(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31303263/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=summerslam )
Yes, you’d better believe it: once upon a time, WWE brought Summerslam across the pond to the United Kingdom! Summerslam 1992 took place in Wembley Stadium. Don’t we deserve another one? Yes, we do. Vince thought we were worthy enough to hold one of the big four PPVs in 1992. Why not now? Especially now that the United Kingdom has its own championship! However, its location would be all we remember about it if not for this bout. Bret Hart put on another Summerslam classic, guiding the addled Bulldog to the greatest Summerslam main event in WWE history.
Over 80,000 people were in attendance to see the homegrown hero fight Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship. It was a match so important that the WWF Championship match between Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior was relegated to the mid-card. WWF obviously wanted to capitalise both on its own popularity and the popularity of The British Bulldog, who was the most popular British wrestler in history (surely?). I wasn’t there to see it, but I remember my dad buying it on VHS, along with a few other British-only WWF events (something about a Rampage?). They were awful, and I was quick to fast-forward through the Summerslam 1992 VHS to the main event. What greeted me was something I’d never forget.
Back then, I didn’t really understand the nuance of the familial nature of the match. Bret Hart’s sister, Diana, was also Bulldog’s wife. Bulldog challenged Hart to an Intercontinental match, and the challenge threatened to tear the family apart. Who would Diana root for? In an awkward interview before the match, she says she only hopes no one would be injured. We see her reaction occasionally through the match, which irritated me back when I was a child, but on subsequent re-watches has drawn me further into the match. And make no mistake about it: this is one of the finest matches in WWE history.
It’s a reversal of roles for Hart after his other Summerslam classic against Mr. Perfect the year before (click here for my review of that match, placed at #18 on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List). Here Hart is the veteran, holding the championship, and Bulldog is the underdog (and former tag team specialist hoping to succeed in singles competition). Of course, there’s more to this story than veteran vs youngster: there’s the family dynamic, and the hometown advantage of Bulldog. It allows Hart to play heel, dominating much of the match to allow Bulldog’s comebacks to make the crowd roar. And roar they do, loud and often. I remember watching it as a kid and appreciating the flow of the match. Everything is complicated, yet easy to follow. There’s a logic to this match and I appreciate more and more every time I watch it. The logic and the story work hand in hand to deliver something spectacular.
Bret Hart calls this his greatest match, and I’d struggle to disagree with him. At #2 on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List is Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIII (click here for my review!). But I’d be hard-pressed to choose a favourite between them. Hart and Bulldog don’t rely on blood and weapons to sell the match. It sells itself. Twenty-five years later, no Summerslam main event has surpassed Hart v Bulldog. And I don’t think anything will.
(I’d also recommend watching Bret Hart vs The British Bulldog from In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings. As good as this match!)
VERDICT: 10/10. Bret Hart and The British Bulldog put on the greatest Summerslam main event ever. And I doubt it will be topped.
Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die? Leave your comments below!
Click here for my review of #8 The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian (WWE Tag Team Titles, TLC Match, WWE Wrestlemania X-7)
Click here to view my list of reviews of the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die