by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 8: New Horizons
After their WWF Tag Team Title victory at SummerSlam '90, the Harts would go on to an eight month reign as champions. A controversy arose, however, during that reign as The Rockers defeated the Harts for the belts in October in a two out of three fall match at Madison Square Garden in New York. The controversy came five days later when then WWF President Jack Tunney ordered the decision to be overturned and the titles be returned to the Harts because during the third fall, the top rope strand broke and cause uneven ground for both teams. In that time, The Rockers had already defended the title about six or seven times. What would've happened if they would've lost the belt?!! Ah, well. The bottom line was that the title change was treated like it never happened. No mention of it was ever made on TV either. The Harts, in essence, are actually three time WWF Tag Team Champs if you really think about it!
Anyway, the Harts lost the titles for the final time at WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles in a screwjob to the Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs/Jerry Sags), who were managed by Jimmy Hart. After that bout, The Harts had a "dark match" with The Legion Of Doom to decide the number one contenders to the Harts (Yes, this match did happen and their is a WWF SuperTape Volume from 1991 that can prove it!!). The Harts actually dominated most of the match until Bret tried a flying bodypress on Animal. Animal caught him and turned it into a powerslam for the pin and the number one contenders spot!!! All four men, however, left the ring together in a show of sportsmanship (a rare thing these days).
After that match, the Harts came back for one more shot at the title during the summer of 1991. The defeated the Nasties by DQ in Madison Square Garden but did not get the belts. After that match, Bret decided to concentrate on then-WWF Intercontiental Champion Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig. A new horizon had begun for Bret Hart.
Part 9: The Intercontinental Days
After The Hart Foundation ran its course, Bret resumed his singles career again in the summer of 1991 as he campained for a shot at Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig for the WWF Intercontiental Title at SummerSlam '91 at Madison Square Garden. He was granted that shot as August 26, 1991 would turn out to be a historic date for the "HitMan." In the weeks prior to the match, Bret showed a variety of moves and manuvears but was searching for a finisher. One week, he used a running clothesline to finish his opponent. Another week, he used a very effective piledriver. Finally, he settled on the leglock/boston crab as his finisher and dubbed it the "sharpshooter" (known to WCW fans as the "scorpion deathlock").
Then came the match. The match was a see saw match up all the way through. Reports earlier in the night stated that Hennig was coming into this match with an injured lower back so it is amazing that he was able to compete at all and at the level he did!!! Still, this is not meant to take anything away from Bret's victory but to show that Hennig (despite having a scum's character) showed some guts that night. The back injuries, however, were apparent as he submitted almost immediately to the "sharpshooter." Another interesting note was that Bret hooked the hold on his back from the canvas before flipping over to complete the hold!!!
Over the next six months, Bret defended his first singles title in years with pride. At first, however, the contenders were nothing to speak highly about. I mean, guys like The Berserker and The Warlord, while powerful, can be had by a guy with Bret's skill level. So, Bret asked for better opponents. What he got was The Mountie (Jacques Rougeaoe), Ted "Million Dollar Man" Dibiase, and Ric Flair!!! He wrestled brilliantly against these men. Once, he even gained the fastest pinfall in wrestling against The Mountie by pinning him in three seconds!!! No, that is not a misprint and I checked this one out through magazines and other sources. THREE SECONDS!!!
Finally, the "HitMan" lost the I-C belt on a reported screwjob to The Mountie. Bret, reportedly, wrestled with a 104 degree temperature (yikes)!!! But I guess that shows the heart of Bret Hart. Still, it was a foolish mistake as he lost the title that he worked so hard for!!! Two days later, at the 1992 Royal Rumble, The Mountie dropped the strap to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper under 5 minutes!! Piper didn't beat The Mountie, he whipped The Mountie's a**!!! Piper's reign led to a closely fought match against Bret at WrestleMania VIII four months later. Bret regained the title that he had lost four months earlier. Out of respect for Bret Hart, Piper even put the I-C strap on Bret and walked out with him. Over the next 5 months, Bret's main opponent was future arch-rival Shawn Michaels. Bret easily handled Michaels but you could see a personal rivarly developing between the two as Michaels became somewhat obssessed with beating Hart.
In July of 1992, the card for SummerSlam '92 was announced as Davey Boy Smith was named as the opponent for Bret Hart. For the first time, it was revealed that Davey Boy Smith and Bret Hart were brother-in-laws!!! This added even more interest into the match and led to rumors that Bret would turn heel. The fact that this card was taking place in London, England at Wembley Stadium meant that "The British Bulldog" would be the crowd favorite!!!
As for the match itself, it was a great contest (it won the PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED Match Of The Year honors that year). "The HitMan" actually dominated most of the match but could not put the Bulldog away!!! The end came when Smith reversed an attempted sunset flip into a pinning combination by hooking Bret's legs. After the match, Bret, bitter at first, embraced his family member and raised his arm in victory!!! But, in a way, this was a blessing in disguise as another new horizon loomed.
NEXT TARGET: WWF World Heavyweight Title
Coming Soon: Stylin' And Profilin': The Legend Of Ric Flair
If you have a question, comment, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
Well...that was fun wasn't it...? The end of last week and the beginning of this one were an emotional rollercoaster for us Sting marks... His grasp on the World Title seems so tenuous. But when you think about it, that's the way it oughta be...I mean this is Sting vs. Hogan! You gotta have at least a couple of matches built around that scenerio. It begins to look like Scott Hall may miss out on his World Title shot. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if Hogan wins back the title at least once - and then refuses Hall his shot - wouldn't that be a great way to start Hogan's transition from bad guy to good..? They could have a feud...
Well it's just a thought...
By the way, Sting won the match the other night. After the lights went out, Nick Patrick came out and replaced the downed Randy Anderson. He tried to quick-count the Stinger out of his Champiobnship but he kicked out in time - then he decked Patrick and then put Hogan into the Scorpion Death-lock. Anderson recovered and declared Sting the winner by submission...but it is said that Hogan didn't give up. JJ Dillon and Eric Bischoff had a tug-of-war over the belt and Bischoff leveled Dillon with a kick to the head.
So the Stinger is still the Champ but there is bound to be more controversey. Maybe it will turn that Nick Patrick was the long expected "nWo spy"...or maybe not...
I heard a rumor that Owen Hart was supposed to have won the European Title the other night but missed out because HHH's injury was legit...truth is frequently stranger than fiction they say.
For all of my friends here at Solie's, the many who visit and those who contribute to the discussion - I just want to say...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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