“I’m laying in a pool of blood. This is the greatest feeling in the world."
-- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin --
According to stories, the storyline was written a year in advance where Hart dropped the belt to Michaels at Wrestlemania 12 and then Michaels would return the favor at Wrestlemania 13 and drop the belt back to Hart. Michaels, who had just defeated Psycho Sid at the Royal Rumble to win the WWE World Title, now refused to do the deed and job to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13. At this time, whether true or not, Michaels suddenly suffered a knee injury, claimed to have lost his smile and vacated the WWE World Title. Many, including Bret Hart, stated that Michaels faked the whole thing and found a loop hole to get out of facing Hart at Wrestlemania. So now an "injured" Shawn Michaels just ruined the Wrestlemania main event that was planned out a year ago and now one of WWE's top baby faces, Bret Hart, had no match on the biggest stage in sports entertainment. This would turn into a good thing, however, for the WWE.
- Setting Up The Match, Hart and Austin's Opinions: Just three weeks before Wrestlemania, Vince McMahon, decided to revisit a past feud and go with Bret Hart facing Steve Austin in a "No Holds Barred, Submission Match". Austin recently commented on his podcast that he was sitting at home in San Antonio watching RAW, with a knee injury, when McMahon made the announcement. Austin stated that he was extremely pissed off about the announcement because it was a submission match and Austin didn't have many if any submission holds in his arsenal. Bret Hart also commented recently that he wasn't happy about the match either, because he and Austin made an agreement that their first Survivor Series encounter would be the one and only time they'd face each other. Hart wasn't comfortable with how well of a match he and Austin could perform at Wrestlemania, because they put all their ideas into their Survivor Series match thinking it would be their one and only meeting. Hart and Austin were worried, but what they didn't know was they were about to have one of the greatest matches in WWE history.
- Fighting In The Crowd: Both Bret Hart and Steve Austin commented on their brawl in the stands and through the crowd to kick off the match. Hart and Austin came up with the idea, but were afraid Vince McMahon would shoot down the idea of fighting in the crowd. Vince surprising agreed to the idea only because he 100% trusted two guys like Hart and Austin to pull it off without causing any injury to a fan. Fighting through the crowd wasn't a very common thing in wrestling back then, maybe except for ECW, but this opened the door to other organizations using this as a great match time waster and climax build up to the match finale. Funny part of this was right when Bret Hart gets tossed over the barricade, a security guard gets kicked right in the back by Bret Hart on accident. Good thing it wasn't a fan.
- Double Turn: The closing moments of the match we began to see what would be called a double turn. Bret Hart entered the face (good guy) and Steve Austin entered the heel (bad guy). By matches end Hart began to get booed by the fans and Austin got "Austin" chants and cheers for his "refuse to submit" attitude. Hart made the fans hate him even more by refusing to let up on Austin after the match, forcing Ken Shamrock to step in and rag doll slam Hart. This time frame was also when Bret Hart went into a "What about me?" and "I'm getting screwed" gimmick. A week leading into Wrestlemania, Bret Hart had a huge temper tantrum after getting screwed out of the WWE World Title. Hart grabbed a microphone, spat on Vince McMahon and cut a curse filled promo that would've made CM Punk blush. Many felt that this was the real moment when Hart went heel and many fans wanted to see the heel Austin destroy Hart at Wrestlemania.
So there you go, those are the stories and rumors I heard about one of the greatest matches in WWE history. Hope you enjoyed the blog, as I personally enjoyed going back down memory lane and doing research on one of my favorite Wrestlemania matches of all time. If I ever made a list of must see Wrestlemania matches, this match would definitely be in the top five.
Now go do yourself a favor and watch one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches of all time!