Torch Flashbacks KELLER'S WWE WRESTLEMANIA 13 REPORT: Bret vs. Austin, Undertaker vs. Sid, Rock and Triple H in openers
Mar 29, 2008 - 2:17:27 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
WWF WRESTLEMANIA X-3
MARCH 23, 1997
LIVE FROM CHICAGO, ILL. AT THE ROSEMONT HORIZON
MATCH ANALYSIS by Wade Keller
FREE FOR ALL
Todd Pettengill opened the "Free For All" pregame show in mid-ring hyping the line-up trying to get the crowd into the action. Dok Hendrix stood by in the concourse with fans screaming behind him. Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler then conversed about the show from the ringside announcing table.
(A) Billy Gunn defeated Flash Funk at 7:03. Gunn dominated offense until 4:30 when he missed a legdrop off the top rope. Funk made his comeback and hit a top rope huracanrana at 5:50 for a two count. Funk went for a moonsault, but Gunn lifted his knees and caught him in the gut. Gunn then hit a swinging DDT off the top rope for the win. (*)
Pettengill interviewed Steve Austin. Austin said a submission match isn't his style of match and he doesn't know a lot of moves, but said he would beat the hell out of Bret until he quit. He concluded: "Bret, you always get on TV and say you've been screwed. Well, let me tell you this, son. I'm not bringing a condom to the ring. I'm bringing a hell of a can of whoop ass." After more feud recaps, Pettengill interviewed the NOD.
(1) The Head Bangers won the four-team tag match outlasting Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon and The Blackjacks and The Godwinns at 10:39. The Blackjacks were DQ'd at 4:30 when Bradshaw shoved the ref. Furnas & LaFon were counted out at 4:40. The Head Bangers won when Mosh gave Phinneous the bombs away. The Bangers worked hard, but overall a nothing match. (3/4*)
Brian Pillman and Sunny plugged the 900 line.
(2) Rocky Maivia pinned The Sultan (w/Iron Sheik & Bob Backlund) to retain the Intercontinental Title at 9:45. Honky Tonk Man came to ringside for commentary. Early in the match they showed Tony Atlas in the first row. Two long nerve holds and a chinlock bored the crowd in the first seven minutes. At 8:00 Rocky hit a crossbody off the top rope, but Iron Sheik distracted the ref. Rocky got up and yelled at Sheik. Sultan surprised Rocky with a sidekick and a piledriver. Rocky kicked out and schoolboyed Sultan for a three count out of nowhere. Disappointing match. Afterward Ross went to interview Rocky at ringside. Sultan attacked Rocky. Iron Sheik applied the camel clutch. Maivia's father, Rocky Johnson, made the save, but the heels overwhelmed him. Rocky then came back and cleared the ring. The crowd popped for Iron Sheik getting beat up. (*)
Tod Pettengill interviewed Ken Shamrock. Dok Hendrix interviewed Hunter and Chyna.
(3) Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) pinned Goldust (w/Marlena) at 14:27. Goldust wore a new black and gold outfit. Goldust stared down Hunter and then attacked him at the start. Some nice spots for an overall average match. In the end, Chyna approached Marlena and backed her against the ring. Goldust leaned over the top rope and picked up Marlena, getting her out of Chyna's reach. Hunter charged and kneed Goldust from behind, knocking Marlena off the ring apron into Chyna's arms. Chyna then shook Marlena violently. Hunter meanwhile gave Goldust the Pedigree and scored the three count. Goldust carried Marlena to the back. An unremarkable match with nothing especially wrong with it, but both have shown more fire, energy, and innovation in the past. (*3/4)
They showed Shawn Michaels on AOL hunting and pecking on a keyboard.
(4) British Bulldog & Owen Hart fought Vader & Mankind to a double countout at 16:05 so Owen & Bulldog retained the WWF Tag Team Titles. On their way to the ring McMahon stirred trouble by confronting Bulldog with Owen's comments in past weeks. Owen accused Ross of trying to start trouble. When Owen faced off against Vader at the start, McMahon commented that Vader is in the best shape of his WWF career. At 4:00 Bulldog tagged in against Mankind and once again went to that crowd-killing chinlock that he always resorts to. When Mankind went after Bulldog with the urn at ringside, Bulldog tripped him. Vader picked up the urn and nailed Bulldog with it from behind. Bulldog sold for the heels until he caught Vader coming off the top rope and slammed him to the mat at 8:45. He then hot-tagged Owen who hit Vader with a top rope dropkick and followed up with some offense and two counts. Vader and Mankind took over offense once again doubling up on Owen at ringside. They showed Stu and Helen Hart at ringside. Lawler said they didn't care that Owen was getting beaten up because he was always their least favorite. Lawler then asked if Stu even knew where he was. Mankind went to a facelock and the cameras panned the crowd. Owen reversed a neckbreaker into a DDT in his first hope spot in several minutes, but he then dove onto Mankind and Mankind lifted his knees. A minute later Owen made another comeback attempt, but Mankind tagged in Vader who stopped that. When Mankind charged Owen at ringside, Owen turned it into a belly-to-belly suplex. At 14:45 Owen hot-tagged Bulldog who went to work on Mankind and Vader. When Bulldog lifted Mankind for a powerslam, Mankind slipped on the Mandible Claw. Vader stopped Owen from making the save, but then Vader knocked Owen into Mankind and Bulldog. Mankind bumped to the floor and reapplied the claw and in the process was counted out. A clever, but flat finish to a solid tag match. Owen took some nice bumps. Mankind didn't seem hampered by his bad back. (**3/4)
(5) Bret Hart defeated Steve Austin via submission at 22:05 when a bloody Austin passed out while in the sharpshooter. Ken Shamrock was the special referee. Both Austin and Bret got a mix of cheers and boos on their way to the ring, mostly cheers. Bret slapped hands with the fans on his way to the ring. Austin charged Bret and took him to the mat at the start. They rolled out of the ring and continued to exchange punches. Bret threw Austin into the ringpost. Austin blocked a Bret suplex and then straddled Bret over the guard rail. Austin clotheslined Bret into the crowd and followed him over the rail. Lou Albano and Tony Atlas had to move out of the way. Austin rammed Bret head-first into the railing. They brawled into the crowd. Austin dropped Bret over the hockey boards, but Bret responded by ramming Austin into them. Bret backdropped out of an Austin piledriver attempt in the crowd. Shamrock watched the action, but mainly kept fans out of the way. Bret threw Austin over the railing back toward the ring, then leaped off the railing onto Austin. Austin reversed Bret into the stairs, popping the crowd. At 4:15 Austin gave Bret the finger and then leaped off the ring apron onto Bret. Austin lifted the top half of the ring stairs, but he lost his grip and fell backward. Bret went after Austin, but Austin yanked Bret into the ringpost. They finally returned to the ring at 5:15. Bret surprised Austin with a swinging neckbreaker at 5:40. McMahon said if Bret loses the match he will have an excuse. Bret began working over Austin's knee at 6:00. At 7:30 Austin gave Bret a jawjacker, but as soon as he got to his feet Bret knocked him to the mat. McMahon began heaping praise on Austin for showing guts. At 8:20 Bret applied the figure-four leglock around the ringpost. Austin sold it by slamming the mat with his hands. Lawler said Austin's leg could look like Robin Ventura's and he still wouldn't give up. Bret brought a chair into the ring and set up Austin's leg in it as Austin did to Brian Pillman a few months earlier. Bret looked to the crowd and got some cheers of approval. As Bret climbed the ropes, Austin got up and smashed Bret. He began to show some babyface fire as he whacked Bret full force across the back with the chair at 10:00. Austin continued on offense and got babyface pops for each move. Ross said the WWF was all about a match like this, not covering bald spots. Austin applied a submission armlock with his leg putting pressure on Bret's head. They showed a girl in the crowd, Bret's daughter Alexandria, covering her face. They showed Stu and Helen Hart also looking on. Austin applied the Boston Crab at 12:10. At 13:00 Austin got a pop as he began to apply the sharpshooter, but Bret raked his eyes to break the move. Outside the ring Bret reversed an Austin whip and sent him into the guard rail to take over offense at 14:00. Austin crashed through some WWF workers at ringside. Austin came up bleeding from above his left eye. The blood was really dripping from his forehead as Austin tried to wipe it away. Bret threw Austin back into the ring. Bret punched away at Austin's forehead. Bret took a chair and rammed it into the back of Austin's knee, then went for the sharpshooter at 17:00. Austin raked Bret's eye, having learned from Bret's defense of the hold earlier in the match. As Bret punched away at Austin in the corner, he kicked him between the legs. Bret went down as Austin checked on his cut. Ross said, "Austin's a stud." Austin began a babyface type comeback showing great fire. He stomped away at Bret in the corner, gave him the double middle finger, and then set him on the top rope and executed a superplex. As they showed a close-up of Austin's forehead, which was pretty much covered completely in blood, McMahon said it was "unfortunate" and that it "doesn't happen that often in the WWF." Austin got an extension cord and wrapped it around Bret's throat. Bret bashed Austin over the head the ring bell to escape the choke. Bret then put Austin in the sharpshooter from behind at 20:20. Austin refused to give up, but cried in agony. Shamrock kept asking Austin if he gave up. Just as Austin seemed to be losing consciousness, he gave it one more burst of energy and came about as close to breaking the hold as possible, but when he rolled Bret backward, Bret kept the grip and rolled back into it. Blood was blowing from his head, dripping from his nose. Shamrock screamed, "Steve, do you give up?!" Austin didn't move and Shamrock called for the bell. Ross screamed, "Austin never gave up! He passed out from the pain." McMahon said Bret defeated one of the gutsiest individuals ever in the WWF. A minute later Bret grabbed Austin's leg and began stomping away at it. Bret began to apply the sharpshooter again when Shamrock threw him backward to the mat without Bret}s cooperation. Shamrock got in his UFC fighting stance. The fans cheered Bret to go after Shamrock, but Bret just turned around and walked away. The fans booed Bret for walking away from the challenge. Bret looked at the crowd in disgust, yelling at a few individually as he walked away. Austin began regaining consciousness. His cut seemed to have clotted. Austin struggled to his feet and kicked the ref who was helping him, then gave him a jawjacker of sorts. Austin then made his way to the back on his own. The fans stood and cheered him as he limped to the back. A loud, "Austin" chant began. McMahon couldn't have asked for a crowd reaction that played out more ideally. Lawler, Austin, and McMahon heaped praise on Austin for his guts, then ripped into Bret's "transformation." (****3/4)
(6) The Road Warriors & Ahmed Johnson beat The Nation of Domination (Faarooq & Savio Vega & Crush) when Hawk pinned Crush after a top rope clothesline at 10:43. The NOD brought a garbage can full of weapons (a la the Gangstas) to the ring to use. Since it was a no DQ match, it was all legal. Fans chanted "LOD" as they pressed PG13 and D-Lo brown in mid-ring. They began with a heated brawl and continued that way throughout the match. Animal gave Faarooq a botched piledriver attempt on the announcers table. Animal began spraying a fire extinguisher at the NOD at 3:30. Hawk put a metal garbage can over Savio's head and bashed him to the ground. Faarooq slammed Ahmed through the French announcers table at ringside. At 9:55 when Ahmed set up the Pearl River Plunge, the NOD ran in and saved Faarooq. Fans continued to chant, "LOD." Hawk clotheslined Crush off of Animal's shoulders and then Ahmed clotheslined him with the two-by-four and Animal covered him for a three count. The brawl continued after the bell. Hawk then came off the top rope with both arms extended and clotheslined both of PG13 off of the shoulders of both Ahmed and Animal. An entertaining mess of brawling. (***)
(7) Undertaker pinned Sid to capture the WWF Title after a tombstone piledriver at 23:50. Shawn Michaels came to the ring for color commentary. As his intro music played he shook hands with fans as he made his way to the ring. He applauded the crowd for their ovation for him. Undertaker and Sid opened the match with a staredown. Bret interrupted the beginning the match. Michaels said, "Imagine that. Bret resentful of not being in the main event and not being the man." He grabbed the house mic and looked down at Michaels at the announcing desk. He called him a "phony little faker" and told him to go take his "pussy foot injury and go back and find your smile, but "stay out of this match." Michaels mocked back, "I'm so scared." Bret looked to Undertaker and told him their friendship ended when he slammed the cage door on him to cost him the WWF Title. Bret looked at Sid and told him he is a fraud because the belt belongs to him (Bret). Sid punched and powerbombed Bret which got a huge pop from the fans. Sid said, "Take your whiny ass out of here... I'll kick your ass when I'm done with Undertaker." The match then officially began. Undertaker hit a corner splash at 3:00. Sid caught Undertaker on his second charge and applied a bearhug. Michaels said it's a lot easier to announce than actually be in the ring. When he said he might take Lawler's job, Lawler said, "Over my dead body." Michaels said, "That can be arranged," then said that at least he is willing to take bumps in the ring. At 4:30 Undertaker dropped to his knees as fans encouraged him with "Rest in Peace" chants. The bearhug remained on until 6:20, over three minutes. Sid gave Undertaker a boot to the face and Undertaker bumped over the top rope but landed on his feet. Undertaker then bumped backward over the Spanish announcing table. Michaels quipped, "I never want to sit at that table," in reference to the Spanish table usually being the target of table spots. Sid dropped Undertaker over the rail, then slammed him on the table, then into the post. At 10:17 Sid legdropped Undertaker but the crowd didn't respond much.He went for the pin several times, and grew more and more frustrated with each kickout. At 12:00 Undertaker threw Sid to the floor to finally take over offense. Back in the ring, though, Sid took over and went to a chinlock, slowing the pace of the match again. Undertaker began a comeback and then went to a nerve hold at 15:00. Fans got restless and even booed a bit. There were even some scattered European whistles signalling boredom. In a nice spot they both gave each other a boot to the face at the same time. Sid covered Undertaker but only got a two count. At 19:20 Undertaker knocked Sid off the top rope and then clotheslined him for a two count. At 20:40 he went for the tombstone, but Sid flipped over and gave Undertaker a tombstone. Undertaker kicked out of a convincing near fall. Sid threw Undertaker to the floor. Bret then came to ringside and whacked Sid in the back with a chair. WWF officials dragged Bret away. Michaels said Bret is bitter because the spotlight isn't on him. Lawler retorted, "That's the pot calling the kettle black." At 22:30 Undertaker hit the chokeslam for a two count. Undertaker flew at Sid, but Sid moved. Sid then signalled for the powerbomb and Bret returned to ringside. An exasperated Michaels said, "Geez, doesn't he ever get tired of getting beat up." Undertaker caught a distracted Sid from behind with a schoolboy for the three count. The three count was especially slow, either for the sake of drama or as a rib on Sid to make him lie on his back even longer. Usually pinfall three counts are faster than the rest of the two counts. The match had too many slow spots and Sid was pretty bad at times. The bout would have benefited from being trimmed, but the length was extended because they had so much satellite time left. As it was, the card ended about 20 minutes before the hour. (**1/4)
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