Robbie’s Top 20 WrestleMania Moments – 11. Stone Cold Opts To Black Out, Not Tap Out


Sup yo? If you’re unaware, I’m doing a blog per day leading up to WrestleMania where I talk about my personal favorite 20 Mania moments of all time. Keep in mind I’m 18, so a lot of my picks will be on the more recent side.

11. Stone Cold Opts To Black Out, Not Tap Out

WWF Wrestlemania XIII – Bret Hart Vs. Steve Austin by WWFNetwork

(22:42 for mobile users)

Steve Austin using the last ounce of strength left in his body attempting to power out of the Sharpshooter, blood dripping down his face into his teeth, and deciding to give Bret Hart one last “fuck you” by not giving him the satisfaction of tapping out…that’s not only one of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history, not only one of the greatest moments in wrestling history, but one of the greatest moments in history. Like, ever. In the history of the world. Storytelling at it’s finest.

Stone Cold Steve Austin had been picking up lots of steam with the WWF fans as a heel towards the end of 1996 into 1997, and in March, it was time to capitalize. The vehicle? Bret “Hitman” Hart, who was gaining an inverse reaction from the crowd. Bret went away for a few months while in contract negotiations, and during this time, Austin won the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. This, of course, was the birth of Austin 3:16.

Stone Cold began mocking the inactive Bret Hart until he returned and accepted a match with the Rattlesnake in October, at the annual Survivor Series pay per view. Hart won in a FANTASTIC match, ending with the classic finish from WrestleMania 8. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s basically the equivalent of a roll up, keeping Austin looking strong.

In January of ’97, when the Royal Rumble came around, Stone Cold went on a tear. He entered the match as participant #5, and eliminated eight superstars before a final showdown with his old buddy Bret Hart. Bret’s entrance in the Rumble inspired one of the all time great reaction gifs as well…


When it came down to the two rivals once again, Bret got the better of Austin. The referees didn’t catch that, however…

In the ultimate shitheel move, Stone Cold Steve Austin eliminated Bret Hart after being eliminated just moments earlier, winning the 1997 Royal Rumble.

Bret Hart won the WWF Championship in a Four Corners match the next month, and Austin cost him that championship the next night by interfering in his match. After a few more interferences back and fourth, and Bret showing more and more shades of gray in his character, the stage was set. March 23, 1997, 20 years ago to the day, at the Rosemont Horizon Arena. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin in a Submission Match, refereed by Ken Shamrock.

You’ll see in a lot of my blogs, I like to discuss in-ring psychology. I know that may seem silly to some casual fans, or non fans, but it’s a huge part of professional wrestling. Everything done inside the squared circle should be done for a reason, and the performers should always be trying to craft meaningful matches to pull every emotion possible out of the crowd. This, my friends, is the pinnacle of in-ring psychology. No match encapsulates it more. Austin and Hart went into this match with specific roles: bad guy, and good guy. Heel and face. Villain and hero. The crowd was shifting, yes, but this took their feelings and kickstarted them into high gear. The Hitman increasingly became more and more unlikable and ruthless throughout, and it was so easy to gain a natural sympathy for Stone Cold. By the end of this match, by the time Steve Austin was fading and the lights were going out, everyone was on their feet losing their mind for him. Both men’s following runs with their new face/heel dynamic wound up being their best work, and shaped the future of the industry for many years to follow. If you’ve got the time, and have seen the match, watch it with Stone Cold’s commentary. It’s an amazing look into the mind that helped put this masterpiece together.

Stone Cold vs Bret Hart WrestleMania 13 with… by abrasive-obelisk

Tomorrow starts the Top 10, so make sure you check in at 2pm to see what made it this far up my list.

Catch up on the list:

20. Butterbean Knocks Bart Gunn Into Another Dimension