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tiger_rick

Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

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Quite possibly the best and most perfectly presented match in the history of the WWF/E is 20 years old on Thursday. There are probably members on here who weren't born when this match happened but it still feels a "couple of years ago" to me.

 

It's astonshing that this match came about at all given it was never really the plan until weeks before when Michaels had his latest hissy fit. In the midst of a poor drawing Mania and with little semblance of a plan to combat WCW's dominance in the ratings battle comes this beautiful match with a stunning finish that sets up an incredible heel turn, a summer long cross border war and straps a rocket to the back of the biggest draw in wrestling. The visuals from the match absolutely defined the attitude era and sold a gazillion video tapes.

 

The match itself is fantastic. Utterly flawless. I think these two had the best chemistry of any two wrestlers I ever saw. This is seven stars (fuck Kenny Powers). The match at Survivor Series is Six and nine tenths.

 

WCW destroyed them in 1997. They won the ratings battle every single week. Fucking Uncensored outgrew WrestleMania. Starrcade mullered them. But it was never as interesting on a weekly basis with it's formulaic, nWo-centric shite. Nor, for all the name talent they had, could they produce anything remotely close to this match or the Taker/Michaels Hell in a Cell that's also magnificent. They just weren't in the same league, good as Rey/Eddie at Halloween Havoc is for that style of match.

 

20 years though. I feel ancient.

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My Dad, my brother and myself stayed up and watched that one. You got a sense as it was happening it was a special match. It was full on. I know its one of the lowest drawing Mania's ever, but if I had to pay for that PPV, I definitely would have after the go home episode of Raw leading into it. The Raw from March 17th and the Austin vs Hart match was when WWF overtook WCW for me. Maybe even slightly before that, with the Final Four blinder. Either way, they really turned it up around that period.

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It's up on Dailymotion with Austin doing commentary over it. It's great.
 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ap2si_stone-cold-vs-bret-hart-wrestlemania-13-with-austin-s-commentary_sport

 

Pretty sure this was the first PPV I was allowed to stay up for, all the ones prior I'd been relying on my Dad to record or have to wait watch the dreaded daytime replay. The Wrestlemania 12 Ironman match was torture with ad breaks.
 

Edited by Benno
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For me the mark of a great piece of art, book or movie is that it gets better the more you see or watch it, and you can see something new in it as time goes on.

 

This match is one of the few I think of the same way. Rick's right, it's probably the best match ever done. Having watched it quite recently, I don't even reckon any others have come close. Michaels against Taker in the HIAC or Austin against Rock at WM17 maybe. Or acouple of Japanese matches. But I can't say any have been as good as Bret vs Austin.

 

20 years ago though.

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It is the greatest WWF match in history IMO. A perfect blend of high action mixed with some of the best storytelling you're ever likely to see.

 

Bret/Austin were made for each other and if their Survivor Series match didn't convince anyone of how great they were together (it should have of course, it's a classic on its own), this sure did. It's even more interesting when you watch both matches back to back too tbh. SS is more of a 'technical' bout, where WM was all about two blokes doing anything they could to ultimately win, any way they could.

 

Not sure if it was Bret or Austin, or both, that came up with the decision to blade, but I'm glad they did as the ending visual is as good as it's gets. Bret was equally fantastic in his offense and how he sold the turn at the end.

 

Shout out to Shamrock as the ref as he added his own character to the match and was also pivotal in the post match too.

 

A worldwide wrestling classic that I'll be watching again on Thursday. I was 16 at the time and Bret was my favourite wrestler and I loved the whole Austin feud. It was perfect for both and Austin esp came out of it looking like a made man.

Edited by zep81
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Probably my fave ever match - with perfect/hart from ss91 second. Complete artform this match, Bret did a grand job of getting Steve over! Steve always speaks so highly of him and you can see why! 97 Bret was king! Steve played his part too in being that horrible heal who wouldn't let it drop with Bret! I honestly thought these two hated each other at the time...well, I was 13....

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In my opinion the great match of all time. Blistering hot feud, neither had given an inch in the lead up so one of them had to break. Both started equal but when it was over one man had his arm raised the other was knocked out face down in a pool of his own blood. It was a masterpiece.

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It's an incredible match. A 2 hour comp of the Survivors match then highlights of the important stuff in between and finishing with this match would be a great way to show a non-fan how wrestling is supposed to look.

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It's just brilliant isn't it? I was gobsmacked by the finish, I'd never seen anything so brilliant as having the loser pass out, fighting all the way. Superb booking executed perfectly.

 

And if you haven't heard it do listen to Austin's commentary linked above. For a guy that complains about his memory he is razor sharp at recalling why the match unfolds the way it does. Should be required listening for aspiring talent.

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Pretty sure this was the first PPV I was allowed to stay up for, all the ones prior I'd been relying on my Dad to record or have to wait watch the dreaded daytime replay. The Wrestlemania 12 Ironman match was torture with ad breaks.

 

 

That was torture without the ad breaks.

 

Add me to the 'watched live' list, a stunning match. One that you could feel at the time was going to lead to something special.

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Chalk me up as another person who has this top of their list. The drama, the intensity, the hatred. Like any truly great match you could suspend your disbelief entirely as Austin and Bret scratched and clawed their way to victory. If Omega vs Okada is 6 stars then this is a fucking constellation.

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That was an excellent read. Thanks for sharing.

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