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[1994-06-16-WWF-King of the Ring] Bret Hart vs Diesel

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This isn't much different than the other Bret/Diesel matches. Bret works over Diesel's knee. Each match in their series is more aggressive than the one before it. Nash blows a few things, but looks fine for most of this, actually. For the most part, Bret is wrestling himself, but on Bret's comebacks, Nash's selling isn't half bad. Shawn takes a bump for the highlight reel off of Bret's punch. You can tell they put a lot of thought into the layout of this match, as the last 5-7 minutes SCREAM Pat Patterson.

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Bret struggles through his pre match promo. Where is Finkel? Bill Dunn is handling the ring announcing and clearly mentions how much each guy weights. Neidhart in Bret's corner. This was the first PPV I ever watched live. I really liked this match at the time and probably haven't seen it in about 10 years. Bret immediately targets the legs of Diesel and gets him down. He gets on a figure four but Diesel's height helps him to get to the ropes. Shawn makes an impact getting involved on the outside and running away from Neidhart. Michaels is beyond cocky here. Diesel does his over the shoulder backbreaker which I never liked because he basically has Bret up in the position for the Jacknife. Shawn takes the biggest bump in the match flying off the ropes on to the railing outside. Sharpshooter attempt but again Diesel can make ropes because of his reach. Diesel eventually hits the Jacknife but Anvil interrupts. So a big what if there whether Diesel would have won. Anvil then bails and leaves Bret to be double teamed. Bret does a really good job of making Diesel a credible threat going forward.

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You can tell they put a lot of thought into the layout of this match, as the last 5-7 minutes SCREAM Pat Patterson.

That's a strange comment considering this is basically your typical Bret v big guy run to the finish: five moves of doom, a couple of late counters and reversals, using the ring to your advantage, desperation Sharpshooter attempt, etc. Pretty similar to stuff he did against Razor, Bigelow, Yokozuna, Diesel, and Undertaker in other matches. Anyway, I thought it was a pretty great finishing run.

 

This to me is just as good as the other Bret/Diesel matches. In some ways I prefer this one because of the strong face/heel divide.

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I was referring to the stuff with Shawn taking the crazy bump to the floor, Anvil's involvement, the dramatic nearfalls based on that, etc.

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I was referring to the stuff with Shawn taking the crazy bump to the floor, Anvil's involvement, the dramatic nearfalls based on that, etc.

The near falls are pretty standard fare for the Bret Hart finish run and are all part of the layout of matches I mentioned earlier. You can compare the Michaels interference spot to Fuji interfering in the Bret/Yokozuna TV match, just without the crazy bump. But the layout is the same. Regardless, the Michaels and Anvil spots are pretty short to call the last 5-7 minutes a Patterson special.

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And that's worth harping on that one point? Did I say that the closing to this is absolutely not like any other Bret Hart match ever? I don't understand your interpretation of my point to such an extreme. It can be both a typical Bret Hart finishing stretch *and* have Pat Patterson's fingerprints, just as I'm sure most of Bret Hart's big matches (including the Yoko TV match) had Patterson's fingerprints on the finish. Does saying that one thing is true mean that nothing else can possibly be true?

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And that's worth harping on that one point? Did I say that the closing to this is absolutely not like any other Bret Hart match ever? I don't understand your interpretation of my point to such an extreme. It can be both a typical Bret Hart finishing stretch *and* have Pat Patterson's fingerprints, just as I'm sure most of Bret Hart's big matches (including the Yoko TV match) had Patterson's fingerprints on the finish. Does saying that one thing is true mean that nothing else can possibly be true?

No, both can be true. This obviously has Patterson influences just like every other WWF main event match which needed to get over some angle (Anvil heel turn). I was just surprised you made that Pat Patterson comment here since if I were to put a list together of the most Patterson influenced matches this wouldn't even make a Top 100. Probably not even a Top 500.

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This definitely had the WWF Pat Patterson finishing run. Diesel's selling was solid for the most part but as Loss pointed out he did blow a few things. Bret was good as usual and Shawn took two great bumps off separate punches from Anvil and Bret. Very good match.

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Sort of sad to revisit one of my favorite matches as a kid and see it doesn't hold up as I had a lot of problems with this. First, Bret's promo was pretty bad before this as he almost had a I just kicked your leg out of your leg moment. Second, who the hell thought this commentary team would be good. Art asks if Shawn Michaels is a wrestler and is demanding to know if each guy played football. Thankfully he toned it down some once the match started. Gorilla was not as his worst here but didn't do great chastising Bret for going for the sharpshooter too early and yelling at the referee for counting Diesel's shoulders even though they were down in the figure four.

The main problem I have with this though is how Diesel was treated. He may have been in over his head being in this marquee a match so soon but he did a decent job. His selling of the punches where he falls on the ropes is great. I thought many sections in this match were too even. Bret dominates the beginning minutes way too much for my liking and I don't think Bret should have been going toe to toe and actually gaining the advantage through punches against Diesel. Shawn takes the same great bump he took in the Razor/ Diesel title change. The ending did make Diesel look relatively strong as he layed Bret out with the Jack knife but I thought it was too little too late to save the punishment he received in the previous 20 minutes.

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One thing I like a lot about this match is that it has a lot of clever little Bret Hart finisher flourishes. He kicked open the notebook a few times here, between the novel roll up out of the corner and the Lance Stormian roll into the sharpshooter. It's obvious that he really wanted this match to be good and was pulling out the bells and whistles for it.

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Well, here it is. The only Coliseum Video-era WWF PPV that I've never, ever seen. Like I said, this was pretty much rock bottom for the WWF. Business may have been worse in '95, but bad business combined with the federal indictment was a deadly combination that permeated the entire product and even the American wrestling business as a whole. Vince wasn't even able to be at this show, and fairly or not it shows in the first 30 seconds of footage that we see, as we get an awkward production moment involving the footage of Bret on the King's Court.

 

And of course, the incomprehensible decision to have Art Donovan sit in on all 3 hours of the show.

 

Even Finkle's absence casts a pall over this, not to mention the shockingly dark Baltimore Arena. We do at least get the debut of Bret's new theme here. Bret does some very good work over Diesel's legs, and Diesel does a surprisingly good job of selling it. Donovan aside, Monsoon & Savage are awful together and each one calls the match as if a split second of silence would be catastrophic. It makes you long for the modern-day indifference of Jerry Lawler. In the end, I'm pretty stunned at how much I liked this. I knew this match had somewhat of a rep, but Diesel's selling throughout was a really unexpected highlight--especially his punch-drunk staggering after hitting the exposed turnbuckle. Bret basically slots Diesel into his standard big-vs.-little template that he worked against Bam Bam the previous year, but it's a nice reliable way to build a match with an inexperienced guy. The Patterson influence is definitely there, especially Shawn clobbering Bret with the title and the near-fall off of that. There were some other unexpected wrinkles--Bret suddenly taking Diesel down and applying the Sharpshooter from his back was a very neat spot, and the finish is a well-done copout--Neidhart saves Bret's title, but his motives are left ambiguous--was he out to save the title, or did he just react to Diesel attacking him? And where'd he go during the post-match beatdown?

 

I really think they wanted to have a great match, and Nash worked as hard as you'll ever see him work. He blows and mistimes a few things, so they don't quite get there. But I have to give him an A for effort, and all my harping about the quality of the product aside, I've always thought Neidhart's involvement with this show was incredibly well-booked.

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WWF World Champion Bret Hart vs Diesel -WWF King of the Ring 1994

 

Trying to clean up some blind spots in the WWF. All Bret/Diesel matches have the same core backbone but they get better with more fleshing out and Diesel getting better. This seems like the more natural dynamic with Diesel as heel but Bret is so good at face vs face matches that this match is the least of the three.

 

The hook of the match was who would be in Brets corner to counteract Shawn Michaels. HBK is such a great douche in prematch promo.

 

I love how Bret has to create openings to get his shine going with Diesel missing big boots and a knee in the corner. His shine is more heel in peril working the leg but it is over and the figure-4 is highlight. The posting gets a pop but Shawn decks him with a surprisingly hard clothesline. The Shawn/Anvil chase is a real highlight very entertaining. I like that it takes quite a bit for Diesel to earn his heat segment. Elongated transitions are the best. The missed pescado and he crashed and burn puts Diesel in drivers seat. Diesel's heat segment goes too long in my opinion. Bret does his best to throw himself into his bumps.

 

Shawn tries to help by removing the turnbuckle pad but he who sets up the spot takes it trumps him. Bret sends him into exposed steel and FIVE MOVES OF DOOM~! Bret clobbers Shawn on apron and Shawn takes a great bump. Bret eats a huge big boot, great spot and wrinkle. Diesel is slow to capitalize and Bret trips him up into a unique Sharpshooter but Nash is too close to the ropes. At some point, I forget when, Diesel does a great job stumbling around for Bret punches.

 

Finish is HBK clobbers Bret with title but ref is distracted. Diesel hits the Jackknife. Anvil interferes to trigger DQ. Finish was weak. The explanation I assume is that Anvil wants the title on Bret for Owen. Just a very good match nothing extraordinary. ***1/2

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Not much to add, after all the comments. But I will say this:

 

1. Another example of how Kevin Nash gives a damn when working with Bret.

2. The idea that fat, rusty Anvil could outrun coked-up Michaels in a chase around the ring is ludicrous. So I am glad he didn't. But I do like how Jim cuts corners by diving through the ring.

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I just watched this for the first time and expected to read lots of praise for it. I'm a bit surprised that this wasn't a universally-loved gem. Maybe it just caught me on the right night, but I loved this match and think it really deserves some love.

- Red hot crowd.

- Amazing pace. This match just doesn't slow down.

- Fantastic Bret performance. Him running into the turnbuckles - backfirst and chestfirst - always pops me. Love some of his counters and roll-ups. 

- Nash shows off an arsenal that I'm not sure he ever bothered to utilize again in any match where Bret wasn't his opponent. 

- The commentary on this show is legendarily bad. I'm a Gorilla fan, but he doesn't mix well with Savage and Art Donovan is beyond awful. Somehow, this match was so good that it drowned out the historically terrible commentary. Gorilla's appreciation for what he's watching is apparent and infective.

- Shawn and Neidhart get huge reactions for their spots. Nothing really to fault there. 

- Is it overbooked? Yeah. Probably. But I kinda like that there are moments - Diesel botching a catch, Diesel tossing Bret into Hebner and Hebner *not* going down like he was shot, Bret hitting Diesel with a punch that sends him into the ropes and stumbling like a boxer - that make the match feel like more of a fight than a choreographed dance (even with all the "extras" like the uncovered turnbuckle and the Shawn bump at the end and the screwy finish). 

- Again, the pace. This match has the crowd at a 10 from the first bell and never lets them go below that. 

To me, a 4-star match is a "must watch" and I'd say this is a must watch for WWF/WWE fans. Having never seen it, I always viewed it as the "lesser" of the Diesel/Bret PPV matches, but I think it stands up with all of them. When you think of what else the WWE was presenting in 94', I'd even go as high as 4.5-out-of-5.

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