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Beast

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  1. I love reading Garretta's thoughts of the '90s set, but I think he's way off base with how Bret looked following this deal. This has always been one of my favorite matches/angles, even though I only originally saw it on VHS over a year later. Rewatching it now, I was very impressed by Bret's work in the ring and as a character with this angle. Against Doink and later Lawler, he looked driven and intense, but also at times overmatched. Specifically the moment where Lawler choked him outside the ring with his crutch blew me away with how legit Hart's struggle looked. This sneak attack and plan by Lawler (and Doink) was only the latest insult against Bret and his family, dating back 2 months. Even disregarding the Memphis side (as we should with it never being acknowledge on WWF TV), Bret was attacked by Lawler at the KOTR and then watched his brother destroyed in a match and his parents constantly mocked, including to their faces on Raw. Bruce and Owen's presence only added, and Doink's splashing of Bruce was another tip of the iceberg. By the time Bret put Lawler in the sharpshooter, the audience had seen him unfairly destroyed by Lawler both physically and verbally and especially considering the match looked to be over without Lawler having to get into the ring, Bret finally getting the piledriver and sharpshooter was a huge cathartic moment. Bret not releasing the hold felt completely different than the Austin deal 4 years later, and in fact adds a whole other level to that match. Here, Bret finally (and I mean FINALLY) got his nemesis in a place where he had total control and despite winning the match, he hadn't forgotten about the insults and more recently the beating Lawler (and Doink) had put on him. The referees and agents pleading with Bret did nothing to give Lawler sympathy. Instead, it showed the audience just how far Bret was taking his revenge, but again this is an audience that had been with Bret over the last 2 months watching Lawler constantly get the upper hand. The audience explodes with cheers when Bret finally releases the hold, showing they were totally still on his side. And the reversal of the decision saves both men. Bret had Lawler beat completely and the fans got multiple chances to cheer. However, Lawler is able to sneak away claiming he won (which he did). His fist raise while on the stretcher at the end was perfect. It keeps the feud going strong and the only reason it went away for a year-plus was due to Lawler's legal issues. If anything, I think this was one of the biggest moments in Bret's career up to this point as it showed just how much the audience adored him. Again, he wasn't acting heelish. He was a hero responding to a horrific villain and his actions led to him losing the match, not being rewarded. I think the audience respected the authenticity Bret gave the angle as it made it easy to believe (and understand) in his actions. Just my two-sense, but like most others here, I consider this to be a hallmark of this era of the WWF and an overall highlight for my fandom.
  2. Sounds like everyone in the thread watched a clipped version as the SummerSlam Spectacular version goes 20 or so. The tag-team dynamic of both guys needing to escape makes this unique among recorded cage matches in this era of the WWF, but the psychology is all wrong. Letting guys go back in makes this a Groundhog Day-type deal where the story keeps repeating until finally Rick pulls off the great visual of keeping IRS on his shoulders so he can't touch. We're deprived a great heel gameplan of letting a Steiner leave first and then double-teaming the crap out of the remaining one while one brother is stuck on the outside trying to get the crowd fired up. Or vice versa; have Money Inc. seem to get an advantage only for the Steiners reveal their plan was to get 2-on-1 and an easy final win. Even at the end, it was amazing how both teams kept trying to stop one guy from leaving even though that'd give them a huge advantage. Like I said, a memorable match since it's unique for its time, but a real waste of opportunity.
  3. This Clash was an afterthought on TV in the weeks leading up to it, with all of the control centers focusing on the 8/25 Omni show (US Title Tournament, Luger/Simmons, Gigante/OMG, Hardliners/Steiner & Kazmeier). The one ad I saw for the Clash came the week before and talked about a 12-Man Battle Royal (with 13 guys shown, then the BR ended up being 15 with various replacements like Ranger Ross and Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker) and new US Champ Sting defending against the undefeated Johnny B. Badd. Badd's experience may have been lacking, but he had been pushed hard over the summer and his gimmick was over. Him vs. Sting (as Sting's first title defense) is an intriguing deal, but this match is a disappointment. It starts out with some really great moments playing up Badd's boxing background vs Sting's power and experience. It's fast-paced and they look relatively even. And then things fall apart with a number of blown spots, culminating in Badd falling down as Sting tries to setup the splash and both guys standing around looking confused before trying it again. It felt like they knew the Cactus Jack box was the finish so after planning 2-3 minutes of solid action, they decided to improvise the last bit since it wouldn't matter. But the lack of communication ground the match to a halt and made both guys look like amateurs. There's also a weird moment early on where Sting goes for the Vader Bomb (pre-Vader) and Badd gets his knees up, but Sting no-sells it and continues control. Later on, Schiavone makes reference to Sting being so full of adrenaline that he didn't even feel the knees to the ribs, but it's another example of this match not being totally prepped. The Cactus deal is iconic, but it's also weird in that we don't see him leaving the box until the replay after the fact and that he had been on WCW TV doing squash matches for two weeks prior. At least Abby was a pure surprise, but even that was originally presented on TV as a clip from a prior event, not something happening live on a TV show. The WON from this time says Bam Bam Bigelow was supposed to be a third box debut attack but the contract never came together. Also Sting was feuding with Nikita Koloff at the time, but Koloff disappeared at the beginning of September. Meltzer hypothesized he was originally winning the US Title at the tournament so I guess the Sting/Cactus/Abby angles were a last minute replacement? Ended up working out pretty well and setting up one of Sting's hottest years.
  4. Good match that should have been the finals since none of the followups had anywhere close to the same level of energy. As stated above, this feels like the 1991 version of the all action cruiserweight match that would be on Nitro six years later. When Johnny Rich, Joey Maggs and Mike Graham make up almost half the participants, it's incredibly hard to take the tournament seriously. At least here, Pillman and Armstrong go full speed the entire time, with the suplex to the outside and the suicide dive especially looking brutally impressive. Yeah, Liger shows up in a few months and Pillman has a decent match with Scotty Flamingo next summer, but sadly this is close to the non-Liger peak of the short-lived division.
  5. Interesting precursor to the famous matches. I started watching when Bret was champ (summer of '94) so I may be biased, but I have a hard time seeing him as anything other than a main event, especially in early singles matches like this. The way he carries himself is so different than any midcard face. There's a realness to how he does things in the ring and it adds a sense of seriousness to his matches. It's astounding that it took another 2 years for him to really break out as a singles star and then another year to be a main eventer. I don't know who would be comparable to him. Even Shawn was a pure midcard heel in 1992, with exaggerated traits as he tried to find his new character. Bret just screams top guy even here. Maybe Daniel Bryan, but we had years of him main eventing in RoH beforehand. I wouldn't put Bret's young run in Stampede on that level. Hennig already had a ton of great work in AWA, but his character in WWF wasn't fully developed. He does a good job here of playing off Bret, but doesn't seem to be in the driver's seat. Bret feels like a bigger, smarter threat and if anything Hennig feels more on the level of Dolph Ziggler (sacrilegious) Compare that to SummerSlam 1991 where he comes off as the veteran upper card star and Bret as the up and comer. These two together is always going to be something, but this felt more like a 20-minute exhibition. Especially with the ending coming out of nowhere. It was never boring, but it was missing a story more specific than "Perfect has finally met a match". Even then, make it more legit by having Bret actually almost pull of the win rather than arbitrarily ringing the time-limit bell on a backbreaker one-count.
  6. Beast

    Holy Grails

    Yeah, it's going to get frustrating the longer it's not available. Kudos to Mary-Kate for finding/sharing proof, but she's been very unclear about what she plans on doing with the footage. Latest thing was not uploading the match due to legal reasons, as if she's scared WWE will come after her. Not sure why it's not already up on a Google Drive. What's the purpose of sharing proof if it doesn't lead to everyone being able to see it finally?
  7. Wow, Shane Douglas is so good here. From the best turnbuckle sell ever to the hot tag, he is on fire. I know there's many more matches to come between these 4 before Douglas leaves in the spring, but it's a real shame he didn't stay with WCW and progress with Austin and Pillman. He's likely another casualty of Watts' run being cut short.
  8. Great match. Vader and Windham are like a king-sized Hollywood Blondes in the way they keep Dustin from getting the hot tag over and over. I loved the little fist bump Windham and Vader exchanged as well. Dustin is unbelievable here as face in peril. He is so fun to watch and his comeback attempts have weight to them. I loved Vader splashing him as he crawled to the corner. Loved Windham hitting the DDT on both Dustin and Sting. Loved the ending where all the undercard faces come out, but Vader stands tall in the ring swinging his strap around. From beginning of 1993 to Watts leaving is one of the best WCW periods ever. Such a shame it was cutoff. This show in particular is filled with great undercard squashes featuring guys like Benoit, Scorpio, Bagwell, Payne, the debut interview of Regal, and Orndorff and Barbarian looking motivated against each other. Sting/Vader and Dustin/Windham both feel like high-profile programs going into SuperBrawl III. Interesting that Windham was paired with Muta on that show instead, but I suppose the idea was to have him win a "major" title and feud with Dustin for it. Of course Flair returning through a wrench in that too. I wonder if Watts would have gone with Sting/Vader, Dustin/Windham and Flair/Rude as the three big programs heading into spring.
  9. Beast

    WWE Hall of Fame 2019

    Big talking point for Harlem Heat defenders on Twitter is that they dominated the WCW tag division during their time. Makes me think of them as the WCW version of Money Inc. Dibiase and Booker both had solid singles careers (Dibiase before, Booker after) and IRS and Stevie Ray were regarded as the lesser part of the team.... They dominated their respective tag division while active.... And together they had very, very few memorable (good) matches.
  10. Beast

    WWE Hall of Fame 2019

    What says a lot about the tag division from 1994-1996. Who's their competition? Nasty Boys, Slater/Buck, Blue Bloods, Bagwell/Scorpio, Stars And Stripes, American Males? Then nWo happened and Outsiders, Steiners, Faces Of Fear, Sting/Luger, Giant/Luger were the big teams. Did Harlem Heat ever have a great match? Or a good one? Not meaning passable or slightly fun, like actually good.
  11. Compared to the other WWF matches during this period, this is a standout. Unfortunately, the booking is so wishy-washy that it mars the entire deal. Flair and Razor seem game for everything. Flair feels totally on and Razor more than holds his own. I started watching after Razor was already a babyface IC-title mainstay so I can only imagine the hesitation as a fan committing to The Diamond Studd as a main event player. But his alliance with Flair and Heenan paid off. Savage is a master storyteller. The extended 2-on-1 and the post-match uncertainty about Perfect are the epitome of things missing from today's "story" based matches. Savage (and the WWF in general during this era) were fantastic at hammering home the important tales. Not a big fan of Perfect briefly walking out though because it didn't really have an impetus other than Savage getting beat up for a while. I really do appreciate not turning Hennig into an automatic face based on one angle, but this match feels like Vince had a checklist of moments and put it all together without telling a complete story. And the ending is just a huge letdown, even taking into account Perfect getting two visual pins. If anything, it did get me interested in seeing Perfect against both Flair and Razor, although I don't think the latter match ever happened on TV, PPV or tape. This is a big case of "what might have been" with Savage getting phased almost totally out of the ring and Flair leaving, this great story doesn't go anywhere other than the famous Raw LLT match. Also, I guess Vince was desperate for faces with Bulldog and Warrior out because Perfect doing the Halloween Havoc 1995 turn on Savage 3 years early would have been the best thing ever. Pull the trigger on a WWF Flair faction with Flair, Razor, Perfect, Heenan and another threat (debut Bigelow or Luger as the missing piece?) and all of a sudden you have 1993 WWF set up to be the best thing ever.
  12. Adding upon rewatch: Flair, Razor and Heenan all come off as true "bad guys". Their goal is to keep Perfect in their faction, but never appeal to him as friends. Heenan keeps bringing up loyalty, but doesn't offer it back. Flair & Razor can't help but throw around backhanded insults. This isn't a Flair/Arn situation (discounting the '95 feud). Perfect used to be somebody, now he's the hired help. It's clear they think he's a worthwhile possible opponent that they don't want to deal with, but never give him any reason to turn Savage down. Perfect doesn't come across as a face either, lacking the intelligence to prevent Savage's name calling ("Are you a man? Or are you a baby!") from tricking him into accepting the challenge. He's got a high opinion of himself and it's really Heenan/Flair/Razor's indifference to his talent and skill that causes him to switch sides. A surprisingly believable turn in that he's not suddenly slapping hands with fans. I always feel bad for Heenan. It's Duggan/Jim/Vince/Savage against Heenan for Perfect's soul and Flair/Razor don't do anything to help. The desperation Heenan shows near the end is impossible to scoff at.
  13. Flair used it back on Hart in promos around this time. One event center I just saw has Flair saying he always says "To be the man, you've got to beat the man and Bret beat me so I guess he's the man now. But can you beat me again!"
  14. Beast

    WWE Hidden Gems

    Close, a Konnan/Art Barr dark match was put on the Network Hidden Gems a few months ago. This is a second dark match, totally new. There are a few more from this era that could eventually be posted, with the most notable opponent being Louie Spicolli.
  15. Beast

    [1992-11-07-WWF-Superstars] Music Video: Bret Hart

    Got me all excited for a long Bret Hart title reign.... It's impressive how well the previous 12 months had gotten Bret over to legit main event level. Clips are shown of matches against Perfect, Piper, Michaels, Bulldog and Flair which is a totally stacked lineup, especially for back then. Loved the dungeon footage too. It's just an all-around great music video that makes Bret look like the new sheriff in town. He kept that aura around him even through the Hakushi/Lawler/Lafitte wars of 1995. It's no wonder so many American fans sided with him during the USA/Canada deal in 1997.
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