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[1997-09-11-Wrestlefest] Bret Hart vs Terry Funk

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It's Terry Funk's retirement. He'll never, ever, ever wrestle again under any circumstances. Never. This is it.

 

Not sure I knew the Bret Hart/Dennis Stamp history. I'm ready for them to get on with the match, but there's a lot of pomp and circumstance before the match starts, with Terry's family in the ring, Paul E. giving credit to Funk for putting ECW on the map and Tommy Dreamer presenting Terry Funk with a lifetime ECW championship. This is followed by Bret saying he's honored to be here to work with the best wrestler in the history of the game and that Amarillo wrestling is the greatest wrestling there ever was before giving the punchline … despite all of this, he's going to whip his ass tonight. Awesome.

 

I really enjoyed all of the early matwork and could have watched an entire match of that, to be honest. It's great to see Terry Funk actually wrestle on the mat since we don't get to see any of that from him this late in the game. We get some choice work from Bret on Funk's knee and I enjoy seeing the Hart Family heel it up in Bret's corner, even if Bruce seems a little desperate to get himself over. They just keep building and building heat, so when Terry makes his comeback, the people go crazy.

 

I would have liked this a little better if they didn't have the No DQ rule, even though the work with the chair was well done and set up some nice revenge spots from Funk. When Funk tried to dive onto the table, they lost me because it didn't really fit the tone of the match. But overall, this was still a great match and it was good to see Funk work less of a brawl and more of a wrestling match than normal. I just wish they'd embraced that all the way.

 

(Great photo finish too. I love those.)

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Terry Funk’s retirement match! Nice to see it included as this will be the end of Terry in the yearbooks. The ring announcer has to look down as his index card when he says Bret...... The Hitman Hart. Classy promo by Bret beforehand though he’s still determined to beat Funk in match.

 

I like them going to the mat and Terry doing some wrestling. I don’t care for Bruce Hart taking shots at Funk. Doing piledrivers always seemed to be a struggle for Terry. For all Funk’s attempts to keep it to the mat and in the ring he ends up doing a crazy moonsault through a ringside table. Funk puts up a fight but can't beat the current WWF champion. Stamp is a better referee than Hebner.

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I really loved this match. It felt like an NWA championship match in a 1997 timeframe. Basic but interesting matwork to start leading into good limb work by Bret. The highlights were not very significant in the early portion on a blow by blow scale but the work were applied snuggly and before I knew it, 20 minutes had passed and Funk was making his big comeback. The comeback was placed well and featured great revenge spots including the spinning toe hold that I thought might be it. The photo finish was a good way to give Bret the duke but also make Funk look strong on the way out. Stamp was also a good official in this match. I think this match gets really slept on but so far it is probably my second favorite Bret performance of the year behind the Austin Mania match.

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It's Terry Funk's retirement. He'll never, ever, ever wrestle again under any circumstances. Never. This is it.

Actually the ring announcer sells this as the last time that Funk will wrestle in Amarillo, which may or may not (I am too lazy to check out if he did any indyshows in Amarillo) be true.

 

Bruce Hart is really obnoxious here. The physical interaction spots were obviously not planned (e.g. Bret kicked out even though Bruce put his leg on the bottom rope) and I assume neither was the microphone stuff.

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Joey Styles calling a Bret Hart match, here or at any other point, is WEIRD. That aside, this was a hell of a bout that I thought actually naturally progressed from matwork to brawling--the chairs and tables all made an impact without being overdone. Bruce and whichever other Hart brother were useless and I agree, they were going into business for themselves. In any event, this got really hot when they started battling over leg submissions, with a great near-fall that had me when Bret reversed the spinning toe hold into a small package. I'm not the biggest fan of the double-pin finish, but knowing Funk he probably insisted on putting Bret over and this was a good way for him to do that without the local hero being completely vanquished.

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From Funk's hometown on one of his multitude of retirement tours. So there was a very partisan atmosphere. They began with a period of matwork and I wondered if a Hart technical clinic was on the way. Instead Bret started heeling it up and then went to work on the leg. Much of the match had an 80's feel to it with the loose pacing. Terrence launched a comeback and it organically turned into more of a brawl. The no DQ rule was certainly utilised as chairs and outside interference came into play. Does anyone not hate Bruce Hart? He can fuck off and die.

 

Bret also sustained no small amount of leg damage. In the end the touring champ scrapes the win in a photo finish. The 80's can keep some things. Overall there was plenty to enjoy, and it was an ideal way for Funk to not bow out. It got me thinking how 70's/80's Funk vs 90's Bret would've been quite the treat.

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I wish I liked this more than I did. It's neat seeing Bret in this setting, and it was nice to see Funk go back to pre-crazy old man 70s style wrestling, but it showed why Funk switched to the hardcore stuff in the first place. I think the ECW presentation and Joey Styles probably knocked off a lot for me, since I'm not a fan of either things.

 

Terry+Funk+punches+Bret+Hart.gifTerry+Funk+puts+himself+through+a+table.

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Bret Hart vs Terry Funk - WrestleFest 9/11/97

One of the many Terry Funk Retirement Matches to happen throughout history and as with most Funk retirement matches it is absolutely awesome. I had never heard of this match until I joined PWO about 5 years ago. It has always been something that I really wanted to watch, but I always had something else to watch. Here at 1am in a hotel room after 14.5 hour manufacturing run, I decided this was the perfect time and damn any time would be a perfect time to watch this. In 1997, this was about as good as you could hope for with these two. Bret is one of the all-time great offensive wrestlers. I dont think there is any North American wrestler I would rather watch grind out a control segment than Bret Hart. Everything looks crisp and is interesting. Funk is naturally sympathetic as old hometown hero retiring, but add in his crazy charisma and this selling is top notch and then throw in a couple crazy Funk bumps to the floor and this was just great. 

Bret gets touted as a technical wizard by WWF machine but we all know that he is a better brawler/grinder. Here he actually shows he is pretty good at chain wrestling when it comes down to it. Funk was great working headlock control. I would have waited a bit longer for Bret to get frustrated before he showed his heel colors, but he went full heel early. Bret is great as an old school bruising heel. He does not give Funk a clean break. He targets the leg. Thumbs to the throat, jawing with the ref, choking, eye rakes. Great work on the leg. I mean just superb Bret work on the leg. Funk takes a couple great bumps to the outside. Bruce shamelessly tries to interject himself to get himself over. Bret seemed annoyed by his antics. There was a great part where Funk tries to use the jab to keep Bret at bay but never connects as Bret dodges and finds an opening to kick the bad wheel. Loved it! I loved Funk's first comeback. He starts throwing wild Funk punches from his knees and Bret starts punching him in the head. Funk absorbs gets up to his feet and absolutely LEVELS Bret with a left. They do a great standup where Funk levels Bret again with a left. Why did Bret have to go to WCW? He was in his prime right here. I loved how Funk earned this comeback and it was head shots that won him control. Funk has to play from behind so everything is big and to the head: neckbreaker and piledriver. Then he takes Bret to the outside to throw him into hard stuff. He gets distracted and Bret trips him up and it is the Figure-4 around the post. Someone needs to crib that spot. Bret goes back to work on the knee. Chair shots to the knee. Bret as a heel rules. Funk desperately punches Bret's knee from his ass. That is the story of this match. Funk's dogged determination against the Best North American Wrestler at this time. Funk wins control attacking the knee and wins a brawl on the outside. Again he goes for a Hail Mary but just ends up Vaderbombing himself through a table on the outside. Bret goes in for the kill. Enough fucking around, it is time to put Old Yeller down in front of his hometown fans. He goes for the Sharpshooter, inside cradle for two. Funk grabs the Spinning Toehold! Big pop! Bret escapes. Bret sells this so well! His use of the ropes to do clotheslines because he can barely stand is great. They go with ultimate old school, championship match finish. Funk Back Suplexes Bret and Bret lifts his shoulder up at two for the win. 

Funk is so old school and he wanted to go out on his back. He tried so hard in this match. Bret in his prime had to stretch the rules to gain the advantage over the old man. The old man was put in a hole, but he kept coming back with punches from his ass and his knees. But it looked like Bret was too good and then when Funk put himself through that table it looked like it was all over, but Funk had that one Hail Mary left and it was his old Spinning Toehold with that one move. Old Yeller took the Best North American Wrestler to the limit. It was only on a last second shoulder raise and Funk just being too old to properly bridge that cost him the match. The Old Man pushed The Champ to the limit, but just came up short even with the Champ taking shortcut after shortcut. Amazing. ****1/2

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