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Charles (Loss)

[1992-04-05-WWF-Wrestlemania VII] Bret Hart vs Roddy Piper

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Terrific match. Both guys worked the tension of the face vs face dynamic perfectly. Bret's selling was really well done and subtle. Piper shined here and held up his end of the match very well. They could have easily weakened Hart's push with this match by making it seem like he could only beat Piper if Piper played fair, but Piper's heel teases were great and he broke the rules just enough to show that Hart was probably the better man, while at the same time having both men save face with the finish.

 

This came off as a very natural passing-of-the-torch. Better storytelling and better action than Savage vs Flair. They messed up the smoothness of a couple of spots, but worked through them just fine. After going back and watching the whole show, this was definitely match of the night. I'm not a big fan of Hart but I loved this match.

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This may be Piper's best wrestling match ever, but he's had overall performances, particularly during his incomparable original heel run, that dwarf this. He's here to put Bret over clean on the way out, and he does so pretty as you please, showing off a little wrestling skill along the way.

 

I never really bought the teased heel turns, mostly because using the bell is something I'd expect Piper to do if he got the notion regardless of which side of the fence he was supposed to be on. I thought we'd see a few heelish spots out of Bret, but no such luck.

 

This was definitely Bret's style of match. Piper adapted as well as he could, but he's just not the kind of guy I want to see trying to exchange holds. I really liked his boxing exhibition in the middle, which Bret had no answer for. Speaking of which, Gino in particular has really been putting over Piper's boxing credentials heavily lately, which no WWF announcer has ever done before, even when Rod was the company's hottest face in late '86/early '87.

 

I've seen Bret have better bouts with more technically capable challengers, but he did the best he could with what he had to work with here. I liked his decision to blade; it added drama and extra psychology, plus it got the crowd on his side for good, which was vital since he'd be the one sticking around as IC champion.

 

The finish was nicely done, and set up well by Piper's refusal to use the bell once the ref was knocked out. Like I said above, I never really thought Piper would turn, especially since his program with Bret most likely wouldn't have continued even if he'd kept wrestling (I think Jake was supposed to be Bret's next challenger before he left).

 

The postmatch was really classy, particularly Piper strapping the belt around Bret's waist, like Hogan did with Warrior after Mania VI. The difference is, Bret's WWF singles career was just taking off, while Warrior's had nowhere to go but down for a mulitiude of reasons that we've already talked about.

 

Gino was kind of annoying here; it took him several minutes to stop taking potshots at Heenan and get down to business. Bobby was also a bit out of his element here with no real heel to back. I liked him talking about being the champion of his neighborhood and (of course) "What the hell, use the bell!" Actually, the whole sequence where Piper has the bell in his hand and is debating with himself on whether to use it is golden, not only because of Rod but because of Bobby's reaction. At one point he's so frustrated that he screams, "Give it to me, I'll hit him!" No other commentator ever could come close to getting away with that line.

 

Bret faking an injury just to catch Piper unawares in a small package is a move we should have seen at least a little more often, and it would still work today if it was set up properly.

 

Not to forget the pre-match interview, I loved Rod taking little jabs at Bret and the entire Hart family; my favorite was how there was only one slice of bologna on the sandwiches that Helen made. This is how Lawler should have provoked his feud with Bret a year later, with the insults escalating bit by bit over time. Instead, he trotted out the same old and tired age and senility jokes for over two years to the point where they annoyed even occasional viewers like me in a "Get this goofball off of my screen NOW!" way.

 

Lines of the Match (tie): "Give it to me, I'll hit him!" and "What the hell, use the bell!". A pair of undisputed Heenan classics.

 

Was that Flair's blood that was on the canvas even before Bret had a chance to blade? Ric must have tapped at least two arteries instead of one.

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#393

 

http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-400-351/

 

I really love this match. It totally holds up, and it's always a go to for me during the holidays. I just love the emotion, story, and performances from both guys.

 

I do think the dog collar match is better, but I don't want that to take from this. There is a great Buddy Rose/Piper match too - like Dylan mentioned. That Perfect match is awesome from 1990, and there is a fun Bruno cage that I recall. Some really good ones from Portland to seek out are (besides Rose):

 

vs. Ed Wiskowski on 08/23/1980. There is a great match with Rose and Wiskowsi vs. Piper and Martel on 08/02/1980.

 

Also: checkout the Piper/Martel Sheepherders feud from Portland especially all of 5/31/1980 - great tv

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This is a rare face vs face match for this time period. The pre-match promo not only brilliantly sets up this match, but also shows us that cocaine is a hell of a drug. We see glimpses of Piper wanting to embrace his older, darker persona. After Bret Hart gets a near-fall after playing possum, Piper is pushed over the edge. The drama with the ring bell was compelling. A compact match that put Bret Hart over huge.

 

★★★★¼

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As face vs. face matches go, this was tremendously well-done.  I'd agree that Piper has better singles matches (Buddy Rose, dog collar).  This match is about as good as you're going to get from still-80s style WWF face vs. face.  There was enough heat, small heelish actions by both in the heat of the moment and competitiveness to buy into.  And then at the end Piper plays it classy, which is just the cherry on top.  Bobby did do very well during the bell segments.

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When I first started the thread, I was screaming Dog Collar, Dog Collar, Dog Collar, but it seems as the thread has progressed people have remembered that the Dog Collar blows this out of the water and it is Top 100 match of all time. This is Piper's best WWF match, but I need to see the Rude & Perfect matches still. 

WWF Intercontinental Champion "Rowdy" Roddy Piper vs Bret "Hitman" Hart - WrestleMania VIII

If there was ever a match that did NOT need blood it was this. Vince must let Bret believe he worked him because that has to be one of the worst hidden bladejobs in the history of the business. Who the hell ever gets color off a punch? At least hit a hard, metal object. They didnt really need blood to get the match over. They were having a heated babyface vs babyface match. Still, I thought the match was great and a really strong Bret performance. I have said many times, many ways that Bret is the King of the Face vs Face match, but more often than not thats playing the subtle heel. Here it is Piper playing the subtle heel. If I have a criticism of the match, it is that it is rushed, but it is Mania and there is a lot to get through. Tempers were already flaring in the back when Piper was treating Bret like a kid and talking down to him. Bret does that move where he bucks off his opponent onto the floor. Piper is hot. He feels he got shown up and spits at the challenger. Bret does a cheap move himself. He pretends he hurt himself on a dropkick (landed funny) and then rolls up Piper in a cradle. Piper hauls off and smack him good for that one. Piper finally takes control when Bret goes to fix his boot and suckerpunches him. This is where Bret gets busted open. Piper does a good job during his heat segment. He was never one with much offense, but it is short and heated and Bret is a great seller. Bret hits a great desperation elbow where he falls as much as he lunges at Piper. Then it is an abridged Five Moves of Doom, but he cant negotiate the Sharpshooter. He eats the foot. The ref gets bumped off a throw off a side headlock. Now Piper gets the bell. "What the hell use the bell!" Great Heenan line. Hot Rod goes soft before our eyes and decides against using the bell. It is 1992 for sure because they actually cheer when he tosses the bell aside! Piper goes for his sleeper, but Bret uses the Survivor Series 1996 finish here where he climbs the buckles and pushes off to pin Piper. Bret was always good at those creative pinfall finishes. 

It feels rushed at spots, but they pack a lot in there. It is a big moment for Bret to get a championship victory at Mania and a great sendoff for Roddy. ***1/2

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That Piper/Valentine match that got put up on the Network last year is also a tremendous brawl and doesn't feel a million miles behind the dog collar match (which I think is legit in the conversation for best gimmick match ever and an incredible brawl). This is really good, though, and one of PIper's best performances. I know he'll never blow you away with his technique and Piper throwing a hip toss isn't the most crisp thing you'll see, but I love how he does everything like a wildman and even those hip tosses have an element of frenzy. I'll always dig the story of him reverting back to some of his saltier ways as the match goes on. I actually watched this and Bret/Perfect from King of the Ring '93 back to back earlier, and I thought Hennig was overall more overt in his heeling than Piper was in this, which I wouldn't have said based on memory alone. I know there's the ring bell spot and this had the blood, but Hennig was way more surly and I'd have expected him to actually hit Bret with the bell. It may be hokey WWF melodrama, but I thought that ring bell spot came off great and puts most spots of its ilk these days to shame. Maybe it was because the commentary wasn't trying to obviously ram it down our throats, maybe it's because Piper's a decent actor; either way it totally worked for me. I also forgot the set up to Bret getting opened up, but it ruled. You're thinking Piper opening the ropes to let Bret back in is always ending up with Bret getting suckered, but Piper actually lets him in clean. Maybe we're underestimating Piper's strength of character. To be fair to him, Bret's been trying to get under his skin all day and that bit earlier where he faked the shoulder injury only to roll him up was a bit of a dick move in its own right. It's no wonder Piper slapped him. But hey, it's all good now and we'll no doubt see a clean contest from here on out. Piper telling Bret his lace is undone and popping him with an uppercut was amazing and he never looked back from there. Bret was a perfect foil for him, but Piper listening to the devil on one shoulder while the angel on the other tried to rein him in was a super fun story. The part where he unloads with a flurry of jabs to the eye was where you had to stop and go "yep, that's the Roddy Piper we always knew was in there." Or maybe it's the part where he was biting Bret in the cut and I guess I'll retract that horse shit about him not being that surly. Finish is fairly iconic in WWF lore and there's one guy in the crowd with a Hot Rod t-shirt who's just distraught when a) Piper decides against bludgeoning Bret with the bell, and b) when Bret reverses the sleeper. Piper's become a huge favourite of mine in recent years and this held up really well. 

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“BYE, BYE” What a promo by Piper pre match. Fucking love him. Piper won the title from the Rumble after beating the Mountie who won the belt from Bret on a house show days before (Bret had a fever) and they’ve built to this. The heat for this match is very high. Which stuns me because it’s face vs face. Both switch the subtle heel roles in the match with momentum constantly switch very so seamlessly. They incorporate the styles of both guys very well and the match is filled with clever spots and make the match as good as it is. The blood adds a ton as well. The finish whilst not the first time was used (the earliest use of the finish was Pedro Morales vs Ivan Koloff the title change) but this is probably the most popular and would be used by Bret in a more famous match in 1996 w/ Austin at Survivor Series. Like I said tremendous match. ****

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