One of the most fascinating things about Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast is hearing him going back in time with an opponent and relive classic WWE moments. Steve recently did that with his greatest rival Bret Hart as they talked about the background to their legendary I-Quit match.
Steve had asked Bret about whom he would have liked to work with today and Bret said John Cena. Bret gave a long answer about the dynamic between Cena’s character and Bret’s 1997 heel character and how he felt the fans would have really enjoyed the feud (I agree 100%, those two dynamics would be tremendous). Bret then started talking about his character and how hard it was to pull off when he got onto the subject of his Mania classic with Steve Austin.
What I found so fascinating about this was how scared and angry both Bret and Steve were about the match being booked. I’ll let you hear it from them but I never really heard either of them discuss this aspect of the match which makes the legend of the match that much greater.
Bret Hart: “We’ve talked lots of times about that match but I really think there was some great art being made, you could never duplicate that art. The artistry that came from that time period. It’s amazing because I know that in Survivor Series when we fought, you and I, we tried so hard to make that the greatest match of all-time. We really gave our all for that so when it was over it was like, “We did everything. We did everything we could think of, every move, every bang”‘ I thought we took it to the edge and then all of the sudden the way I remember how we got worked at WrestleMania 13 it was kind of last minute, kind of like, “Okay we’re going to slap Bret Hart and Steve Austin together again.” They got kind of a building thing going and it’s like, “Yeah but we just worked a month ago kind of thing,” “Well you’re going to work again, we’re going to make it a no-holds barred match”, and I remember at the time thinking, “No holds barred, that takes out pinfalls so that makes it even more boring and more harder, we’re not going to have the same.” I remember thinking about the match I had with Bob Backlund, the I-Quit match which I think is the only disaster match I ever had. So anyway I don’t think anyone ever realized, I know I didn’t, that that would be such a great match. I think going into it I thought it was going to be awful hard to duplicate what he had already done before.”
Steve Austin: “Well when you’re talking about that match and us going back together so soon I had just injured my knee, I was in San Antonio, I was off, it was about two-three weeks before WrestleMania 13 and I was at home watching Monday Night RAW when Vince made the announcement that in a submission match in the semi-main would be Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret The Hitman Hart! I was watching TV, I’m in the match, I just found out about it, the submission match totally pissed me off because you know I didn’t have a whole arsenal of offensive moves anyway and I damned sure didn’t have any submission moves. Maybe one? So I was petrified, mortified, and pissed off, of course I hadn’t been in the company long enough for them to consult me or ask if it was okay if they book me in a match, but I was hotter than son of a b*tch.”
One thing I should point out is that earlier in the podcast they touched on their Survivor Series 1996 match and mentioned that it was supposed to be the only match they ever wrestled. They talked about the idea that they’d do everything in that match with the idea that they wouldn’t have to save anything else for a series. That fact certainly explains why both were a little upset about the match being booked, especially without any input from either.
It’s a fascinating look into two guys who pulled off in my opinion the greatest WrestleMania match in WWE history and arguably the greatest match period in WWE history. If I ever had the chance to sit with either I’d prone more into the idea that fear motivated them into putting together a classic. I can’t imagine that they were thrilled having Ken Shamrock as special referee if they were that upset with the submission aspect of the match.
If there is one complaint about the interview and it’s a selfish one, it is that Steve stopped the WrestleMania 13 conversation right there. Steve said that he and Bret would come back for a later podcast devoted entirely to their feud and matches. I’d say that’s a fair tradeoff and well worth the wait.
Part two can’t come soon enough!
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