As much as I love the WWE Network (and if you follow me on Twitter, you know I obviously do), I miss the days of my youth watching WWF PPV’s. Inviting a group of friends over, my parents snacking us up, dragging a mattress down the stairs to have our own wrestling matches on the living room floor.
The reason I miss that so much is because with all that fun and frivolity, it didn’t matter if the wrestling wasn’t up to par. In the case of Wrestlemania 13, this was more of a double or triple bogey. Despite the incredible array of talent, this card was lacking.
Still, it is Wrestlemania season, and to be honest, this probably isn’t the worst card in the world. Onward!
The Headbangers vs. The New Blackjacks vs. The Godwinns vs. Furnas and LaFon
Highlight: Even close to 20 years later, the thing that stands out to me now is the same thing that did back in ‘97 – Phil LaFon was a fantastic wrestler. With all the crazy characters and goofy gimmicks, I find myself drawn to the guys with serious in-ring talent. Hence why my Twitter images are usually of Malenko, Regal and Arn Anderson.
Lowlight: Honestly, I enjoyed this match a lot. I was sad that the Blackjacks and Furnas / LaFon got eliminated so quickly, so I guess if I had a problem, that’s it.
So What: With Wrestlemania 31 already having multiple multi-man matches, I doubt there will be anything more than a traditional tag match for the titles in a few short weeks. However, this was a fun way to start a show, and a KiddAro vs. Usos vs. New Day vs. . . . .
Seriously, I can’t think of another decent tag team. Man, WWE has a lot of work to do if they want to make tandem wrestling fun again.
Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan for the IC Championship
I was all set to write about how this was a battle of two WWE Hall of Famers before realizing that The Rock hasn’t made it in yet. Let that sink in for a minute – Rikishi will soon be in the HOF, but The Rock is not. I know he will be eventually, but still, that’s a crazy statement.
Highlight: Despite the credentials, this is not the greatest match I have ever witnessed. In fact, it is easily the worst match of this Wrestlemania. My two highlights, if I have to pick them, are the fact that Bob Backlund is on my TV screen and Rocky Maivia’s hair. It was just so ridiculous.
Lowlight: The fact that even in 1997, WWF would take a Samoan, put a mask over part of his face and try to pass him off as an Arabian character.
So What: Seriously, The Rock isn’t in the Hall of Fame yet. To quote one of my favorite superheroes – “What’s up with that?”
So What 2: Those who think ths IC title isn’t being valued should go back and look at this. Comparatively, its no contest.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Goldust
So What: Besides the fact that both of these talents will likely be wrestling at this year’s Wrestlemania, some 18 years after their match here, this will be four Hall of Fame talents wrestling in back-to-back matches at WM13. Yes, Goldust is a Hall of Famer. No, I don’t even think its debatable.
Highlight: Again, not a stellar match or anything, but its fun to watch these guys back then. Goldust back when his outfit was primarily gold and HHH doing the deep bow and acting all elitist – You know, back before he married into the WWE family and actually became elitist.
Lowlight: While I give all the credit in the world to Terri “Marlena” Runnels for being tossed around like a rag doll by Chyna at the end of this match, was it really necessary? I think not.
Owen Hart and British Bulldog vs. Mankind and Vader for the Tag titles.
Ok, seriously, this is crazy. Rock. Rikishi. HHH. Goldust. Owen. Bulldog. Mankind. Vader. That’s 8 guys in the last 3 matches that either already are or will be in the Hall of Fame someday. At least in the NAI Hall of Fame. (Not even counting Paul Bearer, another HOF guy) I’m sure this has happened before, but I don’t remember a time when I saw a PPV card that looked to be stacked like this, even if the matches weren’t nearly as good as you would hope.
Highlight: Owen Hart was a phenomenal wrestler. He’s a fairly polarizing figure, but I really thought he was a special talent.
Lowlight: I don’t remember why Foley and Vader were a tag team here (was it just because of Bearer?), but they could have been a dominant force if booked properly.
So What: My own personal one here, but I can’t wait to get to the NWA / WCW cards on the Network that feature Vader vs. Cactus Jack. Such brutality.
So What 2: Do you think Owen and Bulldog ever get into the HOF?
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin in a Submission Match
Murderer’s Row of talent continues. Seriously, has there been a better lineup in PPV history?
Highlight: Has there been a better submission move in history? Just this single application – Can it be beaten? Cena passing out to the Accolade doesn’t come anywhere close to this. From Bret’s repeated uses to Austin pushing up, screaming, blood pouring down his face; just a perfect moment.
Lowlight: Back before WWE figured out how to properly film crowd brawls, these two get lost in the masses a couple times. Completely nitpicking, but this match was that good.
So What: I’m not sure if we’re seeing Cena and Rusev heading down the road to a Submission match at Wrestlemania, but after watching this, Dear God, I hope not.
Legion of Doom and Ahmed Johnson vs. Nation of Domination
OK, so the streak of Hall of Fame talents ends here, even though this features LOD, Ron Simmons and Crush, who is a guy I could probably make a HOF case for if I wanted to.
Highlight: Might be hindsight, but I love this Nation. The old-school one, back before The Rock got involved. JC Ice and Wolfie D rapping the entrance, D-Lo and others dressed in Malcolm X suits and surrounding the ring, even just the look for Faarooq, Savio Vega and Crush. This worked for me a lot.
So What: If New Day is going to turn heel at some point (and let’s face it, it’s bound to happen), this is what they should be seeking to emulate. Big E could pull off Faarooq’s look in this match, down to the beret and the uber-tight tanktop.
Lowlight: Well, as much as I enjoyed the build-up, the match stunk.
Undertaker vs. Psycho Sid for the World Title
I’m not an expert on Mania main events, and I know that at some point The Miz is part of the conversation, but this match was completely underwhelming.
Lowlight: Much like Mania 25, I bet that if Vince could go back in time, the Submission match would be last (just like Taker / HBK) and he’d put the title match somewhere in the middle. There really is a difference between the best match and the one that is supposedly most important.
So What: I’ll say that again. There’s a difference between the best match and the one that is supposedly most important. In other words, please don’t end my Mania with Roman Reigns. . .
Highlight: Seeing the Old School Undertaker. Hearing Psycho Sid’s music, which is awesome. Watching Shawn Michaels, obviously under some sort of chemical influence, keep looking at himself in the monitors during commentary. Bret Hart owning the whiny character.
Basically everything but the actual wrestling.
Match of the Night
Bret vs. Austin and it isn’t even close. Honestly, if it wasn’t for that match, my favorite one would be the tag team elimination match. Not the best Wrestlemania, despite perhaps the best cast.
Will New Day turn heel? If so, will it work? Should R-Truth be involved?
Should the IC ladder match go on last at Mania? It has to be first, right?
Is there a better roster than the one we saw here? Could it be more underwhelming?