The Iron Man Match – WrestleMania 12 –
Bret vs. Shawn and the Early HBK Mindset
The iron man match really is a genius route to take for the blow off match of any feud. The concept is tailor made to prove to those watching that only the most skilled of wrestlers can pull it off. At minimum, an iron man match runs thirty minutes. The goal, to those unaware, is to get as many pin falls and submissions as possible in the time period allotted. Not many men can go thirty minutes without getting boring, and even less can go the maximum time limit: sixty minutes.
The finest example of an iron man match is also the most obvious: HBK vs. Bret The Hitman Hart at WrestleMania 12. It was a masterpiece; an incredible display of the athleticism both men were capable of. The two bitter rivals went in with the intention of not letting the other man steal any of the spotlight. It’s because of this that the match never gets boring. The match goes a full sixty minutes without one pin fall or submission being recorded, ending the time limit in a draw. This was no bueno for the inimitable Gorilla Monsoon, who was the storyline WWF President at the time. So he came out to the ring and instructed the ref to add some time to the clock, because the two men were now in OT.
The end of regulation time was also done phenomenally. The clock ticked down to zero with Shawn Michaels trapped in the sharpshooter. He never gave up though, gritting his teeth and suffering through the pain. It went pretty quickly from there, once the overtime clock began. HBK hit the chin music and then rolled up Bret for the one, two, three. This is where the story of HBK winning his first WWE Title gets a little bit unseemly. The boyhood dream may have come true, but the young adulthood mindset HBK carried at the time reared its ugly head. It would appear that after being handed his new Championship belt, HBK told the referee Earl Hebner to take Bret and “get the f–k out of my ring.”
“This is my moment,” declared HBK.