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Superstar Sleeze

[1989-03-08-WWF-Primetime Wrestling] Ted DiBiase vs Bret Hart

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Bret Hart vs Ted DiBiasie - 3/89 Wrestling Challenge

This felt like a NWA Touring title defense. As I have pointed out in the past, due to the compressed nature of the WWF style, each segment is shorter. This match had the feel that Bret was a plucky challenger and Ted the dominant champ rather than equals. Bret spent most of 1989 in singles action. Dont be fooled by the PPV tag team matches in 1989. When Bret was on the road, this was a test drive for his 1991 singles push. Vince saw something early with Bret, but this maybe Vince's greatest push because he did such a great job with the slow burn. DiBiase was on his way down, but was still a big deal and he just fashioned the Million Dollar Championship. Yet, this match went to a double countout thats a big deal. 

Bret starts off red hot and is looking to get DiBiase off balance early. He goes for a lot of big moves early thinking that this was his best chance to beat DiBiase was to catch him unawares early with Russian Legsweep, atomic drop, crossbody, small package. DiBiase, visibly flustered, takes a powder twice to collect himself and break Bret's momentum. I really liked the shine. Eventually DiBiase moves out the way and Bret does his crossbody of the ropes spot that always looks nasty and Bret milks it for all its worth. Great transition to heat and a great staple of Bret's stock bumps. DiBiase works his heat segment well pressing his advantage and showing his confident demeanor as the Million Dollar Champion. DiBiase even hit a elbow off the second rope that is more rare than a Flair success off the top rope. Ted delivers a fist drop and a vertical suplex gets 2. Bret gets his own vertical suplex, which is a good hope spot. DiBiase hits a belly to back suplex to quash that. A DiBiase backbreaker gets two; Bret grabs a small package for two again. It feels like DiBiase is in control, but Bret is not going away. I loved all the cradles. DiBiase gets another fist drop and he works an active chinlock. Double clothesline sends both men to the mat. Bret gets a press slam off the top. I feel at home, now. Bret executes his backbreaker/elbow combo for 2. Bret high knees the turnbuckle. Thus DiBiase goes to work over it with the Spinning Toehold inevitable he gets kicked off to the outside so Bret follows him out with a plancha. Slugfest ensues and a double countout results. Bret actually gets the better of Ted in the post-match antics, which indicates that Vince definitely had confidence in him.

I think this is DiBiase's best match in WWF better than the Savage matches. There was some really great action here and an excellent story told by both men. Each man played their parts well as DiBiase looked so self-assured and Bret plays such a great, plucky face in peril. The finish sequence was beautiful as everything logically connected. ****

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Had no clue this incarnation of Bret vs. DiBiase even happened until I stumbled across this thread a couple of nights ago and this match kicked ass. It would be one thing if they just kinda sleepwalked through it, they could get away with that and it'd still be great but they put forth an insane amount of effort for what basically was a throwaway TV match. I dug DiBiase using the spinning toehold and him taking almost the same bump over the top to the floor that he did in the Flair match from four years earlier. I like the comparison to a touring NWA Title match and  I agree that this is probably Ted's best WWF match, it was a wonderful bit of wrestling television. ****1/4

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Starts off with Bret catching cocky Ted off guard with some big moves, including an amazing Russian Leg Swep before DiBiase leaves the ring to regroup in frustration. Bret misses a crossbody on the ropes and DiBiase starts a beautiful heat segment, cramming so much in it; big moves, trash talk, pace changes and pinpoint strikes. Hart has simple but well timed hope spots in the form of a coupe of small packages. Hart is about to gain the upper hand by escaping a Sleepr Hold when DiBiase cuts him off with a hair pull. Virgil helps DiBiase by distracting the referee so he can apply a blatant choke. After a double clothesline, Ted gets caught going to the top rope and takes the Flair bump; a slugfest follows and Million Dollar Man is now begging Hart to stop. Bret hits the second rope elbow for a two count before missing a high knee and hitting the top turnbuckle in the process. DiBiase punishes that knee with a Spinning Toe Hold before Bret kicks him off sending him over the top rope and capitalizing with a Vaulting Body Press. The eventual punch exchange outside the ring leads to a double countout. Bret chases Virgil around, but instead of hitting him realizes Ted is sneaking on him and turns around to blast him. The heels retreat with their tails between their legs. This match had a little bit of everything in fun and entertaining story, don’t miss out on it. ****1/4

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