Ken Shamrock was recently a guest on the Universal Wrestling Podcast, where he recalled being the special guest referee for the WrestleMania 13 match between Bret "The Hitman" Hart and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
“It was very exciting for me. But to be honest, when I first went into the match or even into the WWF, I wasn’t sure how I was going to — because I had the experience early on being a pro wrestler. And it was fun, and it was okay. But the reason why I went into fighting was because I wanted more. Like, I wanted to challenge myself more. So here I was, years and years and years later, going into one of the biggest entertainment businesses in the world and going back into something that I transitioned out of because I wanted more, thinking to myself, ‘I don’t know how this is going to work. I don’t know if it’s going to be exciting to me. But I’m going to try it, because I didn’t have any other paths to go and I felt like, ‘Well I’ll just bring my character, my moves, and all the stuff into the entertainment business and we’ll see what happens.’
“Well here I am, thrown in with Bret Hart and Stone Cold, two guys that can work. And they can really put something together. And I’m thinking to myself, ‘I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I can make these guys look good,’ because in my mind I’m like, ‘I can’t fake being real. I can’t fake someone getting hit. I can’t fake a match that’s not real. And so my head I’m going, ‘I don’t know if I could pull this off because these guys are great at what they do. ‘ I didn’t know if I could do that, because I was the real deal. Like, I did things for real and I didn’t want to mess this up. And I’m really going into this not really sure about whether or not this is going turn out right, right?”+
On his mindset when the match began:
“Five minutes into this match, it’s like I don’t know the difference between what I did in the UFC as opposed to what those guys were doing in the ring. It was that believable, it was that good that I personally myself got caught up into it as it being legitimate. And you can ask those guys too, but it was pretty damn real. They went after one another, they did a great job.
“I was very fortunate to be a part of something that I agree with you, that is probably one of the greatest matches in wrestling history. It changed an organization from being mediocre to being great. Gave people today um a reason to be able to watch wrestling and be proud of wrestling. Because before, there was a lot of closet wrestlers people just wouldn’t tell people they watch wrestling. But once that happened and the Attitude Era came around, people were proud to be wrestling fans and even today, they’re okay to be wrestling fans. So I think that started a generation of wrestling fans of being proud to watch wrestling. Because it was so vicious, it was so real. Those guys did a tremendous job and I was fortunate to be a part of it.”
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