Defrost Reviews – Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart


Kicking legs out from under legs in this edition of the DRS2EBRaSAGG. This time we will rock you like a hurricane as we go back to the year 1994 in the World Wrestling Federation and take a look its top feud. That was the year brother would square off with brother. Owen felt he was stuck in his brother’s shadow. Then Bret blew their shot at the tag belts. The temerity. So onto confrontation it had become.

Wrestlemania X (Madison Square Garden)
Bret Hart vs Owen Hart

Summerslam 1994 (United Center)
World Wrestling Federation Championship/Steel Cage Match
WWF Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart vs Owen Hart

Action Zone 10/23/94 (Westchester County Civic Center)
World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart vs Owen Hart

There is an obvious difference with one of these three matches. While the cage match gimmick does make the match very different from the other two there is an interesting similarity with the Wrestlemania match. One thing that strikes are the finishes. Now you may ask how can the finishes be at all similar when WWF Big Blue Cage matches required you to flee the ring and at Wrestlemania the finish was a pinfall.

It is very simple. Near the very end of the match at Wrestlemania Owen Hart puts Bret in his own finisher the Sharpshooter. Bret reverses it but Owen gets to the ropes. They immediately then go to the blocked Victory Roll for the finish. In the cage match Owen again puts Bret in the Sharpshooter. Bret again reverses it. Then they go to the finish which is the exact finish of the Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels cage match from an earlier edition of DRS2EBRaSAGG.

The story of the first match is that Bret is the better wrestler. Even as Owen declares victory over minor things, such as kipping up out of a head scissor, Bret is consistently one step ahead of their early mat wrestling until he sends Owen to the outside and Owen, furious, rushes in and slaps Bret. That is the first of many shortcuts Owen takes to stay with his technically superior brother. There is a lot of hair pulling for instance. Owen’s way out of the Sharpshooter is pulling Bret by his hair as a matter of fact while late in the match Bret reverses his way out of the Sharpshooter and puts it on Owen too close to the ropes for the win. However, there is foreshadowing toward the finish in the match. It is not as if Bret slips on the proverbial banana peel and his loss means nothing.

One standout spot is Owen reversing his way out of the German Suplex spot from the Summerslam 1992 main event. In that match Bulldog tried to suplex Bret from the apron into the ring. Bret floated over and nailed a picture perfect bridging German Suplex. At Wrestlemania X Owen tries to suplex Bret in, but Bret floats over and grabs the waist lock. Instead of getting the German Owen performs a standing switch and hits a perfect German Suplex of his own. Now this shows Owen is aware of former Bret matches. Perhaps even the final of the 1993 King of the Ring where Bret beat Bam Bam Bigelow with a Victory Roll.

The Action Zone match starts off exactly like Wrestlemania X which led us at DRS2EBRaSAGG HQ to suspect a Pillman/Liger on Nitro situation in that it is a miniature lesser version of a famous earlier match. Instead Owen grabs a chinlock that lasts the entire middle portion of the match and really bored the crowd and us here at DRS2EBRaSAGG HQ. Coming off of that Owen does the exact same sequence of moves working over Bret’s leg as he did at Mania. I mean the exact same down to the placement of where Bret is standing in the ring. In both of those matches Bret is Dragon Screwed out of the corner and put into a Figure Four Leg Lock. In the Mania match the leg work makes perfect sense. His knee was ravaged at The Royal Rumble and when he came down wrong on the pescado he reinjured it and Owen went to work on the leg he kicked out of his leg to turn heel in the first place. That coupled with Bret’s perfect selling made the leg work in that match pitch perfect.

Bret’s selling was not perfect in this nor was the story telling. It was easy to understand the story of the leg at Mania whereas it took rereading of the notes to even remember why Bret’s leg was getting worked over at all. Then there is the finish. Owen gets crotched on the top rope by Bulldog and immediately pinned. No one ever loses after getting crotched and that is not even taking into consideration the 9,000 times it happened at Summerslam and was never a finish. The Action Zone match is by far the weakest of the three reviewed here.

The Big Blue Cage era of the WWF did not offer up many great matches compared to the NWA, and that is not a dig at Hulk Hogan in comparison to Ric Flair. As a matter of fact two of the best Big Blue Cage matches were Hogan vs Big Boss Man and Hogan vs Paul Orndorf. It is just that the escape the cage rules were always sorta weird and far too conducive to contrivances and at that time in WWF history blading was forbidden. The Bret Hart vs Owen Hart match at Summerslam 1994 is the best Big Blue Cage match of all time. That is why it is rated higher than the Wrestlemania X match in the opinion of DRS2EBRaSAGG even considering how great the Wrestlemania match is.

As mentioned in an earlier review of a Wrestlemania X match, we here at DRS2EBRaSAGG HQ do not like contrivances in our matches. That is why Shawn vs Razor gets ***** and that is why Bret vs Owen gets *****. It is all about getting to a point where you can escape. Not only that but they have brilliantly dramatic sequences fighting each other perched on the top rope. And that is not only because of the famous superplex spot which, truth be told, can actually be found in the earlier and aforementioned Hulk Hogan vs Big Boss Man cage match.

The match starts in a different way than the other two. Owen waylays Bret as he gets into the cage. Then they go back and forth including the best work using the door ever seen in one of these. The back and forth trying to desperately dive out and trying to desperately keep the other guy in including some awesome finger biting by Owen. Just the best possible way to work this match. Plus there was little to no using of the cage as a weapon. No throwing your opponent into it, and it goes a long time. Over a half hour. Damned impressive.

Now for some random thoughts. That spot where one guy comes off the ropes and the two wrestlers crack skulls is insanely popular. Not a review goes by without that spot it seems. The United Center looked awesome as a wrestling venue and wrestling needs to be in the round enough of the overly elaborate sets taking one entire side. Todd Pettengill sucked. Whenever Bret went for a regular elbow drop instead of a forearm drop off the second rope you know he’s missing. Chinlocks suck.

Results and Ratings

Wrestlemania X
Owen Hart defeated Bret Hart via pinfall at 20:21 after blocking a victory roll
Star Rating: ****1/2

Summerslam 1994
WWF Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart via escaping the cage at 32:08. Bret Hart retained the World Wrestling Federation Championship
Star Rating: *****

Action Zone 10/23/94
WWF Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart via pinfall at 15:00 after Bulldog crotched Owen on the top rope. Bret Hart retained the World Wrestling Federation Championship
Star Rating: **3/4

Average Star Rating: ****

That is all for the brother vs brother edition of DRS2EBRaSAGG. Next up we have a special treat as we review a gigantic 10 matches. More matches than have ever been reviewed here at DRS2EBRaSAGG. It will be a titanic undertaking and hopefully a boat will not be needed here at DRS2EBRaSAGG HQ to do it. Next Time: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yuji Nagata