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[1996-01-21-WWF-Royal Rumble] Bret Hart vs The Undertaker


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Taker didn't hit his stride until like 97 or 98, then REALLY kicked it into gear the next decade after discovering MMA. Bret had a painfully bad 1996. It starts here with not being able to beat the Undertaker, and on top of that was an eyelash from losing the title. Diesels outside interference is all that saved the title.

 

Diesel's attitude before leaving for Atlanta was a lot of fun, certainly something different in the world of WWF.

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  • 1 year later...

I just watched this in full to review for 411, I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised by this. I'd always heard this match get absolutely panned, but I thought it was actually quite good, once you get past the early portion of UT trying to smother Bret. This is basically Bret working his type of match (wrestling based) and Taker working his sort of match, but it actually comes off pretty well.

 

Bret is great at working over UT's leg, and it's probably as much as UT had ever sold up to this point. Bret works in some nice heel touches, and even the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM works here, with Bret using them trying to keep UT down, but he keeps sitting back up. UT had spent almost four years stuck working with monster heels (Kamala, Gonzales, Yoko, Bundy, and Mabel) where all he had to do was let the heel work him over and work in his basic spots, which is what he does here, only Bret is wrestling him rather than Mabel or Yoko throwing their weight around.

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I long considered this match underrated. Think I even wrote a long review of it somewhere (maybe the SC board). It's a smartly worked match if you can get past the absurdity of a "techincal" wrestler going up against a Zombie. One of the only times 'Taker had a chance to go up against a technician during this phase of his gimmick, which makes the match interesting in and of itself.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...

Undertaker actually looks human with Bret continuing to work on the leg. This is much below their 1997 efforts though. The crowd is very split at times between both guys. In the end Undertaker gets Tombstone for the clean pin but Diesel interferes. Bret don't look too good on that finish. Diesel being so cocky in giving Undertaker the finger was great.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 6 months later...

I remember this match being a total bore, but the closing stretch we see is actually pretty good. Bret rips off the Undertaker's protective mask and rams him into an exposed turnbuckle, which pisses the crowd off mightily. UT catches him with a tombstone, but Diesel yanks the referee out of the ring for the DQ. Paul Bearer's shocked reaction to the announcement that the belt doesn't change hands on a DQ is absurd, and one of those WWF booking tropes that always made me roll my eyes. The WWF was actively experimenting with a Japan-style title scene with 4-6 guys all with equal claim to being the champion, rather than building entirely around one lone babyface. It didn't last, but the WWF title scene is more interesting than it's been in awhile.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • GSR changed the title to [1996-01-21-WWF-Royal Rumble] Bret Hart vs The Undertaker

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