The Way Too Long Review of Bret Hart: The Best There Is, Was, Ever Will Be – The Matches

So Bret Hart is coming back to the WWE. Despite my dislike of Bret’s public persona, as a wrestler I would only rank Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels above him in terms of people who put out more high-quality matches over the years.

Oh, and I love how everyone is saying “I saw signs this was coming.” You FUCKING LIARS! YOU SAW NOTHING! I saw a sign right in front of me but was too oblivious to pick up on it. Bragging Rights 2009: Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole slam the holy hell out of the Hart Dynasty and especially Tyson Kidd on commentary. It’s pretty obvious now why it was done, but at the time it just seemed like a burial to me. But I’m not going to beat my chest and crow that I knew then Bret Hart was coming back. I didn’t. And you didn’t either.

Do you know what the down part of this is? It won’t be a surprise. When Shawn Michaels was feuding with Hulk Hogan and they hit Bret Hart’s music, it was a moment that made marks of us all. Sure, there will be some fun just by having Bret here, but I’m guessing there won’t be any “HOLY SHIT!” moments that make wrestling so fun.

What do I want them to do with Bret? Well, even though it’s the obvious choice, I don’t want a feud with Vince McMahon. Those are all the same. Vince cuts a generic evil billionaire promo on why he’s superior to everyone. The babyface comes out an points out all the bad things he did. Vince brags about those evil things. Stuff happens. Rinse and repeat until blow-off. It’s been done a dozen times before and just having Bret present isn’t going to make it any more fresh. It’s played.

I would actually like to see DX go heel and feud with Bret and the Harts. I just won’t want to see it end in a match. I’m not worried so much about Bret’s health. They’re all professionals and can protect each-other. I’m more concerned with what I call the Mortal Enemies Rule of wrestling: two guys who legitimately hate each-other are incapable of having a great match. I’ve been challenging my readers for almost a year now to come up with one example that says otherwise but nobody has.

Anyway, the angle is obvious. Turn DX heels before Bret shows up. This should have been done months ago anyway. Have them become corporate sell-outs who seem more interested in hocking merchandise then backing it up in the ring. You know, kind of like they are now. Bret shows up and has the Dynasty kick the shit out of them. Shawn and Trips go into duck-and-cover mode, cutting weasel promos on Bret while STILL shilling their merchandise. The Dynasty wants to counter with anti-DX stuff, but Bret tells them no, they must make their bones in the ring. This leads to Wrestlemania, where the Dynasty destroy DX after a great back-and-forth match to pay back the months of abuse. Bret Hart, satisfied that the Harts are ready to lead the next generation, leaves the company. Meanwhile, Shawn and Trips are left in a puddle of their own urine, but still manage to plug the new DX Adult Diapers, available now at WWEshop.com. Are you a fan of DX? DEPENDS!

So let’s step into the way-back machine for a look at Bret’s first DVD with the company. A new one, focusing on the Hart Foundation, is on the way. This is a copy-and-paste of one of my earlier reviews, but it’s been cleaned up by Red. No sense in splitting this up into multiple posts.

This week I’ll finally find the time to complete that damn Hogan DVD so that I can move on to the Top 10 Stories of the Decade.

Disc One

Match #1
Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs
7/13/85 Madison Square Garden

Dynamite starts with Bret. Lock-up, nothing. Another lock-up and Kid armdrags Bret a few times. Dynamite reverses a headlock and dumps Bret. Tag to Neidhart. God is Dynamite ripped. Nothing happens and he tags Davey Boy in. Stiff double clothesline that’s doubly stiff to Neidhart. Test of strength, Neidhart shoots him off, dropkick by Davey, and Bret tags in. Whip into the ropes and Bret hits a knee. Various stomps and kicks, and Jim tags in. Double elbow to Davey and Neidhart makes sure he gets a nice stiff shot in to pay back the stiff clothesline. It must be some sort of Hart Family mating ritual. Backbreaker/fist-drop combo by the Harts, always nice. This is followed by a couple sledges by Jim. Boot to the gut, and Bret cheats by running in for an open dropkick. Tag in, and Bret gets a few cheap shots in, but Davey hits a powerslam. Bret stops Davey from tagging Dynamite in. Backbreaker for two. Crucifix gets two for Davey, but Bret fights back with more brawling and hair-pulling. Bret misses an elbow and wipes out Jim. Dynamite in, he whips Bret into Jim, stiff forearm, backdrop to Jim, knee drop to Bret, HUGE whip into the turnbuckle that looked like it could have knocked out Bret, but it gets two. Flying suicide-style dropkick off the top rope. Davey tags in and hits a running powerslam on Bret for two. Small package for two. Sunset flip is blocked and Davey gets tossed and things start to break down. Order is restored, and Bret puts a Boston crab on Davey, so Dynamite runs in and kicks him off. Then when Dynamite turns his back, Neidhart runs in and puts the crab back on, so Dynamite runs in and kicks HIM off. Brilliant spot. Backslide by Davey for two, as the Harts bust the entire tag formula by having the hot-tag spot twice in one match. Bret back in and a big sunset flip reversal sequence goes nowhere but Davey still can’t tag in. Davey finally fights off and dropkicks Bret down, so Neidhart runs in and pulls Davey to the center of the ring. I loved the way the Harts just said screw the rulebook. Neidhart tags in, but it’s curfew in New York so the time’s up and the match is a draw. Ending might not make sense now, but seriously, the match HAD to end there, legally.
**** Fun match, with the Harts just ignoring all the rules, which forced the Bulldogs to do the same. Great chemistry by all four guys… shit, you would think they were all related by marriage or something.

Match #2
The Hart Foundation vs. The Killer Bees
2/17/86 Madison Square Garden

I know, there’s two Jims in this match. Well, to make things easier, Jim Neidhart will be referred to by “Anvil.” Anvil starts out against Jim. Lock-up and Anvil fights off. Lock-up again, but Jim draws nothing. Anvil jaws at Jim. Lock-up and Anvil shoots Jim into the ropes and brick walls a shoulderblock. Another shoulderblock no-sold, but Anvil gets a drop toe-hold and a leglock. Jim works the knee and makes the tag to Blair, who works the leg, and another drop toe-hold, and Jim is back in. Bridge gets two. Harts make the tag, but Bret’s feet were off the ground so no tag. Blair back in, and he drops a knee and locks in a figure-four leglock, so Bret cheats by running in and dropping a leg. Harts take advantage, and Bret’s in. Slug-off, but Bret takes advantage. Snapmare, and Bret and Brian start to draw blanks as to what to do next. More brawling with Bret stomping away in a corner. Snapmare into a headlock. Bret looks kinda lost in this match. Brian tries to fight out, but Bret humbles him, and then calls out the Iron Sheik so that he can fuck his ass. Not really. Bret messes up, hot tag to Jim. House of fire, Jim is kicking everyone’s ass, but he runs into a knee from Bret. Fist drop for two by Neidhart. Chinlock next and Jim fights out but runs into a bearhug. Bret tags in and the Harts hit their backbreaker/elbow drop combo for two. Facelock by Bret while the fans throw shit in the ring at him. Classy. Jim fights to his feet, but Bret gets him in the corner for some punches, then he rams him face-first into… uh… the middle of the second rope. Yeah. Jim gets dumped and Bret scoopslams him on the outside. Back in, Neidhart chokes with the foot, and then tags Bret in. Sunset flip for two by Jim, but he’s out of gas so Bret keeps control. Stomping, and Anvil tags back in. Another facelock and Jim almost makes the tag so Bret runs out takes out Brian. Neidhart then gets whipped into Jim by Bret. Hart tags back in an dropkicks Jim for two. Jim hits a dropkick out of nowhere, and it’s a double KO as things are breaking down. Brian runs in, and the ref goes to jaw at him, so Neidhart pulls Bret on top of Jim… for two. Fans thought that was the finish. Atomic drop by Bret, and then another facelock. Ugh. Neidhart comes in for some cheating, distracting the ref from seeing Jim’s tag, and Hart ends up eating turnbuckle, giving Brian Blair the super hot tag. Punches to both Harts, clothesline on Anvil, small package… for two. Vicious powerslam on Bret, scoopslam on Neidhart, atomic drop on Bret into Neidhart, leads to a two count on Bret. Abdominal stretch, so Anvil runs in to break it up, and Jumpin’ Jim runs back in to attack Neidhart. Some guys get whipped into each other and Brian covers Bret for two. Rollup by Blair gets two on Bret. Dropkick by Jumpin’ Jim for two… or does it? The bell rings out of nowhere, and the match is scrubbed as a twenty minute time limit draw.
***1/2 Good match, even though Bret seemed totally lost.

Disc Two

Match #3
Bret Hart vs. Ricky Steamboat
3/8/86 Boston Garden

Bret gets a quick attack to start. Punch and kicks, but Ricky whips Bret into the turnbuckle. Karate moves by Ricky, snapmare, and he goes after Jimmy Hart. More karate chops and Ricky grabs an armbar. Wristlock now, and some dropping chops. Ricky hits his leverage wristlock drop thingy. Now to a hammerlock, and then back to a wristlock. Leapfrog sequence and Ricky hits an armdrag, then back to the armbar. Bret punches out to gain advantage, Ricky shoots him off the ropes for a couple more leapfrogs, armdrag is blocked, so Ricky hits a hiptoss and another armdrag to go back to the armbar. Christ man, Ricky sure did phone it in during his run in the WWE. Elbow drop by Ricky as he keeps working the arm, then goes back to the armbar. Bret gets out of it and goes for a backdrop but Ricky flips out and hits a superkick. Shoot off the ropes and Bret finally hits a move, a swinging neckbreaker. Leg drop by Bret, headbutt, elbow, stomp to the midsection, whip off the ropes for a punch and Ricky is knocked out of the ring. More punching on the apron and a suplex in for two. Headlock takeover, and Ricky starts to fight out of it so Bret fights back. Scoopslam by Ricky is blocked by Bret for two. Backbreaker is blocked by Ricky into a scoopslam. Splash attempt by Ricky but he hits Bret’s knees. Bret dumps Ricky, then scoopslams him on the outside and gets a big manly hug from Jimmy Hart. Running powerslam in the ring gets two. Backbreaker, but an elbow drop off the second rope misses. Whip off the ropes for a big chop by Ricky for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Ricky pounds Bret into the mat and drops a fist for two. Punches into the corner and some chops. Double reversal and the ref gets wiped out. Bret hits a big clothesline but there’s no ref. Another clothesline but Ricky rolls through for the pin.
*1/2 Dull, dull match. Little action, no psychology, and Bret didn’t sell the arm injury at all.

Match #4
Bret Hart vs. Ted DiBiase
3/8/89 Wrestling Challenge

Slug-off to start, Russian legsweep by Bret gets a two. No commentary for this match, which makes it weird. Crossbody by Bret for two and Ted bails. Back in, they reverse a couple holds, and Bret gets a small package for two as Ted bails again. Ted takes five years to get on the apron, but when he does Bret slings him into the ring, causing him to get tied up in the ropes. He’s faking it though, as Bret misses a charge and gets tangled in the ropes himself. After a long stall-off, Ted comes back with the kicking. More flinging into the corner, and then a clothesline and elbow drop for two. Sledge off the second rope but he poses for the fans instead of covering. Fist drop, suplex for two. Another suplex is blocked by Bret into one of his own, but Ted still keeps control with a backdrop suplex for two. Whip into the turnbuckle, then another, and a backbreaker for two. Small package by Bret gets two. Scoopslam is blocked for another small package for two, causing Ted to get mad so he dumps Bret. Back in, fist drop gets two, so Ted throws on a chinlock. Bret tries to fight out of it, so Ted sandbags him down. You can see Ted calling spots, especially with no commentary to cover it up. Bret beats the count, but the ref has to count again, so another two, so Ted lets go. Clothesline by Bret and it’s a double KO. Ted climbs the top rope and Bret throws him off. Slug-off and Bret wins out, forcing Ted to beg off. Bret doesn’t listen and he throws Ted off the ropes into an elbow. Elbow drop gets two. Backbreaker, elbow drop off second rope gets two. Bret misses a high knee and whacks it into the corner. Spinning toe-hold is countered and Ted gets dumped to the outside. Bret hits a plancha and they fight to the outside and the ref quickly (very quickly) counts to ten and we have a double count-out. Bret fights off Virgil and Ted, but the match is scrubbed.
*** Not bad, but really it has no place on Bret’s DVD. Quite frankly, it shows why Bret shouldn’t be allowed to pick the matches himself as he ignored any singles matches with people that he personally hates (like Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels) in favor of mediocre matches with guys who kissed his ass and pumped up his ego (like this match, or his match with Bam Bam).

Match #5
The Hart Foundation vs. the Rockers
4/28/90 Saturday Night’s Main Event

This is the only match on Bret Hart’s DVD set that features Shawn Michaels. Why? Because Bret’s a twatwaffle. There were plenty of better choices, like the first ever WWE ladder match, their match at the Survivor Series in 1992 when both guys were the first two who weren’t stars during the Hogan era to wrestle a PPV main event, or their various other tag matches with random teams like Bret & Perfect vs. Flair & Michaels. Bret is still such a dickhead that he can’t even put aside personal feelings when making a DVD set that he and he alone gets royalties from. Twatwaffle to the bitter (and it’s still pretty bitter) end. Marty starts with Bret, who refuses to work with Shawn. Cockbite. Whip off the ropes by Bret, reversed, reversed, reversed, leapfrog, armdrag by Bret, kickout by Marty, Shawn tags in. Double team Russian legsweep gives the Rockers the advantage, so Anvil runs in and kills them both. Shoulderblock by Anvil, but Marty catches a drop toe-hold. Shawn tags in, can’t slam Anvil, so he dropkicks him. Crossbody is caught and Shawn gets slammed down. Bret in, and he hits an atomic drop and clothesline. Anvil back in, whip to the ropes on Shawn and Bret sneaks a knee in. Front facelock by Anvil, whip to the ropes, back body-drop. Bret in, snapmare and elbow drop. Whip to the turnbuckle. Anvil back in, he slugs away and starts to hit shoulderblocks. Bret tags in, and he gets whipped into Shawn. Cover for two by Anvil (?) and Bret tags in, but Shawn hits a sunset flip, but here comes Demolition down to ringside. In the ring, backbreaker by Bret, who loses focus and gets dropkicked out of the ring into Demolition. They raise a beating while things go to a commercial break. We’re back, and Bret is still in control and Demolition is still at ringside. Shawn almost gains advantage with a whip reversal, but gets sent into the corner. Shawn fights off with a kick to the face and makes the hot tag to Marty. Dropkick, bodyslam, and a superkick for two. Sunset flip for two. Neckbreaker by Bret and it’s a double KO. Bret makes the hot tag to Anvil and catapults him into the ring, but he misses so Marty gets to make the tag to Shawn. Shoulderblock by Anvil for two. Reverse elbow by Shawn for two. Shawn goes for a crossbody but gets caught. He wiggles Anvil down for two but Jim powers out and Shawn falls to the outside to the waiting Demolition, who attack. The fight is on and the match is scrubbed. Should be a DQ for the Rockers, but the match is ruled a double DQ.
*** Not bad I guess. I wouldn’t have picked it for the DVD, but then again I’m not a bitter relic.

Match #6: WWE Tag Team Championship
(c) Hart Foundation vs. The Nasty Boys
3/24/91 Wrestlemania 7

Sags starts out with some punching. Clothesline misses and Bret hits a Thesz Press and some punches. Bret knocks Knobbs down to the floor then catapults Saggs into the ring. Bret catches a kick and trips him down, then hits his stomp. Anvil and Brian tag in, and they have a slug-out. Jim ends up dumping Knobbs. Back in, they get Anvil into the corner and Sags tags back in. Anvil stops a backdrop by throwing Sags to the canvas. Bret in, ten punches, Russian leg-sweep, elbow off the second rope, in comes Knobbs and he gets a cheap shot in. Bret ends up outside, and Anvil gives chase to Jimmy Hart. Whip to the turnbuckle by Sags and now Bret is the face in peril. Backbreaker gets two. Then to a camel clutch type move. Knobbs in, and he puts in the camel clutch. Sags back in, he drops an elbow. Neckbreaker for two. And back to the fucking camel clutch. Knobbs in and he hits some elbows, then locks in the goddamn camel clutch. Bret fights out of it with a Vader Pancake for two. Sags baits Neidhart, who then gets tied up with the referee, allowing the Nasty Boys to get some cheap shots in. Bret makes the tag but the ref doesn’t see it. Knobbs accidentally nails Sags with the megaphone, and Bret makes the hot tag. Anvil powerslams Knobbs INTO Sags, then hits some power stuff for two. Powerslam gets two. Bret in to knock out Sags. Nasty Boys run into each other. Hart Attack, but the ref is distracted, and the Boys kill Anvil with the megaphone to win the tag titles.
**3/4 Hot match ruined by the Nasty Boys’ four rear chinlocks in a row. Knobbs and Sags were better off as hardcore style guys anyway.

Match #7: Intercontinental Title
(c) Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart
8/26/91 Summerslam

Lock-up, nothing. Another, then a shoulderblock, hiplock and Perfect slides out of the ring. Lock-up, headlock by Bret. Shoot-off the ropes, and Bret gets a crucifix for two. Headlock, Curt fights out with a handful of hair, so Bret returns the favor and holds on. Knee to the gut by Curt, clothesline misses and Bret hits a crossbody for two. Sunset flip for two and Bret grabs the headlock takeover again. Mr. Perfect is clearly in pain here. Chop by Perfect, and Bret catches a kick and does his stomp to the gut. Whip to the ropes, reversed, and Perfect hits a slam, but Bret fights off and hits one of his own and dumps Curt with a clothesline. Curt has had enough and he heads to the back, so Bret rips apart Curt’s singlet and throws him back in the ring. Bret mounts Curt in the corner for the 10 punches, but Curt begs off and Bret gets pulled off by the ref. Lock-up to the corner, and Bret is forced to a clean break, so Curt throws a big punch, then kicks Bret to the outside. Chop by Curt on the outside. Bret gets up to the ring apron but gets knocked off by Curt. Again, and this time Curt whips him far off the ring and into a photographer. Bret slugs off in the ring, rollup gets two, but Bret gets slugged down to the canvas. Another whip into the corner and Curt chops away. Hard whip to the corner for two. Perfect Neckbreaker and a bridge for two. Bret goes to backdrop him but gets kicked in the face, and a dropkick sends Bret flying to the outside. Slug-off again, and Bret tries to get in the ring but Perfect cuts him off. They fight up to the top turnbuckle and have a slug-off up there, but Bret gets tied into the rope. Perfect flops off the top rope onto Bret for two. Into a corner, and Curt bitch slaps Bret a couple time, then hits a nasty looking hair-whip. Curt snags the biggest sleeper I’ve ever seen in my life, nearly breaking Bret’s neck putting it on. Christ man, ease up. Bret goes for another crucifix but Curt turns it into a Samoan Drop for two. Chops to the corner, and Curt gets a huge whip into the corner, with Bret spraining his neck upon impact, for two. Perfectplex… gets two. First time anyone kicked out of it (unless you count Hogan). Atomic drop, atomic drop, headbutt, and hair-whip posts Hennig. Suplex gets two. Small package gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Backbreaker, elbow drop off the second rope gets two. Rollup by Perfect gets two. They fight to the outside, and Bret throws Curt into the post. Back in the ring, Bret starts kicking the legs. Sharpshooter attempt, but the Coach distracts Bret. Perfect sneaks up with a low blow. Leg drop, another leg drop, but Bret catches the leg drop for the sharpshooter and the ref rings the bell before the hold is even on, not because the ending was botched but because Curt’s back couldn’t take the move.
**** Great match, lots of drama, good pacing, but the psychology was spotty.

Match #8: Intercontinental Title
(c) Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog
8/29/92 Summerslam

Stare-down to start, followed by pushing. Davey gets so nervous he gets completely gassed on the push-off. Headlock by Davey, shoot off the ropes, and a shoulderblock knocks Bret out of the ring. Back in, lock-up, and Bret gets a quick takedown, then another. Headlock, Bret gets shot off the ropes, rollup gets two. Small package gets two, and another headlock takeover. Davey fights out, grabs a hammerlock and some knees. Elbow by Bret, followed by a wristlock. Davey is gassed, and now Bret is wrestling himself. Davey rolls through it and gets a takedown into an armbar. Shoot off the ropes, Davey catches Bret and catapults him into the turnbuckle, then grabs another armbar. Leverage move, Bret gets back to his, shoot to the ropes, and Davey hits a crucifix for two. Back to the armbar. Bret tries to work into a headlock, so Davey gains the high ground. Shoot off the ropes and Bret hits a knee to the gut. Stomp between the legs, leg drop, headlock and Davey is totally gassed. Back-elbow by Bret, elbow drop, atomic drop (called a reverse piledriver by McMahon), Bulldog goes for a crucifix but Bret turns it into a Samoan Drop, then back to the headlock. Davey shoots Bret off the rope, but Bret gets another shoulderblock, leapfrog by Bulldog, and Bret gets monkey-flipped down to the canvas. Headbutt by Bulldog, then he whips Bret from post to post, but Bret catches a kick to the face. Bulldog by Bret on the Bulldog (how Meta), and he climbs the top rope, but Bulldog catches him and throws him off. Bulldog climbs himself but misses something off the top. Scoopslam is blocked, Davey goes for something but Bret sandbags him down to the floor, drawing boos. A spot ends up going wrong as Davey is meant to catch Bret on a plancha attempt, but isn’t in position. Bret ends up having to improvise and turns it into a crazy looking DDT type move. Could have gone bad, but it was a nice save. Back in, punching, headbutts, Russian legsweep for two. Bret punches away and hits a dropkick on Davey. Backdrop by Bret gets two. Headlock and then a suplex for two. Back to the headlock, but Davey manages a backslide for two. Elbow by Bret, BIG backbreaker, and an elbow drop off the second rope gets two. Hair-pull, and the crowd is very much against Bret. Punches and a snapmare into a headlock, Davey misses a haymaker and Bret hooks on a sleeper. Davey crawls to the ropes. Another sleeper by Bret, but he has something left. Not really. Davey fights out of it but Bret locks in it again. Another ram to the post and Bret finally lets go. Slug-off and Davey is too gassed to hit a press slam, nearly killing Bret by dropping him on the ropes. Clothesline, clothesline, clothesline, though they were all really weak looking, with no momentum. Crappy press slam gets two. This is the best match ever? Yeah right. Delayed suplex for two. Whip to the turnbuckle gets two. Davey calls for the running powerslam, and hits it… for two. Suplex is blocked and Bret hits a German Suplex for two. Davey fights off and hits a superplex for two. Double clothesline and both guys are out. Bret’s on his back, but knows enough to apply the sharpshooter while lying down. Sharpshooter, and Davey is in the center of the ring, but Davey crawls to the ropes. Bret goes for a sunset flip, but Davey sits down to win the match and the IC Title.
**** Oh dear, I’m going to get a lot of hate for this one. For the record, four stars is very good, but this is NOT a five star match. There was no psychology, tons of rest holds, and Davey did NOTHING the entire match. As an example of someone getting a good match out of nothing through sheer willpower, this is as good as it gets, but this is without question the most overrated match ever.

Match #9
Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
4/23/93 Barcelona, Spain

Another example of Bret’s bitterness, he picks this match because Bam Bam is a fan of his as opposed to picking a BETTER MATCH! Lock-up, Bam Bam shoves off. Another lock-up and Bret grabs a headlock. Bret goes for something but gets brick-walled by Bigelow. That looked bad. Bam slugs away, and man is that ring loud. Clothesline misses, Bret hits or misses something, and Bam misses something. Yeah, bad angle for that. Bret grabs an armbar, Bam throws him in the corner but misses a move, armbar, knee drops, armbar, and Bam fights out with some weak punches. Press slam, but Bret fights out of it for two. Shoulderblock knocks Bigelow out of the ring. Bret goes for a Thesz Press but Bam Bam catches him and rams him into the ring post. Man, this match is almost exactly like the match at King of the Ring. Yeah, Bret’s a wrestling God alright. Bret gets posted again. The ref gets out of the ring to check on Bret while Bigelow mugs inside the ring. For a long time. With nothing happening. At all. Back in, Bret gets stomped and punched, but fights back with his own. Whip to the corner and Bret’s out of it. More punching and kicking, but this time to the back. Wow, psychology. Bearhug by Bam Bam, and a VERY HIGH backdrop suplex for two. Falling headbutts to the back, backbreaker submission for a two count, but Bret’s still alive. Backdrop suplex by Bret and both guys are out, even though the move looked iffy. Bigelow to his feet, and he punches away on Bret. Double underhook into a backbreaker, and he goes up top. Flying headbutt misses and Bret’s alive. Ten punches into the corner, Russian legsweep for two. Clothesline off the second rope for two. Bulldog off the second rope, but the Sharpshooter is blocked. Bam Bam goes back to the bearhug, and Bam hits something for two. What was that? It looked bad. Bam misses a charge into the corner and Bret hits a victory roll for the win.
** No real flow to it. Bad choice for the DVD, but I guess his feud with Bam Bam was more important then his feuds with Shawn Michaels, Roddy Piper, Jerry Lawler, Bob Backlund, or Ric Flair. All of which produced better matches. But it’s all about Bret, so fuck that good stuff. Some of those guys don’t like him.

Match #10
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect
6/13/93 King of the Ring

This is a Semi-Final match from the King of the Ring tournament. Lock-up, nothing. Waistlock, nothing. Lock-up, headlock by Bret. Armdrags, hiplock, but Perfect gets a headscissors. Up to an armlock, and Curt chops away. Scoopslam by Curt, but a headlock takeover by Bret. Crucifix by Bret gets two, and he gets another headlock takeover. Long headlock, Curt fights out, Crossbody gets two. Sunset flip gets two and another headlock takeover. Curt fights out and starts kicking away. Dropkick and Bret falls out of the ring. Curt holds the ropes for Bret to get back in, and then kicks the middle rope, crotching Bret. That’s more like it. Curt starts throwing punches and kicks. Kneelift gets two. Bret falls to the outside. Curt follows and chops away, then rams Bret into the ring. Onto the apron, Bret gets swung off and into the rail. Back in, high knee gets two again. Perfect goes up top and hits a dropkick for two, then another two. Chop in the corner, and Bret gets thrown into the turnbuckle for two. Perfect climbs again, but Bret catches him with a superplex for two. Kick to the back of the leg, and now Bret’s softening him up for the sharpshooter. Figure-four in the middle of the ring, but Perfect fights out. Bret catches the leg and drops an elbow on it. Grapevine, Perfect fights out of it. Hair-sling and Perfect grabs a sleeper. Bret gets the ropes. Chops and another sleeper, and this time Perfect uses the ropes for leverage. Bret tries to fight out and sandbags Curt into the turnbuckle. Big uppercut from Bret, ram into the turnbuckle, and a hair-sling that posts Hennig. Atomic drop, and a Russian legsweep gets two. Leg drop, backbreaker, elbow drop off the second rope gets two. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter but Perfect grabs Bret’s injured fingers, and then stomps away at them. Curt goes for the Perfectplex, but Bret blocks and ends up suplexing Curt out of the ring, but Curt holds on and Bret gets dumped too! Holy crap! Small package by Curt for two, but Bret rolls through for the three count!
****1/2 Take all the good parts of the Summerslam match, and add some psychology. The end result: a better match.

Match #11
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
3/20/94 Wrestlemania 10

Lock-up, they draw nothing, so Owen celebrates. Fireman’s carry by Owen, into a headscissors by Bret, but Owen nips up and celebrates some more. Waistlock takeover by Bret, but Owen gets a break. Waistlock takeover by Owen, but Bret sandbags him out of the ring. Owen gets back in and bitch slaps Bret, then begs away into the corner. Owen Hart was always a brilliant cowardly heel. They trade hammerlocks, Owen works in a drop toe-hold into a headlock, but Bret turns it into a mounted hammerlock. Flippy wristlock sequence, and Owen pulls the hair for advantage, but Bret nips up. Rollup by Bret for two, then an armdrag into an armbar. Into a hammerlock, but Owen elbows out. Leapfrogs and Bret ends up hitting a monkey-flip, and then dumps Owen with a clothesline to the outside. Owen tries to bail on the match; Bret throws him back in the ring, and then tells him to get to his feet. Push-off, Bret returns the bitch slap from earlier then schoolboys Owen for two. Back to the armbar, Owen shoots him off but Bret hits a crucifix for two, then back to the armbar. Owen shoots off and gets a spinning heel kick for two. Owen stomps away. To the outside, Owen picks up Bret and rams him into the post. Headbutt, whip into the buckle, stomping, backbreaker, and camel clutch by Owen. Bret elbows out of it, but Owen catches a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Crossbody by Owen is rolled through by Bret for two. Back to the chinlock by Owen, but he gives that up and tries for a slam, but Bret falls on top for two, then bails. German suplex, leg drop for two by Owen. Small package by Bret gets two. Tombstone piledriver by Owen, then he climbs, but misses a big splash off the top. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM time! Atomic drop, clothesline for two by Bret. Russian legsweep gets two. Backbreaker, elbow drop for two. Owen catches an enziguri, and then goes for the Sharpshooter. Bret fights out and goes for one of his own, but Owen rolls through. Rollup by Owen gets two. Plancha by Bret, but he hurts his knee. Owen starts to work the leg with some dragon whips, and then he posts the knee a few times. Leg drops and a sort of figure-four. More leg whips, then a true figure-four. Bret reverses, so Owen rolls to the ropes. Owen goes back to the knee, kicking Bret on the ropes, but Bret fights back with an enziguri of his own. Hard whip to the turnbuckle by Bret, leg drop gets two. Bulldog gets two. Vicious looking piledriver gets two. Superplex off the very top gets two. Sleeper by Bret, but Owen gets a low blow to fight out of it. Sharpshooter by Owen, reversed into a Sharpshooter by Bret, but Owen catches the ropes. Bret goes for a victory roll, but Owen lays down on it for the clean pin.
***** The best opening match to any pay-per-view ever, and one of the best matches of all time. Nothing more I can say about it really.

Match #12: WWE Championship
(c) Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
9/29/94 Action Zone

Lock-up, nothing. Another lock-up and nothing. Push-off, then Owen tries to bail. Hammerlock by Owen, reversed into an armbar by Bret. Shoot off the ropes, dropkick misses for Owen and he gets catapulted into the turnbuckle. Rollup for two by Bret, then back to the armbar. Hiptoss by Bret, armdrag, and Owen bails. Jim Neidhart comes out for moral support. Back in, Bret bitch slaps Owen and rolls him up for two. Back to the armbar. Crucifix for two. Whip off the ropes, and Anvil trips up Bret. Bulldog comes out to even the odds. Commerical. When we get back, Bret’s in the camel clutch, then a headlock. Bret tries to shoot-off, so Owen holds the hair. Brilliant. Owen holds the headlock, and Bret tries to shoot him off again, so Owen holds the hair again. Bret manages to get another armbar, so Owen pulls the hair AGAIN and goes back to the headlock. Knee to the midsection, stomp to midsection, then back to the headlock. Ugh. Belly to belly by Owen for two. Now, back to the headlock. Sunset flip by Bret for two. Bret rams Owen into the turnbuckle, roundhouses, punches, but Owen reverses a whip and Bret takes his usual hard whip into the turnbuckle. Missile dropkick by Owen, then Bulldog distracts the ref like an idiot while Neidhart starts to wrap Bret’s knee into the knee post. Owen starts to kick Bret’s knee. Dragon screw, leg drops into the knee, then the pseudo figure-four in the center of the ring. Owen lets go and then starts to get cocky. More leg crunchers by Owen, and then more stomping in the corner. Another dragon screw, then some leg whips and crunches. Owen slaps on a figure-four in the center of the ring. Bret reverses as we go to commercial. Back from commercial, Owen misses a dropkick. Atomic drop, clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep for two. Small package for two. Backbreaker, elbow off the second rope for two as Anvil puts Owen’s foot on the ropes. Like anyone ever lost to the elbow drop. Thanks Jim. Owen rolls up Bret for two. Bret rolls up Owen for two. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Owen pushes off. Spinning heel kick for two. Superplex by Bret is blocked by Neidhart, so Davey knocks Owen off the top and Bret covers for the win.
***1/2 Good match, but nowhere near the quality of Wrestlemania or Summerslam.

Match #13
Bret Hart vs. Hakushi
5/14/95 In Your House

Lock-up, Hakushi gets a headlock, Bret shoots off, and Hakushi does some flippy-floppy stuff. Crowd’s not impressed. Hakushi grabs a wristlock, Bret flips out, but Hakushi rolls through it to hold the move. Shoot off the ropes and Hakushi hits a flying fist for two. Half-nelson by Hakushi with some knees thrown in. Bret rolls through and it’s now an armbar. Bret rolls up Hakushi for two. Armdrag and now Bret grabs a wristlock into an armbar. Shoulderblock, elbow to the head, hiptoss, arm drag, arm drag, and Hakushi bails. Hakushi tries to sneak back in, but Bret spots him, so it’s a stall-off. Chop, chop, ram, punch, punch, whip, but Bret gets his usual hard whip to the turnbuckle. Scoopslam, pump splash off the ropes for two and Hakushi grabs a nerve pinch. Kicks to the corner, bronco splash, and posing. Thrust to the neck, Bret tries to roll him up but Hakushi sandbags him to the outside and into the waiting hands of his manager for some pounding. Stomps, hard whip to the buckle, some weak punches, mounted choke in the corner by Hakushi. Horrible looking chops by Hakushi. Whip to the turnbuckle, flipping elbow. Kneelift by Bret, but Hakushi gets a gordbuster for two. Flying headbutt off the top rope for two. Splash misses and Bret hulks up. Russian legsweep for two. Bulldog for two. Backbreaker, elbow off the second rope, but the manager distracts him from putting on the Sharpshooter. Huge clothesline knocks Hakushi head over heels. Bret tries to tie him up in the ropes, but can’t, so he goes for a running something and the manager trips him up. Dropkick gets two for Hakushi. Suplex is blocked and Bret suplexes himself and Hakushi to the outside. Bret starts to the fight the manager again, so Hakushi hits an Asai Moonsault, and Bret barely beats the count. Reversals and Bret ends up on top for the pin.
*** Bleh. Hakushi never did anything for me. Overrated match. Good, but far from great.

Match #14: WWE Championship, No Holds Barred
(c) Diesel vs. Bret Hart
11/19/95 Survivor Series

Diesel starts by taking off one of the turnbuckle pads. Bret responds by taking off one himself. Then we have a long stare-off. Bret finally attacks, running Diesel to the turnbuckle, but Nash fights off with some big clubs to the back. Knees to the gut, some hard throws into the turnbuckle, punches, and Bret is completely out of it already and bails. Nash follows and drops him onto the guardrail. Back to the ring, but Bret bails again and chokes him with a foot on the outside. Back in, Bret fights back, but can’t win a fistfight, so Diesel punches Bret back to the outside. Diesel rams Bret into the stairs. Pick-up and ram into the steel post. Nash grabs a chair and whacks Bret in the back with it. Hard whip into the post. Short-arm clothesline and Diesel is getting cocky. Nash goes for the Jackknife but Bret blocks and starts to bite his arm. Bret gets a choke and some eye rakes, then starts to work the leg. Elbow drop to the knee and some kicks. Leg snap, then he hits some leg crunchers on the ropes. Figure-four in the center of the ring. Nash gets a rope break. Bret doesn’t let go because why should he? He does let go then, but keeps working the knee. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, so Nash starts to poke the eyes. Another try and Bret gets thrown into the exposed turnbuckle. More clubs to the back by Nash, but Hart posts Nash and wraps his legs around it for good measure. Bret grabs the extension cable and grapevines Diesel, and then ties his foot up with the cord. Bret climbs, and Nash tries to escape but he can’t because he’s tied to the post. Elbow off the ropes, and then Bret grabs a chair, but can’t escape, so he kicks the chair in Bret’s face, using the free leg. Good stuff here. Bret pins Nash’s arms down so he really can’t block it, and then whacks him in the back! Nice! Then he starts to smash the chair into Nash’s legs. Brilliant stuff here. Bret drops some knees. Backbreaker, but Bret rolls to the outside to grab the chair again. He climbs to the top, with the chair, but Nash crotches him and throws him off. Nash pulls the cord off and starts to choke with it. Sidewalk slam for two. Bret gets sent into the exposed turnbuckle again. Nash’s leg is injured, so he can’t hit his running rope splash. Continuity! He hits a walking version instead. Snake eyes into a padded corner while Nash tries to get some feeling in the bad knee. Another snake eyes, but this time Bret pushes off into the exposed turnbuckle. Clothesline by Bret gets two. Bulldog off the second rope for two. Russian legsweep for two. Bret has had enough and dumps Diesel to the outside with a clothesline. Plancha, but Nash casually walks away and Bret misses. Bret climbs the apron, but Nash slings him off the ring and through the announce table. Crowd pops huge for that, because this wasn’t something that happened every show back in 1995. Nash follows him out and hits some big clubs to the back. Bret’s clearly out, and Nash seems to feel bad about it. Nash calls for the Jackknife, but Bret is out of it and collapses. Nash picks him back up but Bret was playing dead and small-packages him for the win and his third WWE Championship. Nash screams out “Mother fucking shit!” and gives Bret a couple Jackknifes to prove a point.
**** Not as good as I remember it. Good match, but slow paced at times and spotty in some places. Still, a good match, maybe Nash’s best match ever.

Match #15: WWE Championship
(c) Bret Hart vs. the British Bulldog
12/17/95 In Your House 5

Lock-up and Bulldog shoves off. Another lock-up and Bret gets a shitty armbar. Really weak looking. Bulldog fights off and gets one of his own. They break. Armdrag by Bret, knees, scoopslam by Bulldog but Bret rolls through to hold the armbar. Shoot off the ropes, crossbody by Bret for two. Atomic drop, stomp between the legs. Hammerlock into a takedown, back to the armbar, shoot off the ropes, and Davey knees Bret in the gut. Hair-tug and Davey puts Bret in a tree-of-woe for some stomps. Davey accidentally nails the ref too. More punching. Snapmare into a headlock. Fans seem bored. I know I am. Bret fights off and goes for a crucifix, but Davey turns it into a Samoan Drop and a leg drop for two. Back to the headlock. Cornette gets a shot in for good measure. Back to the headlock. Bret tries to fight out but gets his turnbuckle bump instead. It gets two. Back body drop gets two. And… back to the headlock. Diana looks haggard at ringside. What a horrible outfit. Bret tries to fight off but Davey grabs the hair to keep control. Shoulderblock by Davey, but Bret gets a monkey flip to finally take control. Atomic drop, headbutt between the legs, and a bulldog for two. Piledriver gets two. Bret always had one of the best looking piledrivers. Russian legsweep, elbow off the second rope, but Davey crotches Bret HUGE into the ropes. Damn man, that looks painful. Running forearm on the outside knocks Bret into the stairs. Davey runs Bret into the ring post. Bret’s busted wide open. Fans are getting into it now. Another hard whip into the turnbuckle. Davey gets a vicious piledriver of his own for two. Delayed suplex for two. Press slam for two. Scoopslam and a flying headbutt off the top rope for two. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter but Bulldog fights off. Shoulderblock knocks Bret clean out of the ring. Suplex back in but Bret flips out of it and gets a German suplex for two. Double clothesline and it’s a double KO. Davey misses a charge and gets dumped out of the ring. Thesz Press off the apron by Bret for some punches. Bret misses a pump splash and Bulldog gets the running powerslam on the outside. Bret should be dead at this point. Davey exposes the padding and tries to suplex Bret, but gets crotched ON THE GUARDRAIL and clotheslined off. Back in a backbreaker gets two. Hard whip sends Bulldog flipping into the corner. Superplex and it’s a double KO. Bulldog tries to rollup Bret but gets rolled up himself… for two. Shoulderblock attempt but Bret completely sandbags it. What the fuck? Bret boots Bulldog in the face, and then gets a magistral cradle for the pinfall. Uh, what?
****1/4 Got really good towards the end, and I actually liked this overall more then the Summerslam match.

Match #16: Submission Match
Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart
3/23/97 Wrestlemania 13

Ken Shamrock is the referee. Austin gets a very mild ovation, which McMahon sells like the fans are watching the rebirth of Jesus. Fans pop huge for Bret’s entrance, which McMahon calls a “mixed reaction.” Man, if that’s a mixed reaction then I wonder what you call John Cena’s heat. They slug-off on the mat to start, and then fall to the outside, where they keep slugging. Bret sends Austin flying into the ring post. Ouch. Austin crotches Bret, accidentally ramming a security guard at the same time. Heh, get the fuck out of the way, stupid. They fight into the crowd, and Austin throws the boots to him. Bret fights back and slugs away himself. Austin goes for a piledriver in the crowd, but gets back body-dropped on the bleachers. Crap. They fight back to the ringside area, or try to. They do finally get to the ringside area, and Bret hits an elbow drop off the apron, but Austin fights back and whips Bret into the ring post. Flying clothesline off the apron onto Bret. Austin picks up the stairs but Bret kicks him down. Austin slings Bret into the turnbuckle. Back in finally, and Austin stomps away, but walks into a swinging neck breaker. Elbow drop, leg snaps, pumping knee busters, and more leg snaps. More working the leg, but he misses a pumping knee buster, and Austin hits the Stunner. Both are out, so Bret fights back. Figure-four on the ring post and the fans are going crazy. No count to break, but Bret can’t hold on to it anymore. I think that was the ring post figure-four’s WWE debut. Bret grabs a chair and tries to Pillmanize Austin, but when he climbs the ropes, Austin pops up and clobbers Bret. NICE! Then Austin hits Bret with one of the hardest shots I’ve ever seen with a chair. Elbow drop off the second rope by Austin, followed by a low blow. Russian legsweep, and Austin hooks in a Kanata armbar. Wow, there’s a move you don’t see ever. Austin breaks and hooks in a Boston crab, and now the fans are slowly picking up on Austin. Bret gets a ropebreak. Uh, yeah. Then why didn’t the ring post-four get broke? Anywho, Austin goes to slap on his own Sharpshooter, but Bret rakes the eyes. Bret slugs away, but gets dumped by Austin. Fans are big into Austin now. I’ve never seen such a star-making match as this. Whip on the outside gets reversed and Austin flies into a camera and the timekeeper. Austin’s bleeding. And it’s a mighty blood flow. Bret whips him around, throwing him into the guardrail and into the ring post. Back in the ring, Bret stomps away and punches the cut. Backbreaker, elbow drop off the second rope, and Bret grabs the chair to whack the injured knee. Bret’s become animal-like in his methods. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Austin fights off with an eye-rake. Bret stomps in the corner, so Austin fights back and punts Bret’s nuts. Well that was blatant and nasty looking. Austin’s pissed now, and sends Bret into the corner for Bret’s big turnbuckle bump. To another corner, Bret stomps a mudhole, then puts Bret on the top rope. Superplex, and Austin is a bloody mess. Austin dumps Bret, and then grabs an extension cord. He starts to choke Bret with it, but Hart grabs the ring bell and hits Austin with it! Sharpshooter, and blood is spurting out of Austin’s head. Austin refuses to quit, and nearly powers out of it, but Bret holds it, and Austin passes out and the match is stopped. He didn’t quit. Afterwards, Bret is pissed that Austin wouldn’t quit so he boots him around and then gets punked by Shamrock, completing the most successful double switch in wrestling history.
***** One of the best matches ever, in any setting.

Match #17: WWE Championship
(c) Bret Hart vs. Undertaker
9/20/97 One Night Stand (UK Only Pay Per View)

This was without question Bret’s last great match, if you exclude the Owen Hart tribute three years later on Nitro. Bret starts by slugging the Undertaker, who (you guessed it) reverses it for his own slugfest. Like pretty much every other Undertaker match. Crowd is pretty split, which makes things fun. Choke in the corner, which is broken up by the ref. Bret pulls a turnbuckle pad off, but Undertaker whips him into a different one. Irish whip is reversed into a clothesline by Bret. He goes for the Sharpshooter, but Taker fights out. Zombie sit-up is blocked by Bret who PLASTERS Taker with a clothesline. Bret dumps Undertaker and kicks him into the announce table. This was such a great pay-per-view, I wish they would release it on DVD for us neglected region one types. Bret tries to hit a sledge, but Undertaker catches him and drops him down to the ground. Sweet. They brawl up the aisle and Undertaker is doing his Terminator bit that he had been doing with Shawn Michaels, where he just keeps stalking his opponent. Scoopslam on the ramp, and some more stalking which leads back into the ring. Headbutt by Taker and whip, but he gets caught in a DDT. Crowd is VERY split. A couple leg drops and elbow drops connect, but Taker sits up. Sort of, he then stubbles to his feet. See, Undertaker CAN sell. He starts kicking the ribs and grabs a foot choke. Bret tries to throw Taker into the steel turnbuckle, but Taker reverses and Bret takes a vicious looking bump into it. Undertaker then channels the spirit of Stan Stasiak by HEART PUNCHING Bret. This match is so cool. A couple elbow drops get a close two. Undertaker grabs a… windmill? Then he uses a majestic roll for two! Seriously, who is this guy? Bret fights off with some punches, and now the crowd is booing him pretty solidly. Undertaker prevents a comeback and hits a backbreaker into a submission hold. Cover gets two. Bret tries to fight out with the knees, and now the fans are booing everything Bret does. Undertaker counters with an elbow, and some of the fans boo that. Man, this is just surreal. Undertaker misses a body splash and hits his knees. Bret stomps the knees. Knee breakers and busters and the likes, and now Undertaker is in bad shape. Fans are back to being split. Bret hits a few rolling leg breakers and some elbows to the leg. Grapevine, but Undertaker also tries to grab a chinlock. Bret prevents that and goes for the ring post figure-four. Undertaker has some fight in him, so Bret walks over and rakes his face! Ring post figure-four for the five count. Back in, Bret’s back to the leg. Figure-four and he starts to rub it in the fans’ faces by celebrating. This is beyond brilliant. Undertaker reverses, and now he’s pissed. He lays a beating on Bret, but misses a big boot and Hart starts to work the knees again. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM time. Russian legsweep for two. Suplex for two. Backbreaker, but he misses the second rope elbow drop and they clothesline each other for a double KO. Zombie sit-up by Undertaker and he drops a leg for two. Another leg drop, but Bret grabs Taker’s legs and locks in the Sharpshooter!! Man, this match is insane. Undertaker tries to fight off like at Summerslam, and does, drawing mostly cheers but some scattered boos. Bret drops a few headbutts and goes for another Sharpshooter, but Taker grabs a choke. Rapid punches by Taker. Big boot, leg drop, but Taker ain’t Hulk Hogan and it gets two. Bret bails and grabs the ring bell. Undertaker prevents Bret from DQing himself with a big boot. He then tries to ring Bret’s bell himself, but the ref takes it from him. Bret comes back with a knee-clip and starts to work the leg again. Undertaker fights off and makes Bret wipe out a camera man! Outside and Undertaker whips Bret into the stairs. Inside and Bret gets whipped under the bottom rope and into the ring post. Ropewalk attempt, but Bret armdrags him down! Undertaker goes for a Tombstone, but Bret rolls him up for two! Bret tries to Tombstone Undertaker (!), but Undertaker reverses. Then Bret reverses, but winds up in a hangman on the ropes. Bret’s choking to death, and the Undertaker won’t let up on him, so the referee disqualifies him.
***** It doesn’t get much better then that. Sure, the ending wasn’t perfect, but what do you expect? It’s a UK only pay-per-view, and both guys needed protection booking. Thus, a DQ, but who cares? This was leaps and bounds better then the Summerslam match.

Match #18: Owen Hart Tribute
Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit
10/4/99 Nitro

Harley Race does the ring intros. Lock-up, and Benoit gets a headlock. They fight with that for a while, and then trade hammerlocks. Headlock by Bret, shoulderblock. Benoit goes for a monkey-flip, but Hart grabs the ropes and Benoit nips up for a stalemate. Test of strength, Bret gets the best of it, so Benoit counters into a stronghold. Then back to the hammerlock as the crowd chants ‘Owen!’ Man, this is such an emotional match-up. Now into a surfboard, but Bret twists out into his own windmill. Benoit flips out and grabs an armbar, but Bret fights out with a Russian legsweep. Snapmare into a headlock. Benoit fights out but gets kneed to the gut. Leg drop, punches to the gut, roundhouses, eye rake, punching, and finally Benoit fights off with some stiff ass chops. Bret fights off and gets a DDT (!) and elbow off the second rope for two. 18 matches and this is the first time he’s done a DDT the entire disc set. Plenty of Russian legsweeps, backbreakers, elbows off the second ropes, and bulldogs oddly enough. Heh. Boston crab by Benoit, but Bret gets to the ropes. Backdrop by Benoit for two. Backbreaker for two. Commercial break. Grumble. We’re back, and Benoit gets an elbow for two. A second elbow ‘misses’ which is code for Bret no-selling. That looked weird. Suplex gets two. Backbreaker, which in my opinion was the best looking one of his career, and then some boots that knock Benoit out of the ring. Bret rams Benoit into the ring apron, and then throws him back in. Stomp between the legs. Benoit catches Bret in a FUCKING LEAPING TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER for two. Thankfully, he didn’t complete the Owen Hart tribute by breaking Hart’s neck. Northern lights suplex for two. Kitchen sink for two. Hard chops in the corner, but a dropkick misses as Bret grabs the ropes, then drops a couple elbows. Backdrop suplex gets two. Bret looks winded, but he’s running on something special tonight. Bret misses a charge and gets tied up in the ropes, then falls outside. Benoit hits a suicida through the ropes. Another commercial. We’re back, and Benoit is now in danger as Bret suplexes him back in the ring, but Benoit flips out for two, but Bret flips out of that for two. Headbutt, foot-choke in the corner. Backslide gets two for Benoit. Headbutts to the back, but Benoit gets a small package for two. Swinging neckbreaker gets two for Bret. Hard whip to the corner, atomic drop, but Benoit catches Bret to prevent a superplex. Bret still fights him down and gets a superplex, and both guys are down. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Benoit hooks in the Crossface! Ropebreak for Bret. Three amigos suplex by Benoit… hey, this is an Eddie Guerrero tribute six years before he died! Man, that’s spiritual. Flying headbutt for two. Backdrop suplex by Benoit, elbow drop, but Bret fights out of an Irish whip with a back-elbow! Nice counter. Piledriver by Bret gets two as Benoit gets his foot on the rope. Slugs in the corner, Bret goes for a backdrop suplex but Benoit flips out and starts to peck-slap Hart’s nipple clean off him. Rolling German suplexes by Benoit, but Bret counters out of the third one. Benoit goes for the Crossface again, but Bret blocks it, then hooks in the Sharpshooter, in a moment that was replayed in the opening of Malcolm in the Middle, and Benoit surrenders. Logic tells us Benoit should have won, much like Owen won at Wrestlemania 10, but who cares?
***** Where do I begin? Best free TV match ever? Check. Best Bret Hart match ever? Check. Most emotional match ever? Check. The only thing that made no sense was Bret going over, but that’s a moot point. This was one of the best matches ever. Of course, all the magic they were aiming for is now officially gone given Chris Benoit’s new Hitler-of-Wrestling status, but in 1999 it was a big deal.

Bottom line: 18 matches. 10 of them are four stars or better. Four of them are five-star matches. Only three matches fall under three stars, and only one match falls under two stars. Quality is not an issue here. The match selection is needlessly spotty, as Bret ignored some classic feuds for bitter, selfish reasons, but he still put together a classic set. I crapped on some sacred cows (Bret/Bulldog from Summerslam, Diesel/Bret or Hakushi/Bret for example), but most of the matches are still of the highest quality, and thus this set gets a big thumbs up.

And yes, goddamnit, the Hogan DVD is coming.

Thanks to Brad for editing this, as always.

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