In my review of #97 (Shawn Michaels vs Marty Janetty-click here for the review!), I said that I imagined early 1990s Monday Night Raw as a series of boring squash matches. #97 proved me wrong, and this entry proves me wrong again! Obviously, I didn’t factor in Bret Hart into my squash match theory. Nor did I factor in the 1-2-3 Kid (known in the Attitude Era as X-Pac). Here, the 1-2-3 Kid put on a blistering display that leaves anything he did in the Attitude Era in the dust. Bret Hart could always be relied on to put on a good match, but in this WWF Championship bout, he works harder than usual to put on a great show.
Of course, the 1-2-3 Kid is the underdog, but for the first couple of minutes, he has the upper-hand, outwrestling the ‘Excellence of Execution’ with flair and panache. His enziguri and spinning thrust kick look as stiff as a board. Shortly after, the match becomes a typical underdog match: Bret Hart dominates the majority of the match, whilst flawlessly setting up the Kid’s cracking comebacks. I presume Hart is a babyface here, but he wrestles this match like he is a heel (apart from admitting to the ref that the Kid’s leg was on the ropes during a 3 count midway through the match), pummelling and battering the Kid into the canvas. He forces the audience to have pity on the Kid, a young man who has bitten off more than he can chew fighting for the biggest prize in the WWF.
However, it’s much, much more than a typical underdog story. The Kid has a lot to prove in the ‘main event’ (which, strangely, isn’t the main event of this particular Raw); he has to prove that he can wrestle with the top guys in the company. Even halfway through the match, the Kid has proved himself. Hart hit an early peak with in this particular title reign, and this match is but one example of that. When the bout hits its stride, it matches any top Raw match of 2015. I say that with little exaggeration. The Kid leaps off the top rope onto a prone Hart on the outside (but not with a moonsault, as JR says in commentary!) in the highlight of the match, and a spot that wouldn’t look out of place during a 2015 Raw.
If a match from 1994 can equal the standard of match that we expect over twenty years later, it must be something special. You’d always expect goodness from Bret Hart, but if you’d seen only the X-Pac version of Sean Waltman’s wrestling persona, then you’d be forgiven for thinking of mediocrity. However, as the 1-2-3 Kid, he’s a very good wrestler (look at his matches with Razor Ramon during 1993 for further proof of that!) who plays the underdog to perfection. The two put on a simply cracking match (even more so considering the era!)
VERDICT: 9/10. A great match from the early 1990s that shows the very best of Bret Hart and the ultimate underdog, the 1-2-3 Kid!
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(Click here for my review of #72 The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys (NWA United States Tag Team Titles) – WCW Great American Bash 1990)