The show kicks off with Bret Hart who storms down to the ring and snatches the microphone from Howard Finkel. He cuts an amazing promo aimed at Vince McMahon regarding opportunities he was promised when re-signing. He brings up how he's been screwed by Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, the WWF and Vince McMahon. He then announces that he's quit and leaves through the crowd.
Austin then comes out and his microphone doesn't even work. Crowd goes absolutely bananas when he gets a working mic and curses the guy who passes him a working microphone. He then criticises Bret Hart calling him a coward and starts bringing up his family. He then starts cricising Gorilla Monsoon before talking smack about The Undertaker. He's on fire right now.
Later in the show, Vince and Gorilla Monsoon come out and Monsoon cuts a promo on the previous nights events. Monsoon confirms that Austin won't be getting a title shot at Wrestlemania based on that win. He then books a fatal four way between The Undertaker, Vader, Stone Cold and Bret Hart in which will determine who will go on to face the champion at Wrestlemania.
Austin then comes down to the ring and cuts another promo, this time directly in front of Monsoon, calling him a jackass in the process. Austin accepts the invitation to the fatal four way match. Bret Hart then comes back out through the crowd, gets in the ring and grabs the mic. He accepts the invitation and then he and Austin have a brawl outside the ring.
Austin then goes on to face The Undertaker straight after this in the main event of Wrestlemania. Vader eventually interrupts as the referee calls for a disqualification. Bret Hart comes down and all hell breaks loose.
JANUARY 28TH, 1997
Between the Rumble and Raw, the last couple have nights have been the Steve Austin show and Dave says at this point, Austin is arguably the premier all-around top performer in the country right now. Credit: Wrestling Observer
FEBURARY 16TH, 1997 - IN YOUR HOUSE: FINAL FOUR
In the build up to this event, Shawn Michaels lost his smile and vacated the belt so this match is now for the WWF Championship. The ways to eliminate your opponent are by pinfall, submission or by throwing them over the top rope.
As expected Vader and Taker go at it and Austin and Hart go at it. Taker dominates the start before going OLD SCHOOL on Austin before the match going back to the normal dynamic of Taker and Vader going at it and Austin and Bret focusing on eachother.
Austin and Hart have the ring to themselves with Austin in control. Taker and Vader go to the outside through the middle rope and out comes the chair. Taker hits Vader in the face with the chair, which busts him open, before all men are back in the ring.
Austin and Taker then go at it in the ring. Vader and Bret Hart go to the outside. A heavily busted open Vader obliterates Bret Hart with a chair on the outside. Taker and Austin then go outside, Austin goes for a piledriver on the concrete but Taker reverses it and flips him onto his back on the concrete. It's absolute hell in this match. Austin then throws the steel chairs at Vader.
All men eventually get back in the ring and the pace slows down a bit. We are over half way into the match and still no eliminations. Vader misses a moon sault on Taker, can't remember him ever landing that in the WWF.
Vaders face looks mutilated. Bret and Taker double team him but he still kicks out. We get our first elimination later in the match and it's Stone Cold who is thrown over the top rope by Bret Hart. Vader throws his bloody mask off to reveal the nasty gash on his face. Vader goes to the top rope but Bret counters it and suplexes him off the top rope, fucking awesome spot.
The sharpshooter is applied to Vader but before he can tap The Undertaker throws Bret Hart to the outside. Stone Cold then runs down to the ring and starts putting a beat down on Hart and throws him face first into the steel ring corner and throws Bret back into the ring.
We have our second elimination. Vader goes for the Vader Bomb on Taker, who sits up and low blows him which sees Vader fall to the outside to a HUGE pop. Austin is still out there attacking Hart, but Taker throws him out. The Undertaker then hits Bret Hart with the chokeslam and then signals for the tombstone. Taker has Hart up for the tombstone but Austin tries grabbing Harts legs to try and get him over the top rope. Taker eventually hits Austin, which allows Hart to clothesline Taker over the ropes.
Bret Hart wins via over the top rope elimination on The Undertaker and becomes the new WWF Champion.
FEBRUARY 17TH, 1997 - MONDAY NIGHT RAW
Following his victory at Final Four, Bret Hart defends his newly won WWF Title against Sycho Sid. It is meant to be opening the show, but as Hart and Sid square up, Austin runs down and starts attacking Bret Hart. He was absolutely obsessed with Hart. Sid then tries attacking Austin before Austin chop blocks his knee. Bret Hart jumps on Austin and hits him with the left and rights before the officials separate them. Sid is selling the chop block like an absolute mad man and the match is booked for later in the show now due to Sids knee issues.
Half way into the show and here we go, the WWF Title match between Sid and Bret. Sid is in the ring and Bret Harts music hits. He's on his way to the ring backstage and suddenly Austin comes from behind and starts beating down Bret Hart. Sid runs backstage and attacks Austin too but Austin just doesn't let go of Bret. You've got Vince and the STOOGES backstage trying to separate them. Title match again postponed.
Finally, it's the main event and it now looks like Bret vs. Sid is finally happening. Near the end of the match, Austin comes through the crowd to interfere but Sid hits him square on the head. Bret then gets Sid in sharpshooter but Austin smashes Hart on the top of the head with the steel chair. Sid gives Bret Hart the powerbomb and wins the title. Brets reign lasted 24 hours. Stone Cold has cost Bret Hart once again.
MARCH 3RD, 1997 - MONDAY NIGHT RAW
It's clear now that at Wrestlemania 13, we will be getting Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart in a submission match. We get an absolutely brilliant promo from Stone Cold here live from satellite where he absolutely goes off on one. Absolutely no one could match Austin when it came to intensity in his promos, especially when he looks straight down the camera.
"There ain't nobody in wrestling that can make me quit, and that's the bottom line 'cos Stone Cold said so"
MARCH 10TH, 1997 - MONDAY NIGHT RAW
Ah, the debut of the epic Raw intro and titantron stage set-up. My absolute favourite. The premise of this show was to build up the fact that Ken Shamrock was going to be the referee of the submission match between Stone Cold and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13.
Shamrock is cutting a promo in the middle of the ring (an awful one) with JR. Suddenly Stone Cold shows up on the titantron. Cuts one hell of a promo on him never giving him on anything in his life and he threatens Shamrock. Shamrock then challenges Austin but Bret Hart interrupts and walks down to the ring and cuts a promo on how there is a lack of justice in the company as he keeps getting screwed. Bret confirms he has a title match next week on Raw in a steel cage match. Austin shows up at the end of the promo just to flip the bird at Bret and Ken.
MARCH 17TH, 1997 - RAW IS WAR
Tensions explode as Bret Hart's recent frustrations hinder his chances in regaining the WWF Title. The steel cage between Bret Hart and Syco Sid main events Raw. Throughout the match, the camera pans backstage to Austin watching on a monitor. At one point it looks like Sid is going to win by escaping through the door but Austin runs down and shuts the door. He clearly wants Bret Hart for the belt at Wrestlemania.
The match continues and Sid eventually hits Bret with the powerbomb and climbs the cage. Austin climbs up and they both brawl on top of the cage. Bret climbs up on top of the cage. Him and Austin both attack Sid but then The Undertaker comes out of nowhere and climbs up the cage to join in. Austin is eventually knocked off the cage to the outside and Hart suplexes Sid off the top of the turnbuckle. Austin grabs a chair and whacks The Undertaker with it and then stomps a mud hole in him.
Sid starts climbing the cage, he's at the top but Bret has a free run at the door which the referee opens. He's practically outside of the cage but then The Undertaker gets up and runs towards the cage door and slams it in Brets face. Sid escapes the cage and retains the WWF Title.
This wasn't the end though. Bret cuts perhaps one of his best promos of all time. Vince tries conducting an interview after the match but Bret Hart shoves him down, takes the microphone and scathes the company. Austin then appears on the titantron and calls Bret Hart a loser. The show closes with Austin and Bret brawling on the outside of the ring.
MARCH 23RD, 1997 - WRESTLEMANIA 13
Here we go. It's Stone Cold Steve Austin. It's Bret Hart. Submission match at Wrestlemania 13. Austin getting predominantly booed as his music hits whilst Bret gets majority cheers but still quite a mixed reaction from the audience. And here we go.
Austin doesn't take his eyes of Bret throughout the whole entrance. Austin tackles Bret right off the bat and this goes straight the outside. Bret throws Austin straight against the ring post and goes for a suplex attempt but Austin counters and plants him straight on the railings before clotheslining him straight into the crowd.
Fans are absolutely on fire early on. Austin takes a drink and then slams the drink in Brets face before Bret starts to take advantage, giving him the left and rights throughout a sea of fans. Hart back body drops Austin onto the concrete as they make there way back to ringside.
Bret goes to through Austin into the steel steps but Austin counters in and absolutely slams Bret through the steps, he gets on the apron, flips the bird and clotheslines Bret to the ground. These men have barely been in the ring for 30 seconds. Austin picks up the steps and tries to hit Bret with them but he blocks the attempt and tries to get the upper hand but to no avail, Austin slams his face into the ring post again and they eventually go in the ring.
But in the ring, Bret shows why he calls himself the best there is. He takes control, targetting the braced up injured knee of Austins. This goes on for a good 2 or 3 minutes before Austin hits a Stone Cold stunner out of nowhere to give him some time to get his breath back. Austin gets back to his feet, he's doing a brilliant job of selling the leg injury but Bret gets him set up for the figure four leg lock with Austins legs wrapped around the ring post.
Bret gets the ring bell and a steel chair and brings them into the ring. He's teasing the pillmanzier spot which Austin done to Bret a month back. The crowd are going nuts. Bret climbs on the turnbuckle but Austin gets up and whacks Bret square in the head with it to regain control in the match. Austin hits the elbow from the top rope straight to the jaw of Hart and Austin gets Hart in the Boston Crob but Hart grabs the bottom rope.
Austin then attempts a sharpshooter but Hart rakes him in the eyes. Austin throws Hart to the outside and attempts an irish whip into the railings but Hart counters it again and busts Austin open. Bret smashes Austins head off the steel steps and clubs him with more lefts and rights before striking his head against the ring post.
Back in the ring, Bret is stomping a hole in Austin and then starts hammering away at his head. Austins face is covered in blood. Bret grabs a chair and goes back to working the injured knee. Hart then attempts a sharpshooter but Austin rakes his face. Austin grabs a breather after a low blow to Hart. Austin is like a man possessed, the crowd are popping huge for him at this point just for how tough he is. Austin hits a top rope suplex on Hart and throws him to the outside.
Using some wire, Austin tries choking Bret Hart out but Bret grabs the ring post he brought in the ring earlier and whacks him in the head with it. Hart then manages to successfully get Austin in the sharpshooter, which gives us one of the best visuals in wrestling history.
Austin is screaming in agony. Shamrock is asking Austin if he gives up but Austin is screaming no at him. The crowd are giving these two a standing ovation. Austin is starting to lose conciousness, the camera pans to his face as the blood rides down his face and into his mouth. Austin is not giving up. Eventually, Austin passes out. Austin never gave up. Shamrock calls for the bell.
Shamrock checks on a passed out Austin as Hart is celebrating. Hart then starts attacking Austin again, targetting the injured knee some more, Shamrock then throws Hart down but Hart walks away as the crowd start booing him. Bret makes his way to the back and starts flipping a fan the bird.
Austin starts to regain conciousness in the ring, helps himself up and stuns a referee for trying to help him up. He leaves the ring and starts to limp to the back. The crowd start to chant Austin as he makes his way to the back. A star is well and truly born.
One of the best matches of all time. Personally, it's my favourite match of all time. I have watched it a thousand times and it gives me goosebumps every single time when the crowd start turning near the end of the match.
MARCH 24TH, 1997 - RAW IS WAR
Following one of the greatest matches in the companies history, Bret Hart lets his fans in the United States know exactly how he feels. He criticises the fans for cheering Austin despite Hart winning the matches. The fans start an 'Austin' chant during the promo. Hart pretty much seals his heel turn by telling the United States fans to kiss his ass.
MARCH 30TH, 1997
Wrestlemania 13 is in the books and it was 100% the Bret Hart and Steve Austin show. Their match stole the show and established Austin as the top babyface, Hart as the top heel, and even got Ken Shamrock over as a legit threat. Anyway, the show more than doubled the largest gate ever for wrestling in Chicago. Also, Dave talks about some of the signs in the crowd. He says the most creative poster was someone who had made giant cut-out cardboard scissors with "Arn" and "Sid" written on it. And the least creative sign? The "Austin 3:16" signs because everybody has them.
Austin/Hart was a classic with a perfectly executed double-turn that Dave says we'll all remember for a long time and gives it the full 5 stars.
Credit: Wrestling Observer
MARCH 31ST, 1997 - RAW IS WAR
This is Austin's first appearance on Raw since Wrestlemania - he clears the air and tells everyone that he never said that he quit. He calls Bret Hart the biggest piece of trash he's ever met and at Wrestlemania he couldn't even get the job done. Austin isn't done with Bret Hart and challenges him for a match tonight.
Bret Hart appears on the titantron and tells Austin that he's finished with him. Austin says he would have to kill him to be finished with him. Austin ends the segment by saying:
"One of these days, I'm gonna look down at your grave and it's gonna say here lies Bret The Hitman Hart, the biggest piece of crap that ever walked the face of the earth and the reason he's laying here is because Steve Austin whipped his pink and black ass. And that's the bottom line, 'cos Stone Cold said so!"
APRIL 7TH, 1997 - RAW IS WAR
Double duty for Austin! - He beats Billy Gunn at the beginning of the show but during a backstage segment with Gorilla Monsoon, who needs an opponent for Mankind when Sycho Sid doesn't show up, Austin requests a match with Bret Hart for the upcoming In Your House PPV which Gorilla Monsoon grants. Mankind actually beats Austin via DQ when Vader interrupts and inadvertently hits Mankind. During the match, the British Bulldog and Owen Hart make their way through the crowd but the LOD come down to keep the peace. Austin chases Hart and Bulldog at the end of the match.
APRIL 14TH, 1997 - RAW IS WAR
Stone Cold delivers a warning to Bret Hart with their PPV match on the horizon. Stone Cold tells Bret Hart that he's going to get his revenge on him and that he is going to beat the living hell out of him and that's the bottom line.
APRIL 20TH, 1997 - IN YOUR HOUSE: REVENGE OF THE 'TAKER
Early in the PPV, Austin was attacked backstage by Owen and the Bulldog. Kevin Kelly asks Austin if he's fit to compete tonight and Austin, who refused medical attention, says that Bret Hart would need to kill him before he's finished with him.
Bret Hart cuts a promo backstage before the start of the match saying he is going to end the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin. He makes his way down to the ring with Owen and Bulldog but Gorilla Monsoon sends them to the back.
A slugfest to start off with as you'd expect with these two. These two absolutely love going to the outside. Austin with an axehandle from the apron to Bret and then he throws him into the ring steps not once but twice. Austin then smashes Brets face into the ring railings before throwing him into the crowd and giving him another axe handle.
We're back in the ring and Austin continues the onslaught. Austin hits the top rope elbow for the two count and Bret rolls to the outside when he has the chance. Bret grabs a chair and gets in the ring with it but Austin knocks him down before he could use it. Austin picks up the chair but Bret dropkicks him into the referee. REF BUMP.
Bret Hart grabs the chair and starts digging it into the damaged knee of Austin over and over again. Austin goes over and makes sure the referee is okay and helps him back up before going back to working Austins knee. They hit the figure four leg lock wrapped around the ring post spot and then Bret Hart whacks Austins knee continuously with a chair behind the referees back.
More working of the leg before Bret Hart removes Austins knee brace and then goes back to working on the leg. Austin rolls to the outside in agony as Hart continues working on the leg of Austin. Hart gets Austin back in the ring but Austin gives Hart a low-blow and fights through the pain barrier. He takes some tape off of his wrist and wraps it round the throat of Bret Hart.
Austin goes up top for the elbow but Hart moves out of the way and Austin lands on his knee, Hart begins to work on it yet again and gets him in a figure four leg lock. Austin reverses it and Hart grabs the ropes to break the hold. Hart goes for the figure four leg lock around the ring post again but Austin blocks it and Hart instead drags him outside but Austin throws him into the crowd before throwing him back ringside, they get in the ring and Austin throws Hart sternum first into the turnbuckle.
The damage to Austins knee shows when he tries getting Hart up for a piledriver but can't quite get it done. Hart stomps on Austin whilst he's down and tries to irish whip him into the corner but Austins legs give way. More work on Austins leg until Austin gives Hart the stun gun but Hart again gets the upperhand with a low blow. Austin sits Austin on the top turnbuckle and nails a turnbuckle suplex.
Sharpshooter attempt for Hart but Austin nails him with the brace and attempts to put Hart in his very own Sharpshooter. Owen Hart and British Bulldog run down to the ring and Austin knocks them both off the apron. Austin puts Hart in the sharpshooter again but Bulldog runs in and hits Austin with a steelchair. The referee rings for the bell.
Stone Cold Steve Austin wins via disqualification.
After the match, Bret Hart goes for the ring bell to try and hit Austin with it but Austin hits Hart in the knee with the stairs, attacks the knee and puts Bret Hart back in the sharpshooter whilst the referees try and get him off. Owen and Bulldog are back out, Austin gets off and they carry Bret backstage. Brilliant match
APRIL 21ST, 1997 - RAW IS WAR
Steve Austin fresh off his match with Bret Hart the night before opens the show with Vince McMahon in the middle of the ring. Austin puts over the fact the night ended with Bret in the sharpshooter. Austin wants Bret Hart in a street fight, they even have a counter on the titantron, Bret doesn't come out so Austin says he's going to go backstage and get him but Bret appears on the titantron with Owen and Bulldog and accepts the street fight.
They cut backstage where you see Austin looking for Bret Hart. He finds his lockeroom and starts trying to smash open the door with a steel chair. Bret tells Austin to go out to the ring, this match is going to be up next.
Austin makes his way to the ring. Bret Hart follows but before Bret gets in the ring, Bulldog and Owen come from behind and start attacking Stone Cold. Bret gets in the ring and starts helping with the beatdown. Suddenly Shawn Michaels comes out of nowhere to a huge pop and cleans house with the chair. Michaels then chases Bulldog and Owen through the crowd with the chair.
This leaves Hart and Austin in the ring. Bret starts beating down Austin as the crowd boo him. He delivers a brutal piledriver in the middle of the ring and then goes and gets a steel chair. He wraps the chair around Austins ankle and goes to the top rope but when he drops down, Austin moves his foot out of the way and hits Brets damaged leg with the chair. He then drives the steelchair into the knee joint and starts stomping on his head.
The crowd are going crazy everytime Austin drives that steel chair into Bret Hart. Austin drags Bret Hart into the middle of the ring and puts Bret Hart in the sharpshooter, flipping him the bird before he turns him over. Officials come down to try and get Austin off but he locks it in tighter as Hart screams for his life. Eventually Austin lets go of the hold as they cut to a break.
Back from the break, Owen and Bulldog are in the ring as the medical staff come down to assess the damage. Bret Hart is nearly in tears as Bulldog and Owen console him. They cut to Austin backstage where he is up in Monsoons face. He orders Austin to leave which he does.
Bret is taken backstage by the medical staff where he is placed in an ambulance. Austin is actually in the driving seat and he climbs through and starts to attack Bret. Owen and Bulldog pull him out and Austin is held down by officials as Owen and Bulldog get Bret back in the ambulance and it drives off ot the hospital. Bulldog promises to Owen that he's going to get Austin tonight.
In the last segment of the night, Austin comes down to the ring to do another segment with McMahon. He threatens Bulldog and Owen and advise them that they have hell to pay and says that Bret Hart is finished. Owen Hart and Bulldog come out of nowhere and start attacking Austin. Shawn Michaels runs out with a chair and scares Bulldog and Owen off and again he chases them off with it. Austin is laying in the ring but Brian Pillman then comes out of nowhere and starts attacking Austin. He goes and gets a chair and whacks Austin in the back of head with it before taunting Austin and slapping his face. He goes to wrap the chair round his ankle but Michaels comes back out and Pillman escapes through the crowd.
APRIL 28TH, 1997
WWF managed to turn a major negative into positive on Raw this week. The episode featured one long angle with Steve Austin injuring Bret Hart in one of the best episodes in Raw history. The angle was a last minute decision because Bret Hart has a knee injury that is going to require surgery, which couldn't have come at a worse time. Hart suffered the injury on the Kuwait tour and will undergo arthroscopic surgery this week in Canada and, while he's out, will also have surgery on his right wrist (from an injury where the wrist was broken several years ago but never healed properly). Hart is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. Hart was expected to face Rocky Maivia at the King of the Ring PPV and likely win the IC title, but it's unknown if he will be back by then so that plan is scrapped. Hart was also booked to main event all the house shows for the next several weeks. The night before the angle on Raw, Hart was booked to face Austin at In Your House and decided to work the match despite the injury as well as worked the angle on Raw where Austin brutalized his knee and wrist with a chair. The angle was good enough that it seemed to make a dent in WCW's ratings dominance. They still won the night, but WWF kept it closer than normal throughout the show.
Credit: Wrestling Observer
I would say this was the end of the straight up Austin/Bret feud. It became more than just Austin/Bret now as we now see the formation of the Hart Foundation..