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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Bret Hart: The Best There Is, Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be (Disc Three)

December 2, 2005 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

Bret Hart: The Best There Is, the Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be (Disc Three)

  • WWF Heavyweight Title: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (9/29/94).

    This is from the very first “WWF Action Zone” just after SummerSlam ’94. The concept of the show was that Raw would give you your storyline while “Action Zone” would give you great matches. Owen starts with his usual: celebrating a stalemate tie-up, slapping Bret in the face and darting out of the ring. Pettingill is on commentary, nearly ruining this match with his inane sub-Leno jokes. Bret catapults Owen into the buckle for two. Owen complains about a hair pull. Things don’t go his way, so Owen bails out. Jim Neidhart comes down to find out what’s wrong. Owen yells, “He’s cheating!” Back in, Bret slaps Owen across the face and schoolboys him for two. Bret gets two off a Crucifix. Neidhart trips up Bret from the outside as Vince complains that he’s the reason the Hart brothers are having problems. Anvil’s interference brings out Davey Boy Smith to root for Bret. Owen starts blatantly pulling Bret’s hair to piss off the crowd. Bret fights back but runs right into a belly-to-belly suplex. An out-of-nowhere sunset flip gets two for Bret. He baits Owen to coming in and getting a kick to the gut. Owen reverses a corner whip; Bret takes the chest first bump. Anvil attacks Bret’s leg behind the ref’s back. DRAGON SCREW! Owen tries for the submission with a side leglock. DRAGON SCREW! Owen with the figure-four leglock! We come back from commercial to find Bret has escaped the hold. He catches Owen with a fist as he’s coming off the top. Bret gets two off the Hart Attack Clothesline. A small package gets two. The backbreaker sets up the second-rope elbow. Vince acts like it’s the first time he’s seen him do that. It gets two before Neidhart puts Owen’s foot on the ropes. Bret shouts some threats at Neidhart, enabling Owen to roll him up from behind. ONE, TWO–Bret rolls through. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! I should point out that the referee has a very fast count, which certainly makes for an exciting nearfall. Owen counters the Sharpshooter with a thumb to the eye and gets two off a leg lariat. Bret sets Owen up on the top for a superplex, but Neidhart holds onto Owen’s leg. Bret falls flat back into the ring. The ref goes to check on him, so Davey Boy crotches Owen on the top rope. Bret hauls his brother back in and covers for the win at 14:48. They recycled a lot of the great stuff they did at WrestleMania and in their Ironman match, making this a great match too, but it lacked the fundamental sense of purpose that the WMX opener had. ****

  • Bret Hart vs. Hakushi (w/Shinja) (5/14/95).

    This is from the first In Your House PPV. Bret’s descent continued as he not only lost his title to one-day champ Bob Backlund, but he saw the Clique rise to power as he was stuck in mid-card feuds. Case in point: Hakushi, who most of you puro fans know as Jinsei Shinzaki. He was capable of great things, but he was just never motivated, even internationally. Hakushi does some spiffy stuff to avoid Bret. After that, he pretty much settles into the basic heel stuff. Bret gets a quick reverse rollup for two. They botch something so Bret improvises with an elbow to the back of the head. Hakushi sneaks back in and reverses a corner whip, giving him the advantage. In the back, Jerry Lawler watches in anticipation of his match with Bret later in the evening. Hakushi busts out the split-legged vertical splash in the corner. You might know it as the Broncobuster in the attitude era, only Hakushi doesn’t bounce his sack up and down on your chin. No. Wrestling’s not gay. Shinja distracts the ref while Hakushi chokes Bret. They switch off, and Bret gets more chokery. Hakushi busts out his first cool move: the handspring back elbow. He flips out of a backbreaker and gets a gutwrench of his own for two. A diving headbutt gets two more. He tries a springboard splash, but Bret rolls out of the way and makes the big comeback. I’ll let you guess which moves Bret uses to come back. I’ll give you a hint: there are five of them. The Hart Attack Clothesline staggers Hakushi, but Shinja trips him from the outside. Bret turns around and takes Shinja out with a tope. Hakushi sneaks up on him, but Bret counters his suplex attempt by sending both of them over the top. Shinja distracts Bret long enough for Hakushi to hit him with the Asai Moonsault. Back in, Hakushi tries to finish with a German Suplex, but Bret reverses to a rollup for the pin at 14:41. People raved about this match when it happened, but looking at it today, it seems that Hakushi just wanted to hit his spots and go home. They were pretty good spots, though, and Bret provided his usual effort. ***1/2

  • WWF Heavyweight Title, No DQ: Diesel vs. Bret Hart (11/19/95).

    Survivor Series, 1995. Diesel spent almost exactly a year as the lowest-drawing champion in WWF history. Not entirely his fault. Bret spent a year languishing in the mid-card before being called on to give the title credibility before handing it over to Shawn Michaels. Both guys undo the turnbuckle pads in order to intimidate the other. The Dies dominates Bret physically, just measuring him with hard shots to the chest and back. Bret takes a breather, but Diesel is smart enough to follow him. Bret runs, drawing the ire of some of the fans. Bret starts kicking Diesel in the leg out of desperation, but Diesel just shrugs him off and slugs him through the ropes. Diesel slams him with a chair as a receipt for what happened at the 1995 Royal Rumble, which was the last time Bret challenged Diesel for the title. “I THINK WE KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS!” screams the champ. Bret appears to be out of it, but he blocks the Jackknife Powerbomb by hooking his legs in the ropes. Bret bites Diesel’s arm and rakes his eyes. Although it seems like Bret is being heelish, the crowd accepts it because of the size disadvantage. Figure-four by Bret. Ross recalls that Bret used this move three times when they faced off before, but Diesel made the ropes each time. Diesel also makes the rope this time. Diesel shoves his way out of a Sharpshooter attempt, but he’s limping around the ring. Bret works the injury further by wrapping his leg around the ringpost. He ties Diesel’s foot to the ringpost with some sort of cord. With Diesel helpless, Bret grabs a chair and goes after him. Diesel boots him in the face, but Bret recovers and grabs the chair. He viciously attacks the leg with the chair in a precursor to his heel turn against Austin. Bret goes up top with the chair, but Diesel crotches him and slams him off the top. Diesel unties himself and sideslams Bret for two. Bret takes the Bret Bump off a corner whip. Bret reverses a Snake Eyes and rams Diesel into the buckle. The Hart Attack Clothesline gets two. A bulldog gets two more. Bret clotheslines him over the top, but a pescados misses. Big Daddy Cool returns to the ring for a breather. Bret staggers up to the apron, not conscious of what is going on, so Diesel rams him off the apron through the Spanish Announce table. Bret appears to be dead. Diesel drags his carcass into the ring, but he can’t even get Bret upright enough for the Jackknife. He tries again, but Bret pops up suddenly and small packages him for the win and the title at 24:52. The Dies gives Bret a sickening pair of Jackknifes after the match and destroys a group of referees. Excellent match from both guys. I especially appreciate how both guys were able to walk that fine line between desperate babyface and turning heel. Of course, this match would serve as the catalyst for Diesel’s newfound attitude over the last few months of his WWF career. The only knock is the very, very methodical pace early on. ****

  • Easter Egg Alert!: Highlight “Diesel vs. Bret Hart” and press “RIGHT” twice. You’ll see the Bret Hart “You Start the Fire” music video.

  • WWF Championship: Bret “the Hitman” Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith (w/Jim Cornette) (12/17/95).

    They work on the mat to start with Bret dominating. Davey catches him with a knee to the gut to take over. Davey hangs Bret in the tree-of-woe. Davey lays in a few shots and locks in a chinlock. Crowd chants “ECW!” Davey Boy counters a crucifix to a samoan drop and drops a leg across Bret’s chest. Cornette nails Bret with a racquet shot behind the ref’s back. Bret takes the “Bret Bump” off a whip to the corner. ONE, TWO, TH-foot on the ropes. Davey headlocks him and uses the hair to maintain control. Bret finally shoots him off and reverse monkeyflips him. Atomic Drop! Headbutt to the midsection! Bulldog! The move, not the wrestler. It gets two. Bret counters a backdrop to a piledriver for two. Davey blocks a superplex and crotches Bret on the top rope. Ooh, that’s rough. Davey knocks Bret into the ring steps “accidentally” busting him open. Davey goes right to work on the cut with a headbutt and a piledriver. The delayed vertical suplex gets two. The Military Press gets two. Davey gets two off a diving headbutt and hurts his knee in the process. Bret reverses a bow-and-arrow to a Sharpshooter attempt, but Smith pushes him away. Bret spills out of the ring off a shoulderblock. Bret counters a suplex to a Bridging German Suplex for two. They catch each other with clotheslines for a double KO. Davey recovers first but gets tossed over the top on a wild charge. Bret pescados out onto him and goes for a springboard splash. Davey counters that to a powerslam on the outside. Davey rips up the mat and sets up for a suplex. Bret returns the earlier favor by crotching Davey on the railing. Back in, the Pendulum Backbreaker gets two. Davey nearly breaks his neck on a whip to the corner. Bret pounces with a superplex. ONE, TWO, THR-no! Bret argues the count enabling Davey Boy to deliver a reverse rollup. Bret reverses that for two. Davey charges to the corner, but Bret gets a boot up. Bret casually rolls him up with the Majestral Cradle for three (21:10). Different than the Summerslam match, but also quite a classic in its own right. ****1/4

  • Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (3/23/97).

    Ken Shamrock is your special guest referee. Austin attacks at the bell, and they fight on the outside. Austin clotheslines him over the crowd barrier. They fight all the way up and down the bottom tier. Back to the ring area, Bret flies off the crowd barrier with a clothesline. Bret goes into the steps hard. He sends Austin into the steps as well. Finally, back to the ring. Bret comes off the second rope with an elbow. He starts to work over Austin’s leg in anticipation of the Sharpshooter. He misses a splash on the leg, though, and Austin hits the Stunner. Crowd chants, “Austin” as Bret starts stomping Austin’s knee. Bret pulls him to the ringpost and applies the ringpost figure-four to a huge pop. Bret grabs the ring bell and a chair. Back in, Bret sets Austin’s leg in the chair and goes up to Pillmanize him. Austin pops up and WHACKS Bret with the chair. Bret falls helplessly to the ring. Austin gets a big vicious grin on his face and SMACKS Bret with it again. Austin with the second-rope elbow. He Russian leg sweeps Bret and puts him in a sort of armlock/strangle. Notice that those are Bret’s signature holds. It doesn’t get the submission, so Austin puts him in the Boston Crab. Bret makes the ropes. Austin smirks again as he tries the Sharpshooter! Bret rakes the eyes to counter. They take it to the outside where Bret reverses a whip, sending Austin facefirst into the steel crowd barrier. Austin starts gushing blood out of his forehead. Back in, we finally get a look at the damage and, within seconds, Austin’s face is covered in blood. Bret plants him with a backbreaker. The second-rope kneedrop works the cut even further. Bret grabs that chair from earlier and rams it into Austin’s knee. Bret tries to put him in the Sharpshooter, but Austin rakes his eyes. Again, the duality of these two — Bret did the same counter earlier. Austin finally just kicks Bret in the nuts. He whips him into the turnbuckle facefirst and starts talking trash. To the opposite corner now, Austin stomps Bret in the chest and sets him on the top turnbuckle. SUPERPLEX! Austin heads to the outside and grabs an electrical cord. Bret has staggered to the apron, so Austin wraps the cord around his neck and starts choking him with it. Bret desperately reaches down and grabs the ring bell that he left their earlier. BAM! Bret swings it overhead and clocks Austin with it. Bret staggers up and locks in the Sharpshooter. Austin cries out in pain, the blood spurting from his forehead and down his face. He powers up in agony. He pushes Bret over, but Bret has the wherewithal to steady himself and reapply the hold. Austin’s head drops to the canvas. Shamrock yells that he will stop the match if Austin doesn’t respond. Austin has passed out, so Shamrock calls for the bell despite having no vocal submission at 21:04. Bret vents his frustrations by stomping on a helpless Austin’s leg. Shamrock pulls him off and declares Bret will have to go through him. Bret thinks better of it and leaves to the boos of the crowd. A ref tries to help Austin up, but Austin kicks him and gives him the Stunner. Austin makes his own way to the back as the crowd chants, “Austin.” Probably the best North American match of the 1990s. *****

  • WWF Championship: Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker (09/20/97).

    This is the rematch from Summerslam where fans were hoping for a measure of revenge. Bret attacks at the opening bell, but Taker whips him into the buckle and chokelifts him. Bret unfurls the turnbuckle pad, but Taker attacks before he can do anything about it. Taker misses an elbowdrop to allow Bret to take over. Bret clotheslines him over the top and slingshots into a sliding dropkick. Taker catches him in a spinebuster on the outside. He rams him into the ringpost. They brawl all the way up and all the way down the aisle. Back inside, Bret nails a DDT out of nowhere. He starts choking Taker against the ropes, prompting Vince to wonder if he’s trying for an intentional disqualification. Taker reverses a whip and Bret takes the “Bret Bump” to the corner. That leads to a surfboard from the Undertaker into a Crucifix for two. Bret kicks away at Taker’s knee, but Taker responds with a backbreaker and holds Bret across the knee. Bret goes after the knee again. Taker charges in the corner but rams his own knee into the turnbuckle. Bret works the leg over and over leading to a figure-four on the ringpost. The ref makes him break it, so Bret drags Taker back to the center for a regular figure-four. Taker nearly gets counted down a few times before rolling the hold over. Bret makes the ropes. Taker staggers to his feet, but Bret stays on top, taking the challenger’s legs out from under him and spinning into a leglock. It begins. Side Russian Legsweep. Backbreaker. Taker blocks the second-rope elbowdrop, and they clothesline one another. Undertaker delivers a legdrop between Bret’s legs. A second attempt is countered to the SHARPSHOOTER! Just like at Summerslam, though, Taker powers out of it. Bret avoids a chokeslam but falls victim to a big boot and a legdrop. Hmmm. “Big boot and legdrop.” Bret tries to get himself disaqualified by using the ringbell, but the Taker boots him in the face. Taker is about to use the bell when the ref snags it away from him. Taker whips Bret into the ringpost ribs-first. Ouch! Bret breaks up the Ropewalk Forearm. Bret actually tries his own Tombstone, but the Taker counters to his own. Bret slips out of that but gets caught in the “Hangman” position in the ropes. Taker refuses to stay back and let Bret loose, so the ref disqualifies him at 28:34. A very worthy followup to their near-classic at Summerslam. The Undertaker destroys the WWF officials after the match. ***1/2

  • Chris Benoit vs. Bret Hart (10/4/99). This is the Owen Tribute match and is a little bittersweet to watch. Harley Race is your ring announcer. Oddly enough, Bret Hart’s WWE music is not dubbed. They start with very basic stuff, but they put such snap into it that it’s really compelling. Benoit bridges out of an overhand knucklelock and tries to choke Bret out with his own arms. Bret counters an armbar to a Russian legsweep. Bret catches him in the midsection with a knee lift. Bret rocks him with some forearms in the corner. Benoit counters another kneelift to a schoolboy for two and picks Bret up into a Boston Crab. They wind up in the ropes for the break.. We return from commercial to Benoit dominating. He misses an elbow and Bret takes advantage with a headbutt to the gut. Bret gets a vertical suplex for two. A vicious pendulum backbreaker works Benoit’s back even further. The brawl on the outside for a bit. Bret goes for another backbreaker once they get inside, but Benoit counters to a Tombstone piledriver. A Northern Lights Bridge gets two for Benoit. Benoit delivers payback with a knee to the gut and pastes Bret with a chop. Hart avoids a dropkick and drives an elbow into Benoit’s face. Hart delivers an absolutely sinful backdrop suplex for two. Benoit ducks out of the way, and Bret clotheslines himself on the ropes. Benoit follows him out with a tope. We return from another commercial break to Bret trying to suplex him in, but Benoit counters to a reverse rollup. Benoit counters a forearm uppercut to a backslide for two. Bret tries for a vertical suplex, but Benoit counters to a small package for two. Bret delivers a big superplex and goes for the Sharpshooter, but it’s countered to a Crippler Crossface! Bret blindly reaches out and makes the ropes. Benoit delivers the Triple Verticals and signals for the end. He comes off and delivers the flying headbutt for two. Crowd chants, “LET’S GO BRET!” and Bret responds with a back elbow off an Irish Whip. Bret delivers a piledriver, but Benoit is too close to the ropes. Benoit charges, but Bret gets a boot up to counter. Benoit ducks under a swing and delivers the Rolling Germans! Benoit goes for a Northern Lights, but Bret counters by pounding the lower back. Benoit counters a suplex to the Crippler Crossface, but Bret then counters *that* to the Sharpshooter. Benoit holds out for a few seconds before submitting at 23:03. Just a fantastic match from both men. The last great match in Nitro history. ****3/4

    Final Thoughts: After this exhaustive look at Bret’s career, including so many awesome matches, it’s difficult to look at this set with any emotional detachment, but I’ll try. The interview segment is pretty standard, and even redundant if you’ve ever seen “Wrestling With Shadows” or his RF Shoots. It is interesting to compare them side-by-side, though, for the differences between then and now. The matches, of course, are the real reason to by the set, and they don’t disappoint. Nothing falls below “good,” and most of them are ****+ Unlike Shawn’s set, they didn’t ignore Bret’s tag history. Unlike Flair’s set, the matches have aged exceptionally well. Unlike Benoit’s set, many of these matches are of historic importance and not just giving ***** effort in situations where it wasn’t appreciated. Sure, they could have dropped the Hakushi and Nasty Boys matches in favor of the two Hart Foundation title wins, and I would have liked to have seen the reunion with Owen, but these are such minor quibbles when compared to the awesomeness of this set. The best WWE DVD set so far, eclipsing Flair and Benoit.

    The most enthusiastic thumbs up I can possibly give.

    J.D. Dunn

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