Written by: Tom Hopkins
Okay, the full title is actually, Bret “Hitman” Hart: The Best There is, The Best There Was, The Best that Ever Will Be, but that’s too long to write, to this is the only place you’ll see me write the official title.
The Main Characters
–Bret Hart was one of the most beloved WWE wrestlers of his time, and he was one of the first that slowly raised the ranks, working as a tag team wrestler during the Hogan era, to an IC title run, to finally being on top of the company.
Bret’s wrestling career stared in the late 70’s and continued until concussion issues forced him to retire in 2000.
The Film (2:07:28)
Vince opens the DVD by thanking Bret for making this DVD possible, and for putting aside any issues he has with the WWE and it’s a joint production between Bret and the WWE, and I’m sure Vince had a lot of trouble and uneasiness having to admit that on video like this.
We start, appropriately enough, with Stu Hart, who immigrated to America and ended up in Calgary, and Stu’s Stampede Wrestling ran Calgary, and everyone (including Steve Lombardi) talking about their run of that territory. Stu even trained people in his home gym, called the dungeon. Bret always was “Stu’s kid,” and living under his shadow. Bret gets a little emotional when he relates a story about winning an amateur wrestling tournament and Stu being very proud. Bret continued wrestling into college and Stu being incredibly proud, but Bret wanted to get out and the only way he thought he could was by telling his father he wanted to become a professional wrestler. Bret trained (with Hito and Sacarana, please forgive me if spelling is off), and was reffing for his father at the time, and taking over for someone who didn’t make it. Bret actually wrestled his teachers (with great vintage shown) and they laid a beating into him, paying his dues.
Bret ended up going to Puerto Rico when Bruce Hart didn’t want to go. So there was an extra ticket with B. Hart on it. He worked for the Colon promotion, and he learned a lot from the experience and he got home a few months later and decided he wanted to do this for his life. He knew he was a good seller and didn’t want to be a, “promoter’s kid,” and paying his dues, taking his losses, and making a name for himself and gaining respect. He goes over his feud with Dynamite Kid (with more vintage footage) from Stampede. Bret soon found himself tag champs with his brother, Keith, and he stresses its not because he asked for it, but just the way it worked out.
He broke away from his brother in tags when he started filling out a little more. He won his first major title from Leo Burke in 1980, and he was a little hesitant, but the boys in the back said he had earned it. Bret went on to feud with David Schulz, Nick Bockwinkel, Bad News Brown (where he had the first ladder match), The Stomper, tagging with his father against JR Foley and the Stomper, with footage showing each feud.
Bret worked over in Japan for a while with Tiger Mask, but Stampede went out of business and Vince bought the company to use its stars. Bret, Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid were the three focal points in the acquisition. We see early Bret appearances (spelled Brett) but was becoming a jobber, something he didn’t want to become. He was always uncomfortable with the mic. One idea for Bret was to become Cowboy Bret Hart, and they show Bret in a cowboy hat. Thankfully, that didn’t last. Bret suggested working with Neidhart (who was managed by Hart) but they told Bret he couldn’t be heel. Bret was taken off TV tapings and was ready to quit, but ended up working with Neidhart instead.
The Hart Foundation was born, with Bret being the technician and Anvil as the power. Anvil carried the interviews, and Bret carried the matches, and Bret credits Anvil with a lot. Bret says they started getting really noticed when they worked with the British Bulldogs and consistently having the best matches of whatever card they were on. Bret runs down others they worked with at the time, like the Killer Bees, the Rougeau’s, Demolition, and clips are shown of them working with other tag teams as well. Soon, the Hart Foundation had won the Tag Team titles, because they were probably the best tag team. Vince even says they’re one of the best tag teams the WWE ever had.
But bigger things were in store for Bret, and soon he was given a singles push and taking a run at the IC title. Bret was upset at other guys getting shots when he was a better wrestler than them, but Bret did get his shot, and he won the IC title from Mr. Perfect at Summerslam 1991, in a classic match where Perfect worked with a bad back. I think they skipped over Bret’s first failed singles run in the late 80’s, but oh well. So Bret was IC champ, and Bret was so pumped he was able to win, and work with Henning in the process. Hart wrestled Piper at Wrestlemania, and Piper says it was one of his tougher match, and the only time he worked with Bret.
Bret convinced Vince to put Davey Boy on last at Wembley Stadium since it would be the best match they’d ever seen. So they went on last, and Bret says it was a difficult match for him and took some hard shots. Bret went sailing through the ropes and Davey was supposed to catch him but forgot, so Bret sort of did a reverse bulldog to save himself. Bret did drop the title that night, and he gets a bit emotional talking about missing those days, working in front of people like that.
After the IC title, Bret actually had a run as the WWE Champ. Bret did get a shot in Saskatoon when Flair dropped the title in 1992, and some of that match is shown here. Hart talks about working with Flair, and dislocating his finger in that match. Bret snapped it back and went on to win that match. Bret had a hard time seeing himself as champ and saying Hulk Hogan was a hard act to follow and had to redefine the wrestling business since that was when people were leaving. Bret didn’t see himself as better, and tried to convey that to the boys. Hart main evented Wrestlemania and thought he was really the star at the time and deserved the title. Of course, Hogan won it back and Hart thought it was a mistake, which it was.
Bret would tear it up at King of the Ring, having a great match with Razor Ramon, followed by another one with Henning, which Bret calls one of his best with Henning. Finally he had another one with Bam Bam where Bret became the King of the Ring, and all were different from the match before. Lex was being fashioned as the new American hero but Lex couldn’t make it over Bret, and so Bret won back the title at WM X. Bret would be a main eventer the rest of his time in the WWE, taking on all comers. He was a very big champ, one the fans could relate to, and Christian and Chris Benoit talk about watching Bret. Vince says the only one comparable to Bret was Buddy Rogers in terms of skills. Hawk calls him 2 or 3 technical wise, though won’t say whom he puts over him (probably Flair).
Bret would soon launch into a feud with Owen, one that started before Bret won his second title. Owen was ready to quit the business at the time, and Bret said at times he wish he had. Owen won at WMX, leading to a cage match at Summerslam. Bret had a great run, but Bret thought they were too busy trying to make Shawn Michaels into a star and not focusing on Bret.
They gleam over Bret losing the title to Backlund and winning it back from Diesel, and training for his Iron Man match. He remembers the clips of him running slowly, swimming poorly, and having his father put him in holds. Looking back he thought it was a joke, since Shawn was doing the Rocky thing and he must’ve looked terrible. Bret thought that Shawn dissed a lot of cheap shots during the match, but Bret still thought it was a great match and one of his favorites for keeping up, “with the little bastard.” Bret was upset when Shawn yelled at Bret to get out of the ring, and was a little disappointed with it.
Bret contemplated his wrestling career and even thought about acting, but told Vince about a new wrestler he had seen, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Bret even feuded with Austin, essentially making him into a star at Wrestlemania and the business was changed. Austin was a huge wrestling star, and American were turning on Bret, leading to a Canadian/American feud with Bret being a heel for the first time as a solo wrestler. This led to a great feud where the New Hart Foundation was booed mercilessly in America, but cheered as heroes in Canada. Bret really had a good time with this part of his career, being a Canadian hero. Bret tells us now he really likes America, too. They briefly touch upon the Canadian Stampede PPV.
Shortly after that PPV, Bret would feud with Shawn Michaels for the WWE title, and it led to a match as Survivor Series. Bret never wanted to leave the company and loved working there. Vince says the money of Ted Turner came between them, but he isn’t absolving what he did. Bischoff talks about the negotiations between WCW and Bret. Bret and Vince orchestrated the whole thing, with the negotiations, but there was no consideration of Bret or Bischoff at all for Bret to show up with the title. So we have Survivor Series, and Bret holding the title. Of course, there was a screwjob. Bret says it was never about losing in Canada, as he’s done that many times before, it was about the lack of respect. Bret says he never saw his career in WWE ending that way, and Bret thinks (even today) he deserved more than that and that it was unnecessary. It was a difficult time for him and his family. Bret says he stands by what he did, and Vince says both he and him have regrets about what happened, and Bret credits it as a lack of communication. Bret’s position is that he stands by what he did.
So Bret was out of WWE and in WCW, and he knew life wouldn’t be the same for him again, as WCW had no idea what to do with them. Vince says he would’ve built the franchise around him. Bret does regret leaving the company, while Okerlund says Hart would’ve helped the WCW international audience. Bret says he’d never complain about the pay, but everything else was a mess. Bret says the one thing WCW didn’t have was Vince McMahon. Bischoff says Bret was there to launch and support Thunder. Benoit was happy Bret showed up, and Bret had huge momentum coming in. So of course, WCW had on idea what to do with Hart (which Vince calls unfortunate for Bret, but fortunate for his company) and Bischoff says the Montreal incident left a scar on him that may have taken away his heart, which Bret vehemenently denied. Bret says to count his greatest moments in WCW are not many. One of them would be the steel plate under his shirt that Goldberg speared, but really that’s it.
Tragedy struck the Hart family on May 23rd, 1999, when Owen Hart died at a WWE event, falling from a ceiling and landing in the mat. 9 years later and I can’t believe it. Bret says he wishes he were with the company when it happened and he lost a huge part of his life. They show Jeff Jarrett (of all people) talking about Owen the next night on Raw, as well as Foley (who refused to work that night), Shane McMahon, Edge, and Bret’s message on a July edition of Nitro. Bret and Benoit wrestled an Owen Hart tribute match when Nitro appeared at the same arena Owen died in October. Bret felt that Owen was there watching and Bret said he put that match on for one person, for Owen.
Really, Bret’s WCW run was pretty non-descript. I didn’t really follow WCW at the time, but I knew what was going on, and even then I knew that Bret wasn’t really doing much. Bret wrestled Benoit at Toronto for the WCW Belt in the finals of some tournament, and Bret won the big gold belt that night, a full year after he showed up. Bret suffered a concussion soon afterwards at the hands of Goldberg, and Bret thought he would be fine the next day, but things were never the same for Bret. Bret was forced to retire, due to an injury suffered in the ring, ironically after 20 years of not injuring someone during his wrestling career. Bret would suffer a stroke about a year later.
We end with Vince again apologizing for what happened and thanks Bret for being man enough to overcome that for this DVD collection. Others talk about the career of Bret. Bret himself says he has some great times and experiences, and wouldn’t give up anything. Vince does say that after watching this you have arguably watched, “the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.”
This was an interesting one. Bret and Vince have no love lost between them, so the fact that this was made is a minor miracle in and of itself. As a career documentary it is pretty good. I enjoyed the Stampede footage and the time they spent talking about it. Bret’s WWE run hit all the highlights, though they skipped over his first singles push that was aborted. It would be tough to take a 15-year WWE run and condense it into only an hour and a half, so they really did get the best they could. I would’ve loved for Bret to talk about carrying Bulldog (like he did in his shoot interview), Shawn’s part in the Montreal incident (he always denied until finally coming clean when he returned to the WWE) and a little more of his WCW run (they really only spent less than 10 minutes on it). Bret does talk candidly about things, but seems very laid back and demure about it. I think he wants it to be water under the bridge and didn’t want to come off as too vindictive and sour about it. Bret is uncomfortable talking about his brother, which is understandable. Like I said, almost all the bases were covered here, and you have a unique feature. It isn’t the WWE-ized version, with the story only they want to tell, but Bret’s story.
1) Bret Hard introduces the DVD Extras (0:26)
Bret takes this opportunity to let the fans know that he handpicked all the clips and matches he’s chosen here, and put a lot of thought into picking them.
2) Bret talks about the origin of the name “The Dungeon” (0:40)
Bret says that Jesse Ventura is the one who coined the term, “the Dungeon,” while he was in the Hart Foundation.
3) Bret talks about being away from family on Halloween (1:40)
Bret says being away from home was always tough, and is a sacrifice all wrestlers have to go through and usually families would fall apart. He would miss his kids, and missing Halloween with his kids. It was always a fun night for them, but Bret was never there, as well as missing Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and instead of entertaining his kids he was entertaining someone else’s kids that day.
4) Bret talks about how well the Hart Foundation got along (1:59)
Bret, The Anvil and Jimmy Hart got on well, and never had an argument. They are still friends to this day.
5) Bret talks about learning the Sharpshooter (0:58)
Bret was familiar with the move in Japan, and Pat Patterson suggested Bret using a submission, with the Sharpshooter being one of them. Konnan actually taught Bret how to put it on. Interesting.
6) Bret tells a story about Owen Hart crank-calling Stu (3:14)
Owen was always ribbing his dad. So its WMIV, and Stu went down to Atlantic City to see it, and was rooming with Bret. Owen called from the lobby, but disguised his voice, and Bret got the call and gave the phone who Stu. Bret didn’t know it was Owen either. So Stu thought it was Reg Park (one of Stu’s friends who made belts) and “Reg” started trash-talking Stu. Stu got more pissed, until Owen revealed it was him.
7) Family Tree (3:49)
Bret goes over the family, his father Stu, mother Helen, brothers: Smith, Bruce, Keith, Wayne, Dean, Ross, Owen and sisters: Ellie (who married Jim Neidhart), Georgia, Alison and Diana (who married British Bulldog). Bret just really runs down his family.
8) Learning the Ropes (1:30)
Back in the day, the Canadian dollar wasn’t as strong as the American dollar, so it was tough brining in American wrestlers. So Stampede was composed of passed over American wrestler and international wrestlers from Mexico to New Zealand to Britain.
9) Sunglasses (2:08)
Bret remembers getting the sunglasses when he was ready to record an interview with Okerlund and he was nervous. Bret wasn’t good at the mic, so he was frickin nervous. When he watched the replay his eyes kept going back and forth revealing a bit of terror, so he wore sunglasses to hide them, and a trademark was born.
10) Being a Villain (2:24)
Bret talks about being a bad in the early days of the Hart Foundation and Bret says he loved those days. Bret got to be a complete jerk in the ring and could take out all his frustrations and instead of cussing at a stewardess or something; he could flip off fans or threaten to punch someone. Bret says he was a cool bad guy and that caused people to grow to love him, much the way Austin became a huge fan-favorite.
11) Dean Hart Tribute Video (1:34)
Bret says the 1990 Survivor Series (11/22/90) was really tough, since his brother Dean passed away the day before. Dean had kidney problems, and Bret thinks he really lost the will to live. Bret says he spoke to DiBiase about having a great match (even though he knew he was going to lose) and Ted gave him a chance to do it for him, and Bret fondly remembers it (though that match isn’t on this collection for some reason).
12) Tribute to Bret Hart’s wrestling colleagues who have passed away (2:30)
Bret talks about the friends he had that have been lost over the year. Bret mentions, Big Boss Man (Ray Traylor), Rick Rude, Curt Henning, Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, Hawk, Kerry Von Erich, Adrian Adonis, Junk Yard Dog, Yokozuna and Elizabeth. Bret really gets upset talking about Rude. It is just a tragedy all of those are gone, and even in recent years more can be added, like Benoit, whose wrestling injuries may have led him to do what he did. Just a damn shame.
13) Hart Foundation vs. British Bulldogs (15:55)
This is from MSG 07/13/85. Alfred Hayes and Gorilla Monsoon call the action. Bret is very young here, with very short hair. Was this one of the first Hart appearances in the WWE? Davey Boy has a nice geri-curl here, looking like a bad Elvis impersonator. Jimmy Hart is at ringside as manager of the Harts, of course. Lock-ups to start, and Bret accuses Dynamite of hair-pulling. Dynamite with two arm-drags, and Bret says its another hair-pull. Dynamite with a hammerlock, reversed by Hart, but Dynamite dives to the mat, sending Bret to the outside. Bret comes back in and tags in the Anvil as Gorilla and Alfred call Anvil ugly. Shoulderblock doesn’t move Anvil, and Anvil comes back with a shoulderblock of his own. Anvil telegraphs a back drop, gets booted in the face, and Davey Boy comes in and the Bulldogs double-shoulderblock the Anvil. Jimmy is pretty damn annoying at ringside. Test of strength leads to Neidhart kicking Davey Boy in the gut. Davey flips out of a back body drop and dropkicks Anvil down. Anvil tags in Bret, and Bret knees Bulldog in the gut. The Harts double-team Davey Boy (I keep typing Bulldog by mistake before realizing my mistake and correcting it all the time), Anvil with a backbreaker leading to a Hitman knee drop from the second rope. Anvil holds Davey Boy allowing Hart to dropkick. Hart is tagged in, flips out of a backbreaker and slams Hart. He tries to make the tag but Hart pulls him back by the tights. Bret gets a backbreaker this time for two. Bulldog with a crucifix pin but Anvil breaks up the pin. Bret with an atomic drop, and Davey Boy is held up by Anvil. Bret charges but Davey Boy evades, causing Bret to hit Anvil. Davey Boy makes the hot tag and Dynamite Kid just goes to work. If you aren’t familiar with Dynamite, he’s as intense as Benoit was in the ring, but with a much more explosive style. Dynamite with a missile dropkick on Bret, leading to a Davey Boy powerslam. Davey Boy covers but Anvil breaks up the pin again. Davey Boy with a small package, and Anvil breaks the pin again. Davey goes for a roll-up but Bret ducks and Davey heads outside, where he’s pummeled by Anvil. Dynamite does the same to Bret in the ring. Bret takes over in the ring, putting Davey in a Boston Crab, leading to Dynamite interference. He kicks Bret out so Anvil comes in to resume the hold, leading Dynamite to break it up, this time getting Anvil to break the hold. Anvil still isn’t the legal man right now. Anvil with a reverse chinlock on Davey Boy, but he elbows out, and backslides Anvil. Bret comes in and breaks up the pin leading to Anvil choking the prone Bulldog. Bret comes in, tries for a sunset roll-up, reversed by Davey Boy, which is reversed by Bret. Davey Boy comes out of nowhere with a dropkick but can’t make the tag as Anvil pulls him away. Anvil is tagged in, and he clubs the back of Davey Boy. Davey tries for a sunset flip but the bell rings, and we have a curfew finish at 13:15. The fans start leaving as quickly as they can. It was a terrible ending, but with a proper finish it could have been something special. Dynamite ruled all this match, though. ***.
14) Hart Foundation vs. Killer Bees (23:25)
This is from MSG 02/17/86. Stu is in attendance according to our commentator’s, Hayes and Monsoon. The Bees for those who don’t know are Jumping Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair. The Foundation has Jimmy Hart with them, of course. Anvil and Brunzell start, with Anvil showing his power. He shoulderblocks Brunzell, then laughs at him. So Brunzell drop-toe-holds him, and the crowd pops for that. The Bees work over Anvil, and get a roll-up for two. Bret is tagged in, but his feet weren’t on the apron so the ref won’t let him in. Anvil escapes and soon it’s Blair that is being double-teamed by the Harts. Bret slips up, allowing Brunzell to be tagged in, drawing Anvil who accidentally runs into Bret. Brunzell is on fire until Bret knees him in the back as he’s coming off the ropes, and Neidhart takes over now. Neidhart with a bear-hug into the back-breaker by Anvil, knee from Bret from the second rope combo. Bret covers but Blair breaks up the pin. The Foundation works the tag formula well, double-teaming to draw heal heat, and keeping Blair from being tagged in. Brunzell is thrown outside, leading to Bret slam him on the mat, and as the ref is distracted Bret continues going to work on Brunzell as Blair goes after the Anvil. Bret comes in and Brunzell gets a sunset flip out of nowhere for two. Bret with a standing drop kick gets two, but Brunzell comes back with his own, and the crowd goes wild, as Brunzell was known for his drop kick at the time. Both men are knocked out and Anvil distracts the ref, drawing Blair, allowing Neidhart to drape Bret over Brunzell, and Bret gets a two-count. Bret with an atomic drop. Anvil distracts the ref as Blair is tagged in, but the ref didn’t see it and the Harts continue double-teaming. Anvil whips Bret into Brunzell, who is in the corner, but Brunzell evades and scurries to his corner and makes the very hot tag. Blair cleans house, clotheslines Anvil down and a small package gets two. Blair atomic drops Hart into Anvil and covers and as Anvil tries to break, Brunzell moves and Anvil elbows his teammate. Blair covers but the ref is out of position. He covers for two then hooks in an abdominal stretch. Anvil breaks the hold, drawing Brunzell, and the Anvil and Hart are whipped into each other. Blair covers for two, then tries for a sunset roll-up but Bret pulls him off and Blair only gets two. Brunzell comes in with a big dropkick and covers, and the bell goes off. The Bees try to continue with the Foundation, but they escape to the outside. The official ruling is that it’s a time limit draw at 18:51 and the match is a draw. It took a while to get going, but once it did it was a great tag-team formula match. ***. If this were ECW they’d ask for five-more minutes. The Bees do ask for more time, but the ref says its over and the Foundation leaves to big heel heat.
—Disc Two— (2:52:25)
1) Bret Hart vs. Ricky Steamboat (17:11)
This is from Boston Garden, 03/08/86, and I didn’t know Bret worked singles matches this early in his WWE career. Monsoon and Hayes are calling the action, and Hart pearl harbors Steamboat to start. Bret has a pretty boss pair of black tights with yellow tubing on, a nod to the Bruins? Steamboat whips Hart to the corner and Steamboat can finally take off his, “wrestling jacket.” Steamboat with a monster chop, and he goes after the prattling Jimmy Hart. Steamboat applies an armbar, then stands him up and slams him down on his arm. Steamboat continues with a hammerlock, and then slams Bret’s shoulder into the turnbuckle. Steamboat with an arm-drag into an arm-bar, but Bret fights out of it. Steamboat tries for a hiptoss, but Bret blocks, so Steamboat flips over, then connects with it, and we get the arm-drag/bar combo as Hart argues with the announce team. Bret tries for an atomic drop but Steamboat rolls through it and gets a superkick to the face. Steamboat drops his head and Bret comes with a neckbreaker, followed with a legdrop. Steamboat takes a crazy bump to the outside, and Bret suplexes him in and covers for two. Steamboat tries to power out of a headlock and tries a bodyslam, but Bret falls on top of him for two. Bret goes for a backbreaker but Steamboat flips out of it and hits a bodyslam. Steamboat tries for a splash but flies into the knees of Bret, allowing Bret to drop knees to his chest. Bret tosses Steamboat out again and follows, bodyslamming him on the hardwood floor. Bret with a powerslam gets two. Bret with a backbreaker, and goes to the second rope. Bret misses an elbow drop, and Dragon returns with chops for two. Steamboat drops some knees and covers for two. Bret reverses an Irish whip and sends Steamboat to the corner where the ref is standing and he crumples to the ground. Bret with a clothesline but there’s no ref! Bret revives him, body presses Steamboat but Steamboat rolls through it and pins Bret at 15:10. This match was good. ****.
2) Bret Hart vs. Ted DiBiase (17:26)
This is from Odessa TX, 03/08/89, and I wonder why they didn’t use the Survivor Series match mentioned on the main program? There’s no announcers on this one. Bret jumps on Ted early, and gets a side-Russian legsweep for two, followed by a crossbody for two. DiBiase rolls to the outside. He comes back in and Bret gets a small package for two, causing DiBiase to bail again. DiBiase makes it to the apron and Bret slingshots him in. He headbutts DiBiase who gets wrapped up on the ropes. Bret charges but DiBiase ducks out of the way and Bret sort of crotches himself on the ropes. DiBiase makes the comeback, working in his heel offense and taunting the crowd. Suplex for DiBiase gets two. DiBiase gets a in a ton of offense here, even hitting a backbreaker for two. Bret with a surprise small package gets two, then another small packages gets two. DiBiase’s had enough and tosses Bret outside. Bret comes back in and Ted works in a sleeper. Ted tells Virgil to distract the ref, which he does, and Ted chokes Bret, continuing with his sleeper. Bret breaks so Ted covers for two, and then stomps at Bret. Double clothesline spot knocks both guys down. Ted is up first and he heads to the top rope. Bret gets up, catches him, and tosses him off in the classic Flair spot. We get a slugfest, won by Bret, and Ted begs for mercy, another classic Flair bit. Bret doesn’t give mercy and pounds at Ted in the corner, knocks him down and drops an elbow for two. Backbreaker leads to the elbow from the second rope for two. Bret sends DiBiase to the corner but a blind charge misses and Ted goes for the spinning toe hold but Bret kicks him out of the ring and follows with a slingshot plancha. Tim White counts the two out and it’s a double count-out at 15:12. Bret chases Virgil and headbutts DiBiase away. I guess DiBiase retains the million dollar belt? Good match that lacked a decent ending. ***.
3) Hart Foundation vs. the Rockers (10:18)
This is from SNME 04/28/90. I never thought we’d see a Shawn match on here. Vince McMahon is calling the action as Marty and Bret tussle in the ring but Jannetty comes out on top, tags in Shawn who comes in with a crossbody from the top rope, which Bret rolls through. The Rockers double-suplex Bret, drawing the Anvil. Anvil clotheslines both down. Anvil’s tagged in where he and Jannetty trade moves. Michaels comes in and tries to slam Anvil but he can’t. Michaels with a dropkick for two. Anvil’s up and tags Bret, who catches Michaels and atomic drops him. Anvil comes back in, Shawn runs off the ropes and Bret knees him in the back. Baaack body drop for the Anvil. Dead air on the commentary track, probably Ventura getting wiped out again. I thought I heard his voice for a second there. Michaels is sent hard to the corner and Anvil comes in with clubbing forearms. Bret Irish whips Anvil into Michaels, and Anvil covers for two. Michaels comes back with a sunset flip for two as Demolition makes their way to the ring. I don’t remember who they were feuding with at the time. Bret with a backbreaker, and now Bret sees Demo. He’s distracted so Michaels dropkicks him out of the ring. Demo throws him back in and we cut for what would’ve been a commercial break. We didn’t miss anything I presume, since Bret is still working over Michaels in the ring. Michaels reverses an Irish whip but runs into Bret’s boot. Bret with the second rope elbow but Michaels rolls out of the way and makes the hot tag to Jannetty. Jannetty with a flying elbow, then a powerslam, followed by a superkick for two. Jannetty with a sunset flip gets two. Jannetty puts the head down so Bret makes the best of that with a neckbreaker. Anvil’s tagged in, and Bret slingshots him but, but Jannetty moves before getting squashed by an Anvil. Michaels makes the tag but gets shoulderblocked down for two. Anvil drops the head and Michaels blows a spot, and then elbows Anvil down for two. Michaels is sent to the corner but he jumps on the second rope and crossbody’s Anvil for two. Demo puts Michaels back in, drawing Jannetty over, which causes Demo to get into the ring and the whole thing is called off at 9:06. The match opened super-hot, but Demo killed things once they showed up. **3/4.
4) Hart Foundation(c) vs. Nasty Boys for the Tag Team Titles (13:51)
This is from Wrestlemania VII, 3/24/91. Bret and Anvil were champs at the time, and without Jimmy Hart. Jimmy’s with the Nasty’s and wearing a ridiculous helmet. Monsoon and Heenan call the action. Bret starts with Sags, and Bret gets punched down right away. Bret comes back with a Thesz press, drawing Knobs into the ring that is atomic dropped to the outside. Sags goes to the apron and is slungshot back in. Knobs tags in, as does Anvil. Anvil clears the ring but eventually falls victims of the heels offense. Anvil comes back and Bret makes the hot tag, does the ten-punch count in the corner. Side-Russian legsweep leads to an elbow from the second rope. Bret goes to cover but Knobs comes in and clotheselines Bret down, and Sags clotheslines him to the outside. Bret comes back in and Sags wraps him in a reverse double-chinlock, which Knobs comes in an applies, too. Sags with a neckbreaker gets two. Bret gets a neckbreaker of his own but he can’t make the tag. Sags tries to whip Knobs into Bret, but Hart ducks out of the way and clotheslines Sags. Bret makes the tag, but the ref doesn’t see it. Heel miscommunication leads to Sags getting nailed with the megaphone and hot tag is now made to Anvil, who cleans house. He clotheslines Knobs down for two. Powerslam has the pin broken by Sags, drawing Bret to the ring. He knocks Sags to the outside; he runs away and back into the ring, hitting his own teammate. Neidhart holds up Sags and Bret clotheslines him, but the ref is too busy getting Bret from the ring than counting the pin. So Hebner is distracted, Anvil gets nailed with the helmet of Jimmy Hart and Knobs rolls on top of Anvil for the pin and the tag titles at 12:08. Well, it would be the end of Bret’s run as part of a tag team, and bigger things were in store. It was an above average tag match, with some great Hart selling. **1/2.
5) Mr. Perfect(c) vs. Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Title (21:57)
This took place at Summerslam 1991 (08/26/91) at MSG with Heenan, Monsoon and Piper making the call. Perfect as Coach with him, a manager I forgot he had. Shoulderblock knocks down Perfect, and Bret follows with a hiptoss, causing Perfect to bail. Bret with a crucifix pin gets two. Perfect charges into a side headlock, and both guys do some hair-pulling. Bret would later pull out the hair of Shawn Michaels in a backstage brawl. Hart with a crossbody gets two, then a sunset flip for two, and right back to the side headlock. Bret trips down Perfect and teases the Sharpshooter, but just stomps Perfect instead. Bret is sent hard to the corner and bodyslammed, but Bret comes right back with a slam of his own. Perfect is clotheselined to the outside, and Perfect has had enough and starts bailing. Bret literally pulls him back in the by the tights. Perfect cheapshots Bret while the ref is breaking them up in the corner and sends Bret outside then hits a wicked chop. Bret makes the apron but Perfect hits a running knee, catapulting Bret into the barricade on the outside. Bret comes back in and gets a quick reverse sunset flip for two, but Perfect’s up quick and smacks Bret down. Perfect sends Bret hard into the turnbuckle and Perfect covers for two. Perfect with a necksnap, then a roll-up for two. Perfect dropkicks Bret to the outside as Perfect gloats in the ring. Perfect heads outside, leading to a slugfest. Perfect goes to the top rope, but Bret catches him. Perfect knocks Bret off, and both men fall down with Perfect getting an awkward pin. It looked like a blown spot. Perfect smacks Hart, and then hair tosses him. Perfect with a sleeper, but Bret elbows out. Hart tries for a crucifix but Henning falls back for a Samoan drop and gets a two-count out of it. More chops in the corner received by Hart, and Hart’s sent hard to the corner again for two. Perfect with a Perfect-plex and Bret kicks out! Bret with an atomic drop, then another one, then slides Perfect into the ringpost. Hart with a suplex gets two. Small package gets two, neckbreaker gets two, backbreaker leads to an elbow from the second rope for two, and now Bret gets in the ref’s face. This allows Perfect to roll up Bret, who kicks out and sends Perfect outside. Perfect is sent into the ringpost. They go back in and Bret goes for the Sharpshooter. Coach interferes and Bret knocks him off the apron. Bret goes between the ropes, causing Perfect to recover and kick the ropes, which hits the groin of Bret. Perfect goes for a figure-four, but Bret turns it around into a Sharpshooter and Hebner rings the bell way too early, giving Bret his first singles title at 18:04. Bret rips the tights off Perfect then celebrates in the ring. It was a very good match, but a couple of weird spots and a bad finish lowers this a bit. ****. Bret goes to visit his parents as Hayes interviews Stu.
6) Bret Hart(c) vs. British Bulldog for the Intercontinental Title (30:59)
A year later, Bret defended the IC title at Summerslam 1992 (08/29/92) at Wembley Stadium in the UK. Vince and Bobby Heenan are calling the action. We don’t see Bulldog’s intro, only Bret’s. Diana Smith (Bret’s sister and Bulldog’s wife) is at ringside watching this, as well as what looks like 1,000,000 people. Bret calmly shoves Bulldog, who shoves back. Bret is quickly dumped to the outside and seems a little irked. Back in and Bret with a takedown, with Bulldog getting a headscissor kickout. Again, but Bulldog misses the headscissor. Bret with an early victory roll gets two, then a small package for two, then a side headlock takedown. Bulldog reverses to a wristlock, only to get elbowed and Bret starts working the arm. Davey reverses into an armbar of his own. Bret escapes but Bulldog comes back with a crucifix pin for two. Bulldog goes back to the arm. Bret escapes and drives his knee into Davey Boy, then stomps him in the gut. Bret with a rear chinlock, which Bulldog escapes, but Bret shoulderblocks him down. Atomic drop (called a reverse piledriver by Vince) for Bret, and Bulldog tries again for the crucifix, but this time Bret is on to him and Samoan drops him, a spot repeated from the Perfect/Hart match. Bulldog comes back and monkey flips Hart down and Bulldog takes control of the match, sending Bret hard to the corners. Bulldog charges but hits Bret’s boot. Bret with a running bulldog, then he heads upstairs, only to be caught by Davey Boy. He goes upstairs but misses what seemed like a diving headbutt. Bulldog gets tossed outside and Bulldog wanders around a bit, until Bret with a slingshot plancha onto Bulldog. Bulldog was supposed to catch him but didn’t so Bret had to grab his neck and sort of bulldog him to the ground. Bret drives Bulldog’s back into the ringpost and rolls him back into the ring. Bret starts working the back, and a neckbreaker gets two. Dropkick for Bret, followed by a back body drop for two. Suplex for Bret gets two. Bulldog with a backslide out of nowhere for two. Bret with an elbow off the second rope gets two. Bret slugs Bulldog down, then works in a reverse chinlock. He releases and puts on a sleeper instead. Bulldog makes the ropes so Bret stomps Davey (hard) in the face, then puts on another sleeper. Bulldog backs Bret into the corner to break the hold, but Bret goes right back to it. Again Davey drives him to the corner (but dives too early) and slugfest ensues. Bulldog tries to body press Bret, but messes up and Bret is crotched between the middle ropes. Davey press slams him this time and covers. Bulldog suplexes Hart, also for two. Bret does his run-chest-first into the turnbuckle spot leading to a Bulldog pin for two. Bulldog hits the powerslam but Bret kicks out at two. Bret makes the apron, Bulldog tries to suplex him in, but Bret goes up and over and German suplexes Bret for two. Bulldog with a superplex gets two, and double clothesline knocks both guys out. Bret, on the mat, hooks in the Sharpshooter, and turns Bulldog over for the move proper. Bulldog makes the ropes. Bret is sent to the ropes and sunset flips Bulldog, but Bulldog hooks the legs, sits on Bret and covers for the pin and the win at 24:20. Bulldog gets the IC title, Bret teases leaving a few times, but they share the manly brotherly hug to the delight of the crowd. Definitely a great match, but two really obvious blown spots lowers this half a star. ****1/2.
7) Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (14:48)
This is from a house show in Barcelona, Spain, and is from 04/23/93, complete with Spanish commentary. Bigelow misses a lock-up attempt to start, but a second one results in Bret being shoved down. I wish I knew what the commentator’s were saying. I wonder if Bret asked for this match just because the Spanish commentary was on it? He really was the international superstar, y’see. Bigelow shoulderblocks Bret down, because, Bam Bam is bigger and stronger than Bret. Bret dropkicks Bigelow, who bounces off the ropes and tries an elbow drop on Hart, who is still on the mat. That was a cool spot. Bret with an armbar, but Bigelow breaks by sending Bret to the corner. Blind charge misses and we’re back to working on the arm. Bammer powers out, tries to press slam Bret, but Bret falls on top of him for two. Bigelow kicks out and Bret goes out, then is quickly back in, and does an elbow to the knee, which sends Bigelow outside. That looked weird. Bret goes to the apron and tries a Thesz press onto Bigelow, but is caught and Bigelow drives him to the ringpost. Bret stalls on the outside, and Bigelow’s had enough, so he slams Bret into the ringpost again. Crowd doesn’t seem to into it. Maybe they worked all day like I did and can’t stop yawning. Not to say it’s a boring match but man am I tired right now. Bret’s still on the outside finally rolls in and right into the stomping feet of Bigelow. Bret is sent hard to the corner, and Bigelow follows with forearms to the back. Bigelow with a bearhug then drops Bret down for two. Bigelow with a headbutt to the back of Hart. Bigelow with a body vice, and Bret won’t submit. Bret flips over and one belly to back suplex later leads to both men being down. Bigelow makes it up first, hits a double-arm suplex into a backbreaker, and then heads to the top. Bigelow almost falls off, but regains his balance. Flying headbutt misses, and Bret was playing possum. Bret slugs at Bigelow in the corner as the Spanish audience counts, in English! Side Russian legsweep gets two. Flying clothesline from the second rope gets two (a variant from his elbow off the second rope I assume). Bulldog from the second rope and Bret goes for the Sharpshooter. Bigelow powers out and Bret runs into a bearhug. Bret gets out and tries another belly to back but Bigelow reverses it this time to a splash for two. Bret’s sent to the corner but a blind charge misses. Victory roll finishes things for Bret at 11:56. I liked the match in general, but it was way too dead in the middle for it to be truly great. **1/2.
8) Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect (20:21)
This is the semi-final match from the first King of the Ring PPV, held on 06/13/93. Jim Ross and Bobby Heenan are calling the action, and Savage is on there, too. This was the second round of KOTR, to this is the second match of the night for both workers. Bret with a side-headlock to start, broken by Perfect, who is then shoulderblocked down. Hart goes back to the side headlock but Perfect reverses with a headscissors take over. Bret breaks with a side headlock. Perfect chops Bret, so Bret responds with a slam, Perfect with one of his own and Bret takes down Perfect with a side headlock again. Headlock is broken and Bret with a crucifix pin for two. Bret goes back to the side headlock. Bret with a crossbody press gets two, and Perfect kicks out, sending Bret outside. Bret makes the apron and sunset flips Perfect for two. Bret goes back to the side headlock, but Perfect breaks and stomps the tapes fingers of Bret. Standing dropkick sends Bret outside. Bret gets stomped upon re-entry, and Perfect with chops and a high-knee gets two. Perfect kicks Bret to the outside, where Perfect follows. Hart has his head smacked into the ring apron and Perfect goes back inside. Hart makes the apron, but Perfect slings Hart into the steel barricade, injuring his knee. Hart makes his way back in and Perfect slugs him down. He goes upstairs and connects on a missile dropkick. Perfect covers but Bret’s foot makes the ropes. So Perfect grabs that foot and covers for two. Perfect sends Bret chest first into the corner and covers again for two. Perfect goes upstairs again, but Bret’s up quickly and crotches Perfect. Bret suplexes him off the top and covers for two. Bret puts Perfect in the figure four, but Perfect makes the ropes. Bret drives an elbow to the leg and grapevines that leg, but Perfect breaks. Perfect with the hair toss, then a sleeper hold. Bret makes the ropes, and after Perfect breaks the hold, he goes back to it, and then uses the ropes as leverage to the delight of the fans. Bret breaks by sending Perfect to the turnbuckles, then forearms Perfect. Bret sends Perfect sliding into the turnbuckle, picks him up and atomic drops him, then a side Russian legsweep for two. A legdrop gives way to a backbreaker, which leads to the elbow from the second rope for two. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter but Perfect grabs the injured fingers of Bret to break the hold. Perfect goes for the Perfect-plex but Hart blocks it, then suplexes Perfect over the top rope to the outside, and Hart comes tumbling after him. Perfect is up first and goes back into the ring. Hart follows as Perfect sells the leg. The ref looks at Perfect’s leg as Bret cautiously approaches, leading to a small packages for Perfect. Turns out Perfect was playing possum, but the plan is foiled when Bret reverses it to a small package of his own to get the three-count at 18:53. This was much better than the Summerslam match, with better selling, a willing and able Henning, and a better finish. ****1/2.
9) Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (25:33)
This was the opening match of Wrestlemania X, held on 03/20/94 at MSG. This is probably one of my favorite matches ever. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are calling the action here. Owen breaks an early hold and cheers like he won the Stanley Cup. Fireman’s carry leads to a Bret headscissors, which Owen escapes from, and celebrates yet again. Bret with a takedown, but Owen makes the ropes. Owen comes back with a take down of his own, so Bret charges towards the ropes, ducks, and Owen goes flying to the outside. Owen is pissed and comes in and smacks his brother. Owen with a hammerlock, reversed by Bret, reversed to a headlock by Owen, reversed to an armbar by Bret. They continue with the nice reversal sequence, leading to a Bret reverse sunset flip for two, and Bret with an armdrag takeover. Owen escapes, leading to another reversal sequence ending with Owen getting monkey flipped then clotheslined to the outside. Owen starts to retreat but Bret runs out and throws him back in. Bret with a schoolboy for two, and Bret goes back to working the arm. Crucifix for Bret gets two, and he goes back to the arm. Owen comes back with a flying forearm, and he stomps his brother to the outside. Owen follows and smashes his brother’s back into the ringpost. Back inside and Owen goes to the Camel Clutch, all while yelling at his brother. Bret breaks but an Owen belly to belly suplex gets a two-count. Crossbody by Owen is rolled through by Bret for two, but Owen goes back to kneeing Bret’s back, and another Camel Clutch. Owen tries to bodyslam Bret, but Bret falls on top of Owen for two. Bret’s kicked to the outside when Owen kicks out and makes the apron. Owen tries to suplex him in but Bret flips over, which leads to an Owen turnaround and a German suplex gets two. Owen tries another suplex but Bret reverses into a small package for two. Owen flips out of a backbreaker then tombstones Bret. Owen goes to the top rope but a flying headbutt attempt misses when Bret rolls out of the way. Bret with a clothesline gets two. Side Russian legsweep gets two. Backbreaker leads to the elbow from the second rope for two. Owen regains control and tries for a Sharpshooter, but Owen wiggles free and tries for one of his own. Owen with a roll-up gets two. Bret comes back and dumps his brother to the outside. Bret follows with a slingshot plancha, but he hurts his knee, the same knee he hurt at the Royal Rumble. Bret rolls Owen back in but Owen takes advantage and starts working the knee. Owen rams Bret’s knee into the ring post, works the knee, some more that leads to a figure four. Bret turns it around and Owen makes the ropes. Both men have a bum leg, but Owen’s isn’t as bummed as Bret’s is. Bret with an enzuigiri out of nowhere, and he works over Owen in the corner. Owen goes chest first into the turnbuckle’s and Bret hits a legdrop for two. Bret unleashes a running bulldog, still sells the knee, and covers for two. Piledriver for Bret gets two. Bret sets up his brother on the top rope, and unfurls a super-plex but even that only gets a two count. Bret with a sleeper, but Owen makes the ropes, drawing the ref, and he low blows his brother. Owen follows with a Sharpshooter, but Bret grabs Owen’s leg and puts on a Sharpshooter of his. Owen makes the ropes to break the hold. Bret is sent to the corner, Owen misses a charge and Bret tries fro a victory roll. Owen reverses it, sits on top of Bret and gets the pinfall and the huge victory over his older brother at 20:21. This was one of the best matches of the 90’s, and had a great storyline, great wrestling, and was an amazing thing to watch. *****.
—Disc Three— (2:57:50)
1) Bret Hart(c) vs. Owen Hart (17:21)
This is a WWE House show, held in White Plains, NY, on 09/29/94. This is allegedly Owen’s last shot at the WWE title, and I’d have to check, but I don’t know if Owen ever got another shot at it again, and I don’t know if he wrestled Owen ever again. Owen snatches the title from the official to celebrate with it. Vince McMahon and Todd Pettengill call the action for a match that was on the first episode of WWE: The Action Zone. Owen throws his glasses at Bret, who catches them and gives them to a fan at ringside. Owen breaks a lock-up attempt and celebrates as Todd makes a horribly outdated reference to OJ Simpson. Owen and Bret get into a shoving match and Owen smacks his brother, and then hides in the ropes. Bret goes for a quick Sharpshooter and when that doesn’t work he rolls him up for two. Bret goes to work on the arm, broken by Owen, who is hiptossed by his brother. An arm-drag take-down sends Owen to the outside as Jim Neidhart comes out to the aide of Owen. Back inside, Bret with a roll-up gets two, and he goes back to the arm. Another pinning combination gets two. Bret goes off the ropes and is tripped up by the Anvil leading Owen to take control. British Bulldog comes out to even up the odds in Bret’s corner. We hit the commercial break and Owen has Bret in a Camel Clutch as we resume. Owen with a side-headlock, and when Bret tries to break Owen just grabs his hair and goes back to it. A lot of resting going on here. Bret with a sunset flip gets two. Owen reverses an Irish whip and Bret goes chest first into the corner. Owen follows with a missile dropkick, and then smacks Davey Boy as Anvil works over the knee of Bret on the ringpost. Owen starts working over the knee of Bret, and puts on a figure-four. Bret tries to reverse it but we go to an ill-timed commercial break. We return with Bret catching Owen off the top rope and getting an atomic drop for two. Side Russian legsweep gets two as well. Small package for Bret gets two. Backbreaker leads to an elbow from the second rope. Bret pins but Anvil puts Owen’s leg on the ropes. Reverse sunset flip for Owen gets two, leading to a Bret reversal for two. Bret tries for the Sharpshooter but a thumb to the eyes blocks that. Spinning heel kick for Owen gets two, and Owen stomps away at his brother. Bret blocks a suplex attempt, sets Bret up on the top rope, tries for a superplex but Anvil holds Owen’s leg and Bret falls off. Bulldog crotches Owen on the top rope in response, and Owen falls off and Bret covers him for the pin and the win at 14:48. It was hardly a convincing victory for the champ, and this was just a better than average TV match rather than the WMX classic we saw before. Too much resting, too much interference, and a cheap finish, though some of the spots that worked for their match in WMX were countered here in a nice touch. ***.
2) Bret Hart vs. Hakushi (17:13)
This is from In Your House 05/14/95, a forgotten PPV from a bad time for the WWE. They don’t show Hakushi’s entrance. Bret was supposed to wrestle later on that night against Lawler, so that Bret would have two of the six matches on this first ever IYH, so we’d know that we’d have at least two good matches on that PPV. Hakushi was undefeated at the time and we have the odd announce pairing of Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix. Hakushi shows off his acrobatic skills to start. Hakushi yanks the air to take control and work the arm. Bret sends Hakushi to the ropes in a spot that looked blown and Hakushi comes back with a flying forearm for two, and he goes back to work on the arm, driving his knee into the arm. Bret gets a reverse sunset flip for two and Bret goes to work on the arm. Another blown spot leads to Bret elbowing Hakushi in the back of the head. Armdrags for Hart sends Hakushi bailing. Bret is sent hard, chest-first into the corner and follows with a slingshot press for two as we see Lawler watch on in excitement in the back. Hakushi with a bronco buster before it was called a bronco buster, and Hakushi celebrates his dominance of the Hitman. Bret tries for another reverse sunset flip but Hakushi ducks out and Bret is sent to the outside, where Hakushi’s manager stomps on Bret. Bret makes his way back in, and Hakushi sends Hart into the corner, then chokes Bret in the corner as the ref is distracted. The manager gets in on the action again; choking Bret while Hakushi distracts the reg. Hakushi chops down Bret, sends Bret to the corner, and hits a somersault elbow. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for Hakushi gets two. Hakushi goes upstairs and hits a flying headbutt for two. Hakushi tries for a springboard splash but Hart evades, and he’s up and swinging. Side Russian legsweep gets two. Running bulldog gets two. Backbreaker for Bret leads to an elbow from the second rope and Bret goes for Sharpshooter, but Shinjen (the manager) distracts. Hakushi’s back up but Bret clothesline him down and Hakushi does a 360 sell. Bret goes off the ropes but he’s tripped up, so Bret unloads a pescado on him. Bret comes back in and is met with a dropkick. Bret blocks a suplex attempt and suplexes Hakushi to the outside, sending Bret out as well. Shinjen holds Bret back as Hakushi sets up a springboard somersault splash onto Hart. Bret makes his way to apron, where Hakushi meets him, who tries to suplex him in. Bret reverses it, but Hakushi with a quick go-around tries to a German suplex. Bret reverses that into a victory roll for the pin at 14:39. Very good match with some high spots you didn’t normally see at the time. Two blown spots in the beginning lowers this from **** territory however. ***3/4.
3) Diesel(c) vs. Bret Hart for the WWE title (27:05)
Diesel had almost held the title for a year by the time Survivor Series 1995 (11/19/95) rolled around. Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect and Jim Ross are calling the action and Diesel takes off one of the turnbuckle coverings to start, and Bret does the same. This is a no-DQ match. Diesel powers away at Bret in the corner to start, and Bret bails to the outside. Diesel follows him and continues with the big-man offense. Diesel chokes away at Bret on the outside, and they head back in, where Bret is kicked to the outside again. The brawling is keeping Diesel in control, as he sends Bret into the stairs and ramming his back into the stairs. Diesel slams a chair into the back of Hart and they head back inside where Diesel connects with a clothesline. Diesel tries for the power bomb but Bret counters by holding the leg of Diesel. Diesel with clubbing forearms to the back but Bret bites the arm of Diesel, causing him to break and Bret chokes Diesel then starts stomping the leg of Diesel, even putting on a figure-four. Diesel’s just too tall and Diesel makes the rope, but Bret refuses to break, since it is no-DQ. He eventually does and knees the leg of Diesel. Bret tries for a Sharpshooter but Diesel kicks Bret off into one of the exposed turnbuckles. Bret comes right back by sending Diesel’s leg into the ringpost. Bret tries to tie Diesel up with a cord, but Diesel responds with a big boot to the face. Turns out Bret did tie up Diesel and Diesel is tied to the ropes it seems. Bret with an axe-handle off the top and Bret grabs a chair. Diesel blocks the chair shot, but Bret comes right back with a chair shot to the back, then one right into the knee. Backbreaker puts Diesel down, and Bret goes to the top rope, with the chair, while Diesel is still tied up. Bret loses his balance on the ropes and Diesel gets up and crotches Bret. Diesel launches Bret off and finally unties himself. Sidewalk slam for Diesel gets two. Bret is sent into the corner (the one with no pad) and he runs in chest-first and Vince proclaims Bret should just call it quits now. Diesel takes control and sends Bret into the corner, but not the one with exposed corner. Diesel picks up Bret and tries to send him to the corner, but Bret wiggles free and sends Diesel face-first into the exposed corner. Bret hammers away. Side Russian legsweep gets two. Bret clotheslines Diesel to the outside and follows with a slingshot plancha, which misses and Bret takes a hard bump on the padded floor. Bret makes the apron, and Diesel is right on him, slingshot ting him through the Spanish announce table. Diesel heads outside to bring Bret back in, and calls for the jack-knife. Bret is just completely knocked out and Diesel doesn’t know what to do. Diesel picks up him again and Bret small packages Diesel for the pin and the win at 24:53. Diesel is pissed and powerbombs Bret anyway. Diesel takes out some referees, trying to start a heel turn I think, and even powerbombs Bret again, which the fans cheer for. This was just a great match, that suffers a bit from a slow start, but the ending was just great. ****1/2.
4) Bret Hart(c) vs. British Bulldog for the WWE Title (25:12)
This took place at In Your House V, 12/17/95. The wide shot of the arena shows the hogpen where HHH and HOG had the hogpen match, something that is even tough to type. Bret takes down Bulldog and works the arm to start, but Bulldog escapes. Bret backs up Bulldog to the corner and breaks clean. Armdrag takes down Bulldog, and Bret sends some knees into the arm. Lawler makes a reference to Cornette getting a racket cover from the “real Santa,” another WWE gimmick failure called Xanta Claus. It’s a tough sell for a Christmas themed character outside of December. High cross body for Bret gets two and its back to the arm but Bulldog escapes and drapes Bret upside down in the corner. Ref gets hit in the throat, but probably by mistake since the ref no-sold the shot. The match is so great we hear an ECW chant. Bret tries for a crucifix but Bulldog gets a Samoan drop instead. They split screen so we see Diana (not looking as good as she did in 92). Bulldog chokes Bret along the ropes, as Cornette gets in a cheap shot. Bulldog covers for two. Bret is sent chest first to the corner, and Bulldog covers for two. Back body drop for the Bulldog gets two. Bulldog works a side headlock into the mix, but Hart escapes and monkey flips Bulldog over. Atomic drop turns the tide for Hart. Running bulldog gets two for Bret. Piledriver gets two for Bret, side Russian legsweep sets up the second rope elbow, and Bret goes for the superplex. Bulldog blocks and crotches Bret onto the top rope, and Bret falls to the outside. The fans call for tables, but Bulldog doesn’t oblige. Bret is sent into the ringpost, and Bret is split wide open. The fans chant that Bret is hardcore, another ECW reference. Bret has a pretty good blade job going on, especially for mid-90’s WWE. Piledriver for Bulldog gets two. Suplex for Bulldog gets two. Bulldog with a press slam gets two. Bulldog slams Bret, then hits a flying headbutt from the top rope right into Bret’s ass. That only gets a two. I’d think a flying headbutt to the ass would be an awesome finisher. Bulldog with a weak bow and arrow submission, which Bret flips out of and tries for the Sharpshooter, but can’t connect. Bulldog hurt his knee on the top rope (flying headbutt to the ass must’ve popped his knee or something). Bulldog shoulderblock Bret to the outside and Bret goes flying into the barricade. Bret makes the apron and Bulldog tries to suplex him in. Bret flips over Bulldog and hits a German suplex for two. Bulldog charges Bret but Bret with a big back body drop sends Bulldog to the outside. Bret follows with a slingshot plancha and Bulldog almost blows that one, too. Bret tries for a slingshot reverse splash but Bulldog catches him and powerslams him onto the mat. Bulldog tries to suplex Bret onto the concrete, but Bret crotches Bulldog onto the barricade then clotheslines him off. Back in and a backbreaker gets two for Bret. Bret sets up Bulldog on the top rope and this he hits the superplex for two. Victory roll is reversed by Bulldog, but Bret reverses that reversal and pulls the tights for a two. Back body drop for Bret and he forearms Bulldog in the corner. Bulldog whips Bret to the corner but blind charge hits Bret’s boot. Bret with Majastral roll-up finishes things at 21:10. I thought this match was very good, bordering on freaking awesome. It was slow in the beginning and Bulldog hurting his knee in the middle portion lowers it a star, but it’s still all good. ****.
5) Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (27:52)
This was a submission match, held at Wrestlemania XIII, 03/23/97. This is the match that made the legend of Steve Austin. Ken Shamrock is our special guest referee. Austin charges Bret right away but Bret comes right back. They brawl outside, and it’s some serious brawling. Austin’s sent into the ringpost, but he comes right back and crotches Bret onto the barricade, then clotheslines him into the audience, where they continue to brawl. They go into the bleachers and Bret back body drops Austin on the steps. They make it back to the steps and Bret hits an axehandle off the barricade. Bret is sent to the steps as Austin sets up on the apron. He flips off Hart then hits a flying forearm from the apron. Austin picks up the steps but Bret kicks him in the gut before Austin can use them. Austin sends Bret into the ringpost, and we head back to the ring where Austin stomps away. Austin tries for a back body drop but Hart comes back with a swinging neckbreaker. Bret starts working the knee of Austin, setting up for the Sharpshooter. Austin comes back with a stunner out of nowhere, but this is no pinfall so it just gives Austin a chance to catch his breath. Bret gets up and starts with the knee again, and even sets up a figure four, between the steel ringpost. The fans go crazy for that one. Austin won’t give and Bret breaks the hold. Bret grabs the ringbell, and a chair, and brings them into the ring. Bret sets up the chair onto Austin’s knee and goes to the top, but Austin gets up and just smashes the chair into Bret’s head. Austin then nails him in the back and suplexes him over. Austin with an elbow drop of his own from the second rope, then a side Russian legsweep of his own, and Bret with a submission move wrenching the arm back. Austin with a Boston Crab, but Bret won’t give up. Bret makes the ropes and Shamrock makes Austin break the hold. Austin tries for a Sharpshooter but a rake to the face from Hart stops that. Bret charges but is dumped between the top and middle ropes to the outside. Austin raises his arms in celebration to a combination of boos and cheers. Austin is sent into the barricade, knocking over some suits in the process and Austin’s been busted open. Bret sends Austin into the ringpost and they head back to the ring. Austin stars driving the chair into Austin’s knee and his knee brace, and Bret tries for a Sharpshooter. Austin rakes the face to stop, but Bret comes right back, slugging Austin in the corner. Austin comes back with a low blow, sold awesomely by Bret. Austin can barely stand due to his injured knee, but he sends Bret chest first into the corner. Austin stomps at Bret in the corner; flips off Bret, and the fans eat it up. Austin sits Bret on the top rope, and hits a suplex from the second rope, and Austin is a bloody mess right now. Austin sends Bret to the apron, and grabs a huge extension cord and chokes the Hitman with it. Bret grabs the ringbell he had put at ringside early and clubs Austin in the head with it, knocking Austin down. Bret comes in and puts Austin in the sharpshooter and we get an awesome look at Austin, blood streaming from his face, refusing to give up. The fans slowly start turning on Bret, cheering for Austin the longer the Sharpshooter is held on. The fans are now chanting for Austin as he tries to power out of it. He knocks Bret off but the hold isn’t quite broken and Bret just hooks it in even righter. Austin won’t give up, but he passes out due to the blood loss and Shamrock calls the match at 22:06. This was just something else. It was one of the most passionate matches you’ll ever see, a wild brawl, great psychology and selling from both, and it literally made Austin’s career, and in effect, turned the fans against Bret. Just a perfect match. *****. Bret stomps at Austin after the match, and the fans start turning on Bret. Shamrock takes down Bret to pull him off Austin, and challenges Bret, but Bret just leaves to a huge chorus of boos.
6) Bret Hart(c) vs. Undertaker (33:06)
This is from One Night Only, 09/20/97. This event was held in Birmingham, England and was a UK-only PPV, which was also shown in Canada. Slugfest to start, with Taker working over Bret in the corner. Bret exposes a turnbuckle as Taker misses a blind charge, and Bret works Taker in that exposed corner. Bret tries for a hiptoss but Taker turns it into a short-arm clothesline for two. He misses an elbow drop, sits up and right into a Bret clothesline. Bret clotheslines Taker to the outside then baseball slides Taker into the announce table, with a team of Lawler, Ross and McMahon calling the action. Bret comes out but is caught by Taker, who hits a spinebuster on the floor. He picks up Bret and rams his back into the ringpost. Bret actually makes for the exit but Taker catches him and slams him on the entrance ramp. They go back to the ring where Bret catches Taker with a DDT. He attempts to whip Taker to the corner, but its reversed and Bret goes chest first into the exposed corner. Taker starts working the chest area now, even throwing in a “heart punch.” Taker continues with the chest as Bret tries to take out the leg of Taker. Undertaker with a backbreaker, which he turns into a surfboard type move, then pins Bret for two. Blind charge for Taker misses and his knee hits the turnbuckle, leading Bret to capitalize on that knee. He slams it into the ringpost then goes for his figure four using the ringpost maneuver. They go back to the ring where Bret locks on a figure four in the center of the ring. Ross talks about the Wrestlemania match Hart had with Austin, and almost calls the Sharpshooter the Scorpion Death Lock. Taker turns the figure-four around, and Bret makes the ropes to a huge jeer from the crowd. Taker misses a big boot and Bret kicks his leg out from under him and he’s right back to work on the knee. Side Russian legsweep gets two. Snap suplex gets two. Backbreaker leads to a second rope elbow, which Taker counters, with a foot to Bret’s face. Bret’s sent off the ropes and double clothesline puts both men down. Taker is up first and gets some dubious leg drops, the second which Bret evades. Bret puts on the mat version of the Sharpshooter and locks it in, with Taker in the center of the ring, but Taker uses his power and just kicks out of it. Bret with headbutts to the groin and he goes for the Sharpshooter again, but this time Undertaker grabs him by the throat and readies for a chokeslam, but Bret kicks out Taker’s knee. Legdrop for Taker gets two. Bret goes to the outside and grabs the ringbell. He goes back inside and tries to use the bell but Taker hits him with a big boot. Taker wants to use the bell but the ref grabs it away. Taker looks at the ref as Bret chop blocks Taker. Bret gets pushed outside and ends up taking out the cameraman. Taker sends Bret into the stairs. They head back in and Taker sends Bret sliding into the ringpost. Taker tries the ropewalk but Bret armdrags him off. Taker tries for a tombstone but Bret flips over and gets a reverse sunset flip for two. Bret tries for his own Tombstone but Taker turns it around. Bret grabs the rope and gets wrapped up in the ropes, getting his head caught between the top two ropes. Taker pounds away as the ref rings the bell at 28:37. I’m not happy with that finish, and neither is Taker, who chokeslams the referee, then Gerald Brisco. It was a very good match, marred only by a bad finish. ****.
7) Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit (30:01)
This is the Owen Hart tribute match held on WCW Nitro, 10/04/99. Harley Race introduces the match and introduces the participants. Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan and Tony Schiavone call the match. Benoit has an Owen T-shirt on. Benoit with a side headlock, reversed to a wristlock by Bret. Benoit works on the arm of Bret, this time with a hammerlock. Nice wrestling-reversal sequence leads to a Bret headlock, which Benoit elbows out of. Bret comes back with a knee to the gut. They brawl in the corner, with Benoit getting a big chop. Bret responds with a DDT and an elbow from the second rope for two. Benoit with a nice reversal to an odd standing Boston Crab, but Bret makes the ropes. Benoit with a back body drop gets two. Benoit punches Bret to the outside, as we take a short commercial break. We come back with Benoit dropping an elbow in the ring for two. A second attempt misses and Bret drops a headbutt to the abs of Benoit. Suplex gets two for Hart. Backbreaker for Hart, and he starts working on the back of Benoit. Benoit spins out of a backbreaker and tombstones Bret for two. Bridge suplex for Benoit gets two. Benoit with a knee to the gut gets two. Benoit puts Bret in the corner and chops away at Bret. Benoit misses a dropkick and Bret responds with an elbow drop. Belly to back suplex for Bret gets two. Bret charges but Benoit ducks and Bret gets caught up in the ropes. Benoit follows with a tope suicida and we head to a commercial. We come back with Bret in control, trying to suplex Benoit in from the apron. Benoit with a reverse sunset flip counter gets two, reversed into one of Bret’s for two. Benoit with a backslide gets two and a small package gets two. Bret responds with a swinging neckbreaker gets two. He sends Benoit into the corner and comes back with an atomic drop. Back into the corner and Benoit knocks Bret away and heads to the top. Bret crotches him and superplexes him back into the ring. Bret is up first and tries for the Sharpshooter but Benoit grabs the arm and reverses it into a crossface in an awesome spot. Bret makes the ropes, however, and Benoit needs to break the hold. Benoit with a trio of suplexes and he heads to the top. He hits the flying headbutt and covers but Bret kicks out at two. Belly to back suplex for Benoit and he follows with an elbow. Benoit gets distracted by the fans cheering for Bret, allowing Bret to come back with an elbow and a piledriver. Bret covers but Benoit’s foot makes the rope. Benoit recovers quickly and chops at Bret in the corner. Benoit with the rolling suplexes and he gets two before Bret elbows out and clubs Benoit’s back with forearms. Benoit goes for a quick crossface but Bret blocks, grabs the legs, and turns it into a Sharpshooter and Benoit is in the middle of the ring and has no choice but to submit at 23:03. This was just a great match, full of emotion, full of great wrestling, and well deserved of all five-stars it will get. *****.
The main feature is widescreen and presented in Dolby Digital. It’s really a documentary type tale so the big surrounds aren’t really needed. The WWE footage is, as usual, in good shape, with no real major problems I could find. Thankfully Bret left the WWE before the scratch logo so we don’t need any blurring either!
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This was the standard WWE three-disc fold-open package. The liner notes include the chapter descriptions, the extras and the matches on the disc. It’s well done.
D) Easter Eggs
1) Stampede Footage (1:43)
To access this, go to chapters and highlight “Stampede Wrestling.” Hit left three times and you’ll see Jack Foley cutting a promo in Stampede (with his wrestlers: an early version of the Bushwhackers [the Kiwis], and it looks like Dynamite Kid), challenging the Harts to a match that will be so brutal that it can’t be shown on TV.
1) Bret on his Wrestling (1:38)
Bret says he always wanted his wrestler to appear real, and he says he would never do a skin the cat (one of Shawn’s move) because it was too contrived. Bret wanted people to watch his matches and think it was real and some people thought that. To get this egg, go to the Extras and highlight the Steamboat match. Hit right three times.
2) Bret on his Boasting (0:31)
Bret talks about his best there is… trademark line. Bret says he never injured one wrestler while working, despite being a physical wrestler. To get this, highlight the British Bulldog match, and hit left twice. Interesting they do it with Bulldog, who almost killed Bret when he was supposed to catch him but didn’t.
3) Bret coming up with a Name (0:54)
Bret was trying to come up with a name, and saw a boxer named Hitman Hearns, who recently lost to Sugar Ray and Bret liking it and taking it. To access this one, highlight the Rockers match and hit left three times.
Highlight the Diesel match and hit right three times. This is a Bret Hart montage video, and I don’t quite remember when it was used. Judging by the footage, it seemed to be during his first WWE title reign.
The usual ads start this off, WWE 24/7, WWE Home Video and Wrestlemania Anthology (the next review I am starting, actually). This collection was something else. The main program did a good job of delving into Bret’s career, and Bret is very up front with a lot that happened. I think more things could’ve been covered a bit more deeply but for a general look at his career it was awesome. The matches are very interesting. Bret picked all these so they meant something to him, although some seemed a bit weird. The Bigelow match for instance, with Spanish commentary was an interesting addition, as well as the Rockers match. Most of the Hart Foundation stuff was glossed over, too. I can’t argue with the matches on here, as there were a trio of ***** matches, and many that were very close. I can’t complain at all with what is on here. Would I have liked more? Sure, but I am sure another three-disc collection will be released someday with more great matches. This was just a great collection, and a must for any Hart fan. Though not quite perfect, it is damn close.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever