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Monday, December 26, 2016

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EOTR Match Of The Week: Bret Hart vs British Bulldog

By @Phranchize19


Welcome to our newest feature on EOTR, Match Of The Week, where we look back at a classic match or an underrated match in the WWF, WCW, NWA, WWE (it is different from WWF), or ECW. Today, we go back to December 1995 and take a look at Bret Hart vs British Bulldog at In Your House 5 for the WWF Championship. Let's get into it.

Background:
Bret Hart was arguably still the face of the company at this time however Vince was trying to gear up for a Shawn Michaels title run. With this in mind, Vince McMahon chose Hart to be the transitional champion to face Michaels at the Show of Shows, WrestleMania 12. Bret was not necessarily thrilled but being the company guy he was, he went along with it. Before we got to that point however, we got a Bret Hart vs British Bulldog match that many seem to forget. This match was going to be built around the fact that Bret had never beaten the British Bulldog in a one on one match and this was a great storyline to utilize to add heat to what was sure to be a great match.

British Bulldog had finally turned heel in the summer of 1995. His face run seemingly had run its course and he needed new life breathed into his career. Bulldog main evented In Your House 4 with Diesel, but with such an awful match, one had to wonder if Vince was going to pull the plug on a British Bulldog main event run. Thankfully he did not and we got this match. Bulldog had gone in this match not only with the best manager on his side in Jim Cornette, but his wife (Bret’s sister) also was there and clearly rooting for her husband. Another storyline weaved into this match.


The Match:
Bret and Bulldog have always had excellent chemistry. Two guys who worked hard at their craft and excelled in the ring. Hart bled profusely and at that time, WWF was still in their family oriented programming so this came as a bit of a shock. There are two lines of thinking to the bloody Bret Hart moments though: One, it put Bret as a resilient champion and two, it established Bulldog as a serious threat to the WWF title.



A lesser known fact about this match is that the winning maneuver was a pinfall move called La Magistral, which was suggested to Hart by none other than future Hall of Fame wrestler Chris Jericho, during a plane ride years before Jericho would arrive in the WWF.


Conclusion:
These two put on an absolute classic with the twist and turns along with the great storytelling prior to the match and during the match. Most transitional champions don't put as much effort into matches due to them eventually losing, but Hart took pride in his work. Bulldog is arguably the most underrated wrestler ever and this is a match I would suggest if someone asked me about Bulldog. Bret of course retains, but this is another great Bulldog vs Bret match that you should check out if you haven't.

-C. Yates

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