This was an exhaustive look at Bret Hart’s decorative career. He articulated the stories exactly how he witnessed them. Whether you agreed with his viewpoints or do not, he narrated his story in a lucid manner. Hart added in tons of little details, creating a detailed envision for the viewers. Although, his egocentric attitudes on some things becomes somewhat annoying. He was one of the best wrestlers ever but could come off a little condescending at times. Almost everyone reading has heard all of these stories before, but this was still an informative documentary at its time. Hart is also one of my favorite wrestlers ever, so I love hearing him talk about his in-ring work. He truly had a great mind for wrestling in terms of putting a match together.
Bret Hart (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Ricky Steamboat (3/8/86)
Analysis: Steamboat and Hart’s selling capabilities were off the charts, as their reaction time to move was seamlessly on point, and their head movements from selling a punch or strike were awesome, as well. These two demonstrated why selling is so important; how it can invest the fans into something despite having zero importance or build around it. Selling can also make moves more evocative; a babyface garner sympathy from the crowd and a heel get more heat. In addition, it makes it easier for the fans to be invested into the action. All those aforementioned things were demonstrated in this match.
This was put in a position where it was not supposed to be much of anything, but the smart components and realistic psychology helped this overachieve. This could have been even better if Bret Hart was more established and the contest was treated more like a big deal. *** ¾
Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) vs. Bret Hart (3/8/89)
Analysis: DiBiase’s best work came prior to WWE, but this shows how excellent he could be in the ring. He dictated the pace during the heat segments so amazingly. While he methodically worked over Bret for a long time, it was never boring because of how calculating it was.
Additionally, he made sure it was not all about about him. The story wasn’t about him dominating when he was on offense. It was, more so, about Hart enduring a calculating beating. DiBiase used physical responses to subtly articulate that. He expressed anger when Hart kicked out of his pin-falls by pounding the mat, yelling at the referee, and yelling at the crowd.
Moreover, he conveyed his anger by grunting about not being able to put Hart away and made it clear he was becoming tired from using gassed facial expressions, slowing down his movements, and grimacing in pain from using his back too much. The crowd picked it and were eager for Hart’s comeback, because of Ted selling it so effectively.
Sadly, Hart’s comeback was only momentary, because this had rushed finish attached to it and didn’t allow Bret to dish out needed comeuppance on DiBiase, causing the story they were developing not culminate properly.
It needed to protect both wrestlers, though the finish was too lazy and cut off the entire boom- boom-boom portion of the match. Still , this had some of the best “pusillanimous/arrogant heel vs. the resilient/sympathetic babyface” work I have ever seen. **** ¼
The Hart Foundation vs. The Rockers (4/28/90)
Analysis: This had an accelerating pace to it, fluently executed back-and-forth exchanges and sequences. They were on the same page throughout, and they did not miss a beat while doing some athletic and onerous sequences. They stayed true to their characters and did not sacrifice psychology or stop selling to have a rapid-fired pace. It is refreshing to see a match where you do not have a clue what will happen next. The wrestlers made sure they would give the fans their money’s worth, regardless only having a small amount of time to do so. *** ¾
IC Championship: Mr. Perfect (c) vs. Bret Hart (Summerslam ’91)
Analysis: This began with an interesting ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ story, which allowed them to show off their technical work. Hart, like a babyface should, came off superior in the exchanges and that caused Perfect to resort to using cheap maneuvers to regain the advantage. The story continued to escalate thanks to their smart usages of transitions.
They also kept tricking the fans by using cliché moments to their advantage, like they’d do a spot where a babyface typically makes a full-comeback but instead had the heel cut-off the comeback and remain in control. Hart portrayed a smart display of psychology on offense, with every big move he delivered was done to weaken Perfect’s back for the Sharpshooter and did them at realistic times. This could have been better with a more dramatic finish, but all in all, this was terrific stuff. **** 1/4
WWF Tag Team Championship: Hart Foundation (c) vs. Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart) (Wrestlemania 7)
Analysis: This was one of the better Nasty Boy non-gimmick matches. They kept it simple by using the standard tag-team formula and also threw in some curve balls along the way, which was enough to bump this to a *** rating.
IC Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. Davey Boy Smith (Summerslam ’92)
Analysis: Bret used his technical skills to try to win, though Bulldog fought back by using his power game. Hart teased a heel turn, resorting to cheap and uncharacteristic tactics. His execution and positioning were so on point, but Davey botched a few spots and was out of position a couple of times. If Davey Boy was not drugged out of his mind here, this could have been even better and that is scary to think about. The real emotion in this created intense drama and had all of the 80,000 fans in the arena on the edge of their seats. This was one of the most monumental atmospheres ever and was also one of the biggest feel-good moments in wrestling history. **** 1/2
Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (4/24/93)
Analysis: That was fun, to be honest. Hart was a master at adjusting to other’s styles. He played an opportunist by using his speed and agility to counter Bam Bam’s power game. Bam Bam was one of the better big wrestlers ever, and I wish he had more opportunities to show it. *** 1/4
Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart (King of the Ring 1993)
Analysis: This was a classical and competitive match. The chief story was Bret Hart’s the better in-ring technician, so Mr. Perfect had to stoop down to an low level tactics. This match was so crisp and smooth; all of the moves, holds, spots, and sequences were executed so well. They put all the moves in logical places and that made this such a realistic and a believable contest, coherently integrated as well as telling a lucid story. Both were masters of in-ring psychology. **** ½