10 WrestleMania Followup Pay-Per-Views with WrestleMania Rematches
WWE is already setting WrestleMania rematches at Backlash and The Greatest Royal Rumble; how will they stack up to their Superdome original?
Professional wrestling is a repetitive business. If something works, why not try it again a few years, or a few months, later?
Sometimes WWE likes to let audiences forget particular storylines or matches before trying them again, and sometimes the company likes to stick with a particular winning lottery number for as long as it can.
The following 10 matches are examples of the latter; each of these is a match WWE featured on a WrestleMania broadcast, then repeated in some form at its next pay-per-view event. Some of these gave performers more time to breathe and more tools to put on a good show, some were hampered by other circumstances, and some were just doomed by the law of diminishing returns.
Note: some of these rematches, just like The Miz's invoking of his rematch clause to take on Seth Rollins at this year's Backlash event, feature combinations of performers who were involved in multi-person or multi-team matches at WrestleMania before narrowing down their competition at the next premium show.
#10. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin III
At WrestleMania 13, Bret Hart and Steve Austin put on one of the greatest matches not just in WrestleMania history, but in WWF/E history as well. Gallons of ink, trillions of pixels, and hours of podcast time have dissected this match's greatness, and deservedly so, as the contest earned its spot in the pantheon of professional wrestling history.
Sensing lightning in a bottle, WWE attempted to strike a second time by booking Hart and Austin to close out its April 20, 1997, pay-per-view, In Your House: Revenge of the Taker. In the four weeks between WrestleMania and In Your House, lots had changed about the dynamic between the two foes.
Hart cemented the heel turn he began in the finish of the WrestleMania contest by reuniting with his estranged brother Owen and brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, to form a new bad guy faction called The Hart Foundation, named after the tag team Hart had with another brother-in-law, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, in the 1980s and 1990s; Neidhart would return to join the group as 1997 wore on.
While America was the Hart Foundation's chief complaint, Austin was their main target, and the antagonism between the group's leader and the Texas Rattlesnake amplified throughout the spring, bringing an In Your House rematch with a World Wrestling Federation championship opportunity on the line.
Austin would win by disqualification, when Davey Boy Smith interfered and hit Austin with a steel chair; the rest of the Foundation then tried to attack Austin with chairs and the ring bell but, in a reversal of the WrestleMania finish, Austin attacked Bret's legs, then placed The Hitman in his own signature sharpshooter until officials pulled him away, this time to raucous cheers from the Rochester, NY, crowd.
Which Worked Better?
WrestleMania, by far; while the rematch was far from a stinker (***3/4 from wrestling's Roger Ebert, Dave Meltzer), it couldn't compete with the WrestleMania match's five-star rating. Further, the rematch was nowhere near as important as its extracurriculars; while WrestleMania used a match to build a finish, In Your House used a finish to justify a match, and let Austin's attack on Bret's legs become the storyline justification for Bret's knee problems and hiatus from in-ring action (though he would continue to be an onscreen character throughout the spring and summer).