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Charles (Loss)

[1994-07-11-WWF-Raw] Bret Hart vs 1-2-3 Kid

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Another match I don't feel the need to watch right now, since I've seen it so many times. I'll say what I always say when this match comes up. This match felt like a reaction to the Hogan era and the type of championship matches the company was known for. This was your classic version of a world champion was local underdog. Just a year or two before this, it would have been more likely to happen on WCW TV, while a big PPV with a dream match in Orlando would have been WWF domain. The tables had turned. Bret Hart was the 1990s version of Jack Brisco. This is a great match for both guys.

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I saw it a few weeks ago on YouTube, for probably the first time since it aired. Bret's sportsmanship, and even the fact that there was such a thing in 90's WWF was rare. Another perfect example of why he was the right guy during this trying time for the company.

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We get two good guys wrestling for the WWF Title which is a rare treat with having Bret and 123 Kid involved. Handshake between the two at the start. The Kid may be the underdog but the fans seem to be still behind Bret more. Quite the turnaround from the Diesel match where now Bret is the one physically imposing his will on The Kid. They do a false finish where the Kid gets his foot on the ropes but still gets counted down for three. Bret is not pleased and they end up restarting the match. Big time sportsmanship there with the Title on the line. The Kid gets a run late with some close falls but must continue to take high risks which finally puts him away.

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This is a great match from a story perspective but the execution was slightly off for me. That sounds odd but Bret's sportsmanship felt too deliberate. I think if they could have picked up the pace more throughout the whole match I could have liked this better. The match post-re-start was pretty great but Bret's control segment before the re-start was too slow because of his deliberate sportsmanship. That's my only knock against this match as it's laid out tremendously well and tells a fantastic story.

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Bret really does face vs. face matchups well and this was no exception. It is a shame that the crowd didn't bite on any of Kid's nearfalls because they were paced exceptionally well and everything else about this match is a classic. Clear advantages for both guys were mapped out and they exceeded when sticking to those and failed when deviating. Another great TV match and really feels like one of Bret’s signature title defenses for what is his longest run with the belt.

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brief additions to the above comments:

 

I love Bret’s facial expression after Kid takes him down with the arm drag. Such a great job of illustrating both the surprise and the being impressed. As I mentioned during the King’s Court that built this match, I loved the dynamic of babyface v. babyface and underdog v. company ace. And all of that plays out beautifully in this match. Kid insisting on out wrestling the ace. Bret goes for a snapmare to counter a hammerlock, and Kid rolls through and keeps it on. Awesome. And it’s a stiff elbow to the jaw that eventually gets Bret on offense and maybe Kid is starting to learn that he will have to do more than wrestle. As the tension escalates there’s a segment where Bret throws some European uppercuts to kid in the corner and it’s serious shades of Regal-Larry Z with its stiffness.

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I love Bret’s facial expression after Kid takes him down with the arm drag. Such a great job of illustrating both the surprise and the being impressed.

This is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about this match. I loved the match when I first watched it and it still held up when I watched it again recently. It's definitely one of my top WWF matches for 1994.

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Mercifully the Monsoon-as-lead-announcer experiment only lasted one PPV and TV taping. Jim Ross makes his triumphant return, at the best possible time.

 

Bret's facing a smaller and more sympathetic guy for the first time in years, so he busts out some new forms of offense to build on that--uppercutting the Kid to death in the corner, the Samoan drop for the false finish, and cranking in a chinlock. I don't have much else to add--the roles were played pretty much perfectly, the match is great and is probably the best Raw match of the year if not the best Raw match ever to this point.

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#365 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-400-351/2/

 

I remember revisiting this about a year ago, and the first thing I thought about was Bret's facial expression after Kid takes him down with the arm drag. I love the look he gives. Obviously, I'm not the only one. This is definitely a classic match. You have to love the underdog story. We get some back and forth after that, then Kid delivers some nice looking kicks knocking Hart out of the ring prior to commercial break. Bret really rocks Kid with some European Uppercuts in the corner after the break. I thought Kid was selling the beatdown from Bret really well, and I really like him trying to shake off the impact from the uppercuts. I think having Bret be the one to continue the match after seeing Kid's foot on the ropes was genius. It really shows Bret as the ultimate competitor with high regard for sportsmanship. Just like the handshake in the beginning, he wants to this to be a true competition and he respects the game. He eventually feels like he has to take a big chance to take Kid out, so he goes to the top and this leads to Kid mounting his comeback. Kid shows a lot of fire, and his top rope leg drop looks really good. JR is calling flips moonsaults, but NBD. Kid didn't really come close when he missed the "moonsault (a forward flip off the top ropes) the second time. Some nice hope spots and nearfalls at the end. We get a dropkick from Kid into Bret's arms for the Sharpshooter finish. Randy Savage calls it one of the greatest matches ever, and JR agrees with a standing ovation. ****1/4

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The thing that most stood out to me was how violent this felt. Early on Bret was just knocking the dogshit out of the Kid, who bumped amazingly. Just how the Kid would get drilled into the mat by a basic back elbow made me think Kid vs. Stan Hansen would've been amazing. When Bret was throwing european uppercuts in the corner he was just mauling Kid. Waltman on the other other hand threw these highly precise kicks that wouldn't have looked out of place in a BattlARTS match. When his flash rollups didn't work, he would just attempt to kick Bret's head into the 6th row. Waltman repeatedly crashing and burning trying anything to crush Bret in the last couple minutes was highly entertaining aswell. Bret was almost Jumbo-like here as he came across as a pissed off heel but at the same time maintaining his ace status by repeatedly drilling the Kid. That Bulldog may have been the most brutal I've ever seen. I guess parts of the match were a little robotic.

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WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart vs 1-2-3 Kid - WWF RAW 7/11/94

 

Bret was simultaneously the best babyface and heel in the WWF between 93-97. Nobody worked a better heat segment on top than Bret. His offense is pristine as it is brutal. Those European uppercuts were just rocking the hell out of Kid. He was blasting him the whole match his kicks were great. I don't know if Bret, who is an excellent offensive wrestler, ever looked better on offense than here. He absolutely looked unstoppable. The Bulldog at the end was ferocious. Kid was selling like a million bucks and really timing those hope spots well. I loved how Bret was squashing those flash pinfall attempts. From the outset, I just didn't think Kid had a good strategy. You want to grind with Bret? I just don't think that's wise. Bret's facial reactions to this were great. The way he was like who does he think he is with those takedowns. Give Kid credit he was staying with Bret and Bret was having a hard time escaping the holds. Obviously I am talking kayfabe here, but I just don't see this as a winning strategy against Bret. Flash pins and kicking Bret's head off were way better chances to win this match. You see Bret bury the knee deep into the abdomen. I love the kneelift. It was a great one. See how Bret regroups, causally stomps the abdomen. He has totally taken the wind out of the Kid's sails. Great selling by Kid. This is that heat segment I was talking about. The restart with Bret saying Kid's foot was on the ropes was a great way to keep Bret babyface. The Kid's comeback was great because it all started with kicks to the head. Spinwheel kick, jumping back kick and dropkick all to the head. He really knocked Bret for a loop. The legdrop off the top was a great nearfall. The crash and burn off the somersault splash was great. You knew these high risk moves would backfire and they did. The superplex reversal by Kid into a pinfall was a great last gasp even though I have seen this match like three times before, my eyes popped for that. Kid goes hard into the turnbuckles ass first on a dropkick. GREAT BUMP! Great piece of psychology. AWESOME BULLDOG BY BRET! The press slam off the top was stupid but with this being such a NWA World Title match it was cute to see Bret do the Flair spot. Bret catches Kid off the top with the Sharpshooter. Not the best way to get to the finish, but a great finish nonetheless.

 

Incredible match. Bret is ruthless and kicks so much ass. Kid is all heart, all guts. Selling and just throwing his body out in reckless abandon. Bret withstands that one big push from the Kid and lets the Kid make the mistake after mistake at the end. Eventually is able to wrap up the victory, but not without some close calls. Bret Hart has looked amazing in these 90s matches. ****1/4

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One of the my main takeaways from watching these early RAWs is how brilliant 123 Kid has been. His push has felt completely organic and he's facing his biggest challenger yet in the WWF champion. 

This rare face vs face match starts with a handshake. Kid shows that he can hang with Hart, countering a lot of his holds. Hart gets the pin quickly, only to discover that Kid's foot was on the rope and demands the match restart. This made for an excellent touch, as no face would of done this if they were wrestling against a heel. The nearfalls in this work so well, with Kid hitting a moonsault of a standing Hitman, reminiscence to his first match when he got an upset win over Razor Ramon. Hart eventually  taps out Kid with the Sharpshooter and shows his respect to fiery underdog. 

★★★★¼

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