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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania 13

I found this one rather challenging to rebook. I was stuck in this weird dilemma where a lot of the feuds and stories being built were actually okay, but 5 of the 7 matches on the card were bitterly disappointing. Some great talents are on the card but the overall roster is still pretty thin and lacking in depth, which made this so hard to fill out a card with good matches and stories. Here is what we got back in 1997:

Headbangers vs Furnas & LaFon vs Godwinns vs New Blackjacks

Rocky Maivia (c) vs The Sultan, IC Championship

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Goldust

Owen Hart & British Bulldog (c) vs Mankind & Vader, Tag Championships

Bret Hart vs Steve Austin, Submission match

Ahmed Johnson & Legion of Doom vs Nation of Domination, Street Fight

Sycho Sid (c) vs The Undertaker, No DQ for WWF Championship

For the second time within 5 years, Sid has a Wrestlemania main event match and it is one of the worst of all time. He is honestly quite impressive. The Street Fight was quite a bit of fun, far better than expected. Austin vs Hart, well is one of the best wrestling matches of all time. Everything else though, could have and should have been better. WWE, this is how its done.

The first match of the night is an IC Eliminator match, been a little while since we have seen one of these. Rocky Maivia faces Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the right to challenge for the IC title later on. I booked Marc Mero to win the IC title at Wrestlemania XII in his debut. I would have Mero successfully reign as the champion until Summerslam where he drops the title to HHH. At IYH 12 in December, Mero regains the title but he loses it a month later to Owen Hart at the Royal Rumble. A Mero vs Owen Hart match was my plan, but Mero gets hurt and is inactive until later in 1997 so an eliminator tournament will determine the challenger. Yes, I binned Rocky's first run as IC champion because it sucked and he was a lame, bland character that the fans rejected. This is well before both men have reached their peak but I imagine they could still wrestle a solid match together. The blue chipper Rocky gets a win and a title shot.

Following that is for the tag team championships. Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon win a 4-team elimination match on the pre-show. They face the defending champions, it is still Owen Hart and British Bulldog. Honestly, the tag division is so dead that you might as well keep the titles around these two. Bulldog is also the European champion here so this team are draped in gold. I booked them to win the tag titles at Royal Rumble 1996, meaning at the date of this show they will have held them for 428 days. Furnas & LaFon are boring personalities but they're good wrestlers so we can make it work. Hart & Bulldog go over, I would keep the titles on them until they lose them to Austin & HBK on Raw in May like IRL. That would mean their reign is 492 days long which would break Demolition's title reign record, today it would be the third longest tag reign in WWE history. After the match Hart talks about how unfair it is that he wrestles twice tonight but he will walk out as a double champion still.

The third match of the night puts the Undertaker up against Mankind once again. I'd keep the Taker vs Mankind feud the same throughout 1996 but with one difference. After the result of the Buried Alive match and loads of heels have buried the Deadman, we see his hand burst up through the soil in a cool visual. That is the last we see of the Undertaker for a little while. Paul Bearer and Mankind are happy they have finally vanquished the Undertaker. For the next couple of months, Bearer and his cohorts are haunted by the Undertaker. They keep seeing him, hearing him. Druids appear every now and then and wheel down an empty casket and gesture for Mankind to get in. One time this happens Mankind loses his shit and pushes the druids around, he goes to open the casket and there is the Undertaker. He kicks some ass and the Wrestlemania challenge is set in a casket match. These two have uncanny chemistry together so I'd expect this to be just as good as the other matches. A brutal, hard-to-watch brawl with some ugly bumps and stiff shots. Undertaker locks Mankind in the casket to win the match. Bearer quickly wheels out the casket and runs. The feud between Taker and Foley is over for now, but Bearer soon will reveal he has some sensitive information he will leak unless Taker accepts him as a manager once again. Undertaker may not win the WWF title here, but I would have him win it the show before Summerslam '97 to do the Taker/Hart/HBK angle in the main event still. Sure it isn't a very long reign, but his real life reign during this year was pretty forgettable and didn't have many good matches come from it.

Owen Hart defends his IC Championship against Rocky Maivia. If anyone can help Rocky have a good match at his first Wrestlemania, Owen Hart can. Rocky shows babyface fire but this should be a pretty clean win for Owen, not only proving he can outwrestle Rocky, but also outsmart him.

The next 2 matches go unchanged in my eyes. Steve Austin vs Bret Hart was perfect in every way. Phenomenal match, a captivating story that felt real and contained the greatest double turn in wrestling history. As much as this match wasn't the plan, in hindsight I am glad this is what we ended up getting. This is better than a Hart vs HBK match ever could have been thanks to the animosity. Hart of course wins as Austin passes out in the Sharpshooter with a bloodied face. Austin gets some kicks in before leaving. The hero becomes a villain. The asshole becomes the bad-ass. Poetic.

Following that is the 6-man street fight, which I will keep the same. I had such low expectations for this match that I was pleasantly surprised by how fun it was. It was just a garbage brawl but it was entertaining. Keep the match and the result stays the same, Johnson and the LOD defeating the Nation.

What match should main event Wrestlemania 13? The only reason Shawn Michaels took time off was because he didn't want to drop the title to Bret. Those are not in my plans so I imagine he will be happy to main event another Wrestlemania, but against who? After HBK won the title last year, he spends the majority of 1996 as WWF champion defeating the likes of Diesel, Owen Hart and British Bulldog to retain. One of the men he defeated was at Summerslam, Vader, in an excellent match. At Survivor Series, Sycho Sid defeats HBK to win the WWF title, but Michaels regains it at the Royal Rumble. HBK should hold the title until Wrestlemania where he faces the winner of the 1996 Royal Rumble. Vader. We don't have the Austin rumble win here, instead I am opting for a dominant run for Vader who clears out most of his challengers to earn himself a second chance at Vader. Now I know HBK throw a tantrum after their Summerslam match because Vader forgot a spot and he was apparently too rough, but fuck you Shawn, I want Vader as WWF champion and I will get it.

I want this match to be WWF's version of Sting vs Vader at Great American Bash 1992. Sting went into that match with previous victories over Vader, albeit in multi-man matches and a count out win. He had been the world champion for a little while and totally underestimated Vader who spent most of the 17 minute match committing a murder. That is what I want here too. HBK gets so little offence in, Vader just destroys him. Every time Michaels builds momentum it is cut short. He plays with his prey until eventually finishing him off with a trio of powerbombs for a convincing 1-2-3. Commentary should be in shock to sell that, saying "I have never witnessed such a one sided main event in all my years of calling wrestling." Vader poses as the world champion to close the show. He deserved it for sure. I'd give Vader a decent little run with the belt, defending pretty regularly and destroying the competition. He only holds it until July but that is still 4 months full of defences. Undertaker is the one to topple the mastodon.

Here is a recap of the card I booked:

Rocky Maivia vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley, IC Eliminator

Owen Hart & British Bulldog (c) vs Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon, Tag Championships

Undertaker vs Mankind, Casket match

Owen Hart (c) vs Rocky Maivia, IC Championship

Steve Austin vs Bret Hart, submission match

Ahmed Johnson & Legion of Doom vs Nation of Domination, Street Fight

Shawn Michaels (c) vs Vader, WWF Championship

What do you think? Are you happy to see Vader as WWE champion? Is there anything I got wrong? Let me know and tune in tomorrow when I rebook Wrestlemania XIV, officially entering Attitude Era territory now but we're not ut of the rough just yet. Until then, goodbye!


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