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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-03-2013, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

As a few of you can tell by now, I've been watching WWF 1997. A lot of my threads have been in the classics section.

That said, was Bret vs HBK ever really the planned main event for WM 13? I don't believe the Screwjob was a work, but I'm starting to believe the only 3 people who know the true extent of the HBK vs Bret rivalry are them and Vince. Nothing in early 1997 indicated that being the direction.

The main event roster from January '97 to WM13: Sid, Bret, HBK, Undertaker, Steve Austin & Vader.

At the time of Shawn's injury the feuds were Sid vs Shawn, Bret vs Austin & Vader vs Undertaker.

Shawn beats Sid in San Antonio at the Royal Rumble. Austin screws Bret out of the Royal Rumble win.

Due to the way Austin won a Final
Four is made for number one contendership between Austin, Bret, Vader & Undertaker.

Sid is also set to face Shawn for the title. Shawn get's injured.

Now, a case could be made that Bret would've won the final four and HBK would've beat Sid, but watching the product just didn't seem that way. I'll get to that in a sec.

Now, the Final Four is made to a title match with Sid facing the winner the next night on Raw for the title.

Bret wins. Then Sid wins after help from Austin.

Undertaker randomly is named #1 contender. I guess cause he was the last man eliminated at the final four.

Bret vs Austin is named for WM13.
Shamrock is integrating into the WWF and is named referee.

Bret gets his title match in a cage the last Raw before Mania. Sid retains.

Now, while all this is going on Bret is slowly becoming a whiner and turns heel on the last Raw before Mania. Some say it was at Mania, but he loses it after the cage match starting a full on melee.

Vader and Taker seems to end at Final Four. Vader is put with Foley against Owen and Bulldog. This frees Undertaker up for a mania feud.

Bret vs Austin was going all out. There's no way Final Four could've been the blow off match. It either had to happen on a Raw before mania or at Mania.

Sid was still hanging around the title picture.

Bret vs Shawn had lingering heat, but it never looked like a feud was on the horizon.

After Shawn's injury, Austin vs. Bret looks like the real main event and even until the last Raw of before Mania it was hinted the title could've been in that match.

Austin was the number one heel on the show. Sid just kind of was there, and Bret was slowly turning.

If Bret vs Shawn would've been on the books for real, Bret would've had to turn at Final Four. The "cry baby" stuff started after the rumble, but wasn't even going strong until near Mania. Basically, Bret vs Shawn would've been Bret as a heel vs face Shawn, but it never looked like they had enough time to turn Bret before mania for a match for Shawn. Bret and Austin had strong heat already going. So it was easier to do the double turn in that feud than to start Bret from scratch going as a heel against Shawn.
I'm saying the seeds were planted to turn Bret, but not enough for a whole new feud. It's obvious he was turning, but I just don't see him getting enough heat from Final Four to Mania without him committing to the turn at Final Four. Shawn only got injured a week before Final Four.

Even if Bret had won Final Four with Shawn still as champ. Austin did not look like he was leaving that rivalry anytime soon unless he was champ or had a title match.

He won the rumble and was attacking Bret at every moment possible.

I maybe explaining this confusingly, but Austin vs Shawn looked more likely than Bret vs Shawn. Undertaker and Sid was probably always on the card, but just not a title match. Bret looked more like an odd man out/ back up plan if Austin didn't get over as a top heel between January to Mania.

It looks like face Shawn vs heel Austin was planned, but after Shawn's injury they scrapped having Austin in the title match.

Shawn got injured, the belt was moved to Sid vs Undertaker. Instead of having some blow off match on Raw, Austin vs Bret extended til Mania. Austin was getting cheered so they did the double turn at Mania. It looks like Bret would've stayed face until after Mania to give him a heel to face at Mania which probably would've been Vader or Foley.

I'm looking at this from different angles. Had Shawn not gotten injured... who the hell was Austin going to face? He was deep into a feud was Bret that wasn't going to in a four way. All signs point towards him winning the rumble, winning the four way, leaving Bret out the picture, having a blow off with Bret then head towards Shawn. Sid wasn't going to turn face to Steve. Undertaker would've been free, but that's it. There's no one for Austin to face in the midst of a huge push.

Bret was clearly turning heel, but it wasn't at a rapid rate. They would've had to kill the feud with Austin and rapidly accelerate his turn in time for Mania for Shawn. I simply do not see face Shawn vs a face at this Mania.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-03-2013, 07:02 PM
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

Yes, it was very likely (I'd say definitely) planned to be Bret vs Shawn. This was the WWF Magazine for April 1997, which was released in March, and was the WrestleMania preview edition, meaning the cover art had to have been done sometime in February before it was certain HBK wouldn't make WrestleMania 13:

They even set it up at the Rumble with HBK winning his belt back and Bret getting screwed in the Rumble (but winning the Final Four match to get the shot - which he still did, only he wound up winning the belt).

The Austin feud was to be Bret's fall-into-WrestleMania feud (similar to his feud with Diesel in late 95/early 96) to build him up for WM13. The matches that are apparent from the magazine cover are Bret/Shawn, Undertaker/Sid. Who would Austin have faced? That's a very good question as there weren't really a lot of top level faces for him to go against.

Obviously, the Bret-Austin feud wasn't over at all going into WM13, Shawn match or not, and had Bret won the title there, it would have been Austin challenging him for it to continue the feud.

They did have Austin cost Vader a match against Bret on the same show where HBK surrendered the title, so it's possible that it would have been Austin vs Vader (that seems the likely candidate) in a heel vs heel, or one of them turning to face the other, match.

Other possible opponents could have been: Ahmed Johnson, Mankind, and even Owen Hart. With the exception of Ahmed, all are heels.

He could have also gone against Rocky Maivia for the IC Title, since they wanted to put the IC strap on him anyway that year.

Truth is, there were no real strong opponents with any build for Austin at WM13, but they had options.

Last edited by Mifune Jackson; 05-03-2013 at 07:07 PM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-03-2013, 07:04 PM
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

The original plan was Bret vs Shawn for the title. Shawn therefore won the title back at the Rumble and Bret would win the Final Four.

Then the decision was made that Bret vs Shawn would be the semi-main and Sid vs Taker would be for the title. Therefore Sid would win back the title from HBK on Thursday Night Raw and Taker would win the Final Four.

The most likely opponent for Austin was the Bulldog. That feud started in December of 96 with Austin costing him a match and injuring his knee. The feud continued at the Rumble.

At that point there was talk of Mankind vs Vader (according to Foleys book). Owen in this case would probably go for the IC title against Rocky. He would win it two months later anyway.

The card prior to HBKs injury on Thursday raw was probably like this:

Sid vs Taker for the title
Bret vs HBK with the hair stipulation
Austin vs Bulldog
Mankind vs Vader
Rocky vs Owen
Goldust vs Triple H

Last edited by murder; 05-03-2013 at 07:12 PM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-03-2013, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

Thanks guy, They seemed to be in an odd situation because they were heel heavy, but Steve was starting to receive cheers and Bret was slowly turning heel, I think it worked best that they stayed working together.

If Shawn vs Bret would've stayed and Undertaker vs Sid stayed I think the tag team match would've had to have been broken up. Mankind was named number one contender the night after WM13 so I think he would've been the best fit for a match with Austin. He also could've brought the brutality the could lead to a Austin ace turn if that was still the plan. Bulldog and Owen could've faced each other as they had a feud building. Then that leaves Vader as the odd man out, but he did have a few matches with Rocky around that time, they could've put the belt in that match.

I never heard that HBK vs Bret would've been moved to a semi-main event.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-04-2013, 06:23 AM
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

Originally Posted by ninealevyn View Post

I never heard that HBK vs Bret would've been moved to a semi-main event.
It's mentioned in Brets and Shawns books.

Once Vince decided to put the title on Taker (probably after HBK refused to drop it to Bret), he wanted Bret vs HBK in a hair vs hair match and Bret would cut Shawns hair.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-04-2013, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Shawn was okay with losing his hair?

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-04-2013, 07:00 PM
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

Even without the title on the line he wouldn't put Bret over, so he probably wasn't. Thats the dumbest stip for a match like this to begin with.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-04-2013, 07:41 PM
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

I've made the same thread a few times as it just wasn't ever truly clear which way WWE was going in regards to Bret Hart and WrestleMania 13 as Austin/Hart just didn't seem anywhere near over still when Shawn Michaels was STILL the WWE champion and everything pointed more towards Austin/Hart than Michaels/Hart in my opinion.

Plans were in place to turn Bret Hart heel in very late 1996 or very early 1997 and plans were also in place heading into The Royal Rumble to turn Stone Cold Steve Austin babyface as Vince McMahon had finally accepted he needed to change his product to an edgier format. The cookie cutter white meat babyface in the mould of Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart was at an end so Vince McMahon needed edgier babyface characters full of attitude which is why they wanted to push Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels as the two top babyfaces with The Undertaker also given more to his character.

The hair vs hair match wasn't meant to happen until later in the year but that was the one match Vince McMahon proposed to Bret Hart he would win against Shawn Michaels in but it was shot down by Bret Hart because he was slated to lose three matches to Shawn Michaels over the course of six months. Vince McMahon had even apparently told Bret Hart that Michaels/Hart would also main event WrestleMania 14 but I don't believe that as Stone Cold Steve Austin was going to be the main event at that event no matter what.

If Austin/Hart wasn't the plan for WrestleMania 13 and Michaels/Hart was then I have zero idea on who Stone Cold Steve Austin would face as Undertaker/Sid was planned from late 1996 whilst Mick Foley, Vader, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog were all heels which left The Rock who at that time would have been a HUGE comedown for Stone Cold Steve Austin after Austin/Hart and winning The Royal Rumble. Even though its highly likely Michaels/Hart WAS the plan the ONLY person who's EVER said it was meant to happen was Bret Hart and he at that time hated Shawn Michaels but yet never mentions anything about it so who really knows.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2013, 09:07 AM
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

Damn shame Hart Vs. Austin wasn't for the WWF Championship.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2013, 10:30 AM
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Re: Wrestlemania 13, HBK vs Bret Hart. Complete BS?

Bret/HBK was planned with Bret going over, Shawn lost his smile and faked a knee injury. Long run, we were better off cuz we got the GOAT match with Bret and Stone Cold. Booking that rematch at Mania was dumb anyways, Bret/Austin was on fire at the time, so why book Bret against anyone other than Austin?

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