opinion of WrestleMania 13, legend would say it isn’t one that is remembered for its fondness. This would make one be weary going into the show. However, there were actually several key moments which made it stand out in your memory. The match with Bret and Austin was groundbreaking, as it truly put Austin on the map and was the beginning of his main event career. But the Tag Team Championship matches and the Chicago Street Fight were both really enjoyable matches.

There is no point denying that are a couple of instances and segments on the show which you’d rather forget, but  this event gets a bad deal because it isn’t as bad as people make out. If anything, it’s worth watching for the Bret and Austin match alone. Ultimately, this was definitely one that comes with the recommendation to watch as you can clearly see the start of the Attitude Era here. This can of course be done as part of your 9.99 Subscription fee to the WWE Network, or if your VHS player is working…why not give that a try!

Image Credit: 411Mania.com & Pinterest.com

About Dave Harper 849 Articles
Dave Harper is a writer for Wrestling's Dirty Deeds. Born a Brummie, and proud of it...passionate about wrestling, family, friends, good cider and the railway (no I'm not a train spotter)

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