October 12th, 1992 in Saskatoon saw WWF World Champion Ric Flair defend the championship against Bret Hart. Flair had just regained the championship from Randy Savage a month prior in Pennsylvania and had been the top heel in the WWF since his arrival in late 1991. Meanwhile, Bret Hart had developed a stellar singles career highlighted by two WWF Intercontinental Championship reigns. Hart had lost the WWF Intercontinental Championship to the British Bulldog at SummerSlam in Wembley.
The match is random since they hadn’t had any kind of interaction prior, so there isn’t anything behind the match. Thus, it would make fans think it would be a showcase for Flair in a competitive match with a younger on the rise superstar like Bret Hart. Oh, it was competitive alright, just way more than any probably expected.
Oddly enough, the match was never shown on television. It was only made available on the Coliseum Video release Smack’em Whack’em. Oddly enough, by the time the video was released, Hart’s title reign had come to an end at WrestleMania IX.
At the start, Flair backs Hart into the corner and lets go but not before letting out a WOOO. Flair takes Hart down to the canvas with a headlock and tries to get a pin, but Hart rolls out of it. Hart controls Flair with a hammerlock after getting to his feet. Flair reaches the ropes and is able to force a break of the hold. Flair gets control after sending Hart hard into the corner back first. That didn’t last long as Hart takes Flair over with a snap suplex. Hart follows up with a backdrop out of the corner. Bret stomps on the midsection of Flair but doesn’t followup on the advantage allowing Flair to roll to the floor to regroup. Flair returns to the ring and briefly gets control with a top wrist lock. Hart counters with one of his own and takes Flair down to the mat. Flair reaches the ropes to get out of an arm lock. Bret arm drags Flair down controls the arm. Flair tries to control Hart on the canvas, but Bret is too quick and counters the hold to continue his work on Flair’s arm. Flair tries to wrench on the arm of Hart, but that gets countered too and Hart delivers a leg drop. Flair stops Hart with a boot in the corner and a chop before sending Hart over the top to the floor. Hart sunset flips into the ring from the apron but Flair stops Hart with a punch.
Hart attempts another sunset flip from the apron and pulls down the tights of the champion for a near fall, which is censored. Hart backdrops Flair and drops Flair with a few clotheslines causing Flair to retreat to the floor where Flair falls on his face. Flair returns to the ring and falls on his face allowing Bret to get a near fall. Flair struggles to his feet and stops Hart with an eye rake. Flair sends Hart hard chest first into the corner. Flair sends Hart chest first into the corner a second time. Flair drives Hart down with a knee breaker and Hart is clutching his knee on the apron. Flair has Hart in the corner and delivers a few punches and stomps to drop Hart to the canvas. Flair attempts a knee drop but Hart rolls out of the way. Hart tries to lock in the figure four, but Flair kicks Hart away into the corner. Hart is able to recover to deliver a knee breaker and focuses his attack on the right knee of Flair with elbow drops. Hart manages to get the figure four locked in right in the middle of the ring and nearly gets a pin!
Flair finally manages to reach the bottom rope and begs off from Hart. Hart attempts an elbow drop to the leg, but Flair is able to avoid it and Hart hits the mat instead. Hart counters a hip toss attempt with a backslide for a two count. Flair drops Hart with a right hand to regain control of the title match. Hart stops Flair with a sleeper hold in the middle of the ring, but Flair quickly counters with a back suplex. Flair nearly gets a win with an inside cradle, but Hart gets out of it. Flair takes Hart over with a double under hook suplex for another two count. Flair comes off the ropes and delivers a knee drop. Hart is sent into the corner and comes out only to be met with a chop which gets Flair a couple of near falls. Hart almost steals a victory with a rollup. Flair stops Hart with a knee breaker and gets the figure four locked in! Hart refuses to give in to the hold and is able to fight long enough to rollover the hold. That allows both men to reach the ropes and cause a rope break. Flair goes back to focusing on the left knee of Hart and lets loose on a few chops as well. Flair puts Hart on the mat looking for the figure four, but Hart counters with an inside cradle for a near win.
They begin to trade strikes in the corner with Hart getting the better of the exchange. Hart runs into a big boot and Flair regains control of the title match. Flair heads to the top rope but Hart gets up and is able to press slam Flair down to the canvas. Hart backdrops Flair again and drops a forearm for a two count. Hart connects with a side Russian leg sweep and Flair begs off again. Hart drives Flair down with a back breaker and comes off the middle rope with a forearm drop for a near fall. Bret hits a snap suplex and gets a two count again on Flair. Flair backs Hart into the corner and delivers a few chops but Hart isn’t selling it now. Hart hammers away on Flair and puts the champ on the top turnbuckle. Bret hooks Flair and hits a superplex! Bret plays to the crowd and locks in the Sharpshooter which leads to Mr. Perfect getting on the apron, but the referee gets him off and Flair is forced to submit! (**3/4)
It’s a career defining moment in regard to Bret Hart becoming the new face of the WWF for a new era in the company. However, the match isn’t going to be in anyone’s top ten lists of all-time greats. Apparently, Flair had suffered an inner-ear issue in a match against Ultimate Warrior prior to this showdown.
As the match went on the fans got more and more behind Hart. The match is rather slow and repetitive, which tends to happen a lot with Flair when he has to control the match for long periods of time. However, the finish was fine and the fans popped for a surprise title switch. I did laugh that after the superplex, Hart took the time to gloat and then put the Sharpshooter on Flair.
They’d never have a rematch on television or pay per view. It would have been a good idea for these two to meet on pay per view at the Rumble, but that spot was given to Razor Ramon instead. They did have several matches on the house show circuit leading into February ’93 when Flair left the company for a return to WCW. They had several 60-minute Ironman matches, as well.
Years later they’d square off in WCW taking part in one pay per view match at WCW Souled Out ’98. Surprisingly, that would be their only pay per view match against each other.
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