On This Day in Wrestling History…23rd March

On 23rd March in wrestling history, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart took part in one of the most remarkable matches in WWE history at WrestleMania XIII.

Steve Austin WrestleMania 13

Credit: WWE

1984 – Ric Flair defeated Harley Race to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in Singapore.

1997 – Wrestlemania XIII took place at the Rosemont Horizon in suburban Chicago. The event would provide long term fans with one of the greatest matches in the history of professional wrestling, whilst the rest of the card was lackluster to say the least which was reflected in the TV build up and low buyrate for the pay-per-view.

On the card:

  • Billy “Rockabilly” Gunn defeated Flash Funk on the Free For All.
  • The Headbangers defeated The Godwinns, The New Blackjacks, and Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon in a Four-Way Tag Team Elimination Match.  The Headbangers were awarded with a future shot at the WWF Tag Team Titles as a result of their win.
  • Rocky Maiva retained the Intercontinental Championship against The Sultan. Maiva’s father Rocky Johnson helped fend off The Sultan’s entourage of The Iron Sheik and Bob Backland who attacked the champion after the match.  The two competitors and real life cousins would feature heavily in the WWF Attitude era under their popular gimmicks of The Rock and Rikishi.
  • Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Goldust in a decent one-on-one match. The ending of the match is remembered more for the spot where Helmsley’s bodyguard Chyna threw around Marlena in a bear hug who was Goldust’s valet and real-life wife at the time.
  • Mankind and Vader wrestled to a double-count draw against Owen Hart & The British Bulldog for the WWF Tag Team Championship, after Mankind applied and refused to release the Mandible claw on the Bulldog outside of the ring.
  • Bret “The Hitman” Hart defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Submission match which was officiated by special guest referee Ken Shamrock.  The match was stopped and awarded to Hart after Austin was rendered unconscious (in kayfabe) after refusing to submit to Hart’s signature Sharpshooter finisher.  The match is regarded as one of the greatest wrestling matches in history, and was given another rare five-star rating by Dave Meltzer.  The match played a significant part in the branching out of Austin’s character as a babyface, whilst at the same time cementing a unique heel turn for Hart, and subconsciously planted the seeds for new attitude in terms of creative direction for the company. Hart was originally booked to defeat Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship at this event to return the favour to Hart who dropped the title to Michaels at the previous year’s Wrestlemania. However Michaels was unable to compete due to injury, and forfeited the title five weeks earlier on a rare Thursday Night edition of WWF Raw.
  • Ahmed Johnson & The Legion Of Doom (The Road Warriors) defeated Farooq, Savia Vega and Crush from The Nation of Domination in a “Chicago Street Fight ” which was akin to a modern day hardcore match.  The match up was originally promoted as a one-on-one Street Fight between Farooq and Johnson, but the returning Legion of Doom were added to the match along with Crush and Vega. The match served its amended overall purpose off getting the LOD over with their hometown crowd.
  • The Undertaker defeated Sid for the WWF Championship in the main event to start his second run with the World Title. 
HOW ABOUT...
On This Day in Wrestling History...6th April

2004 – At the WWE SmackDown tapings in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kurt Angle is declared the new general manager of the blue brand the night after Paul Heyman quit (in storyline) as a result of being drafted to Raw. In further fall out from that draft lottery, Triple H was traded back to Raw without ever making a SmackDown appearance. The Dudley Boyz and Booker T went the other way in exchange. On the same show, Bradshaw debuted the John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield gimmick that would transform his career in WWE in a matter of weeks.

2014 – At RevPro ‘Wrestling Relief’ in Portsmouth, England, Kurtis Chapman & The Flatliner were victorious over Lord Gideon Grey & Rishi Ghosh in the main event.  Also on the undercard Marty Scrull defeated Jake McCluskey. 

2015 – Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Mark Henry & Roman Reigns were victorious over Bray Wyatt, Kane, Seth Rollins & The Big Show on the go-home edition of WWE Monday Night Raw for WrestleMania XXXI from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

2018 – Nick Aldis retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title against Lance Anoa’I at House of Hardcore in Long Island, New York.

2018 – Keith Lee defeated Chuck Taylor for the PWG Title in the main event of PWG Time Is A Flat Circle from the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles.

HOW ABOUT...
Who Is Vice Mr. Wrestlemania?

Notable Wrestling Birthdays:

  • Travis Tomko (1976)
  • Kevin Northcutt (1973)
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan (1971)
  • Villano III (1952)

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