The two men responsible for arguably the greatest WrestleMania match of all time 23 years ago will unite once again. WWE announced on Thursday that Bret Hart will join Steve Austin for the Broken Skull Sessions on the WWE Network on March 16th. Austin will also be featured on RAW that night on the USA Network.
Hart will be the fifth guest on the Broken Skull Sessions. Previous guests have included the Big Show, Kane, The Undertaker, and Bill Goldberg. Every single edition of the show has been fantastic television, especially the episode with The Undertaker. Austin has honed his skills as a podcast host for years now, so his transition to interviewer on WWE's streaming platform has been a massive success.
Perhaps more-so than anyone else, Hart's rivalry with Austin in 1996 and 1997 helped turn Austin into a mega star during the onset of the "Attitude Era," pro wrestling's biggest boom period. After losing the WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII in March of 1996, Hart went on a hiatus from WWE television until October of that year. During that period, he was heavily courted by WCW but eventually made the decision to stick with WWE.
Hart returned to WWE television on the October 21st, 1996 edition of RAW to inform the world that he would be with the WWE "forever." Forever turned out to be just over one year, as Hart left the company following the Survivor Series in November 1997 (the famed "Montreal Screwjob"). Due to WWE being in what he deemed to be financial peril, Vince McMahon went to Hart in September 1997 and revealed he wanted out of their 20 year contract that had been signed just one year prior.
However, let's rewind back to that October 1996 appearance on RAW. When Hart revealed he was returning, he also announced that he would face Steve Austin in his return match at that year's Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden. Austin had been calling Hart out for months on WWE television, so the match made sense. Hart had reportedly been extremely high on Austin's potential for quite some time and was chomping at the bit to work with him on television.
The two did have some untelevised matches across Europe, Kuwait, and South Africa at various live events throughout 1996 while Hart was off television but still fulfilling dates for the company, and he was quite impressed with the up and coming star. Austin continued calling out Hart on television right up until his RAW return in October, including in one memorable segment featuring Brian Pillman.
Hart and Austin ended up having a classic encounter at Survivor Series that paved the way for an even better match four months later, the aforementioned WrestleMania 13 match in Chicago. They followed that classic with a third singles PPV bout at April's In Your House and were also involved in a ten-man tag team match at July's Canadian Stampede In Your House PPV event in Calgary, a night that featured arguably the hottest crowd ever for a WWE show.
Plus, let's not forget the fatal four-way match at the February 1997 In Your House PPV event that both Austin and Hart were involved in that saw Hart win the WWE Championship a fourth time, only to lose it to Sid the following night on RAW after Austin got involved. Or a memorable encounter on RAW following a Sid/Hart steel cage match that saw the Hitman completely lose it on the microphone afterward. There was also that tremendous brawl on RAW in April 1997 that saw Hart taken into an ambulance, only to reveal that Austin was in the front seat. Yeah, these two had one of the best feuds of the 1990s. Maybe ever.
There's no doubt that the year-long feud between Austin and Hart spring-boarded Austin into super-stardom and set the trajectory for his eventual championship victory over Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14, leading to one of the greatest periods any main eventer in wrestling has ever seen.
To watch Steve and Bret sit down with one another and reminisce about their careers and what was one of the most imporant periods in wrestling history will be must-see television. And it should make this edition of the Broken Skull Sessions the best one yet.
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