Event: WrestleMania XII
Date: March 31, 1996
Place: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
After the shitfest that was WrestleMania XI, we can only go up from there. And with WrestleMania XII, we did improve...a hell of a lot. Everything about this show is better than last year's debacle. For example, our main event does not feature a mid-carder versus a football player. Instead, it features two of the best workers, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, in an amazing 60-minute Iron Man match. Also memorable from this show is a Hollywood Backlot Brawl featuring Roddy Piper and Goldust, which is kind of a precursor to the hardcore matches of the Attitude Era.
Onto the matches!
Camp Cornette (Vader, Owen Hart, British Bulldog) (with Jim Cornette) defeats Yokozuna, Jake Roberts, and Ahmed Johnson (with Mr. Fuji)
Ohh man, this match was some HOLY FUCKING HOSSAMANIA!! Also, it was a very fun opening match with a lot of good action. Oh, and Yokozuna got even bigger than he was last year. Seriously, the man got fatter as the WrestleManias went by.
Stone Cold Steve Austin (with Ted DiBiase) defeats Savio Vega
This match marks the first WrestleMania match for Stone Cold Steve Austin, and it was a pretty good match at that. However, two things overshadowed it: the crowd was kind of dead, and Roddy Piper was getting chased by the police, a reference to the police chase of OJ Simpson.
The Ultimate Warrior defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Sable)
This match marked the return of Ultimate Warrior to WWF for a brief stint. His entrance was better than it ever has been due to the use of pyro. It also marked HHH's first WrestleMania appearance. The match itself was a complete squash, with Ultimate Warrior no-selling a Pedigree.
Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeats Diesel
This match marked Undertaker going 5-0 at WrestleMania. As for the match, it was nothing special.
Roddy Piper technically defeats Goldust (with Marlena) in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl
This match started after the first match and received coverage until it culminated during this part of the show. In the backlot, there were some pretty brutal spots, including Goldust hitting Piper with the gold Cadillac. As this show continued, we were shown montages of Piper chasing Goldust while getting chased by the LAPD, a throwback to the police chase of OJ Simpson. The match spilled out into the main arena with more brawling. The match ended when Piper ripped off Goldust's ring attire to reveal S&M lingerie. This match, although it wasn't at all technical, was very entertaining.
Shawn Michaels (with Jose Lothario) defeats Bret Hart in an Iron Man match
First of all, we get a cameo from the one and only Gorilla Monsoon, who was the kayfabe WWF President at the time. We also got the famous zip-line entrance from Shawn Michaels, which is still a spectacle to this day. As for the match, it absolutely lives up to its legendary reputation. The entire match, including overtime, is full of excellently paced action that holds your attention for the entire duration of the match.
END OF MATCHES
WrestleMania XII definitely improves upon last year's mess. Although there were less matches than last year, the quality of all of them were infinitely better. The obvious match of the night was the HBK v. Bret Hart Iron Man match. It's amazing. Yes, it is an hour long, but it is worth the time to watch it.
I hereby give WrestleMania XII an A. It was awesome, but just shy of the A+ level that WrestleMania X attained.
Stay tuned for WrestleMania 13!