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Hagan

The Bret Hart Best There Is Thread

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Yeah - to clarify - I meant that the WM 13 is the historically significant one and that Survivor Series doesn't get as much attention. Poor use of underrated. 

Bret's '97 heel run and the USA/Canada feud is one of the high points of the company and I think a big reason Raw begin to gain momentum into '98. Canadian Stampede is one of the most emotional high points in wrestling history and goes back to my point about Bret Hart being a real person. Even as a heel, he had children, a family, parents. 

Look at so many people in WWE now who seem to exist soley in the WWE Universe. Does Baron Corbin have a family? Does Braun Strowman? Some of the guys who actually get over are the guys who connect as real people. Look at Bryan. The Miz. Kevin Owens. Kofi on Sunday.  I think one of the things that hampered Cena and Reigns for years was that they seemed very unrealistic and I think only when the real Cena began to come through with the Make A Wishes and the charity work and his outside the ring stuff did fans start to genuinely like him again. And we all know the Reigns story. 

The Bret Hart portrayal is really the ideal of how a wrestler should be presented. 

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Posted (edited)

1997 is my favourite year in wrestling. Thank you for the reminder, @Hagan. Thank you and @Nice Guy Eddie for this thread.

Edited by The Natural
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Posted (edited)

As promised.

Edited by The Natural
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I always wonder what would have happened if it had been Bret vs Austin at WM 14. The Austin vs DX feud for me never really clicked. I mean, long run Austin was obviously fine but it would have been one of the better storyline endings to have Austin pin Bret one year after the I Quit match.

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1 hour ago, Hagan said:

I always wonder what would have happened if it had been Bret vs Austin at WM 14. The Austin vs DX feud for me never really clicked. I mean, long run Austin was obviously fine but it would have been one of the better storyline endings to have Austin pin Bret one year after the I Quit match.

This is a fascinating scenario.

Did Vince know Shawn was not going to be able to wrestle for years after that match? Did he not have to pay him after that? In terms of cost cutting measures he may have saved millions by having both Shawn and Bret come off the books.

But DX was hot. And even though Bret/Austin would have been a much better match - he had to have Shawn in the main event. 

Also, if it was Bret/Austin - Tyson doesn't really fit in. Tyson in DX was huge, and Tyson turning was big for Austin. Tyson in the Hart Foundation doesn't make as much sense. though I guess Mike could say shit like he's with Bret because The Best recognizes The Best. 

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Shawn breaks his back after the Rumble '97 which changes so much moving forward.

It's almost impossible to imagine '98 and up WWF with Bret and Shawn, though, isn't it? 

Michaels was going to end up playing third fiddle to Austin and Rock and  you also had so much new talent moving up like Hunter and Foley. Hard to see his ego allowing that plus his drug issues were out of control at the time. 

Bret may have adapted but he would have slowly been shuffled down and I could have seen him going in a part-time Piper role by mid-98. 

It's just a wild thought experiment. I guess you could have done a Triple Threat with Bret vs Shawn vs Austin at Mania but oof.

Tho, now I'm laughing at the image of Tyson decked out in Canadian gear cutting anti-USA promos. 

 

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Bret wrestling matches with the psychology that he was just smarter than the dumb big dude he was wrestling really did it for me as a kid. I loved that "I'll just outsmart you" style he had. The playing possum, the pinning combinations out of seemingly disadvantageous positions, and all that stuff he did was just exquisite. 

I also think that his '97 heel run is legitimately one of the best heel runs in any company that I've ever seen. I'm not the most knowledgeable fan around (obviously, just read my posts), but '97 heel Bret Hart evokes the same feelings that I'm watching something special as the heel work of '70s Jim Breaks or '98 The Rock or '85 Tully Blanchard (or most controversially, '92 Rick Rude, but that's another topic for a future "Rick Rude was damned great" thread) . 

I get that he took house shows off which honestly considering that schedule, I don't blame him for, but fuck it, he brought me so much joy as a fan when I was a kid and early teenager that it's not easy to quantify how much his work drove my wrestling fandom. 

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We never got to see Bret/Vader and that's a damn shame.

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1 hour ago, Smelly McUgly said:

Bret wrestling matches with the psychology that he was just smarter than the dumb big dude he was wrestling really did it for me as a kid. I loved that "I'll just outsmart you" style he had. The playing possum, the pinning combinations out of seemingly disadvantageous positions, and all that stuff he did was just exquisite. 

I also think that his '97 heel run is legitimately one of the best heel runs in any company that I've ever seen. I'm not the most knowledgeable fan around (obviously, just read my posts), but '97 heel Bret Hart evokes the same feelings that I'm watching something special as the heel work of '70s Jim Breaks or '98 The Rock or '85 Tully Blanchard (or most controversially, '92 Rick Rude, but that's another topic for a future "Rick Rude was damned great" thread) . 

I get that he took house shows off which honestly considering that schedule, I don't blame him for, but fuck it, he brought me so much joy as a fan when I was a kid and early teenager that it's not easy to quantify how much his work drove my wrestling fandom. 

The "Bret took off house shows", is one of those things that while there's a good deal of truth in it, what gets lost is a lot of context. Bret giving 65% is like most guys having their career-best matches. No, he wasn't going to give you an hour-long epic at a meaningless house show and neither would anyone else in their right mind. What he did do was just enough so that you went home happy that you had seen the best wrestler in NA not named Chris you-know-what put on a great match with whoever they booked him with. The thing about Bret is that he made everyone around him better, can you imagine Jim Neidhart getting over with any other partner? It's pretty much unthinkable, he'd have been a one-and-done ex-footballer that despite the over-the-top personality would have had no staying power. Paired with Bret he was a star. 

Back in the day, I was one of those people who bitched about Bret taking it off for house shows, but you know what? I was in line for tickets next time he came to town, because he left you wanting more. That he was able to vary his game according to who he was wrestling is why I'll always rate him way above Flair. Flair came to work a Ric Flair match, it didn't matter if it was Ronnie Garvin, Sting, Windham, Nikita, whoever; you got Flair-by-the-numbers. Was it entertaining? Sure, Ric knows what the crowd came to see and he gave it them, but it was a lot like going to a Chuck Berry concert in the 1990s. you knew what you were going to get and it was oddly soulless. You would never say that about a Bret Hart match, you didn't know what his finisher was going to be, whatever it was it would MAKE SENSE in the context of the match, that's a rare bit of genius in wrestling that we haven't seen much of since Bret retired. It's a page from the Harley Race book of one-size-doesn't-fit-all; what's needed in THIS circumstance. Yeah, the Hitman was something really special.

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35 minutes ago, OSJ said:

 No, he wasn't going to give you an hour-long epic at a meaningless house show and neither would anyone else in their right mind. What he did do was just enough so that you went home happy that you had seen the best wrestler in NA not named Chris you-know-what put on a great match with whoever they booked him with.

...Chris Hamrick?

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Bret was my absolute favorite wrestler growing up and one of if not THE reason I became a fan. Not only was he more identifiable as "smaller" everyman compared to Hogan and Warrior, he was a proud Canadian star who wasn't a stereotype when there weren't that many (in my neck of the woods anyway). His run from Survivor Series 96 to 97 has to be one of the best year's in wrestling and he was even injured for part of it. I count myself very lucky to have been at Canadian Stampede. One of the best and low key the man who helped make the Attitude Era happen.

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11 hours ago, HumanChessgame said:

We never got to see Bret/Vader and that's a damn shame.

 

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11 hours ago, HumanChessgame said:

We never got to see Bret/Vader and that's a damn shame.

In addition to Brian Fowler's video, Bret Hart and Vader were in a fatal four way match with Undertaker and Steve Austin at In Your House 13: Final Four in 1997. Remains my favourite four way match.

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One of my lifetime top 5 for sure and the reason I kept going back to WWF after he'd gone but before I discovered wrestling elsewhere - I wanted a taste of that world-weary, palpably actually-aggrieved wrestling that emerged after his heel turn until he left. I couldn't find it. But when it was there it sliced through the artifice - it was Bret, not Vince - and played with the boundaries of kayfabe/real without exposing the lie in a way that teenage sevendaughters could appreciate and adult sevendaughters likes even more nowadays. He was always a babyface, too - the world turned against him, it went completely mad, and we were asked to side with the world. He was never goofy enough to 'change persona' and ask us to buy some shit he wasn't selling last week or last year if it didn't make real emotional sense. I love that about him. His strength was his flaw and led to Montreal.

If you put the pipebomb of CM Punk next to Bret snaps promo in 1997, I think Bret's is much better.

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I mentioned earlier but the promo where Bret reunited with Davey and Owen is one of the emotional moments of wrestling history. Here are these heels who have all been feuding off and on for years and Bret rightfully points out that it was the fans who tore them apart. Owen is just crying his out and Bret tells him he loves him and they all hug and Bret just looks disdainfully at the audience. 

I'm on a work computer so can't be digging to deep into Youtube but if you haven't seen it in a while check it out!

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Posted (edited)
On 4/9/2019 at 10:49 AM, Hagan said:

Yeah - to clarify - I meant that the WM 13 is the historically significant one and that Survivor Series doesn't get as much attention. Poor use of underrated. 

Bret's '97 heel run and the USA/Canada feud is one of the high points of the company and I think a big reason Raw begin to gain momentum into '98. Canadian Stampede is one of the most emotional high points in wrestling history and goes back to my point about Bret Hart being a real person. Even as a heel, he had children, a family, parents. 

Look at so many people in WWE now who seem to exist soley in the WWE Universe. Does Baron Corbin have a family? Does Braun Strowman? Some of the guys who actually get over are the guys who connect as real people. Look at Bryan. The Miz. Kevin Owens. Kofi on Sunday.  I think one of the things that hampered Cena and Reigns for years was that they seemed very unrealistic and I think only when the real Cena began to come through with the Make A Wishes and the charity work and his outside the ring stuff did fans start to genuinely like him again. And we all know the Reigns story. 

The Bret Hart portrayal is really the ideal of how a wrestler should be presented. 

Great points... There was a very 90’s professional athlete vibe with Bret like we had with Gretzky, and Jordan at the time. You don’t get that hardly anymore sadly. Even Daniel Bryan lost that a bit with the scary Kane angle.

Edited by LoneWolf&Subs
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Perfect description with Gretzky and Jordan. Bret was the guy you could point out to non-wrestling fans and they would get it.   

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6 hours ago, Hagan said:

they all hug and Bret just looks disdainfully at the audience. 

God, that look over Owen's shoulder directly into the camera. I'm feeling icicles form on my neck just thinking about it.

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Just watched it again. Owen is so great in this segment, too. Of course, so much of the emotion now is in watching it and knowing how it all ends for them.  It's the end of a family feud that had started all the way back in '92 with Bret and Davey causing friction in the family and then explodes the next year. 

What makes it even better is that it all makes logical sense, too. All Owen ever wanted was to feel like his brother appreciated him. 

What a beautiful twisted storyline. Bret Hart had put all his faith in his fans and then when the fans turn on him he gets his fucking brothers back.

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Posted (edited)

I grew up on southern territories and WCW so I’m behind on Bret Hart matches but he had so many good matches that most Bret Hart marks are still behind on Bret Hart matches. The guys I watched were all about mat wrestling, brawling but not abandoning the “wrestling” part of it, and telling a story with their matches. With that said I think Bret Hart straight out of cartoonland might have been the best at it all.

My favorite thing about him was something I’m not sure everybody else noticed, but take it away and he’s nowhere near as good. What I’m talking about is how he wrenched in on every wristlock, waistlock etc he ever did. He would grimace his face like he was actually trying to twist the guy’s arm. When he did a headlock there was no daylight between the guy’s head and his elbow. When he had a guy in the scissors he was the only guy who looked like he was actually restraining the other guy with his legs (the scissors was usually 1 of those painfully fake looking resthold tbh). He practiced the neobasics. 

Edited by BloodyChamp
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7 hours ago, Hagan said:

I mentioned earlier but the promo where Bret reunited with Davey and Owen is one of the emotional moments of wrestling history. Here are these heels who have all been feuding off and on for years and Bret rightfully points out that it was the fans who tore them apart. Owen is just crying his out and Bret tells him he loves him and they all hug and Bret just looks disdainfully at the audience. 

I'm on a work computer so can't be digging to deep into Youtube but if you haven't seen it in a while check it out!

Yo:

 

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Just now, BloodyChamp said:

My favorite thing about him was something I’m not sure everybody else noticed, but take it away and he’s nowhere near as good. What I’m talking about is how he wrenched in on every wristlock, waistlock etche ever did. He would grimace his face like he was actually trying to twist the guy’s arm. When he did a headlock there was no daylight between the guy’s head and his elbow. When he had a guy in the scissors he was the only guy who looked like he was actually restraining the other guy with his legs (the scissors was usually 1 of those painfully fake looking resthold tbh). He practiced the neobasics. 

One might say he was the excellence of execution?  Gorilla was a genius with coining that.

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Quite possibly the best RAW match ever.

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