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[1992-01-31-WWF-MSG, NY] Bret Hart vs The Undertaker

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Interesting match to watch, because Undertaker matches prior to 1996 don't really lend themselves well to a yearbook concept because they are usually terrible. This isn't terrible. It's a reminder of how horrifying the Undertaker's gimmick was before he turned babyface, and he shows some athleticism in certain spots that makes you wonder what kind of matches he could have been having had he been allowed to go all out.

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I think this match is a good testament to how good Bret actually is. We all know early Undertaker isnt the easiest to watch but Bret drags a good match out of him. Watching this its not hard to see why the title went on him 10 months later.

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I really dug this match when I saw it a few years ago. I don't think there's many matches where zombie-era Undertaker worked against guys with technical wrestler gimmicks. It was mostly power wrestlers and other monsters. It makes this an interesting match up.

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You kinda forget how hard it is to get a good match with zombie taker. The gimmicky stuff is eye rolling. He does show some cool athletic stuff. Bret did a good job even with all the restrictions. In a few years they'll have some tremendous bouts with one another.

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I think it's not THAT hard to get a good match out of Zombie heel taker. The Hogan matches are both good, with the second one really building off the first. It's just... as always, up to the definition of good. Will they be ACTION PACKED? No. Will they have a REAL SPORTS FEEL? No. But you can have a good strong narrative and stay within the rules being established and it can be a good match.

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I might have been overstating about having a good bout with the dead man. Just the gimmick in general made it harder to have a good match with someone who overtime has proven to be a hell of a worker which is the Undertaker. The gimmick lended itself to have solid matches with the super hero type babyfaces the WWF had like Hogan where the drama upped the ante of the bout. I think the gimmick was originally made to be a foil for the Hogan/Warrior types. When they envisioned it originally I didn't think they thought the character would have the legs that it ended up having. Which really has to do with Mark Callous.

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It is interesting to see Undertaker plodding through the match and then bust out a flying clothesline. Crowd enjoyed that. Match was alright. Too bad they didn't let Taker pick up the pace in his matches at this time.

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The finish surprised me here, I expected a flash roll up by Bret, or UT getting DQ'd. This was rather fun, Taker just sort of ran through his usual stuff, but Bret was game and UT was good about bumping and selling for Bret, especially the dropkick that sent him out of the ring, and Bret's counter to the rope walk. Gorilla and Bobby were both on too.

 

Gorilla: Look at that creep.

Bobby: Well The Hitman is. . . . .

Gorilla: I was talking about Paul Bearer.

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The following month I'd be at MSG for my first wrestling show. I was looking forward to seeing the LOD, Flair, Hogan, Savage, etc. Ended up with a big battle royal and no LOD. Before the show, I overheard some people talking about how the LOD dropped the tag titles to the Natural Disasters but it wasn't on tv yet. I may have been 11 but I wasn't about to just move on from that. I ask where this info came from and the guy shows me his copy of the Torch, which lead to a subscription there, which eventually lead to the WON, then online, and here we are about 21 years later. Good times.

 

Interesting to see Bret work with this version of UT, and he did a damn good job of making this passable given Taker's gimmick at the time. You saw flashes of what Taker could pull of here but they weren't ready for him to work that way just yet.

 

**1/2

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Undertaker is still extremely limited because of the nature of the gimmick, but Bret did an awesome job when he got in his flashes of offense. Lots of hit-and-run, chop-down-the-tree stuff and Undertaker was able to sell just enough to put Bret over while also still coming off as unstoppable. Agreed on the commentary job--this was the most focused Monsoon & Heenan production yet. Bret is more or less dominated for most of the match but I like the finish--that UT had to cheat and use the urn puts Bret over by itself. Hardly a great match, and as far as Best UT Matches to This Point it ranks behind the Warrior bodybag match, but it's a very, very good performance from Bret that his biggest boosters will want to point to.

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I wasn't a fan of this one. Taker's lack of pace wasn't the problem; the garbage finish was. I know Taker's supposed to be a heel, and I know heels are supposed to cheat, but if you're going to spend the entire match putting Taker over as an unstoppable, otherworldly force of nature, don't undo your work by having him get the pin with an urn shot. Using the urn to set up the pin is one thing, but only the tombstone should have been used to get the actual three-count, even against Bret.

 

In a separate issue, the business with the referee took way, way too long both times they used it. It would have been better if Percy would have just cracked Danny Davis over the head with the urn and had done with it. The tug-of-war spots with Percy, Bret, and Davis looked silly, period. Besides, as a former heel wrestler himself, Davis shouldn't have been as prone to heel distractions as his fellow refs. Of course, once the Dangerous Danny angle ended sometime in '88, we were supposed to forget that Davis had ever wrestled at all, so maybe that's not a fair criticism.

 

Gino and Bobby go out of their way to put Taker over as awesome, as well they should. But was Taker supposed to be a human being or not? Gino openly scoffs at the idea that Taker is an honest-to-God zombie when Bobby brings it up, but Vince and the other announcers put him over as exactly that when they call his matches. Of course, Gino's idea is a hell of a lot more plausible, but I'm wondering how Vince felt about one of his larger-than-life characters being made into a human being by his pay-per-view announcer. To be sure, Gino noted that Taker was an extraordinary human, but a human nonetheless. Heenan, of course, plays up the zombie angle for all it's worth, though he also notes that not even zombie Taker would have a chance against Flair if it ever comes to that.

 

Early in the match, Gino states that he'd asked Bobby to ask Percy and Taker what was in the urn. I thought Hogan solved that mystery when he threw the urn's contents (ashes) into Taker's eyes to set up the pin at Tuesday in Texas.

 

Heenan slips and calls Flair the "Real World Champion" when hyping the SNME tag match, although he catches himself just afterward. Old habits die hard, don't they Brain?

 

Am I the only one who thinks that Taker's face claw could have been put over as a killer submission had Vince wanted to do it? They could have named it the RIP.

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Not a bad match at all. The thing that stood out for me was the camera shot of a kid in Warrior make-up who looked like Christmas had been canceled. It is barely there, but it definitely stands out.

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