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Grimmas

The Hart Foundation

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Excellent run as heels, honing their craft through 1985-86. Quality outings with the British Bulldogs, Killer Bees, The Rougeaus, Islanders and even their squash matches, which I went back and watched a truckload of, were a good watch.

 

They won the Tags at the right time, as they really understood their heel role well, with subtle cheating moments and Jimmy Hart being an annoying mosquito buzzing around ringside. Yet more great matches ensued during the Tag run, but also after losing the belts. Being faces didn't hurt them at all either, which is a huge plus from me.

 

Taking on the now Fabulous Rougeaus, Demolition, Brain Busters, Power And Glory, The Rockers and a one time only encounter with the Legion Of Doom, I continued to enjoy their stuff.

 

Heel, face, challengers or champions, in a huge 6 year run as a team, they always stood out on any card they were on. For me, they are the best I've seen in my time as a fan.

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Neidhart was underrated in their first big run. He stunk later, but he added to the dynamic for sure early on.

 

I forget how many teams we're ranking here, but they'd have a real shot at a Top 25 for sure. Maybe higher.

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Yeah, I don't get the anti-Harts attitude. It might be a Pandora's Box to open, but would they be more appreciated by the "smart" fans, if they hadn't been in the WWF, and had worked in Memphis, Mid-South or Crockett instead? I get the "WWF tag scene was overrated and the company unfairly overshadows some brilliant promotions", but the WWF wasn't a big pile of crap, and if people are really down on The Pink n' Black Attack, that would make me feel The Hart Foundation is a pretty under rated tag team... Could see them as high as my top 10.

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For the sake of argument, I'd challenge you to go back and review a bunch of Hart Foundation matches against a variety of opponents to see how they aged.

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Will do. I have recently seen them against The Brainbusters and The Bulldogs and really enjoyed those matches. And I know I liked The Hart's performance against Demolition and The Nasty Boys, even if the matches didn't blow me away. But I'll have another look at them to see. I do have a feeling though, that some rank them lower than they might deserve for contrarian reasons, and that I rank them higher than they deserve for contrarian to the contrarian reasons :-) ... But I'll have another look at them.

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OK, Matt D... Rewatched a bunch of Hart Foundation per your challenge... And I think the issue is, they still feel like a top 10 team to me. But I came to the same conclusion I've done with others (definetely in the singles section): I have more than 10 "locks" for my top 10... So there will be surefire top 10 teams and wrestlers placed at 15, and maybe even 20 :-) :-) :-) ... Loving most wrestling pre-2000, and some post, has just never really forced me to actually rank the workers before, except for in more closed off votes (favorite team of 1990, favorite WWF 80's cartoony character, favorite AWA tag team etc.), so this is damn more challenging than I initially took it for... But the lists are shaping up slowly, but steadily. And I will for sure have The Funks, Kawada/Taue, Misawa/Kawada, Arn & Tully, The Rock n' Roll Express, The Midnight Express (definetely the Condrey/Eaton version), the original Freebirds and a couple of others ahead of The Hart Foundation... and that annoys the hell out of me, but there it is :-) ...

 

For the matches (I won't do full match reviews and ratings here, that will just make this post even more ridiculously long...): I was confirmed that I liked them better as heels, but not by as much as I used to think...

 

There was a good match against the face Rougeau Brothers form sep 86 (Yes, I like the Rougeaus, and yes I prefer them as heels as well...). The Hart's did good heel work against them, and I think Neidhart carried his load in the beginning.

 

I liked their matches against The Killer Bees (liked the mar 87 one more than the Saturday Night's Main Event), but I'll never really get into the Bees.

 

They had good matches against The Young Stallions and Strike Force. Pretty basic structure, but very enjoyable.

 

And then The Bulldogs matches. See, they haven't aged as well as I would have hoped for, but I really did enjoy that combination, and as was discussed in the Bret Hart thread, there is a lot of truth to the statement, that his matches get better and better, when he gets the chance to work, and rework, and work again with the same guys, so they can map out the matches. It's a little tedious if you watch an entire series of his matches against someone, but it's interesting if you want to study the slow and steady evolution of the in-ring work they do. Sort of like watching the same play in the theatre on a number of different nights. Opening night is filled with nerves, and can be intense, but it's rarely the best show of the entire run. Let the players settle in to their parts, and often that's when the magic happens. So if I was just looking for one good match in a Bret series, I'd usually go for one of the latter ones (case in point, the matches against Curt Hennig).

 

That was their work as heels. My preferred Hart Foundation. And no, they hadn't aged quite as well as hoped for. I still really dug them though. But their face work, which I wasn't quite as keen on... I was actually pleasently surprised... Masterclass in outstanding wrestling? Not a lot. Fun? To my surprise, yes...

 

Obviously the once forgotten, but now often mentioned matches against The Rockers are really cool. I really like the 11/25/89 match. It does have the shittiest duo on commentary ever in Gorilla (a guy I don't care if people are down on, I love him!) and Hillbilly Jim. Man, they suck ass. They're fun in a stupid way, but they're not good... Loved the match though.

 

The other obvious one is SummerSlam 89 against The Brainbusters. I know it's been talked down a bit over the years, but I feel that's more to do with the fact that it was rated so high to begin with, and when some claimed it one of the greatest tag matches ever, it sent a lot of people onto the barricades armed with a shitload of stuff most people hadn't seen back then. Sure, there's many tag matches that are objectively better. But that doesn't mean this one isn't great. Just means we're blessed with many awesome matches. I love this one. And I will have both these teams in my top 25 (Arn & Tully above The Harts, but I'm sticking to my guns: The Harts are in...)

 

The SummerSlam 90 match against Demolition I used to really dislike. And I think that helped this watching. My expectations were very low. I was entertained. Neidhart has pretty much checked out, but I never thought I'd see semi-decent performances from Demolition-Crush and from Smash. 5-star match? Hell no! But I completely underrated this match, and Bret's performance, earlier.

 

WM7 against The Nasty Boys I really, really liked. Anvil is still not mentally present. And it's more or less a push for the upcoming Bret singles run. It works, it's fun. I love all kinds of wrestling, and most settings, and usually I totally dig a big arena feel, but somehow I would have loved to see this excact match set in some small, dingy arena, where The Nasty's could actually feel nasty. But it still works for me. The kind of match I would rewatch just for a fun passtime.

 

And then the one, big WTF... I have always hated their WM5 match against the fucked up team of Honky and Hammer, Rhythm n' Blues... Honky is one of my least favorite guys of all time (he made me hate him, so he worked as a heel! ... But I still hated him...) and Valentine (who I love!) was apparently taking some time off... But fuck it... I liked this match when rewatching it... Honky sucks, but is hateable in the match. Hammer is nowhere near his peak (nor his later work), but there's shades of good Valentine here, and it is easily one of his two or three best Rn'B performances (not saying much, I know). I generally like Bret's selling (I know some don't, but it always got me), and they do a good mix of offense, selling and playing dirty even though they've turned. This is not a masterpiece, but it was surprisingly good.

 

So all in all: I cooled a little bit on their earlier heel work, which I used to absolutely love. But to my surprise I warmed a bit to their later work. In-ring that was all Bret though, but I like him so that makes sense. They are not top 5. They're still on my list.

 

Thanks for the motivation to dig back into the big box of pink n' black attack, Matt :-)

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I think the Hart Foundation are a weird team. They are good, but about as formula as it gets. As faces Bret's sternum bump set up the heat. As heels Bret's sternum bump set up the come back.

 

I've seen them have really good matches with Bulldogs, Killer Bees, Demolition. I've also seen them have boring matches with the same teams.

 

I have watched a lot of Hart Foundation matches . Tons of house show footage along with ppv's.

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I'm doing a one night viewing project tonight because the wife is doing an overnight pet sit watching a demon schnauzer. Since I hold out an insane desire to be accepted, I may be able to actually get a list of 25 tag teams together if I actually buckle down and put some damn effort. So tonight, I go through the tag teams in order of last posts and do a write up of one match per team selected almost randomly. Does anyone care? NO! But it is happening anyway Jack.

 

Hart Foundation vs. Strike Force from WWF Superstars Nov 7th, 1987

 

This is the end of the Harts first tag team title reign and while we can look at the work on a individual level and say, "Hey, this is pretty good" I find it telling that there is a lack of a memorable third act to make it really come alive. We have to look at the Harts and consider what made them formidable in the first place and how does Strike Force overcome those obstacles to become champions. In my opinion, The Foundation was built around cheap shots and this match bears that out as they transition to the heat work off a knee from the apron and most of their offense is based off attacks from the guy not in the ring legally. That's not a bad thing to build around but in the end, Strike Force simply comes back and wins. There is no sense of them overcoming the odds in anyway individualized to the Hart's tactics and so it comes off as very generic and not exceptionally memorable. A miscommunication spot from the Harts or Strike Force doing a 'cheap shot' of their own would have been much more effective in my opinion.

 

All in all, The Harts come off as though they are reading from the Heel's Handbook of Tag Team Wrestling and don't feel very special despite losing their tag team belts. The cheap shots have a nice appeal but Bret and Jim didn't feel nearly enough satisfied with themselves here to make it more enjoyable when they failed. Based on this performance, I would not rank them in the top 25 tag teams of all time.

 

And yes, Bret takes the sternum bump to set up the hot tag.

 

Notes in Spoilers

 

- I personally prefer Heel Foundation before Anvil got pregnant and they became faces.

- Hitman brawls to start

-Rick and BRet go super fast on an early exchange to play up the speed angle from the announcers, Rick nails a dropkcik

- double team elbow from Froce, standard arm bar face shine

- Roll up counter, Jim misses elbow and

- nice exchange between Jim and Tito before Bret cheap shots from apron knee

- Odd stuff going on in the ropes

- HArts cheapshot artists

- Tito in peril

- cheap shots continue eith Anvil getting the ref and Martel while Bret does damage

- do the standard facelock spot but Bret knocks Rick off the apron

- Decapitation elbow for 2

- Bret misses elbow drop but cuts Tito off

- corner choking draws in Rick for your standard spots

- Tito transitions with the sternum bump

- Rick house of fire toe to toe with Anvil

- corner bodypress gets two

- SF double slam, Boston crab... submission new tag champs

 

 

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I like the Harts in many ways, and like Neidhart in particular more than most, but I just don't see it. I'd be curious to see what their biggest fans think puts them above teams like MNM or Londrick to take 2 examples of very good teams who aren't revered to the degree the Harts are.

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Dylan: For my part, some of it is definetely down to what type of wrestling, what style and partially what era. Most of what I've seen of MNM and Londrick has been fine. But none of it really excited me. But I will definetely give them a second look, if there's anything in particular you'd recommend?

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