Bret Hart, Countdown To Wrestlemania, Diesel, Earl Hebner, Gorilla Monsoon, Iron Man Match, José Lothario, Kevin Nash, Main Event Madness, Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Heartbreak Kid, Wrestlemania, WrestleMania 33, WrestleMania XII, Wrestling, WWE, WWE Network, WWE WrestleMania 33, WWF, WWF Championship, WWF Heavyweight Championship, WWF WrestleMania XII
There can not be a countdown to WrestleMania without having Mr. WrestleMania himself The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels on it. Whether it was in the Rockers or during his solo singles run, Shawn is a part of WrestleMania history whether you like it or not. For today, I chose the one match that helped cement him as Mr. WrestleMania because he was in a match with Bret “Hitman” Hart that everyone said would never work because it had never been attempted before. Shawn challenged Bret for the WWF Heavyweight Championship in a 60 minute Iron Man match with the winner with the most falls wins the match. The WWE was scared that two men couldn’t entertain a crowd for 60 minutes which was the company’s biggest fear going into WrestleMania XII at The Arrowhead Pond Arena in Anaheim, CA. Nevertheless, it was destiny for Shawn Michaels who had suffered so much before the match. If you remember, he had failed to win the WWE Championship from his former best friend Diesel (Kevin Nash), relinquished his WWF Intercontinental Championship after Marines had beat him up in a parking lot in Syracuse, and had suffered a head injury thanks to Owen Hart. With all that had taken place, nothing was stopping him from facing the Hitman.
The first twenty minutes of the match featured a lot of technical mat wrestling with a lot of armbars, headlocks, etc. Anytime, it looked like the match was going to turn into a brawl, they’d go right back into a lock or hold. At the 15 minute mark of the match, HBK had shoved Bret right into the ring post forcing Bret to land on the lap of the ringbell/timekeeper. All of a sudden, HBK wound up for sweet chin music, but Bret saw it coming and Shawn hit the timekeeper instead. Things looked pretty even at times, but If I had to give points, I put Shawn ahead of Bret in the first twenty. The next twenty minutes of the match belonged entirely to Shawn Michaels for the most part as Shawn dominated working on the shoulder of Bret for most of it. It always seemed that Shawn had an answer for everything Bret did until we hit the 37TH minute of the match. Shawn went to rush at Bret in the corner and Bret countered by back body dropping Shawn over the ring post and to the outside. It was at this point that he began working on the small of the back of Shawn Michaels.
The last twenty minutes of the match belonged to Bret Hart where he dominated Shawn just by attacking the back area. The last twenty minutes could be categorized as the point where it turned from a technical match to a wrestling match. Bret threw everything at Shawn from German suplexes, he torpedoed himself to the outside at Shawn, and even slapped on submissions like the camel clutch and Boston Crab, but he couldn’t lock in the Sharpshooter. Shawn finally caught his 19TH wind as McMahon put it with four minutes to go and he threw everything at Bret except for his patent superkick. That could have cost him big time, but with 30 seconds to go in regulation, Bret finally slapped on the sharpshooter. Much to the disbelief of some, Shawn lasted the whole 30 seconds without giving up. The question now on everyone’s mind after that was if the match was over or was something going to happen after like an overtime? Most had never seen a match like this before so we didn’t know what to expect out of it.
Bret was certainly determined that the match was indeed over and that he was still the WWF Heavyweight Champion because he started to walk towards the dressing room. Gorilla Monsoon arose from his chair and immediately spoke to referee Earl Hebner and ordered a five minute sudden death period with the winner to be determined by the first fall. As soon as Overtime started, Bret started attacking the lower back of Shawn’s and he went at it hard with a knees to the back and even a backbreaker. Everything turned around though when he tossed Michaels to the corner because Michaels was able to leap frog over him and he nailed him with the superkick, but he didn’t get all of it. As soon as Bret stood up, he hit him again with sweet chin music and he covered him for the 1-2-3. Shawn was the new WWF Heavyweight Champion. This is still one of my all time favorite matches from a WrestleMania history. While you’re at it, don’t forget to like our page on Facebook at Facebook.com/MRXPUNCHOUT and follow us on Twitter too