Meltzer’s Classics: Bret Hart vs Owen Hart (29/8/94)

Image result for owen hart vs bret hart cage
Hart off!

For a company that produces as much wrestling as they do, WWE/F has had shockingly few Meltzer rated five-star matches over the years. Their focus on entertainment over skill has often led to even hot feuds not producing classically great bouts. However, there have been a few, and today we go back to SummerSlam 1994 where it was brother vs brother.

Let’s get right to it. I don’t think this is a five-star match. In fact, I have more than one issue with it, and I’ll blast through them before getting to the positives. Firstly, it’s too long. At fifteen minutes in I thought it must be time for them to go home soon, and it just wasn’t happening. Time after time one of them would go to escape only for the other to pop up at the last second and stop them. Bret and Owen found a formula and stuck to it. Big move, escape attempt, big move, escape attempt and repeat. I got bored. Bored! During an Owen vs Bret match. That ain’t right. I found myself wishing they’d remove the cage, so these two fantastic wrestlers could wrestle.

That’s a perfect segue to the positives because you can’t deny it, these two are fantastic wrestlers, and they showed that by fighting. There were no lock-ups or intricate holds. Right from the start, they are laying into each other and brawling it out. As you watch, you believe they hate each other, and the crowd buy it too. I might have been bored, but they weren’t. Fans were screaming along with every escape attempt and big move off the cage. They wanted to see Bret put his little brother back in his place and you can’t fault that.

I also wonder whether part of my problem is fatigue. Since I started watching wrestling, I’ve seen a million cage matches most of which draw from the spots Bret and Owen did in this one. One suspects that wasn’t the case for those watching in 1994. They’d seen plenty of giants punch each other inside a cage and throw each other into it, but how many people had they seen flying off it like these brothers were? Bret dragging Owen back in by his hair or Owen taking that Superplex from the top of the cage may well have been a first.

And the finish does look great. The brothers are both dangling on the outside, racing to see who can get to the bottom first when Bret drives Owen’s head into the steel, causing him to fall backwards with his legs trapped in the cage. Then, as his wee brother hangs there helplessly, Bret leaps to the floor, putting Owen well and truly back in his box.

Look, I want to be clear, this is still a good cage match. Like most gimmick matches, they tend to be bollocks, and this is not that. It just failed to blow my mind. The whole thing dragged, and I don’t think there was a moment that I’ll look back on and think ‘aye, that was fucking awesome’. I’m willing to accept that’s because I am a spoiled modern wrestling fan, but there is no way for me to change that.

If you enjoyed my ramblings, then please consider contributing to my Ko-fi, even the smallest amount is appreciated.

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