Quantcast

 

wrestling / Video Reviews

Views from the Hawke’s Next: Bret “Hitman” Hart – The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be Disc 1 & 2

September 27, 2014 | Posted by TJ Hawke
8.5
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
12345678910
Your Grade
Loading...
Views from the Hawke’s Next: Bret “Hitman” Hart – The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be Disc 1 & 2  

Disc 1

The Documentary

The documentary* (for lack of a better term) covers Bret’s in-ring career from training until his forced retirement in 2000 (this DVD was done long before his full reconciliation with the WWE in 2010). As usual with WWE documentaries, you get a good feel for all the topics covered, but some time periods really feel obligatory and some are not mentioned at all. There are certain periods of Bret’s career that probably could be the subject of a two hour documentary themselves. Instead, we get just enough on most of the topics covered to understand them but not enough to find each topic’s section entirely satisfying.

* Calling this a documentary is frankly an insult to actual documentaries. It’s probably closer to a shoot interview, but with so many other people doing talking heads, that also felt inappropriate.

 

The documentary is mostly Bret Hart doing a talking-head style interview about the major events and periods of his career, and it works almost entirely because of Bret’s candidness (and obviously enhanced because of the access to footage). Bret has always come across as honest to fault, but that helps when you’re doing a career retrospective. After starting out being quite humble about his abilities, he obviously develops a very high opinion of his work after a certain point. (The 1992 Summerslam seemed to be the point where he stopped feeling the need to be humble in the documentary.) That can be a little oft-putting to some, but it never really bothered me much.

 

The one area where Bret struggled to communicate in an effective manner was his exit from the WWF in 1997. Vince and Bret handled the talking head portions of that story (for obvious reasons), but they were both so hesitant to open up about their mindsets going in to Survivor Series 1997 and what happened between them afterwards. Bret was incredibly vague about why he felt he was justified in his decisions.** Not only that, but I don’t think they even properly described what happened in the ring that night. I cannot imagine anyone*** who didn’t know all about The Montreal Screwjob would have a clear idea of what happened after watching this. Obviously, Bret has discussed that night in a variety of forums, and I did not need to hear his views on the matter again. It stood out though as unclear storytelling on this documentary though.

** It’s not mentioned that Bret had “reasonable creative control.” Bret also never mentions that he was resentful of Shawn saying he wouldn’t job for him again.

*** In fact, I watched this with something who knew nothing about it, and I had to explain what happened.

 

Overall, the documentary is satisfying enough to recommend that people should check it out if they have not already (wait, I am the last person to watch this?). WWE’s editing was not as slick as it normally was, but it did not undermine the story. You get some good insight into the most important parts of Bret’s career. That’s all you really need from something like this.

 

Extras

There are some “deleted scenes” from the documentary on the first disc. They are just interview bites that I guess they could not find a way to fit into the actual film. All of them are worth watching. The “tribute to fallen comrades” interview was very touching.

 

Matches

July 13, 1985

The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid)

This was a few months after the Foundation’s debut in the WWF.

Bret looked like a GEEK here. Davey Boy was cut off relatively early on. Davey Boy eventually caused Hart to accidentally hit Neidhart. Dynamite then made a huge comeback. The match broke down a bit. Davey Boy basically got cut off again. Dynamite interfered a couple of times. In the least dramatic way possible, the bell rang to single a time limit draw.

This was just, flat-out, bad storytelling. Everything was going fine until Dynamite Kid’s comeback was cut off. The transition to a second heat segment on Davey was horrifically clunky. The time limit finish then just randomly happened, as if no one in the match was aware that it was remotely close to the limit. This was bad.

Match Rating: *

 

February 17, 1986

The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell)

The Bees were running through Neidhart early on. The Harts came back and worked over Blair. He managed to tag out to Brunzell, but Bret illegally interfered from the apron to cut off Brunzell. Brunzell was worked over for a very long time. Brunzell caught Bret with a fantastic dropkick to slow him down. Brunzell almost tagged out, but a Neidhart referee distraction nullified it. He tagged out shortly after that though. Blair made a big comeback. The match threatened to break down, but things got back under control. He hit a dropkick, but the bell rang after a one count. It was a time limit draw.

The Killer Bees wanted more time, but The Hart Foundation obviously declined.

This match was a fine way to set up future matches between the teams, but it was not particularly satisfying out of context.  It was basically all heat with very little in the way of a payoff. This felt like 60-70% of a match.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

 

Disc 2

March 8, 1986

Bret Hart (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Ricky Steamboat

I believe that this match was supposed to happen at Wrestlemania II, but it ended up getting dropped from the card.

Bret jumped Ricky right before the bell. Ricky fought back quickly enough. Ricky went after Bret’s left arm. Will it lead to anything of significance? Bret finally caught him with a neckbreaker to cut Dragon off. Bret then worked him over. Bret was mostly targeting the ribs. Bret gave him a scoop slam on the floor. Steamboat avoided a diving elbow and then made a comeback. A ref bump prevented Bret from winning with a lariat. The referee recovered, as Ricky rolled through a leaping crossbody: 1…2…3!

This was a fine match. Bret’s targeting of the mid-section did not really go into a satisfying direction. It seemed like a mildly effective match to get Bret over as a threat though. He got a phantom pinfall on Steamboat, and Steamboat seemed very lucky to get the win in the end.

Match Rating: ***

 

March 8, 1989

Bret Hart vs. Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil)

Bret is now a face. DiBiase demanded to be announced as the Million Dollar Champion. DiBiase was showboating before the match, and Bret decided to attack him. It was all Bret early on. DiBiase eventually avoided a Yakuza, and Bret crashed into the ropes. DiBiase then worked him over. Bret started to fight back, but DiBiase cut him off again. Bret caught him with two small packages, but DiBiase kicked out both times. DiBiase went back to working him over. Bret eventually connected on a lariat, and then they both went down. They traded punches, and Bret then made a comeback. DiBiase threatened to cut him off again after Bret re-injured his knee, but Bret quickly came back with a pescado. They both got counted out. What a finish.

This match had some elements that I appreciated, but I was not that into it. I thought this match had some solid character work. DiBiase, who main evented Wrestlemania a year ago, was getting progressively more and more frustrated that he couldn’t put away a young Bret Hart. Hart showed great resiliency for surviving a long beatdown. That was all fine. I think the execution was a bit dull though and didn’t generate enough emotion to warrant the length. The finish obviously sucked, too.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Saturday Night’s Main Event

April 28, 1990

The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)

Lots of hot action to start the match. Michaels got cut off after Bret attacked him from the apron. Michaels was getting worked over, as Demolition came out to distract everyone. Hart got distracted, and Michaels dropkicked him to the floor. There was a commercial. When we came back, Bret was working over Shawn some more. He escaped the beatdown, and Marty made a comeback. Neidhart and Michaels tagged in, and they went at it. Michaels spilled to the floor, and Marty started going at it with Demolition. The match broke down into a brawl with all six men. Disqualification. Fantastic.

I don’t even know what to say at this point when it comes to the match selection on this DVD. Nothing has been offensively bad, but I just don’t see why some of these matches are being selected. This was a super hot tag match that made me want a finish to THIS match. On a DVD. That I purchased. I just do not understand why it was included.

The match itself was very impressive until the finish as expected. I could probably watch these two teams have lots of matches together.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Wrestlemania

March 24, 1991

The Hart Foundation(c) (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs w/ Jimmy Hart) [WWF Tag Team Championships]

The Hart Foundation was completely running through The Nasty Boys for a while. Bret was cut off and then worked over. Bret eventually escaped and tagged out to Neidhart. The referee was distracted though and didn’t see it. Knobbs accidentally hit Saggs with Jimmy Hart’s microphone. Hot tag from Neidhart. The Nasty Boys crashed into each other. Bret took out Jimmy. Hart Attack on Knobbs. He recovered enough to give Saggs his helmet. Neidhart got wacked with the helmet: 1…2…3

Do my eyes deceive me? Was this a hot match with a finish of some kind? I didn’t realize that was possible for this DVD.

This was formula, but there’s rarely anything wrong with formula when it works! The heels were booed, and the faces were cheered. The heels cheated to win, and people were sad. The finish was even executed in a way that did not annoy me. I deem this a success.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Summerslam

August 16, 1991

Mr. Perfect(c) (w/ Coach) vs. Bret Hart [WWF Intercontinental Championship]

Bret was dominating the match early on. Perfect tried to walk out, but Bret brought him back. Bret accidentally tore Perfect’s singlet. Rude. Perfect cut Bret off after a closed fist. Perfect was not in a big rush to win this match. He worked Bret over in a methodical manner to further establish his character and Bret’s resilience. Bret had a couple of failed comebacks while Perfect worked him over. Perfect connected on the Perfect-plex: 1…2…NO! Bret then made a comeback on a frustrated Perfect. Perfect caught him with an O’Connor Roll for a nearfall. Bret got back control immediately after though. He kicked out Perfect’s leg and set up for the sharpshooter. He had to punch out Coach who jumped up on the apron. Perfect kicked a rope into Bret’s balls. Perfect went for a move on the leg, but Bret managed to reverse it into the sharpshooter. Perfect tapped out before it was even fully applied.

This was fairly enjoyable. Perfect’s back was in really bad shape at this point, and I think it showed. I think that injury could have become a bigger part of the match, as it would have added a lot of satisfaction to the finish. Bret hit a couple of moves that targeted the back, but he could have benefitted from being a bit more relentless in that department. The crowd was into the match, but there wasn’t an atmosphere that I think most great matches create.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

Summerslam

August 19, 1992

Bret Hart(c) vs. Davey Boy Smith [WWF Intercontinental Championship]

Diana Hart Smith was in the crowd.

They went back and forth for a while with neither man establishing control. Bret got some heat when he cut off Bulldog with a kitchen sink. Bulldog threatened to come back a few times, but Bret maintained control for a while. Bret was playing it up to the pro-Bulldog crowd quite a bit. Bret went for a pescado, but Bulldog was not in the right position at all. Bret saved their lives by turning it into a slingshot backbreaker. I know that was a botch, but it was awesome. I cannot believe no one stole that dive and made it a part of their regular move set. Roddy Strong, I’m looking at you. Bret maintained control for a while after that. Bulldog caught him with a backslide for a nearfall, but Bret cut him off with a backbreaker. Bret was sort of targeting the back of Bulldog, but it was not the focused attack I would prefer in this situation. Bret almost made Bulldog pass out in a sleeper, but he got to the ropes. He applied it again, but Bulldog survived and drove him into a turnbuckle. Bulldog then dropped him on the ropes, which looked like a botch. Bulldog then made a comeback. Bret caught him with a bridging German for a nearfall. They started going back and forth. Bret tried to apply the sharpshooter from the mat, and he eventually pulled it off. Bulldog got to the ropes. Bret went for a Sunset Flip, but Bulldog sat down in it: 1…2…3!

If it’s possible for a finish to be great and anti-climatic at the same time, this would be the one. It got a great reaction, and Bulldog was obviously the right guy to go over. However, it just didn’t feel built to at all.

I think this match’s success was almost entirely due to the environment.  Bret absolutely carried the match (which certainly gives credibility to the stories about Bulldog’s condition at the time of the match), and he completely covered for Bulldog’s lack of energy in the match (Bulldog’s comeback was devoid of energy). Overall, I found this match to be easy to watch but not much more than that.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

April 24, 1993

Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Bret had some success early, but Bam Bam eventually drove him into a ringpost from the floor. Bam Bam then worked him over. Bam Bam mostly targeted the back. Bret eventually avoided a diving headbutt and then made a big comeback. Bam Bam managed to reverse a back suplex into a pinfall for a nearfall. Bret came back with a victory roll: 1…2…3

This was a fun house show effort. They did a very basic story, but it worked.

Match Rating: ***

 

King of the Ring

June 13, 1993

1993 King of the Ring Semifinal Match

Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect

They were going back and forth for a while. Bret used a side headlock to control Perfect for a bit. Perfect caught him with a knee to the gut and then worked Bret over. Perfect sent Bret into the guardrail from the apron in a spot that Bret described as something that nearly caused him to blow out his knee. Bret eventually crotched Perfect and then hit a superplex. Bret then viciously went after the left leg. Figure four on the injured leg! Perfect managed to get to the ropes, but his knee suffered a lot of damage. Perfect fought back. He applied a sleeper, but Bret got to the ropes. Another sleeper was applied. Bret managed to drive Perfect into a turnbuckle and then made a comeback. Perfect went for the sharpshooter, but Perfect attacked the injured hand from Bret’s quarterfinal match with Razor Ramon. They did the Dynamite Kid suplex to the floor. Perfect almost won via countout. Perfect went for a small package, but Bret reversed it: 1…2…3!

I liked this one more than the 1991 Summerslam match between these two. They worked at a more enjoyable pace, and I liked how the work from the Razor Ramon match earlier in the show played into the closing stretch.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Wrestlemania

1994

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart

I think sibling jealously is somewhat of a perfect story for professional wrestling. It’s relatable, and it allows for the heel to seem human in how irrational he or she is probably being. It doesn’t undermine future face/heel turns by doing something now that could be considered unforgivable. On top of that, it can still allow for a basic heel/face dynamic in the ring, which is frankly ideal for pro wrestling.

Bret schooled his younger brother a lot early on. Owen finally cut him off with a spinning heel kick. Owen was then in control for a while. Bret managed to catch Owen with a few pinning combinations, but Owen always kicked out and remained in control. He hit a tombstone, but Bret avoided the diving headbutt. Bret then made a comeback. Bret made a lot of comebacks after failed high-risk moves. They both failed to apply the sharpshooter. Owen fell to the floor, and Bret hit him with a pescado. Bret injured his left knee on the dive, and Owen then went after it. Owen applied a figure four on the wrong leg. Bret reversed the pressure, and Owen had to roll to the ropes. Bret then made another comeback. Bret went for a sleeper, but Owen low blowed him. Sharpshooter from Owen! Bret tried to reverse it into a sharpshooter of his own, but Owen got to the ropes. Bret went for a victory roll, but Owen sat down on it: 1…2…3!

This is definitely one of the best Wrestlemania matches that I have ever seen. They probably could have cut to the chase sooner at the beginning (certainly a theme with Bret matches), but they really did some great stuff once Owen took over the first time. Owen’s desperation to beat Bret and prove his value made for a great story. The finish also brilliantly set up Owen as a challenger for Bret (who would win the WWF Championship later in the night) for the rest of the year.

Match Rating: ****1/4

 

Check out some free Bret Hart matches!

Bret Hart vs. The Miz

Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels

Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair

Bret Hart vs. Triple H

Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart

Bret Hart vs. Lex Luger

Bret Hart vs. Issac Yankem DDS (Cage Match)

Bret Hart & The British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart 

The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs

 

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Check out a full/organized list of all the wrestling show reviews I’ve done at 411mania.

8.5
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
One more disc to go!
legend
Loading...
  • sdelfin

    Nice review. I agree with your match assessments, mostly. The Perfect/Hart match from Summerslam 91 is one I’d rate higher as I love the style worked, the psychology and the storytelling. I agree about Summerslam 92 and I got the impression that Bret carried the match the last time I watched it, so I believe what Bret said about Davey Boy Smith’s condition that night.

    The match selection is a head scratcher. Two time-limit draws? The Harts fought the Bulldogs and Bees so many times, there have to be way better matches to put on there, even if the Harts take the fall. I’m not against time-limit draws, especially if they’re good matches, but having two in a row is terrible pacing. That Harts/Rockers match is more angle than match, and not a great angle at that.

    • TJHawke411

      Yea, all the expected “classics” are on the set, but I feel like the Foundation were not represented well. That was a disappointment for me, because that is the part of Bret’s career that I was least familiar with.

  • Michael L

    I still think the Bulldog/Hart Summerslam match is at least four stars, but watching it again you can tell it was only because of Bret Hart.

    BTW, the documentary is interesting, if only for what is not said. This was made in 2005-2006 and Bret was still not ready to move on. In fact, many suspect that the only reason he took part in the DVD was to ensure that it wasn’t another “Self Destruction of…” set similar to the one that happened with the Warrior a few years before. I agree that the material on the Montreal Screwjob was particularly skimpy, and Bret took absolutely no responsibility for it, and never gave a particular reason why he didn’t want to job to HBK.

    This DVD was a beginning of Bret coming to terms with Vince McMahon and the WWE, but it would still take a while. Bret did get inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2006, but he refused to be in the same room as HBK, and did not appear the next night at WM to take his bows in front of the crowd (which disappointed me because I was in that crowd). It wouldn’t be until a few years later that Bret would really come to terms with the WWE, McMahon and even Shawn Michaels. Their “WWE’s Greatest Rivalries” DVD was a great 2 1./2 hour shoot interview that no doubt served as a great catharsis for both guys, and perhaps contributed to them being friends again, something that nobody thought was possible in November of 1997. Plus, this DVD does the best job possible of addressing the Montreal Screwjob, at least from the eyes of two of the main participants.

  • ThatGuyOn411

    This was, by the way, the BEST (no pun intended) DVD set release for its time. The documentary section, specifically, was more honest than anything WWE had released up to that point. Since then, WWE has realized that there is much more money to be made by making up with its past stars (Sammartino, Warrior) and having them contribute to a more accurate account of history than simply releasing some company biased diatribe.

  • harvd

    To not give the Summer Slam matches with Perfect and Bulldog along with the KOTR match less than 4 1/2 * is ridiculous. Also the wrestlemania 10 match was an easy 5 star. You managed to underrate this set to the point of stupidity