130. Bret Hart (c) vs The British Bulldog (WWF Championship, WWF In Your House : Season’s Beatings)

Tis the Season to be jolly…well, I know Christmas 2022 has been and gone, but I’ve been busy, so only managed to watch one Christmas themed wrestling match! In 1995, WWE presented In Your House: Season’s Beatings. The only bout that prevented it from being instantly forgettable was Bret Jart vs The British Bulldog for the WWE Championship. We all know about their Summerslam 1992 classic, but this underrated bout is just as good.

At Summerslam 1992, they were both ostensibly babyfaces…although, in the eyes of the crowd, Bulldog was the overwhelming favourite. Here, Bulldog is the heel, accompanied by uber-heel manager Jim Cornette. Again, there’s a focus on Diana Hart at ringside (Bulldog’s real life wife, Bret’s real life sister), but the change in face/heel dynamic really changes the story of this bout. It starts out much like their 1992 bout, all technical wrestling, holds, reversals etc…but Bulldog soon embraces his heel character and dominates the bout.

You never think of Bulldog as a heel, but here, against the great babyface Hitman, he excels. He turns the bout from a technical showdown into a gruelling brawl, with him in the driving seat, building up to Hart’s comebacks. His impressive physique lends a hand to his portrayal of a cocky, arrogant heel; he can easily back up his threats. Hart tries to fool Bulldog into wrestling the Hitman’s kind of match, but Bulldog overpowers him. And when things take a bloody turn for the worse on Hitman”s beyalf, Bulldog pounds him relentlessly.

There’s nothing else worthwhile on this PPV. Existing on such a dire PPV increases the value and quality of this bout no end; but even on a WrestleMania card, this would stand out head and shoulders above the rest. It’s unfortunate that when people think of Hitman vs the Bulldog they think of Summerslam 1992. This is just as good as that classic; something a little different, a (better?) story between a powerful heel and a wrestling genius of a babyface. I never thought of Bulldog as a great wrestler, but here he proves that, on the right night and with the right opponent, he could grasp greatness.

Hammy’s Rating: ***** (out of 5)

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