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[1993-06-13-WWF-King of the Ring] Bret Hart vs Mr Perfect

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I've always thought this was one of the best matches ever in the WWF/E. I'd flip-flop between this and Owen as Bret's best match. But, at the same time, it's not even close to being a MOTYC.

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I remember how annoyed I was by Gene Okerlund in the pre-match promo starting a fight between them, then asking them to stop fighting, then stirring them up again.

 

Anyway, this is an excellent match with tons of nice little touches. I LOVE them playing off the Razor match earlier in the show with Bret having his fingers taped up. I love the Sharpshooter counter based around grabbing Bret's fingers and pulling them back. This is also probably the best Curt Hennig performance I've ever seen.

 

But it's interesting how a match of equal quality on the '96 yearbook would have stood out as one of the best of the year, where this match is clearly better than most U.S. matches, but just isn't at the level of the best All Japan and New Japan stuff.

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This is also probably the best Curt Hennig performance I've ever seen.

Totally agree, it's really his match more than Bret's given the nature of the story.

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The last time I watched this was on the WWE Bret DVD a couple of years ago straight after watching the SS 91 match and I remember feeling that this match was a slower, not as good version of the earlier match. On rewatch, and in the context of the yearbook/PPV, I have totally changed my opinion and think that this is one of the best US matches of the year.

 

The success of this match is not in the athleticism, but the storytelling and the way that Bret and Curt portray their characters. Winning this match seems like it is the most important thing in the world to these two, and they really lay it in to each other over the course of the match, with perhaps my favourite spot being Bret's vicious European uppercut. The match always feels like it is building and I think the finish works in keeping Perfect strong as well as putting Bret over as the superior technician when Perfect may have been a little too hot headed.

 

Previously I have thought the Bigelow match to be superior, though now I have them both about even as two totally different matches that are both put over the top by stellar storytelling and the context of the tournament.

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Both had already had one match and went 19m here. Started a bit tentatively as it was face vs face before Perfect started to become more heelish. Generally scientific, although they weren't afraid to mix it up as well. Both did body part work that was sold well. Towards the end it was entering gut check territory before the shit finish that hurt it bad. Impressive contest nonetheless and high end by WWF 93 standards.

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I still feel like I enjoy the Summerslam match more if I were just to watch them alone back to back. As part of the whole King of the Ring tournament and Bret wrestling three matches in one night, then I can really get into this one. They could have turned Perfect heel during this with some of his actions but Bret was vicious in his own way with the uppercut and suplexing Perfect to the floor outside. They both wanted to win bad and it helped make the tournament mean a lot more.

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The pre-match spot is tremendous, drawing on history and heeling Perfect up for the match. The perfect (ahem) way to go.

 

I have little to add to the match itself, but it's a solid WWF MOTYC though not one on a worldwide level. These guys really lay it into each other in a way that stands out among what else has been going on in the WWF. Bret's performance throughout this card might make for the most psychology-heavy WWF event ever to this point. Seemingly every spot is based upon either a previous match (with Perfect) or an earlier match on the card (the hurt fingers, and later on the hurt leg). I'm not sure how well the Yearbook captures it but Jim Ross' influence on the on-air product was palpable, and he may well have had something to do with this.

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Great promo before the match. Bret knows how to work a compelling face vs. face match as he had great matches in 92 with Piper, 93 here, and 94 with Kid with that as the basis. This may be the best of that bunch although I need to watch the Kid match again. I am always surprised for some reason at just how good a match this is as it feels like one of the 20 best WWF matches of the 90's possibly. The work starts out basic and just advances with added intensity and each guy going for more underhanded tactics. Another clever finish too and a good sign of respect from Perfect at the end. ****1/4

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I liked the pre-match promo. They drew on hstory better than they have in a long, long time, with Curt vringing up his SummerSlam '91 loss to Bret repeatedly. Bret downplays that a bit, but you'd expect him to since he won the match in the first place.

 

Gene was a bit of a disturber at the beginning, but who ​wouldn't ​rather wrestle a relative greenhorn like Hughes than a former World champion like Curt Hennig, especially since Bret had already wrestled a grueling match against Hall and would have to turn right around and go out for the finals with little rest if he won because of Bigelow's bye?

 

Mean Gene actually mentioned Larry Hennig; will wonders never cease? I'm not sure if Stu ever beat the Ax, or even wrestled him for that matter, but I was so happy that Curt's past was acknowledged that I don't even care.

 

Now for the match. This was better than SummerSlam, mostly because Curt was firing on all cyllinders. He must have known long before the card that he was going to get this match, because this was his best WWF performance, period. Everything looked crisp and devastating, and even his cheating spots had an energy to them that I haven't seen from him since his series with Bockwinkel over the AWA belt in '86 and '87. The only hole in his strategy was that he never worked on Bret's hurt knee. That means that either 1) It was a shoot injury or 2) It was forbidden for anyone to work on Bret's legs during his matches to protect the Sharpshooter. I certainly hope it was the former, because the latter goes against all logic and ring psychology. Speaking of which, I loved how Curt countered the Sharpshooter by pulling on Bret's taped fingers. That move would be too subtle for most WWF heels at this time, but Curt pulled it off brilliantly.

 

I'm a bit short on time, so I'm going to skip over Bret for a second and head right to the commentary. This was Savage's best WWF performance ever, probably because he wasn't consumed with pulling for the face since both men were faces. He and Heenan showed some good chemistry for once, and both guys put over the epic nature of this struggle well, along with the idea that whoever survived would be easy pickings for Bigelow in the finals. I liked how he showed up on camera at the end without his hat and glasses, and said that the reason why was that he was so into the match. I only wish that he'd get into more matches like that.

 

Heenan came up a bit short, but it wasn't really his fault. He works best when he can put over the heels and make jokes, and this match wasn't set up for either. He's a decent match analyst, but that's not what he's paid for. Fortunately, as I've said, he and Savage had some good back-and-forth and kept things listenable. The one thing he could add that no one else could was insight into Curt through his past association with him, and he managed to do so despite JR and Randy's best efforts to stonewall that. JR in particular didn't seem to want anything to do with that particular piece of history, and as always, it was mean-spirited enough to my ears to go from good banter with a heel to "Shut your damn mouth and let me call this match or else". The bit at the end where JR referred to him as "Weasel" and rolled his eyes before correcting himself didn't sit well with me either. Gino could get away with things like that because they were long-standing colleagues in the booth and best friends behind the scenes. JR's neither one; he's not even really WWF yet.

 

Other than the above, JR's biggest contribution to the proceedings was a reference to the ongoing NBA Finals, of all things. The match started before much could be made of it, but I wonder if Heenan and Savage would have bothered to acknowledge it much regardless.

 

What is it with promotions refusing to give weights anymore? The WWF had an excuse here since both Bret and Curt had already wrestled, but WCW did the same thing in the Buff/Scorp-Blonds match. I don't think they gave a hometown on anybody, either. I guess we're supposed to believe that the wrestlers just fly around to match after match, living on the planes in between so they can be ready to go at a moment's notice.

 

Bret matched Curt move for move here, and count me as one of those who loved that big uppercut about halfway through the match. He did an excellent selling job with his knee, as did Curt with his, and I could tell that even without Curt pulling on his fingers, he was having a tough time locking on the Sharpshooter because he was trying to watch out for his leg at the same time. He bumped for Curt like he didn't have the chance to do at SummerSlam, which only added to his greatness here. His bump to the guardrail was a real thing of beauty, if something that brutal can be called beautiful. Same with the counter to the Perfectplex.

 

Whoever called the finish shit was dead wrong; it was an excellent finish given both the desperation and exhaustion of both guys. Maybe some wanted Bret to make Curt quit in the Sharpshooter, but they'd already done that finish once, and they needed to establish Bret as the clear underdog heading into the finals. I loved the handshake at the end, although I could understand wanting to tease a Curt heel turn briefly, given that both men's "salty pasts", to use Randy's phrase, were such an important part of the match by making their willingness to do anything to win stand out.

 

Can't wait to see the finals!

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Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect - WWF King of the Ring 1993

 

"This is a CLASSY match!" - Macho Man Randy Savage

 

Bret is the king of the face vs face match, but here he is not playing the subtle heel. It is his opponent rather that plays de facto heel in this contest. Easily the best Curt Hennig match since his days in AWA as he has the offense here to match his bumping. Loved the gradual progression from the locker room where Mean Gene was stirring the pot through the match in how Hennig became more and more heelish. At the start of the match, he was the one laying heavy blows like the chop or pulling hair and it was Bret doing what he does best picking a base hold (side headlock) and working cradles out of the hold. Each man looking for quick victory to get out of Dodge and face the rested Bam Bam Bigelow in the finals. I liked how Hennig was bumping on the side headlock takeovers, good snap to them. Hennig uses the hair to force Bret into the ropes and delivers a kneelift. His standing dropkick sends Bret to the outside. He holds the ropes open and cements his mid-match heel turn by attacking Bret as he gets into the ring. Perfect looks great here with chops, kneelift, even a missile dropkick! The awesome spot I always remember from this match is Perfect slingshotting Bret from the apron to floor and railing. Nasty. My big problem with this match is that spot does not lead to more heat. Instead, Bret pops up before Perfect can come off the top and hits a superplex. Just felt like a weak transition. Hennig sells the knee so he can take his favorite bump the one where he does backflips. Bret applies the figure-4 and Hennig makes the ropes. He goes to Bret's eyes and then biels him out by the hair, always a nasty spot between these two (shades of Summerslam). Love it! In another callback to Summerslam when Bret whips Perfect into the corner and he slides under and posts himself by the balls. Another crowd-pleaser. Here comes the Five Moves of Doom. Sharpshooter, but in one last act of desperation, Perfect goes for the taped fingers (injured in the Ramon match) and this quashes Bret's attempt. Perfect now goes for Perfectplex, big time struggle and they both go over the top rope in an insane suplex spot crashing to the floor. They milk the count and back in the ring Perfect gets an inside cradle, but Bret reverses and wins the match!

 

I think what really pushes it over the top is Perfect going for the fingers. He starts with hair pulling and then it is attacking him as he is entering the ring. But it is only when he thinks he is in real danger that he goes for the fingers. It was his ace in his back pocket. He only wanted to use if he had too. It is hard to outshine Bret in his matches because his fingerprints are usually all over of the match, but I really thought Perfect gave an excellent performance. My one complaint is I thought the transitions could have been tightened up. Best Mr. Perfect match in WWF, best WWF match of 1993! ****1/4

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-250-201/

 

#243

 

I think this is my favorite of the Hart/Perfect matches that are out there. Everyone knows they had great chemistry, and that's well on display here. I love how stiff Hennig works this match. I love his long term selling of the knee. I love he attacks the fingers. I think Bret is great, but there's lots of little things Hennig does in this match that puts the greatness of it on his shoulders IMO. ****1/4 to ****1/2.

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A rare face vs face for it's era, this is both men's second match of the night. Mr Perfect looks like the fresher man, as Bret's hand is injured after his match with Razor Ramon some 30 minutes previously. After the brilliant pre-match promo with the shit-stirring Mean Gene, they open their match with some crisp technical exchanges. You don't need me to tell you how technically sound Bret Hart and Mr Perfect are. This really gets going once Hennig starts heeling it up. He starts off very subtlety, stomping on Bret when he's down to blindsiding him after assisting him back into the ring. The crowd turn on Hennig and the match transitions beautifully to a more traditional face vs heel dynamic. Bret takes a boatload of punishment, with Perfect hitting some stiff knee strikes and aggressively launching Hart into the barricade from the ring apron. much to the delight of Perfect's former manager Bobby Heenan on commentary. No matter how many times I see it, Bret's sternum first turnbuckle bump is always cool to see. Hart eventually mounts a comeback after going after Hennig's leg, but it's a nifty cradle pin that gets Bret the win. Bret's performance on this night is one of his best ever, with this match being one of the main reasons. 

★★★★¾

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