Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that never fails to deliver except when we take a two-month hiatus. It’s WWF Wrestlemania 13, deep in the heart of The New Generation Era and early into 1997, it’s an important time for the WWF as WCW has been winning the Monday Night Wars, the WWF has looked down and out on a number of occasions with PPVs being hits and misses along the way but the WWF is looking strong coming into 1997 so what are the big matches at the grandest stage of them all? Well we have the Main Event it’s Sycho Sid defending his WWF Championship against The Undertaker, this looking back feels like it came out of nowhere considering Paul Bearer had began managing Vader who defeated The Deadman at The Rumble, it looked as if Taker vs Bearer would continue but now, The Phenom has Sycho Sid in his sights and championship glory. Meanwhile, The Hitman has snapped, Bret Hart has been pushed to the brink being screwed out of the WWF Championship on several occasions. From winning the rumble to interference from HBK & Austin, Bret Hart snapped and wants to settle the score with Austin at Wrestlemania. We also have Ahmed Johnson going after the man who injured him Faarooq and Hunter Hearst Helmsley squaring off with Goldust with a few other matches rounding out the card. Will Wrestlemana 13 being a lucky one for the WWF? Let’s find out!
(4 Team Elimination Match) The Headbangers vs The Godwinns vs Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon vs The New Blackjacks
What a way to kick off Wrestlemania, Blackjacks get an interview so I imagine they are heavy favourites but we have some fresh blood in the tag team division with The Headbangers here too as well as LOD in the WWF. Anyways we start off with a brawl, Henry and Bradshaw brawling it out. Irish whip reversed by Henry, massive lariat from Henry. Thrasher is in, clubbing blows from Thrasher. Bradshaw boots Thrasher’s head off, pump-handle slam from Bradshaw. In comes Phineas, Thrasher pummels Phineas who battles back. Back body drop from Phineas who tags in Mosh, Mosh & Thrasher take the piss before in comes Phil Lafon. Double flapjack from The Headbangers, Lafon lands a snap suplex and spin-kick on Mosh. In comes Windham who eats a superkick and a northern lights suplex for two.
Frankensteiner from Furnas for two, Windham slams Furnas down with a powerslam and lands a leg drop. Tag to Bradshaw, double shoulder-block. Furnas dodges the clothesline and lands a dropkick. Furnas and Bradshaw spill to the floor, Windham waffles Furnas with two massive rights. Both teams brawl on the floor, Bradshaw takes out the referee with a shove. Henry and Thrasher are in the ring wrestling, two teams have been eliminated for brawling on the floor. Phineas and Thrasher are in the ring, stalling suplex from Phineas for two. Mosh makes the save, Henry tags in and slaps on a headlock before Thrasher runs Henry into the turnbuckle. Snap-mare and two for Henry, tag to Phineas who works the rib. Headbutt from Phineas, make it two with both men spitting at one another.
Thrasher eats a corner clothesline, tag to Henry. Splash from Henry for two, eye poke and tag to Mosh. Mosh and Henry spill to the floor after a high-speed clothesline from Henry, hot-shot from Mosh. Springboard cross-body from Mosh, Thrasher with the assisted cross-body wipes out Henry. Double clothesline from The Headbangers, Thrasher misses the moonsault giving a chance for Henry to make the tag. Tag to Phineas who lands massive rights and scoop slams. Irish whip and elbow, clothesline sends Thrasher to the floor. Slop Drop is stopped by Thrasher with a clothesline, Henry brawls with Thrasher while Mosh lands The Stage Dive for the win.
Unique move for sure as JR says but yeah, not my idea of the ideal opening match for Mania but I ain’t the booker brother. The Godwinns have been part of many of the most boring matches I had to sit through during The New Generation so to see they are still one of the top babyface teams in the division makes me all sorts of sad. The Blackjacks got an interview and they are out first? Seriously? Anyways, The Headbangers work hard and Furnas gets a big reaction of the frankensteiner but this is not the match you would want to get the people up and on their feet, it could have served better as a break between the big matches.
Winners: The Headbangers over Everyone Else via Stage Dive!
(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Rocky Maivia © vs The Sultan W/ The Iron Sheik
Honky Tonk Man on commentary because why not? He is the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all-time! Anyways, we have Rocky Maivia against a rebranded Phatu who is now The Sultan. Just three years later, these two would be two very popular superstars in the WWF, is that Bob Backlund I see here too? What is going on in this match? Tony Atlas is here at ringside thinking about women’s feet more than likely, Rocky and Sultan are talking trash with Sultan shoving Rocky. Right hands by Rocky, Sultan shoulder blocks Rocky before Rocky kips-up. Clothesline out of the corner and a dropkick from Rocky. Make it two from Rocky, Rocky clotheslines the ring-post like a fool as Sultan goes to work on the arm.
Irish whip and clothesline from Sultan, throat thrust from Sultan. The challenger kicks a little low as Rocky writhes in pain, Rocky fights back though before Sultan grabs Rocky by the throat and hurls the champion to the corner. Big clothesline from Sultan, Sultan grabs a nerve-hold. Rocky escapes the hold but Sultan lands a massive knee to the ribs, back-breaker from Sultan. Sultan is on the top rope, diving headbutt from Sultan. Rocky goes for the sunset flip but Sultan grabs a choke, belly to belly suplex from Sultan for two. Sleeper hold from Sultan, Rocky fades before battling back before both men connect with a clothesline. Sultan clubs Rocky over and over before Rocky begins fighting back with right hands. Dropkick again, belly to belly from Rocky for two.
Sultan rakes the eyes, Irish whip with Rocky landing The Maivia Hurricane with a deadly DDT. Rocky goes high, Flying Crossbody and Sheik has the referee distracted. Rocky is talking trash with Sheik, Sultan is on his feet but Rocky saw it coming. Sultan lands a massive superkick for two, piledriver from Sultan. Close two for Sultan, Rocky escapes the scoop slam and scores with the schoolboy for the win. Sultan attacks Rocky and smacks the champion with his belt. Sheik and Backlund are helping out against Rocky. Sultan lands a top rope diving splash, Sheik has The Clutch on Rocky as Sultan slaps Rocky before Rocky Johnson comes down and makes the save after a little help from his son.
Nothing special for the Intercontinental Championship match at Wrestlemania, disappointing for sure but this championship has been suffering for a long time, Ahmed Johnson’s injury damaged this championship a whole lot as we had a revolving door of Mero and Goldust before it went to Helmsley who had been punished for his involvement in the MSG incident. Sultan and Rocky have decent chemistry but the crowd just does not seem totally into it, this attitude is perfectly captured by the reaction to Rocky Johnson making the save, this Mania is not hitting that sweet Mania spot yet anyways, hoping things change soon!
Winner: Rocky Maivia over The Sultan via Schoolboy!
Hunter Hearst Helmsley W/ Chyna vs Goldust W/ Marlena
Speaking of Goldust, here is The Bizarre One as a babyface following his problems with Helsmley. Helmsley had an ace up his sleeve though in the form of a bodyguard named Chyna, a woman like no other in the WWF. The ninth wonder of the world is here and things have been looking up for Helmsley since Chyna has been by The Blue Blood’s side. Goldust stares a hole through Helmsley, being protective of Marlena at the same time but can Goldust whoop Helmsley while protecting his wife from Chyna?
Clothesline and right hands from an angry Goldust, Helmsley eats a right hand to the face. Corner punches from Goldust, inverted atomic drop and clothesline to the floor. Helmsley is tied up in the ropes, Goldust pummels Helmsley with right hands to the face. Goldust boots Helmsley in the head, Helmsley meets the ring-post and is clotheslined into the ring. Chyna remains motionless, not even showing any fear. Helmsley lands a facebuster to cut off Goldust, Chyna stares down Marlena. Powerslam from Goldust, Goldust climbs high but Helmsley wants the superplex. Goldust is blocking, gourd-buster from Helmsley who lifts Goldust to the floor who smashes his face on the ring-apron. Helmsley opens up Goldust’s body-suit and chops the shit out of the chest of The Bizarre One.
Helmsley unloads, showing a furious side we see rarely. A mean-streak is developing in Helmsley, hard Irish whip from Helmsley. Beautiful neck-breaker from Helmsley for two, abdominal stretch from Helmsley. Goldust fights out but eats a massive running knee from Helmsley, Helmsley clamps on a seated cobra clutch. Helmsley lands a knee-drop for two, Goldust fires back at Helmsley with massive rights. Goldust ducks his head off an Irish whip, DDT by Helmsley. Small package by Goldust for two, Helmsley lands a clothesline in retaliation. Goldust tries a scoop slam but Helmsley lands on top for two, Helmsley misses a clothesline and Goldust lands a crossbody for two before both men bang heads off a shove to the ropes.
Helmsley is on the top rope, Goldust uses his rear to wipe out Helmsley who dived from the top rope. Helmsley misses a corner tackle, smashing his own face off the buckle. Back body drop from Goldust, Helmsley flips out of the buckle and The Bizarre One lands a running bulldog for two. Chyna starts walking towards Marlena, Goldust is going to land Curtain Call but Goldust is reversed, Helmsley does not land The Pedigree as Goldust spots Chyna. Helmsley shoves Goldust into Marlena who lands in the arms of Chyna who bearhugs her to death while in the ring, Helmsley lands The Pedigree for the win.
The intensity is there in the beginning with Goldust beating the life out of Helmsley like the man tried to steal his wife but I think Helmsley lacks that killer instinct at this point, the heat segment is just not on that level it needs to be for the feud. The crowd is into Goldust, the transition to babyface has been a smooth one but Goldust needs a big moment or something to get me back. Helmsley’s character has always been on-point in the WWF but he needs something to take it to the next level, this might be the end of their feud and the best thing to come out of it is Chyna!
Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley over Goldust via Pedigree!
(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) Mankind & Vader W/ Paul Bearer vs Owen Hart & The British Bulldog
Another heel vs heel match with Bulldog being a more sympathetic character due to Owen Hart’s egotistical behaviour. Owen vs Bulldog has been stirring for a number of months, will we have a pay-off at Mania? Owen to start with Vader, Vader poses in front of all the fans as Owen looks tentative to lock it up with the bigger Vader. They lock-up, Vader pummels Owen in the corner with rights and lefts, headbutt rocks The Rocket. Vader continues to decimate Owen in the corner, Irish whip but Owen slides through the splash but Vader is not knocked down by the clothesline but the spinning heel kick does the job. A crossbody does not work though as Vader slams Owen, Owen dodges the elbow drop. Owen tries a hurricanrana and eats a powerbomb for his try, Bulldog is not happy as Vader stands over the fallen Hart. Vader-Bomb but no, Bulldog makes the save, Mankind and Vader club Bulldog before Bulldog lands a massive clothesline and Owen falls up with a dropkick to the challengers.
Bulldog whips Mankind hard, stomps in the corner from Bulldog. Stalling suplex from Bulldog to Mankind, Bulldog suplexes Vader too. Amazing strength from Davey Boy, snap-mare and reverse chin-lock from Bulldog. Vader pulls down the rope and Bulldog goes sailing over the top rope, Mankind has the urn but Bulldog drop toeholds Mankind who eats the floor before Vader waffles Bulldog in the head with the urn. Paul Bearer is delighted with these developments, Vader is now the legal man. Massive suplex for two, Vader splash in the corner. Vader-Bomb attempt two, Owen is concerned for sure. Middle rope splash but Bulldog manages to survive, tag to Mankind. Right hands from Mankind who tees off on Bulldog, running corner knee. Apron leg-drop from Mankind, back body drop from Mankind.
Tag to Vader, body shots from Vader. Clubbing Vader Hammer, Bulldog catches Vader for a powerslam in desperation. Tag to Owen, diving front dropkick with kip-up, sunset flip with Vader missing the hip splash. Diving crossbody for two, Vader hammers down Owen. Owen is dumped to the floor, Vader decides to go Demolition Decapitation as Mankind drops the elbow off the apron while Vader connects with the back-breaker. Owen tries to suplex Mankind but Mankind hot-shots Owen. Owen counters a neck-breaker for a DDT but misses a splash, Mankind counters with his knees and gets a two. Owen and Mankind bang heads in the corner, spinning heel kick from Owen for two. Tag to Vader who throws haymakers towards Owen, Vader rocks the bejesus out of Owen with lefts and rights.
Vader wants a suplex, Owen slips out the back and lands a spinning heel kick. Vader is up first though, elbow drop to the spine for two. In comes Mankind who hurls Owen to the floor again, Mankind wanted a clothesline but Owen counters with a massive belly to belly suplex. Enzuigiri from Owen, in comes Bulldog off the tag. Clubbing blows all around, Vader’s mask is torn off. Elbows by Bulldog, Mankind meets the ring-post hard. Make it double trouble, Bulldog wants the powerslam but Mankind slips out for The Mandible Claw. Owen saves Bulldog by accident as Vader clubs Owen into Bulldog. Mankind and Bulldog are on the floor and they get counted out.
This felt like a match throw together as I said before, it makes little sense for these four to be brawling against one another and the finish stinks of we are not 100% sure to do with these four. No furthering of Owen and Bulldog being mad at each other or reconciling either, it’s a strange one for sure. Mankind and Vader should be a super team but they need very likeable babyfaces to work against, not this half and half angle. When Owen was in there, things were good but nothing special here on this night.
(Submission Match) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart (Ken Shamrock Special Guest Referee Match)
Bret Hart’s descent into madness has been nothing short of amazing, Bret came back to fanfare and love from the fans but time and time again The Hitman was prevented from winning the WWF Championship due to the likes of Shawn Michaels or Stone Cold Steve Austin. Even when Bret captured the WWF Championship, The Hitman held it for one night as the next night on RAW, Stone Cold Steve Austin thwarted The Hitman. After a cage match on RAW, Bret Hart snapped cutting one of the most infamous promos in wrestling and arguably the most legendary promo of Bret’s career. The hero had turned his back on everyone while Stone Cold Steve Austin continued to rise in popularity, the anti-hero who spits in the face of authority and the likes of Bret Hart.
Austin starts out hot with a tackle, massive right hands from Austin with Bret switching control and hammering Austin, they spill to the floor and trade massive rights. Bret clubs Austin around the ring, big boot from Austin. Bret shoves Austin into the ring-post, Austin suplexes Bret onto the guardrail. Austin clotheslines The Hitman into the crowd and the two are crowd-brawling, you ain’t use to seeing this like later times in The Attitude Era, it’s fresh here as Austin drops Bret on a barricade. Bret is holding his own though, slamming Austin into the barricade and continuing to trade massive rights with The Rattlesnake. They continue brawling before making it back to ringside, massive diving fist drop off the guard-rail. Austin sends Bret into the steel steps to turn the tide, Austin is on the apron watching The Hitman. Diving clothesline from Austin, this one is electric so far compared to the rest of the card.
Austin had the steel steps but Bret kicked away Austin, Austin pulls Bret into the ring-post. Austin stomps Bret in the ring, Irish whip but Bret counters for a swinging neck-breaker. Bret’s Rope Elbow Drop, Bret starts working the leg of Austin. Bret drops all his weight on the leg of Austin, more elbow drops from The Hitman. Austin can barely walk as Bret continues kicking out the hamstring of Austin, Bret misses a hip drop though as Austin drops The Hitman with a Stunner! Bret keeps after the leg of Austin, Bret applies a ring-apron figure four and the crowd goes wild, this manoeuvre looks absolutely torturous! Austin is in serious danger here as Bret grabs the ring-bell and a steel chair. Bret is going to break Austin’s angle, the crowd watches on as Bret climbs the top rope and Austin wallops Bret with the chair. Across the back from The Rattlesnake, falling slam from Austin. Hard whip to the buckle, suplex from Austin. Austin elbow drop from the middle rope, low kick from Austin. Russian leg-sweep into a stretch from Austin, Bret refuses to give up in the hold. Boston crab from Austin, Austin gives it everything with Shamrock asking for a break.
Austin wants the sharpshooter, Bret rakes the eyes of Austin. Bret goes low with right hands, Austin tosses Bret to the floor. Austin is sent into the guard-rail hard, Bret peppers Austin with right hands. Austin is bleeding, Bret rams Austin into the guard-rail. Bret is teeing off on Austin, steep steps and the ring-post are used with Austin looking barely able to stand. Elbow to the back of the head of Austin, Bret lands unanswered rights to the skull of The Rattlesnake. Back-breaker, Bret’s rope elbow drop and now Bret grabs the chair. Bret stabs the leg of Austin again and again, Austin tries to crawl away but to no avail. Bret wants the sharpshooter but Austin rakes the eyes, Bret pummels Austin in the corner. Austin low-blows Hart with an almighty kick, Austin whips Bret hard to the buckle, Austin stomps away on Bret with an almighty fire lit in the belly of The Rattlesnake.
Austin lifts Bret onto the top rope, superplex from Austin. Austin grabs a camera cord, choking the life out of The Hitman. That’s one effective way to beat The Hitman but Bret uses the ring-bell to smash Austin in the head. Austin has been knocked loopy and now Bret locks in The Sharpshooter. Austin scratches and claws, it’s in the middle of the ring. Austin is a bloody mess, screaming out refusing to lose. Austin tries to power out using every bit of strength to break the hold temporarily, the crowd erupts but no Bret will not let go. Austin passes out, Shamrock stops the match. Austin never gives up, Austin never said the words I quit, Bret is happy with his victory but I don’t think The Hitman is satisfied. Bret starts attacking Austin after the bell, Shamrock suplexes Bret down. Bret walks away like a coward, the crowd boos The Hitman and just like that, the turn is complete.
Masterful performance from Bret Hart & Austin, it’s heated and these two men absolutely despise one another. From the bell ringing to Austin passing out to The Sharpshooter, they batter one another. You feel every punch, you see the desperation and anger in both men’s eyes as they throw everything at one another. The blood adds so much, the iconic image of Austin with blood running through his teeth, Bret’s actions while peppering Austin with rights and lefts. It was brutal, Bret dissected the knee of Austin with relentless attacks and Austin gave just as good as he got, it was everything that I could have hoped for from this match. Seek it out, it’s everything that people tell you about and its significance cannot be understated as this was when Stone Cold Steve Austin became a juggernaut babyface that could not be stopped in the WWF. I cannot wait to see where we go from here, Austin vs Bret Hart is far from over ladies and gentlemen but what a match.
Winner: Bret Hart over Austin via Referee Stoppage!
(Chicago Street Fight Match) Ahmed Johnson & LOD vs The Nation of Domination W/ Clarence Mason & PG-13
With a kick to the ribs, Faarooq took out Ahmed Johnson for months but now Ahmed has got some big partners watching his back on this night. LOD are in the WWF, the babyfaces clear house with all heels powdering to the floor. Crush and Savio attack Hawk as Faarooq works with Animal. It’s a mess to be honest, there are weapon shots taking place with LOD not really selling. Animal gives the worst table piledriver I have ever seen, Savio batters Hawk with a weapon shot. More weapon shots with Ahmed decking Faarooq with a trash can and a scoop slam through the table. Savio superkicks Ahmed in the jaw before Animal cracks Savio with the trash can.
Trash cans litter the ring, trash can shots for the babyfaces as Crush works over Hawk. PG-13 have a rope to hang and choke Ahmed Jonshon, Clarence Mason is choking Ahmed, the crowd chants LOD over and over but it looks like the babyfaces might have met their match. Faarooq and Savio eat a double clothesline from Hawk, trash can shots for Savio and Faarooq. Ahmed takes down D’Lo at ringside and crotches Savio on the guard-rail before Savio throws Ahmed into the crowd. Faarooq is flattened with a massive sign before continuing to choke Hawk, Crush stabs Animal with a wrench. PG-13 double team Ahmed, Hawk has had enough though as he pulls Faarooq to the floor.
More brawling without rhyme or reason continues, Hawk struggles with the extinguisher as Ahmed spinebusters Faarooq. PG-13 batter Ahmed to stop The Pearl River Plunge. Doomsday Device to Crush, Ahmed waffles Crush with the 2X4 and mercifully this match comes to an end.
The perfect match to follow Austin vs Bret Hart, literally non-stop violence with nothing of note happening in the match at all. Doomsday Device to both members of PG-13 comes after the match and it’s easily the best part, there was nothing really to say about this one. Ahmed still didn’t get to Faarooq, these two will battle again and maybe it will be less of a car crash than this match.
Winners: Ahmed Johnson & LOD over The Nation of Domination via 2X4!
(WWF Championship No Holds Barred Match) The Undertaker vs Sycho Sid ©
Undertaker is back to wearing grey like when he debuted, an interesting touch for the main event. Shawn Michaels is on commentary and Bret Hart tells both competitors what he thinks of them. Bret talks massive amounts of shit and eats a Powerbomb for his words, Sid comes off as a massive babyface following this action. Taker tees off on Sid, Sid sends Taker to the corner but Taker counters with a massive boot. Rights and lefts, corner splash from The Deadman. Scoop slam for two, Sid counters The Deadman with a bearhug. They stay an eternity in this bearhug, completely overstaying their welcome. Sid lands a clubbing blow before going back to it, boot and clothesline by Sid but Taker lands on his feet. Sid kicks Taker into the Spanish announce table, Sid continues his submission wrestling clinic with a camel clutch in the ring. Taker escapes and fights back, powerslam from Sid for two.
Sid misses a clothesline and eats a flying clothesline from The Deadman. Sid tees off in the corner before Taker lands 3 big headbutts and tosses Sid to the floor. Taker continues to dish out the attacks with Sid meeting the right hands of The Phenom over and over again, Taker misses a running elbow drop. Taker fights back from his knees with body shots and an uppercut, Sid rakes the eyes but Taker answers with a scoop slam. Taker lands a clothesline, both men land big boots. Sid crawls to the cover for two, axe handle to the spine from Sid. Sid is on the middle rope, axe handle from Sid. Sid climbs up to the middle rope again, the worst looking clothesline I have ever seen to be honest but it floors Taker for a close two.
Taker fights back on the third attempt, eye rake from Sid though. Scoop slam, Taker sits up and crotches Sid. Taker yanks Sid off the top rope, diving clothesline from The Deadman for two. Sid slips out of the tombstone and tombstones Taker, 1….2…. Taker Kicks out! Sid dumps Taker to the floor, they trade blows on the floor before Bret waffles Sid with a steel chair twice in the back. Taker slams Sid spine-first into the ring-post, Chokeslam by Taker. 1…2… Sid manages to kick out! Taker misses his flying clothesline as Sid ducks, Sid wants the powerbomb but Bret runs down to ringside, Bret hot-shots Sid and Taker lands The Tombstone Piledriver for the win.
So this was my first time witnessing this match and I am shocked how heavily involved Bret was in Taker capturing the WWF Championship. This adds so much narrative to what would happen at Summerslam 6 months from this moment. Anyways, Sid and Taker batter one another and sadly, there was no way this was going to be anything close to Austin vs Bret from earlier. I wentin with an open mind but the chemistry was just not there, it’s frustrating because Taker was on-fire with Mankind and without Mankind, Taker is back to boring me inside that squared-circle. Call it a sin but I haven’t enjoyed the majority of Taker’s run to this point, I love the character work and the gimmick, there have been moments but many of the matches have been lacking for me. Regardless of my personal opinion, this was your Wrestlemania 13 main event and it delivers on what the fans wanted most: Taker winning the WWF Championship for the first time in a long time.
Winner: The Undertaker over Sycho Sid via Tombstone Piledriver!
That was WWF Wrestlemania XIII, an average Wrestlemania from the WWF. While the quality is starting to even out the card and many of our Attitude favourites are starting to blossom, the matches and angles are not there yet. Bret Hart vs Stone Cold is so far ahead of everything else on this show, it’s not even funny. The match is a classic, every word you can think of used to describe it, it’s true. It’s that good you simply need to see it for its quality. The rest of the card feels lacking, Hunter vs Goldust, the opening tag match, Rocky vs Sultan could have been on any In Your House or PPV, they weren’t flying on all cylinders. The tag team championship was tame with a frustrating ending while I would hesitate LOD & Ahmed vs The Nation as anything more than filler. The main event sends the fans home happy but it’s not Mania main event worthy, it’s more about the narrative being formed around Bret Hart’s obsession for the WWF Championship. The WWF is looking better but things could be better, hopefully we get more quality as 1997 continues to roll on through with The Deadman on top. Thank you for the continued support, thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!