In a recent episode of “Foley is Pod,” wrestling icon Mick Foley delved into the significance of the WrestleMania 13 showdown between Bret Hart and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, emphasizing its pivotal role in revitalizing the event’s prestige.
According to Foley, by 1997, WrestleMania had started to lose its luster, teetering on the brink of becoming just another spectacle. “Bret and Austin in ’97 –- that was really special. It was so badly needed because WrestleMania was, if you recall, on the verge of becoming just another show. The buy rate was very low. It hadn’t yet become the destination that it later would,” he noted.
The seasoned wrestler reminisced about how WrestleMania was losing its spark until 1999 when he witnessed a resurgence in viewer interest. “’99, I remember the difference in going to the TV at the hotel and it just being hundreds of people swarming. To me, that was the difference maker,” Foley remarked.
While Foley acknowledged other iconic WrestleMania moments, such as The Undertaker’s battles with Shawn Michaels and Triple H, he highlighted the significance of Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit’s momentous encounter, despite the taboo surrounding Benoit’s legacy. “I know we can’t talk about Benoit much, but that was a great feel-good moment –- him and Eddie, with the confetti. I mean, the idea that they just proved about everybody wrong with could and could not get over in WWE,” he added.
Mick Foley’s reflections offer valuable insights into the pivotal role played by Bret Hart and Steve Austin in reinvigorating WrestleMania’s status as the ultimate destination for wrestling fans. During a time when WWE was undergoing significant changes and facing stiff competition from other wrestling promotions, the rivalry between Hart and Austin injected new life into WrestleMania and helped solidify its reputation as the premier event in professional wrestling.
Bret Hart and Steve Austin’s feud was more than just a series of matches—it was a clash of ideologies, personalities, and wrestling styles that captivated audiences around the world. Their battles at WrestleMania, particularly WrestleMania 13, showcased their incredible in-ring chemistry and storytelling prowess, elevating both men to legendary status and cementing their places in WWE history.
The intensity and drama of the Hart-Austin rivalry not only drew lapsed fans back into the fold but also attracted new audiences to WWE, helping to expand its global reach and solidify its position as the undisputed leader in sports entertainment. Their matches at WrestleMania became instant classics, setting the bar for future generations of wrestlers and helping to shape the legacy of WWE’s flagship event for years to come.
In essence, Bret Hart and Steve Austin’s contributions to WrestleMania cannot be overstated. Their epic clashes not only revitalized the event but also helped to redefine the very essence of professional wrestling, making WrestleMania the ultimate destination for fans and performers alike.