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[1986-02-17-WWF-MSG, NY] Hart Foundation vs Killer Bees

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The Hart Foundation seemed to have cracked the code for having great tag matches in the WWF environment. Rather than an interminable heel in peril segment followed by face in peril, they work a more abbreviated heel in peril followed by a double-FIP heat segment with Bret invariably cutting off the first hot tag with a knee to the lower back in the ropes. Along with referee leniency allowing liberal run-ins from both sides, it gives their best matches the feel of a high-end Japanese tag rather than a high-end Southern tag. In the beginning, none of Brunzell's holds or strikes faze Neidhart, so he has to catch the big guy off guard with a drop toehold. From there, the Bees go to work on Neidhart's legs. The tide turns when Bret crushes Blair's windpipe with a leg drop while he has Neidhart in a figure four. The work on Blair is nothing to write home about, but the subsequent work on Brunzell is out of this world. It's not quite Can-Ams vs. Kobashi/Kikuchi-level punishment, but it's about as close as you'll get in this company during this period. The goal, of course, is to build anticipation for Brunzell's dropkick, and it's a thing of beauty when it happens. I've been hard on Neidhart in the past, but he was a net positive contributor to this match. His best work was as the illegal man providing well-timed interference. Blair has some nice punches off the hot tag, and there's a pretty insane series of nearfalls down the stretch. I actually didn't know the outcome going in, so the finish took me by surprise. Also, I had forgotten that time limits were still a thing in the WWF at this point.

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