Welcome to this Wrestlemania 12 review! The poster for this show featured Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Diesel and Razor Ramon but I’m afraid Razor won’t actually be in action. Instead we get six matches and if you’re wondering why so little, well it’s because the main event between WWF champion and Royal Rumble winner Shawn Michaels will be a 60 minute Iron Man match. The two men have bee on a collision course since the Royal Rumble and both men managed to overcome obstacles at In Your House 6 with Hart successfully defending his title against Diesel and Michaels defeating Owen Hart to consolidate his Wrestlemania title shot. The two men have kept it civil ever since and this match is all about who has the most ability.
Also tonight Undertaker and Diesel finally meet. This one goes back to Diesel not happy that Undertaker got a WWF title shot at the Royal Rumble. Diesel would cost Undertaker the title but the dead man would return the favour, costing Diesel his title shot against Bret Hart at In Your House 6. This feud has undoubtedly had the best build of any match on this card and I can’t wait for this one. Tonight we will also see the return of The Ultimate Warrior. His last PPV match was at Summerslam 92 when he beat Randy Savage but tonight he returns to take on the undefeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Helmsley is yet to lose a singles match on pay per view so should prove a good opponent for Helmsley tonight.
WWF acting President “Rowdy” Roddy Piper takes on Intercontinental champion Goldust tonight in a Hollywood Back lot Brawl. The title won’t be on the line in a match where Goldust has played his mind games and got into Pipers head. Goldust is also undefeated on PPV having beaten Marty Jannetty, Bam Bam Bigelow and Razor Ramon. Piper hasn’t been happy with the way Goldust has been acting and the bizarre one has taken a liking to the acting President. We’ll also see a six man tag between Vader, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Yokozuna, Jake Roberts and Ahmed Johnson. This was originally a singles match between Vader and Yokozuna but due to the interference from Hart, Bulldog, Johnson and Roberts this one because a 6 man tag. The other match tonight pits Steve Austin and Savio Vega against one another in a match that stems from Austin costing Savio the tag team title.
We kick off with a black and white video package dedicated to Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Tonight they battle for an hour in a battle between the two most athletic superstars in WWF history.
Vince McMahon then WELCOMES EVERYONE to California and The Pond for the greatest spectacle in the world today. McMahon is joined at ringside by Jerry “The King” Lawler. There’s plenty on tonight with Diesel and Undertaker, The Hollywood Backlot Brawl and the following six man tag team match.
Vader, Owen Hart & The British Bulldog vs. Yokozuna, Ahmed Johnson & Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Well this match started out as a singles match between Yokozuna and Vader and over time became a six man tag match. Jake Roberts fights on his first Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania 8 where he lost to The Undertaker. Ahmed Johnson is undefeated on PPV to this point. If Camp Cornette lose this match then Yokozuna gets time with Jim Cornette. Vader and Yokozuna go right after each other then all six men go at it. Ahmed johnson leaps out of the ring and on top of Vader then the match finally begin with Vader and Yokozuna. Owen Hart then tags in but has no luck against Yokozuna. These two men won the tag team titles at last years Wrestlemania. This is Yokozuna’s fourth Wrestlemania, he’s won a match at the last three. Vader tags back in, this is his first PPV match outside of the Royal Rumble match. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, British Bulldog and Jake Roberts are in the top twelve to fifteen in terms of most PPV matches in WWF history up to this point.
Yokozuna takes down Vader and tags in Ahmed Johnson and Vader tags Bulldog. It’s all Johnson until Vader comes in and attacks him from behind. Soon Ahmed takes him down with a big shoulder tackle though. Soon some double teaming from Vader and Bulldog gives them the advantage. But only momentarily as Johnson sets up for the Pearl River Plunge on Bulldog but as Cornette distracts the referee Owen Hart comes in off the top with a dropkick. Owen tags Vader back in and he squashes Johnson. Vader tags Owen Hart in and ahmed Johnson takes him down with a clothesline. Interestingly Mr Fuji is back in the corner of Yokozuna. Jake Roberts is now tagged in for the first time this match. He clotheslines Owen then motions for the DDT but Hart grabs on to the ropes. Owen tags Bulldog who is wrestling on his 7th PPV in a row, only Razor Ramon and Diesel have a bigger run. Hart tags Vader and the big man splashes Roberts in the corner. Owen Hart tags in and comes off the top rope to continue the Camp Cornette domination. British Bulldog tags in and hits the Running Powerslam on Roberts! But that finisher only gets him a 2 count.
Yokozuna is tagged in and so is Vader! Yokozuna hammers away at Vader in the corner, taking him down. Yoko then takes down the whole of Camp Cornette, hitting a Samoan drop on the Bulldog. Yoko tags Jake Roberts who tries for a DDT on Owen Hart but Bulldog breaks it up. Ahmed Johnson gets rid of Bulldog then Roberts does hit the DDT on Hart! Roberts then tries one on Jim Cornette but Vader breaks it up then hits the Vader Bomb on Jake! Vader hooks the leg and the referee counts the three! Vader, British Bulldog and Owen Hart who haven’t won a PPV match between them in 1996 so far pick up the big win. A good way to start the show.
Now to a video package about “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Goldust. These two meet in a Hollywood Back lot Brawl.
Now to ringside where Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler introduce the next match.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Goldust – Hollywood Back lot Brawl Part 1
We see Piper waiting in the car park with a baseball bat then in drives Goldust in a gold Cadillac. Piper smashes up the Cadillac then does the same to Goldust, throwing him from one side of the Lot to the other. Piper puts Goldust through the food table then throws him into the railings around the sides. This is Pipers first Wrestlemania match since Wrestlemania 8 when he fought Bret Hart although he did referee matches at Wrestlemanias 10 & 11. Roddy hoses down Goldust then slams him down on the Cadillac. Goldust seems to be cut open on the back of his head. Goldust gains the advantage with a low blow then throws Roddy into the side of a dumpster before getting back into his car and driving into Piper who manages to dive onto the bonnet. Goldust then ditches Piper and drives off! Maybe it’s Pipers hand thats bleeding. Piper gets into a car and drives after Goldust, I guess we’ll come back to this one, it’s been a good start!
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega
The Ringmaster has now become “Stone Cold” Steve Austin but he is still the Million Dollar Champion and is accompanied by “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase. We then see some footage from Superstars where Steve Austin replaced Razor Ramon in the tag team tournament and cost Savio the match. This is a first Wrestlemania for both of these men. Savio debuted at the PPV after Wrestlemania last year. The two men get straight into it, Savio hits a sidewalk slam and both men brawl with lefts and rights. They take it to the outside then back in. Back in the ring and Austin throws Savio into the ringpost. Austin no longer has blonde hair but he’s bald with a ginger goatee. Austin covers and gets a count of two. Savio takes the advantage again and we get Piper on the phone who is driving. You can hear sirens in the background. Savio goes for a clothesline and hurts himself which allows Austin to take the advantage. Austin goes to the armbar. Piper is back on the phone but we lose him again. Savio comes off the ropes with a cross body and gets a two count but it’s back and forth with both men getting near falls.
We go to a split screen now with aerial footage of Roddy Piper driving up the freeway with a line of police behind him. Back in the match and Vega comes off the second rope but Austin gets his knees up. Austin then slams Vega and goes to the top rope but as he leaps off Savio Vega gets his boot up. Savio has the momentum but Dibiase gets up on the apron distraction the referee and Savio goes for his spinning heel kick but Austin moves and Vega hits the referee! Dibiase throws Austin the Million Dollar title and Austin nails Savio with it! But the referee is still down. Austin locks on the Million Dollar dream as Dibiase throws a cup of coke over the referee. This wakes him up and the referee checks Savio who is out! Steve Austin wins the match at his first ever Wrestlemania! This was a good match but the Piper/Goldust stuff did cause a bit of a distraction.
Now we go back to Roddy Piper who is still driving after Goldust.
Backstage to Mr Perfect who is showing us some footage from Diesel and Undertaker feud. He is stood with Diesel and asks him if the mind games from the Undertaker are affecting him. Diesel doesn’t sweat the little things. He says he’ll take care of The Undertaker then go on to Shawn Michaels.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Hunter comes out to the ring with Rena Mero (Sable) for this one. This is the much anticipated return of The Ultimate Warrior. Hunter Hearst Helmsley has a good PPV record having won every singles match he’s been in, defeating the lieks of Bob Holly, Fatu, Henry Godwinn and Duke “The Dumpster” Droese but this is his biggest opponent yet. The crowd go nuts as Warriors music hits! Warrior runs out like he always did, shaking the ropes as pyro goes off. This is Warriors first PPV match since Summerslam 92 where he beat Randy Savage by count out. Hunter attacks Warrior before the bell hammering him with right hands then he hits the Pedigree! warrior gets right back up though and finally takes his jacket off. Warrior hits three clotheslines then his trademark shoulder tackle. Warrior then picks Helmsley high above his head and Gorilla press slams him before hitting his splash for the victory! Ultimate Warrior with a squash match against the undefeated Helmsley!
Backstage now to Todd Pettingill who is with newcomer “Wildman” Marc Mero. Hunter Hearst Helmsley interrupts the interview and the two men get into a scrap, Helmsley even blames Sable for his loss. Referees come out and break it up.
Diesel vs. The Undertaker
This is a match between two men undefeated at Wrestlemania up to this point. Diesel has only had one Wrestlemania match though compared to Undertakers four. Diesel has only recently turned heel and I really like the look of this match. Two big athletic men who haven’t really crossed paths. Diesel and Undertaker get right into it, Diesel hitting a hard Irish whip. Undertaker gets back into it with a big boot and a clothesline but misses with an elbow. Diesel then clotheslines Undertaker over the top but Undertaker grabs Diesel out with him. Two former WWF champions here. There’s some technical problems as the screen goes black but we still get audio. Back in the ring and Undertaker got for the Tombstone but Diesel gets out of it. Undertaker twists the arm of Diesel and goes up for his top rope clothesline, hitting the big move. Undertaker then goes for a flying clothesline but Diesel ducks and Undertaker rolls out to the apron. He guillotines Diesel on the top rope then knocks Diesel to the outside where Big Daddy Cool lands on his feet. Undertaker grabs a chair and goes to smash Diesel with it but Diesel gets out of the way and Undertaker smashes the ring post.
Diesel throws Undertaker into the railings then smashes him into the ringpost. Diesel doesn’t allow Undertaker into the ring, he knocks the dead man back out before eventually dragging him back in and hitting a big boot. This match has slowed right down now as a “Rest In Peace” chant breaks out. This is Diesels 16th PPV in a row, unbelievable. Diesel just smiles at the crowd then hits a sidewalk slam getting a two count. Diesel picks Undertaker up and drops him on the top turnbuckle. Undertaker starts a comeback but then both men big boot each other and both men go down! The referee counts and Undertaker is first to sit up at the count of 8. Diesel is quicker up to his feet though and locks on a bear hug. Undertaker manages to get out of it and he goes up to the top, hitting a big clothesline for a two count. Undertaker then makes the mistake of dropping his head and Diesel nails the Jackknife! He doesn’t go for the cover though, instead stands in the corner looking out to the crowd. Diesel kicks Undertaker until the phenom wakes up then Diesel sets up for another Jackknife and nails it again! But once again he chooses not to pin him. Eventually he goes down to pin him but Undertaker grabs his throat and gets back up to his feet. Diesel manages to get him off and suplex him though.
Both men get up and Diesel motions for another Jackknife but Undertaker takes the advantage with his flying clothesline. He then hits a chokeslam on the former WWF champion! Undertaker then motions for the Tombstone then hits Diesel with it, covering him for the three count! Undertaker wins the match and makes it 5 and 0 at Wrestlemania! A big win and it’ll be interesting to see where Undertaker goes next.
Back to Todd Pettingill who is watching the security monitors. Goldust has driven into the parking lot and Piper isn’t far behind. Goldust is inside the building with Marlena and Piper is backstage somewhere too. Goldust walks out into the arena and Piper emerges too!
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Goldust – Part 2
The two men go at it in the ring and Goldust nails the acting President of the WWF right right hands. The crowd cheers for Piper but Goldust continues the advantage with a low blow. The current Intercontinental champion, Goldust chokes Piper with some weapon Piper has bought out with him. Goldust keeps rubbing himself and he nails Pipers leg into the ringpost. Goldust goes to the top but Piper shakes the ropes and crotches him! Goldust manages to headbutt Piper then kisses him! That riles Roddy up though and Piper goes mad, grabbing Goldusts manhood at one stage! Piper righting on this PPV means that we have still had somebody from the very first Wrestlemania fight on every Wrestlemania since! Piper now strips Goldust of his catsuit revealing that the bizarre one is wearing womens underwear! Piper nails Goldust in the crotch and Goldust rolls out of the ring and to the back! Pipers music hits and it seems as though the Rowdy one has won this match! I’m not sure what the rules were but Pipers music has hit and Goldust has run to the back so that’s good enough for me! A very entertaining match.
Now to a video package about Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. It sounds like Michael Cole voicing this.
Now to ringside where Gorilla Monsoon has returned as President of the WWF.
Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels – Iron Man Match for WWF Championship
Michaels music hits and out comes Jose Lothario but where’s Shawn Michaels? Jose has always been Shawn Michaels trainer. Lothario points up to the rafters and Shawn Michaels comes down on a zip wire from the top down into the crowd. Plenty of fireworks for Michaels as he gets into the ring. Both men get a decent ovation. We go over the rules then start with a collar and elbow tie up. This is the second time these two have met in a singles match on PPV. The first was at Survivor Series 92 also for Bret Harts WWF title, a match that Hart won. It’s a technical start to the match with both men using takedowns. Hart locks on a headlock to try and wear Michaels down. We see the scoreboard in the bottom right hand corner with the scores of 0-0 on. Remember, most falls in an hour wins this one. Michaels bridges Hart a couple of times but can’t get a fall. This is the 8th Wrestlemania in a row for Michaels and the 11th for Hart. A couple of “boring chants” break out as Michaels now has an arm bar locked on. Hart gets out of it but Michaels hits a flying head scissors that sends him to the outside. 50 minutes left on the clock.
Back in the ring and Hart sends Michaels to the outside but Michaels skins the cat and goes back to the arm bar. Hart eventually gets out of it and manages to send Michaels out of the ring. Hart follows him but Shawn throws him into the ringpost. HBK then goes for Sweet Chin Music but Hart moves out of the way and Michaels nails the timekeeper! A stretcher is bought out for the time keeper as Hart goes back to a headlock in the ring. 40 minutes left, we’re a third of the way through. No falls yet, just headlocks and arm bars. Speaking of which, Michaels goes back to armbar. The two men get to their feet and Michaels throws Hart into the ringpost. No sign of a fall just yet. Michaels hammerlock slams Hart as he continues to work on the shoulder. He hits a DDT using the arm then goes back to the arm bar. Bret gets out of it but he can’t capitalise so Michaels goes back to the arm bar. Hart gets out of it again and this time slingshots Michaels into the ringpost. Half way through this one, 30 minutes left.
Hart covers Shawn and gets a two count. Bret then tries to smash Michaels head into the turnbuckle but Michaels blocks and smashes Hart instead. Shawn then misses with a splash in the corner and Hart takes the advantage with a clothesline and a near fall. Bret then hits a bulldog and goes to the top but he’s too slow and Michaels goes over to the corner. Hart hammers him though and then hits some bodge of a bulldog/knee. Lots of whistling from the crowd who are waiting for the first fall. Hart goes to check on the referee who was knocked down in the last exchange and Michaels swings him into the ropes then hits a powerslam for another two count. Shawn whips Bret again but this time Bret kicks him and hits a piledriver for another 2. Plenty of boo’s from the crowd now. Don’t know if they’re booing the lack of falls, probably. Michaels hits a hurricanrana then a backbreaker. 2 count. Michaels goes for Sweet Chin Music but Bret slides out of the ring. Shawn then goes to the top and dives on Bret on the outside. That looked good. The referee counts Bret but Michaels breaks the count, throwing Hart back into the ring then going up top with a cross body. Bret rolls through it though for a two count. Michaels goes back to the sleeper which should excite the crowd. Bret gets out of it pretty quickly and back body drops Michaels over the top rope.
McMahon is confident that Michaels is going to get counted out but Jose Lothario distracts the referee momentarily. Hart then goes outside and rams Shawn into the ringpost. This is the only title match tonight which is fairly disappointing. Back in the ring and Hart hits a backbreaker. Both men are looking knackered now. 20 minutes left on the clock. Hart lays in some boots in the corner. Bret props Michaels up on the corner but Michaels fights him off then dives off the middle rope but Bret catches him with a right hand then nails the side Russian leg sweep which gets him another two count. Bret then Irish whips the challenger hard into the corner and Michaels flies over the top rope and onto Jose Lothario on the outside. Bret then whips Shawn into the ring steps where he nails Lothario again! Bret throws Michaels back into the ring. Hart hits a belly to belly which gets a two count. Shawn then rolls Bret up but the champion pushes challenger to the outside then leaps out to him with a suicide dive! Bret goes to pick him up then changes his mind and leaves Bret outside the ring. There seems to be some boos for Bret and some whistles.
Michaels manages to get back into the ring and Hart goes back to him with some boots. There are now only ten minutes left in this one. Hart goes to a Camel clutch but Michaels gets back up to his feet and elbows his way out of the hold. Both men then take each other down with a clothesline with just 7 minutes left. Both men get up and Bret once again props Michaels up on the top turnbuckle before superplexing him off. Hart then tries for the Sharpshooter but Micheals kicks him off. Instead Bret manages to lock on a single leg crab but Michaels gets to the ropes. Hart hits a backbreaker and then goes to the middle rope where he goes for his trademark elbow but Michaels gets his foot up! Both men are down once again with 4 and a half minutes to go. They both get up and Michaels hits a dropkick then a hard Irish whip into the corner. Michaels follows it up with a flying forearm and then he nips up. The crowd seem to be behind Michaels as he hits an elbow then a powerslam. He then goes up to the top and hits a double axe handle and gets a two. Michaels hits a suplex then goes to the top and hits the flying elbow for another two count. Two minutes to go and Shawn nails a gut wrench powerbomb. The challenger then goes back to the top and nails a moonsault. Another two count!
Shawn Michaels goes to the middle rope and hits a hurricanrana, rolling Bret up as he does so for another two count. He then powerslams Bret and goes to the top but Bret catches him and locks on the Sharpshooter with 30 seconds to go! Michaels shakes his head, can he hang on? 10 seconds left and Michaels hangs on! The bell rings! The match finishes 0-0. Gorilla Monsoon gets into the ring as Bret is given the WWF title belt to a mixed reaction. Monsoon talks to the referee and Howard Finkel then makes the announcement that the match is to continue under sudden death rules. That means there has to be a winner and next fall wins. Bret Hart isn’t happy. He kicks off at Monsoon then goes after a wounded Shawn Michaels, targeting his back. Hart goes for a splash in the corner but Michaels gets out of the way and quickly hits Sweet Chin Music! But Michaels is too wounded to pin Bret and instead crawls to the corner. He then gets up and hits it again! He covers Bret Hart and the referee slowly counts to three! Shawn Michaels wins the WWF World Heavyweight Title! He’s given the title and looks very emotional as Hart leaves the scene. This was a good match but really boring for at least half of it. I can’t give it the rating it probably deserves because of how dull it was in parts.
And that was Wrestlemania 12. The fewest matches of any Wrestlemania in history, only 6 matches on the card, one of which was a squash, but the quality was generally good. The 6 man tag was a good way to start and I’m glad they changed it from a singles match between Yokozuna and Vader. I think Vader and co was the right way to book it too as it continues to make Vader look strong and cement Camp Cornette as a decent unit. Jake Roberts took the fall and to be honest he has not managed to rekindle the magic he once had. Ahmed Johnson should have a good future ahead of him. Throughout the night we had the ongoing saga between Roddy Piper and Goldust. Most of this match was pre-recorded with the in-ring stuff being the only live elements. This match was good fun to be honest. They told a good story and the hardcore stuff in the back lot was entertaining. Piper did come across as a homophobe in this feud but at the time it probably wasn’t too bad. Piper didn’t pin Goldust so the Intercontinental champion didn’t look too weak.
Steve Austin and Savio Vega was up next and if I’m being honest this was probably more suited to the kick off show as it would have been nice to see the Godwinns and Bodydonnas tag team title match on the show. None the less we got an ok match between Steve who is a very good hand in the ring and Savio who can be very entertaining himself. Steve won after nailing Savio with the Million Dollar title belt which suggests this feud may carry on. This match and feud also gives Savio Vega a new lease of life as he hasn’t been too involved as of late. Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Ultimate Warrior was just a squash. It gave Warrior a big return and a win over a very credible opponent who hadn’t actually lost a singles match to this point. It’ll be interesting to see where Ultimate Warrior fits in on the new roster, I would quite like to see Warrior/Vader and Warrior/Diesel. Helmsley should be headed towards the Intercontinental title picture and this loss shouldn’t affect him too much.
Diesel and Undertaker was the semi main event and in my opinion had the best build up of any match on this card. The match wasn’t too bad either. Diesel is in full heel mode since attacking Shawn Michaels and he played up to it well. The result could have swung either way for me but Undertaker getting the win pretty much confirms that this feud is over which is probably the right thing. Then the main event was an epic. A 60 man Iron Match that went to overtime between the two best athletes of all time. The problem with having a 60 man match is the amount of rest holds which took up at least a third if not half of the match. But still no other competitors could have put on the performance these two guys did and to see Shawn Michaels raises the title at the end of the match was a real mark out moment. Shawn Michaels goes forward as WWF Champion.
Overall a decent show because of the match quality. Most of the top superstars were involved but I would have liked to have seen the tag team title match on the main card.
Overall Rating: 61.5/100 (Ranked 2nd out of 54)
Match Of The Night: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Worst Match Of The Night: Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega
Surprise Of The Night: Goldust and Roddy Piper bring the fight to the arena
Worst Booking Of The Night: None
Wrestler Of The Night: Shawn Michaels
WM12 Will Be Remembered For: The boyhood dream coming true for Shawn Michaels