(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31304555/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=summerslam )
Bret Hart is very well represented on the 100 Best Matches…List. He has three matches in the Top 10 alone! But Mr. Perfect is only on the List twice. I’ve only seen his work during his come back in the 2000s. But I’ve always heard great things about him. His match at #36 against Ric Flair (click here for my review) was good, but not great. According to the 100 Best Matches…List, this match against Bret Hart is his greatest match. I’d have to agree with that sentiment.
When you think of the WWE in 1991 (or even that era), great matches aren’t what spring to mind. Big personalities, and bigger than life characters exemplified the WWE. But there were the few workers, like Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, The Rockers and Macho Man Randy Savage who wanted to create a story (and excitement) in the ring. Look at the rest of the card for Summerslam 1991; Hart vs Perfect was sandwiched between The British Bulldog, Ricky Steamboat and The Texas Tornado vs Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules) and The Warlord (with Slick), and The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) vs The Bushwhackers. Before the main event, there’s the “treat” of Irwin R. Schyster vs Greg Valentine. Anything that was average would look astounding next to those matches. But Hart and Perfect put on a wrestling clinic.
For the majority of matches, one opponent will have the upper advantage (the heel, most of the time). The other wrestler will have timed comebacks, but they will be short spurts of action. Here, Hart and Perfect constructed a match that’s completely even. It’s the kind of back and forth match that was rare back then, and is even rare now. It’s not particularly fast paced, or features big moves, but everything has a purpose. Everything is part of the story they are telling. Hart and Perfect play a game of one-upmanship for the entirety of the match and it is engrossing.
They mirror each other’s moves, outwit each other and sell for each other in a WWE era where that was a rarity. For such a complicated match, there’s only one big botch on the top rope. What makes it even more impressive is that Mr. Perfect was wrestling with a back injury. I only realised this whilst researching the match. Before this, Bret Hart was merely part of a tag team. After this match, his career could only go up (he’d go on to steal the show at the following year’s Summerslam as well!). The two made the Intercontinental title prestigious by wrestling as if their lives were on the line.
VERDICT: 9/10. This is one of the finest matches for the Intercontinental title. Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect fought as if they were fighting for the WWE Championship, or even their lives. An obvious botch fails to derail their momentum.
Click here for my review of #19 Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match, WWE Wrestlemania X)
Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches To See Before You Die? Leave your comments below!