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Ken Shamrock Didn’t Know If He Could Pull Off Wrestling Before WrestleMania 13 Match

September 11, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Ken Shamrock Steve Austin Bret Hart WrestleMania 13 Image Credit: WWE

Ken Shamrock is a major part of the Attitude Era, but he recently recalled how he didn’t know if he’d be able to do it before he was a part of Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. Shamrock was a guest on the Universal Wrestling Podcast and talked about being the guest referee for the famous match, which saw Bret Hart beat Steve Austin in a match that pulled a double turn with the two after Austin passed out to the sharpshooter.

Discussing the match, Shamrock talked about how he didn’t know if he could do it because he worried his UFC background would make it difficult for him to not look believable if he wasn’t shooting. He also noted how quickly he got into the flow of it, crediting Austin and Hart for making it easy by the fact that they went so hard at each other. You can check out some highlights below:

On making his debut as a referee in the match: “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 once the match started: “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.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Universal Wrestling Podcast with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.