|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||March 31, 1996|
|Venue||Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim|
WrestleMania XII was the 12th annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). It took place on March 31, 1996, at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in Anaheim, California.
In the main event, Bret Hart lost the WWF World Heavyweight Championship to Shawn Michaels in a 60-minute Iron Man match. In his return to the company after a four-year hiatus, The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Roddy Piper had his first match since 1994, after which he left for WCW. Singer Vic Damone performed a rendition of "America the Beautiful" to open the show.
WrestleMania is considered World Wrestling Federation's (WWF, now WWE) flagship event, having first been held in 1985. It has become the longest-running professional wrestling event in history and is held annually between mid-March to mid-April. It was the first of WWF's original four pay-per-views, which includes Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, which were eventually dubbed the "Big Four". It eventually became described as the Super Bowl of sports entertainment.
The main attraction of this WrestleMania was the WWF World Heavyweight Championship contested in an Iron Man match; whereby the winner would be the man to win most falls over sixty minutes. Michaels had earned the opportunity to face reigning champion Bret Hart by winning the 1996 Royal Rumble, and had also defeated Owen Hart at In Your House 6 for the right to keep the WrestleMania title shot.
The main event was built on Bret Hart wanting to retain the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels, who had suffered a number of setbacks over the course of the previous year, including: failing to win Diesel's WWF World Heavyweight Championship the previous year at WrestleMania XI, being accosted by a group of Marines at a Syracuse, New York nightclub, forfeiting the WWF Intercontinental Championship at In Your House 4 in October 1995 to Dean Douglas, suffering a storyline concussion at the hands of Owen Hart, and being betrayed in storyline by close friend Diesel at a house show at Madison Square Garden.
The secondary feud heading into WrestleMania was between the returning Ultimate Warrior and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Helmsley made his debut in the WWF in May 1995, with his wrestling gimmick being in that he was a rich snob born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He went on an undefeated winning streak throughout the year. The Ultimate Warrior meanwhile had left the WWF in 1992 after failing a drug test. His last match was on the November 14, 1992 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event XXXI, where he and "Macho Man" Randy Savage defeated Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster in a tag team match. WWF officials later signed on a match between Ultimate Warrior, who re-signed to the WWF in an attempt to increase ratings and the undefeated Helmsley for WrestleMania XII.
WrestleMania XII received generally positive reviews from critics, who aimed praise, particularly at the main event. Rob McNew of 411mania called the opening match "really good," and gave it 3 and 1/4 stars (out of 5 stars). However, he called the match between Helmsley and The Ultimate Warrior the worst of the night, going on to call it the "funniest squash ever, considering that HHH is now arguably a bigger star than Warrior was." He gave the main event the highest score of the night, with 4 stars. However, he says the match "isn't for everyone." Continuing, he says, "It's about a three-star match for the first 40 minutes, the last 20+ are an easy five stars." He gave the entire event a score of 7 out of 10. In 2015, Ryan Dilbert of Bleacher Report called it the 16th greatest of the first 30 WrestleMania events.
WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament
The WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament was a tournament to decide new WWF Tag Team Champions after former champions The Smokin' Gunns had to vacate the titles due to Billy Gunn suffering a neck injury, the tournament was won by The Bodydonnas (Skip and Zip).
|Stone Cold Steve Austin and Savio Vega|
|Razor Ramon and Savio Vega||Pin|
|The 1-2-3 Kid and Tatanka|
|Owen Hart and the British Bulldog||Pin|
|Hakushi and Barry Horowitz|
|Owen Hart and the British Bulldog|
|The New Rockers|
Iron Man match
|1–0||Shawn Michaels||Pinfall||Michaels pinned Hart after a Sweet Chin Music||1:01:56|
Other on-screen personnel
- Taped parts of the match were shown intermittently throughout the pay-per-view, with the live part of the match occurring just before the main event.
- Powell, Jason. "Iron Man Match highlights WrestleMania 12". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
- "WrestleMania 29 press conference brings WWE to Radio City Music Hall". WWE. Archived from the original on April 7, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
... WWE's flagship event lights up MetLife Stadium ... WrestleMania
- Ian Hamilton. Wrestling's Sinking Ship: What Happens to an Industry Without Competition (p. 160)
- Gelston, Dan. "WrestleMania is Super Bowl of sports entertainment". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- "WrestleMania XII Review | 411MANIA". 411mania.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- Dilbert, Ryan. "WWE WrestleMania 2015: Power Ranking Every Card in PPV's History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- Keller, Wade. "WWE WrestleMania Countdown - 1996 PPV Report (WM 12): Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart Iron Man match, Ultimate Warrior vs. Triple H". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "10 Worst Wrestlemania Matches EVER". Slam! Wrestling. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "The Bodydonnas' first reign". WWE. Retrieved 2007-05-24.