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Bret Hart v Diesel


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Bret Hart v Diesel - WWF Royal Rumble 1995


There are many examples out there of Bret carrying slugs to something good, but this is only barely good, and the layout is questionable. It's interesting to note the difference in the way guys like Flair and Shawn carry bigger guys to good matches -- they do it by bumping like pinballs, having their opponents shake off some of their own offense and by showing fear. Bret's approach is drastically different, which has its good points. Instead of bumping and running to create an artificial fast pace, Bret controls the offense and dominates the majority of the match. He's the one with the better offense, after all, and he builds anticipation to his opponent's comeback. Here, however, he is almost too dominant, and is wrestling on a wavelength so far above Diesel that it's obvious Big Kev can't hang.


It wouldn't be right to call that a total weakness, though, as watching Bret obliterate his larger rival is fun, and the stuff he does to keep the match moving in the right direction works very well. Tying Diesel's feet together around the ringpost, catching a hellacious tope suicida to the floor and repeatedly going for the figure four leglock do the job, and keep the match fun to watch in the meantime. The problem is that when Bret starts winning slugfests and going toe-to-toe with someone so much larger than him, it makes the size difference look unimportant, and I really don't think that's what Bret was going for. He cuts off most of Nash's comebacks before they even begin, and has no problem doing whatever he has to do to keep Nash down.


The overbooking was going to be a problem regardless, but the way the overbooking happened did manage to protect Nash if nothing else, since he was the one who first had the match won when Shawn interfered and worked over his leg. Bret works as the subtle heel here, even using a chair at one point and making Nash sympathetic, which is no small accomplishment. The problems start when the announcers point out that Bret isn't wise to enter a slugfest with Diesel, and he wins the slugfest thereafter anyway. The problems continue when Owen runs in and exposes the top turnbuckle, and instead of giving Diesel that one spot of retribution, Bret is the one who runs Diesel's head into the metal buckle, and at that point, the match sort of falls apart, even though it was already ass-backwards.


Nash's selling actually isn't half-bad, because he does his part to make Bret's stuff look convincing. He does occasionally switch legs when he's selling, and he goes into the problem of performing moves normally and then selling hard afterwards at times, but overall, he gets the point across that Bret is kicking his ass and he needs to figure out a way to come back. Diesel saving Bret after the match and the two hugging makes him out to be the nicer guy at least, but the reason he got over the year prior in the first place was that he had a raw killer instinct, and immediately after winning the title, he was kissing babies. They'd later do the same thing to Shawn Michaels, and it would limit his ability to get over as well.


If the WWF was the type of company to book based on hierarchy, I'd have much less problem with this match. We did get a Bret/Diesel rematch, but not for 10 months, and by that time, Diesel was a lame duck champion. Bret dominating Diesel, considering that he's the better wrestler with more experience, in that environment, sold that way, would make Diesel a better champion and a tougher guy who grew into the role just for surviving Bret's onslaught. As it stands, there was nothing learned, taken or changed from this, so all you're left with in the end is a Bret Hart who's doing everything he can to not let a match get boring, wrestling an opponent who needs all the help he can get to even be passable.

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Guest Bruiser Chong

This was such an overbooked mess. I remember watching it live on PPV. This was back when we still had some family over to watch the PPVs. For some reason, I was able to call a lot of stuff happening before it actually did. Case in point, the two false finishes with the subsequent, "this match must continue" spiel. It was funny, because everyone was so ready for the match to end that they got upset with me after my predictions became reality, as if I had restarted the match myself.

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