Old School WWF Wrestling: Part 3

Bret Hart’s quest to regain the WWF Championship comes to an end.

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There were dark days ahead for WWF fans.  It seemed as if no one would ever be able to end the reign of terror wrought by Yokozuna.  To add to the humiliation of America, Mr. Fuji issued a challenge to every American.  On the Fourth of July Yokozuna would be at the Intrepid in New York Harbor.  He dared any American to try and power slam the behemoth.  As the day progressed, it seemed as if no one would be able to meet the challenge, until out of no where Lex Luger appeared.  He strolled over to the mammoth and lifted him sky high and threw Yokozuna down onto the deck of the Intrepid, igniting a wave of patriotism through every WWF fan.

Luger got the title shot at Summer Slam.  Not since good ol’ Hacksaw had there been as American a wrestler as Lex.  Needless to say, we were all a bit shocked, and crushed when Luger won by disqualification, which meant Yokozuna retained the Title.  Bret Hart also lost to Jerry Lawler.  The feud would continue, but would be put temporarily on hold for Survivor Series

The most suprising thing that ever happened in the WWF occurred one evening on Monday Night RAW.  They would always have the superstars fight these nobody’s to show off their talents.  These nobody’s never came anywhere close to winnning, and so nobody thought anything of it when Razor Ramon stepped into the ring with some scrawny kid from Minnesota.

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At least nobody thought anything of it until the kid rolled up Razor for the 1-2-3!  And thus the legendary 1-2-3 Kid was born.

Survivor Series ’93 was a pivotal in this great story.  Here’s little background.  Crush returns from his injury, and I’m so pumped up.  Well, that is until he goes psycho on us and turns heel.  He immediately joins forces with Yokozuna to create a seemingly unstoppable duo.  With anti-American wrestlers piling up, Lex Luger decided to form a team to take on these foreigners and prove which country is the greatest on earth.  The team of Luger, Undertaker, and the Steiners defended America against Yokozuna, Crush, Ludvig Borga, who stunned everyone by ending Tatanka‘s undefeates streak on Superstars, and Jacques from the Quebecers.  When the dust settled, the American Hero Lex Luger had finally vidicated our country.  Other important events included Razor becoming a good guy by making amends with the 1-2-3 Kid and entering a suvivor match as partners.  Bret, along with his brothers Owen, Keith, and Bruce, took on Shawn Michaels and three knights.  The Harts won the battle, and Owen was the only brother eliminated, which sparked a bit of jealousy that would soon turn the WWF upside down.

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The Royal Rumble rolled around, and unless the Undertaker could stuff the 500 pounder in a coffin to win the title in a casket match, the winner would go to Madison Square Garden to take on the man who had held the title for 7 months.

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Unfortunately, it was the dead-man who got buried that night.  The Survivor Series problems between the Hart brothers grew over the weeks, and Owen repeatedly tried to get Bret to fight him.  However, on Christmas day the two made up and decided to take on the Quebecers for the tag-titles at the Rumble.  Things seemed to be going well until Owen turned on Bret and let out his pent up aggression.  The Hart family would never be the same again.  Bret still had to compete in the Royal Rumble and was one of the final two.  It was between him and Lex Luger to earn the opportunity to main event Wrestlemania.  Would Luger get a second shot at the title, or would Bret Hart finally get his rematch a year later?  In a shocker, both men went over the top rope together and were eliminated simultaneously – why don’t they do stuff like this today?  It was declared that both men won, and would each get a title shot.  Lex would fight Yokozuna first, and then Bret would face the winner.  To make things fair, Bret would also have to fight a match before his title shot.  His opponent……Owen Hart.

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A decade later, Wrestlemania would return to the place where it was born, Madison Square Garden.  It would be the most magical night in WWF History.  This was the first pay-per view I ever saw, and nothing will ever top it.  The evening started out with Bret facing Owen.  It was awful to see Bret, so reluctant to hurt his brother, get the tar kicked out of him by Owen.  After a great match, Bret finally succumbed to his brother.  At this point I saw my hopes of Bret winning the title dwindle.  He had already been through so much.  How could he ever defeat Yokozuna?

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Lex Luger finally got another title shot.  Once again, Luger was able to destroy Yokozuna.  However, guest referee, Mr. Perfect, still angry about his defeat the year prior at Wrestlemania IX disqualified Luger while he had the pin on Yokozuna.  This shocked everyone, and simultaneously delighted them as a fight broke out backstage between the two.  The WWF really hadn’t done much backstage brawling until then.  Wrestlemania X ended the early ’90’s era of wrestling, and it did so by beginning to take the action outside the ring.  The card also featured Macho Man vs. Crush in a falls count anywhere match.  The next few years would prove disasterous for the WWF as it floundered between it’s old school roots and the new extreme attitude of today.  However, if the greatest era in WWF was going out, it was going out with two of the greatest matches in history…

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Shawn Michaels.  Razor Ramon.  Intercontinental Title.  Ladder Match. The Best Ever.  Period.  In what was an indescribably amazing match, Razor Ramon defeated Shawn Michaels.  Words could never do this match justice, so I wont’ try.  Just know it was beyond belief.  Spectacular.  And like another high profile Intercontinental Title match fought at Summer Slam in ’92, it gave the loser a chance to rise to the next level and compete for the World Heavyweight Championship.  After this, Shawn never had to think about being second rate again.  It was time for him to take over the Federation and lead them through the next chapter in the WWF’s history.  When he fought Bret Hart at Survivor Series he was not yet ready.  Now Shawn’s time had come, he was “The Showstopper”.  All that was left, was to put this part of the story to a close…

The modern WWF is essentially the story of four men and their climb to immortality.  The 80’s were Hulk Hogan’s.  In a world that was changing rapidly, Hulk Hogan gave the fans in the 80’s something to believe in, the power of Hulkamania.  Most recently Stone Cold Steve Austin became a legend by overcoming the evil empire of Vince McMahon.  And as Wrestlmania X drew to a close, Shawn Michaels would get his chance to be the lone bright star in the darkest days of the federation.  But these few years that have been reflected on in these few paragraphs belonged to only one man.  And that man would face the undefeatable Yokozuna in a match that would forever seal his place in history…

Rowdy Roddy Piper was the guest referee for the final match of Wrestlemania X.  In what proved to be a very back and forth match, Bret almost got the pin.  But Piper being the fair man he is could only get as far as a two count before Yoko kicked out.  After Bret failed to make the cover, Yokozuna gained full control of the match.  My sister and I could only watch in horror as Yoko dragged the Hitman to the corner for the finishing Banzai Drop.

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Bret Hart rolls out of the way.  Kristen and I leap to our feet.  Bret Hart makes the cover.  Roddy Piper raises his arm….

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Bret “The Hitman” Hart defeats the monster, Yokozuna, one year later to reclaim the WWF World Heavyweight Title.  I’m going nuts.  Kristen is going nuts.  Madison Square Garden is going nuts!

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Bret Hart is Champion!  Bret “The Hitman” Hart is the World Champion!!!!!

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And finally, all is right in this 11-year old’s world.

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.