Monday, March 24, 2014

This Week in Sid History: Sid Faces the Undertaker at WrestleMania

Our hero, the sixth victim in Undertaker's Streak

We’ve done it, you guys! It’s WrestleMania season and what better way to celebrate than by talking about Sid. (HEY, GET BACK HERE!) This week’s Sid edition once again features our hero as the World Wrestling Federation Champion. In the previous Sid article, we focused on Sid’s title defense win against Bret Hart. The challenge remains ahead for Sid this week as the Road to WrestleMania makes a stop at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago.

For this week’s edition, we focus on the Wrestlemania XIII no disqualification main event between Sycho Sid and the Undertaker.

WrestleMania XIII took place at the Rosemont Horizon (now the All State Arena) in Chicago on March 23, 1997.

In the last edition. Sid was forced to defend his title against Bret Hart and was able to hold on and get the win, thanks to help from the Undertaker. Because of this, the match was set up for WrestleMania between Sid and the Undertaker. It was the first main event WrestleMania for the Undertaker and the second for Sid. (It’s worth pointing out that Sid has main evented WrestleMania more times than CM Punk. SO TAKE THAT!)

This was the Undertaker’s sixth WrestleMania match. He was at 5-0 in his legendary streak. The wrestlers he defeated though, well, I don’t know.

Taker’s first Wrestlemania match took place in Los Angeles at WrestleMania VII when he defeated Jimmy Snuka. Snuka was ultimately the shortest wrestler he faced at WrestleMania, up that point. The next year in Indianapolis for Wrestlemania VIII, the Undertaker defeated Jake the Snake Roberts. WrestleMania IX was all about the Undertaker’s “match” against Giant Gonzalez. If you could call it that. The Undertaker missed out on WrestleMania X, but was back for XI to take on King Kong Bundy. XII featured the Undertaker facing Diesel.

While the Undertaker was indeed 5-0 at Wrestlemania, those wins ultimately came against stars of the 80s, plus Gonzalez and Diesel. Two of those wins came with wrestlers on their way out of the company (Roberts and Diesel).

The Streak wasn’t quite the streak as everyone knows. During the broadcast, I don’t recall them ever mentioning that the Undertaker was undefeated. The first really good Undertaker WrestleMania match didn’t occur until the next year at Wrestlemania XIV, when he faced Kane.

On this night, it was Sid’s opportunity to put an end to any future Streak idea. Not only that, but the title was on the line and Sid had an opportunity to leave Chicago as the champion.

The match itself became a No DQ. To put it into perspective, the previous two matches (Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin submission match and the Chicago Street Fight between LOD/Ahmed Johnson and NOD) were also no disqualification. So it was more or less three straight no DQ matches to close out Wrestlemania. WE GOTTA HAVE A WINNER. Sid and the Undertaker had the unenviable task of trying to follow the classic between Hart and Austin. The Chicago Street Fight as a buffer wasn’t necessarily effective.

Shawn Michaels, fresh off losing his smile, is happy to be part of the fun at Wrestlemania XIII as he joined Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross at ringside. Sadly Michaels on commentary wasn’t included in the Mr. WrestleMania DVD. Also, neither was his WrestleMania 20 match with Triple H and [REDACTED].

The Undertaker and Sid both made their entrances. Sid’s entrance of course had his wonderful pyro sign. Because WHY NOT!

An unwanted and probably not showered Bret Hart showed up to the ring before the start of the match, declaring himself to be an enemy of the Undertaker and questioning Sid’s championship credentials. Sid received a lovely pop from the Chicago crowd as he powerbombed the Hitman. (This probably won’t come back to haunt Sid.)

Sid grabbed the mic and told Hart to get out of there, even called him a crybaby. As Sid was distracted, yelling at Bret on the mic, the Undertaker snuck up and attacked, starting the match.

The Undertaker maintained the offensive for awhile, pounding away at Sid, until Sid grabbed hold of the Dead Man with a bear hug. Sid recovered and continued to attack the Undertaker.

The match itself started slow and continued...well, slower.

Sid clotheslined the Undertaker out of the ring, as the Dead Man landed on his feet, pulling at Sid, until Sid kicked him over by the Spanish announce table.

Sid eventually tried to slam the Undertaker through the table, but it was to no avail as the table and Taker fell over.

Later, Sid powerslammed the Undertaker, going for multiple covers and getting multiple two counts. This led to Sid venting his frustration very audibly.

The Undertaker caught new life with his flying clothesline, but it didn’t keep Sid down for long. Soon, the two found themselves outside the ring as a guardrail stood between the brawlers.

They eventually get back in the ring and continue back and forth with each other. At one point, both men big booted each other. The referee started the standing ten count. Sid was the first one to get up and covered the Undertaker for a near fall. He continued to work over the Undertaker. Sid went to the middle rope in the corner and double-axe handled the Dead Man and followed up with a clothesline off the middle rope. (Who needs the top rope when you’re as tall as Sid is.)

Once more to the middle rope for another double axe handle, but the Undertaker countered. Sid fought back, slammed Taker and climbed the top rope. Taker shot up, crotched Sid and slammed him to the mat. It was the Undertaker’s turn to climb the top rope, which he did to perform his patented clothesline, only getting a two count.

The Undertaker called for the tombstone piledriver, getting Sid up, but our hero reversed and performed a tombstone on Taker. Sid put the Undertaker’s hands against his chest and covered, just as some fan threw some garbage in the ring (THIS IS NOT WCW, PEOPLE!). The Undertaker barely kicked out. Sid was shocked, because he knew he was in trouble.

To give himself some more time, Sid tossed the Undertaker out of the ring and leveled him with punches. Both wrestlers teased a double chokeslam spot when out of nowhere, BRET HART levels Sid with two chair shots against his back. The Undertaker slammed Sid’s back against the ringpost and got him in the ring.

Hart was escorted away from ringside by countless officials. The Undertaker meanwhile was able to get Sid up for a chokeslam. He covered Sid, but got a near fall. Sid regained the advantage and set up for another powerbomb. HOWEVER, Hart showed up again, distracting Sid, which allowed the Undertaker to set up for the tombstone piledriver 1...2...3. A new champion was crowned.

So with much thanks to Bret Hart, the Undertaker was the new World Wrestling Federation Champion. It was his second title reign in the WWF. Unlike his first reign, which lasted like a week, this one took him to SummerSlam.

Sid got another opportunity at the Undertaker a few months later, but was ultimately done with the company shortly after the King of the Ring.

How did the match compare with the rest of the card? Not all that well, to be honest. The match itself was given a 1 and 1/4 star rating from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. In the interest of fairness, how could anyone top Hart vs. Austin.

The match itself was ranked TWENTY-TWO on Brandon Stroud’s scientific WrestleMania main event rankings. It warmed my heart to know it ranks ahead of Once in a Lifetime II. Cageside Seats meanwhile ranked in 26th, ahead of Hogan/Slaughter, Yokozuna/Hart and Bam Bam Bigelow/LT.

Now, as for the rumors that maybe one of the contestants in the WrestleMania XIII main event crapped his pants, I just assume it best to avoid the subject altogether. NOTHING TO SEE HERE, PEOPLE! MOVE ALONG! (Ed. Note: If those rumors are true, then Sid remains tied with Punk for number of matches having defecated himself in the WWF/E. Take solace in that one, Punk fans!)

Our next edition for This Week in Sid History will take place soon as we cover the WrestleMania VIII main event between Sid and Hulk Hogan.