Bret “Hitman” Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

I Quit Match – WrestleMania 13 (1997)

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tone Cold Steve Austin refuses to say I quit! (Credit: WWE)

Pro-wrestling: You either love it or hate it. Personally, I’ve never understood the argument that grown men and women rolling around in tights “pretending to hit each other” is wrong. If it were, how would you explain the success of Marvel Superheroes?

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of escapism and WrestleMania certainly provides good reason to forget about the “real” world for a few hours. Back in 1997 a friend and I, then in our teens, saved our pennies to travel to the “Show of Shows” in Chicago. We scored front row tickets to WrestleMania 13. My mind was blown. A few months later I enrolled myself into a wrestling school and things were never the same again for me.

Those that think WWE is more pantomime than sport should be made to sit and watch the epic match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin. For me, it’s the greatest wrestling bout of all time.

Bret was a seasoned veteran by the time he took on Austin, who was still an up-and-coming opponent. As a member of the Hart family, “The Hitman” knew his holds, but what made him cool was the fact that he was never afraid to brawl with the best of ‘em. He had the ability to wrestle in pink and yet take no shit from his opponent for his choice of ring attire. That’s how good he was.

Austin on the other hand was a bald headed, black trunks-wearing, foul-mouthed son-of-a-gun who was eager to prove himself as the next big thing. And so, at WrestleMania 13 under submission rules, both men took it to each other as though their life depended on it. They battled inside the ring, and out. At one point the two warriors punched and kicked each other all the way up the arena steps, much to the excitement of the fans.

Sitting in the front row, my lovely green trousers (it was 1997!) were drenched in blood as Stone Cold got busted open by Hart. The more experienced grappler then slapped his trademark Sharpshooter submission hold on Austin in a move that was sure to signal the end of the match. It did, but not as the 18,000 in attendance had expected.

Rather than tap-out or shout “I quit”, Austin writhed in agony as the crimson continued to pour from his shiny cranium. After what seemed like an eternity, Austin managed to hold on, but after losing blood at a rapid rate, he would eventually lose consciousness. His inability to continue the match meant that Bret’s hand would be raised in victory that night… but due to his tenacity and never say quit attitude, in Stone Cold Steve Austin, a hero was born!

Scott Felstead @scottfuture

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