After winning King of the Ring 1996, Steve Austin was the hottest rising star in the company, and despite being a heel, was beginning to be cheered by audiences impressed by his brash attitude. Bret Hart, meanwhile, was beginning to be booed for his frustration with management, and when the two fought in a no disqualification submission match at WrestleMania 13, they took part in one of the most revered double turns in the company’s history.
While Steve Austin began the match by attacking Hart, it became clear throughout the match that Hart had reached a breaking point and began to take out his aggression on Austin, earning the Texas Rattlesnake even more sympathy from the crowd. The final shot of the bout is the stuff of legend, with Austin’s face full of blood as he passes out in Hart’s signature Sharpshooter, unwilling to tap out to his foe.
Guest referee Ken Shamrock insisted the match being awarded to Hart as Austin could not continue, but the double turn was cemented when Hart continued to attack Austin after the match despite him having suffered severe blood loss. Shamrock eventually forced Hart to stop his attack, but Hart backed down from the confrontation, earning him more boos from the fans in attendance. Austin regained consciousness, and confused, delivered a stunner to Shamrock before limping away from the ring to heavy adulation from the crowd.
“I Love The Guy” – Steve Austin on Bret Hart
Speaking in a recent interview with The Wrestling Classic, Steve Austin reflected on his WrestleMania 13 bout with Bret Hart, saying that Hart played a huge part in propelling him into superstardom in WWE.
“We went into [WrestleMania] 13 and we went to a room, and we knew what we needed to do and we went out to the ring and Bret said, ‘Hey,’ and he gave me the idea for something that happened in that match. So, I owe a huge part of my career to Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart.”
Continuing, Austin heaped more praise on Hart and spoke about their mutual respect for one another.
“I love the guy, I respect him, we wrestled all over the world and we have a mutual respect for each other. Bret Hart helped make ‘Stone Cold’ in the largest degree possible.”