Bret Hart’s ego combined with his temper had reached a boiling point. He had become nothing more than a whiny, past-his-prime shell of his former self.
Meanwhile, Stone Cold Steve Austin was at the top his game. He was hungry for success, and would do whatever it took to achieve that success, whether you liked it or not.
Setting the stage for the two immortals to tear down the house at the Showcase of Immortals: WrestleMania XIII.
To view the entire match, click here.
Stone Cold Steve Austin literally shattered glass when walking through curtain, perhaps a symbolic gesture, as he had broken that glass ceiling that prevented him from being in the main event.
Not only a main event, but the main event of WrestleMania.
Bret Hart walked out to a mixed reaction, as opposed to the raucous one that Austin had received, with a scowl on his face. He half-heartedly handed a kid in the front row his sunglasses and headed up the ring steps without any emotion. In his mind, he was ready to end this kid’s 15 minutes of fame.
Yes, Austin was very much a proven commodity at this point in time, having won the King of the Ring, the Royal Rumble and main-evented numerous pay-per-views. However, without this match, it’s doubtful if he would ever reach his full potential.
Hart strutted near Austin with attitude oozing from his pores. The Rattlesnake didn’t wait, pouncing on his prey with a Lou Thesz Press, followed up by a series of punches.
Hart turned it around and pounded the head of Stone Cold before rolling outside the ring. Austin uppercut Hart as his feet met the floor, and Hart responded with an uppercut of his own.
The tone for this I Quit match had been set. It was a tone fueled by pure hate and anguish for one another. It was one that featured much brawling and technical wrestling, and wasn’t for the faintest of hearts.
This is a war at WrestleMania, I love it! ~Jerry Lawler
The two went back and forth, exchanging offense, brawling outside the ring and through the crowd in hopes of dismantling and/or weakening the other. The camera had trouble focusing, as without the technology we have today, the cameraman had to fight through the sea of humanity to get the fans at home a good view of the brawl.
Special guest referee Ken Shamrock had to catch up to Hart and Austin as well, finally doing just that as they headed back down the stairs. Hart then hit a back body drop on Austin.
Back at ringside, Austin immediately sling-shot Hart into the steel steps, shoulder first. He followed up by getting on the apron, flipping off his rival and shouting ‘Austin 3:16′ before diving off onto The Hitman.
Jim Ross said “I like this!” in an almost enlightened voice, as if he finally understood what Steve Austin was about.
Austin raised the top part of the steps above his head, signaling he was ready to knock Hart unconscious. Hart, though, swept the leg of Austin, who tumbled down faster than Humpty Dumpty.
Yes, I fit in a Humpty Dumpty reference.
They worked their way back into the ring, finally slowing things down and pushing the reset button in a way. Bret Hart took control, working over Austin’s knee, which you could only assume was to weaken it for The Sharpshooter.
Despite Austin hitting a Stunner to momentarily catch his breath, Hart recovered and went back on the attack. He locked in a figure-four, locking the legs of Stone Cold around the steel post, triggering bone-chilling pain as the once-villain pounded the mat. Hart eventually relinquished the hold, but still looked to prolong Austin’s agony.
So he grabbed a steel chair and rolled Stone Cold back in the ring. He wrapped the chair around the weakened knee, and headed to the top rope. Austin removed it as Hart climbed the turnbuckle, and knocked Hart off with a shot to his head.
Hart fell to his hands and knees as Austin hit him again with the chair, this time to the spine, to the delight of the fans. It was Austin’s match to lose now, as he dominated Hart for the next couple minutes.
Hart would only get back into the match with a poke to Austin’s eyes, when Austin attempted to lock in the Sharpshooter. He’d target the midsection with a couple punches and headed outside.
He Irish-whipped Austin into the announce table, ironically into Austin’s future rival, Vince McMahon. Austin's head bounced off the protective barricade, causing him to be busted open in the process, and giving Hart the chance to throw him around for several minutes. Hart used the steel chair to attack both of Austin’s knees, including an already injured one with a brace on it.
“He’s like an animal! He’s out of control! Hart is trying to break Austin’s leg!” Jim Ross furiously uttered.
Hart tried to lock in his Sharpshooter, but Austin stopped him with a rake to the face. When he trapped him into the corner for a flurry of offense, Austin opted for a low blow.
Back on offense, Austin stomped a mudhole in Hart and hit a Superplex.
He grabbed an extension cord, caught a slithering Hart to try to submit him, but Hart rang his bell with the ring bell.
Hart took Austin off his feet with a nasty chop, and locked in The Sharpshooter. Blood poured profusely from Austin’s head, as he shook and screamed, refusing to quit. Resisting, scratching, clawing. Nothing worked as the fans watched from their feet, cheering on Austin.
Even when it looked as if Austin had broken The Sharpshooter, he hadn’t. He didn’t have the power it took in order to break the nearly unbreakable hold. His body became limp and he didn’t move.
Steve Austin had passed out. Ken Shamrock called for the bell. Your winner: Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
Once he finished celebrating, Hart further attacked Austin. Shamrock didn’t allow it to last long, as he hit a belly-to-back suplex on Hart.
Hart, like the bully he had become, walked out of the ring with his tail firmly tucked in-between his legs to a chorus of boos. Austin refused help, Stunning a referee and stumbling to the backstage area on his own.
The double turn was complete. And it was done in one of the greatest professional wrestling matches of all time.