Tagged with "wwe"
The Ultimate Warrior, 1959-2014 Tags: ultimate warrior wwf wwe greatest wrestler all time word life production new quality entertainment

The Ultimate Warrior, one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling history, died Tuesday, just days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He was 54 years old.

On Saturday night I scribbled down so many of the WWE Hall of Fame induction speeches, but with the Ultimate Warrior there was no point. Not because his rambling, 30-minute apologia was indecipherable, but because it was somehow strangely compelling. Here is what I scribbled down as he spoke:

“I am a good guy.”

As a performer he challenged the WWF higher-ups and earned one of the most infamous adjectives in the wrestling business — “unreliable.” He was concerned, above all else, with defending his reputation. WWE released a DVD of his career in 2005, titled The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, that tried to piece together Warrior’s bizarre story.

At the Hall of Fame, he was intent on telling the world that he wasn’t the bad person they’d painted him to be. (And WWE seemed to be following suit; it released a new DVD, The Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1, at the beginning of April.) As much as he reveled in his dissident persona in the ’90s and 2000s (both in the ring and online, where his harsh videos about other wrestlers and his offbeat political rants circulated among fans), he desperately wanted to be welcomed back. It was a familiar scene — every old wrestler rails against WWE and then rushes back into its arms.

The Ultimate Warrior’s persona was about individuality, defiance, and seemingly proud self-reliance. But even Warrior wanted to return to the fold. The only way to relish one’s past glory — to have 75,000 people chant your name, as they did at WrestleMania on Sunday — is to do it under the auspices of WWE. By all accounts, Warrior was happy to be back home. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the business,” he said at the Hall of Fame. “The work was magic. It’s awesome to be bigger than life, to go out and be a character that people believe in.”

Tuesday night, Warrior died outside an Arizona hotel while walking with his wife. He had just signed a contract be an ambassador for WWE. The company released the following statement:

WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Warrior became WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, defeating Hulk Hogan in an epic encounter. We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans. WWE sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans. Warrior was 54 and is survived by his wife Dana and his two daughters.

His legacy in WWE cannot be overstated. Despite not carrying the company, as Hulk Hogan did before him, his victory over the Hulkster at WrestleMania 6 signaled a legitimate changing of the guard. His nuclear charisma forced a shift away from the repetitive mythology of the Hulkamania era and into a grayer morality and a darker outlook. We relished in the neon paint, the arm tassels, the rippling muscles, and the antic ring entrances, but there was a deeper shift going on.

I wrote about Warrior in my book and on Deadspin. The subject was wrestler deaths, and Warrior wasn’t dead. But his death had been rumored for years, since 1991, when he first disappeared from the WWF and returned looking suspiciously different. It was the “Paul is dead” of pro wrestling. It didn’t help that his interviews were bizarrely obsessed with death. “I know that that warrior is ready to make that sacrifice so that I shall live,” he once said about a fan in his signature face paint.

On Monday at Raw, Warrior put the face paint back on. He came to the ring in a suit, but he put on an airbrushed duster coat and a mask that approximated the fluorescent shield in which he covered his face. Two nights before, at the Hall of Fame ceremony, he had been Jim Hellwig — real, sensitive person. That night he was the Ultimate Warrior in all his snorting, snarling glory. It was a revelation. For all the eye-rolling his return had elicited from wrestling fans who loved him as a kid, seeing him back in character made me realize how much I had missed him, how much he meant to me. The crowd went absolutely nuts.

“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own,” he said. “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend-makers of Ultimate Warrior.”

I knew then it was a moment I’d remember forever.

Source: Grantland

WWE Classic of the Week: Remembering Undertaker vs. Mankind in Hell in a Cell
Category: Voices of Jazz
Tags: undertaker mankind hell cell wwe bleacher report topic discussion word life production feature blog

The Igloo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania had an eeriness about it, with its dim lights and domed roof creating a darker, more atmospheric setting for the 1998 King of the Ring.

It was against that backdrop that The Undertaker and Mankind competed in the most barbaric, death-defying, violent match in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment. It is remembered as fondly for its individual moments as it is as a whole.

In one night, Mick Foley put his body on the line for the sake of entertainment and, in the process, created a legacy for himself as one of the toughest, most respected Superstars of all time. No matter how great of a career he had prior to June 28, he forever changed it when he was tossed from the top of the cell, thrown through the roof of it and was dropped back-first onto a pile of thumbtacks.

The match has become the thing of legend as the years have passed and, to this day, is considered a highlight of each performer's career.

It has been deemed a classic of the Attitude Era, and rightfully so, but is it truly a great match?

Let's take a look. 

 

Background

Throughout the spring of 1998, Steve Austin feuded with Dude Love, who had formed an alliance with Mr. McMahon. They had two outstanding matches for the WWE title at Unforgiven in April and Over the Edge in May, the latter of which remains one of the more underrated matches in company history.

Elsewhere, Undertaker and brother Kane were engaged in a bitter sibling rivalry. At WrestleMania, Undertaker defeated the Big Red Monster in a physical battle and, a month later at Unforgiven, he beat him again in the very first Inferno Match.

The two stories would merge beginning at the aforementioned Over the Edge pay-per-view, when Undertaker was revealed as the guest enforcer for the main event between Austin and Love. Austin would win the match and, dismayed by the failures of his hand-picked opponent for the Texas Rattlesnake, McMahon would effectively toss Love to the side.

On the road to King of the Ring, Kane would earn the right to challenge Austin next while Mick Foley would return as Mankind, the second of his three personas. He rekindled his rivalry with The Undertaker, setting up the Hell in a Cell match for the June pay-per-view.

The match was hyped almost as much as the First Blood match between Austin and Kane and was, arguably, the more anticipated bout.

Given their past with one another, expectations for a bloody, violent brawl were high.

 

 

The Match

Neither Undertaker or Mankind waste any time with pomp and circumstance as they take the fight to one another on top of the cell rather than inside the squared circle. They exchange hard rights to one another as the steel mesh beneath their feet begins to give way, an ominous sight and not one any performer that high in the air wants to witness.

Photo Credit: WWE.com

Undertaker lands a few hard rights to the face, stunning Mankind before tossing him off the cage to the amazement, shock and horror of the fans and commentators around ringside. The thud with which the roughly 270-pound athlete hits the Spanish announce table is haunting to those who have witnessed it.

The match comes to a standstill as medical personnel as well as longtime friend of Mick Foley, Terry Funk, come to ringside to check on the fallen Superstar. Still atop the cell, Undertaker looks on from 20 feet in the air. The crowd, silent for the most part, eventually breaks out in an "Undertaker" chant as a sense of discomfort sets in throughout the Igloo.

On a stretcher, Mankind is led from ringside as the Phenom begins climbing down the cage. As he gets closer to the bottom, however, his deranged and psychotic opponent limps back to the ring, and with only his right arm working correctly, climbs the cage.

Undertaker meets him back on top, delivering a headbutt and a few more right hands before grabbing him by the throat and delivering a hellish chokeslam through the roof of the cage. Mankind crashes to the mat below and the medics are immediately back at ringside.

While they check on the fallen competitor, Undertaker hops down into the ring via the open ceiling panel and assaults Terry Funk, keeping the attention of the audience while officials check on the well-being of the clearly injured Mankind. The Dead Man delivers a chokeslam to Funk before returning his attention to his opponent.

He grabs hold of Mankind's injured left arm and drags him to the corner for Old School. As he balances himself on the top rope, however, the still-alert Mankind hits the ropes and crotches his opponent. A charge at Undertaker moments later sends the near seven-foot competitor off the ring apron and into the side of the cage.

A tooth is caught in Mankind's mustache, the result of a steel chair that followed him from the roof of the cell, down to the mat, knocking it out of his mouth, up his sinuses and out through his nose.

He attempts to capitalize on his one opening as he jars the ring steps apart and tries to lift them in the air. His dislocated shoulder will not allow it, however, and Undertaker takes back control of the match. He savagely smashes them into Mankind's injured shoulder.

Back inside, the Phenom bounces off the far ropes, charges across the squared circle and dives through the ropes at his opponent. Mankind ducks out of the way and Undertaker crashes into the cage. Blood trickling from his forehead, he appears to be in a bit of danger for the first time in the contest.

Mankind rams him into the side of the cage before returning to the ring. He places the steel chair in the center of the ring, grabs Undertaker and delivers a piledriver. The move keeps Undertaker down for two. Mankind lays the chair on Undertaker's face and delivers a leg drop, again for a two count from referee Tim White.

Mankind continues his assault with a double-arm DDT which, again, only keeps Undertaker down for two.

The hobbled Superstar climbs outside the squared circle and retrieves a bag of thumbtacks from under the ring. He empties them in a quarter of the ring and tries to knock Undertaker into them. He delivers rights to the Phenom's head and nearly accomplishes his goal until Undertaker grabs him by the throat for a chokeslam attempt.

Mankind fights out of it.

Undertaker grabs hold of him but Mankind counters with the Mandible Claw and nearly puts his opponent down. Instead Undertaker carries his opponent on his back and slams him into the tacks. The crowd pops at yet another display of barbarism as Mankind rolls around the ring, writhing in pain.

Photo Credit: WWE.com

Unfazed, he grabs Mankind and chokeslams him into the tacks, showing a lack of sympathy for his opponent's plight thus far in the bout.

A Tombstone Piledriver in the center of the ring finishes it for Undertaker moments later.

After the bout Mankind, the toughest S.O.B. in the company, walks out of the ring despite attempts to place him on a backboard.

 

Analysis

The match is a legitimate classic that remains one of the definitive matches of the Attitude Era. It elevated Mick Foley from greatness to immortality and set the stage for a more sadistic, diabolical Undertaker that would dominate the next year of WWE programming.

Commentators Jim Ross and Jerry "the King" Lawler did an outstanding job of calling the action and reacting with genuine horror at what they had just witnessed and concern for the welfare of Foley. Ross' performance specifically was one of the finest of his Hall of Fame career.

Lines such as "As God as my witness he's broken in half" and "Good God almighty, they've killed him" have become some of the most famous soundbites in World Wrestling Entertainment history.

As fondly remembered as the match is, however, it is by no means a great match.

The two most memorable spots of the match were far too dangerous for any man to attempt and could have resulted in life-threatening injury. They were unnecessary and only worked because of the unquestionable, indisputable toughness of Foley. Had he landed differently and been permanently injured because of the spots, the match would be remembered far differently than it is today.

In between those two spots, there is little more than punches and kicks between the two. After the chokeslam through the roof of the cell and Foley's subsequent recovery (of sorts), the action finally resembled a match but Foley's shoulder injury really hampered what he was able to do.

The fact that Undertaker was working through an injured foot did not help matters, either.

The thumbtacks were a nice, unique touch that had not been seen in WWE to that point and easily could have put over the ruthlessness of the Phenom without resorting to the big bumps Foley endured earlier in the match.

Photo Credit: WWE.com

What those two Superstars did in the name of entertainment is admirable. Within the context of the story, as well as the two-year feud they had leading into the match, the pain and suffering they dealt to one another made sense.

With that said, there were safer and more productive ways to get over the intense hatred between Undertaker and Mankind, as well as the lengths the Dead Man was willing to go to defeat his rival, without putting the health of either man at risk in the manner they did.

It is almost a shame that Foley's career is most remembered for this match because he had done so much leading into it, not to mention following the match, that deserves as much (if not more) recognition.

The series against Vader in WCW in 1993 was outstanding and was incredibly intense and violent but managed not to cross the line in the manner that the Hell in a Cell match did.

His initial string of matches against Undertaker in 1996 was outstanding, including a Boiler Room Brawl at SummerSlam that August that, in this writer's humble opinion, was infinitely better than the Hell in a Cell bout.

The In Your House: Mind Games match against Shawn Michaels in September of 1996, the Last Man Standing match against The Rock at St. Valentine's Day Massacre in February of 1999 and aforementioned Austin matches were all shining examples of Foley's talents as an in-ring performer, and for him to be most remembered for King of the Ring is a great disservice to him and his outstanding, Hall of Fame career.

 

Historical Significance

The match between Undertaker and Mankind made Mick Foley an icon in the sport. Despite every criticism detailed above, Foley absolutely deserves every bit of recognition that he gets for his willingness to entertain the audience by risking his own safety. It was a risk others would not take and the audience recognized it.

The Long Island native would become one of the most beloved and respected performers in the history of the industry, becoming a pop culture icon as much as he was a wrestling icon.

The Undertaker, equally as tough as his opponent in the match, would ride the momentum he had coming out of the match to a main event run against WWE Champion Steve Austin and a spot at the top of the company for the better part of a year.

Hell in a Cell at King of the Ring 1998 heightened expectations for every match of its kind that followed. While some of the top talents have competed in the confines and had outstanding matches in their own right, none has lived up to the chaotic bout that Undertaker and Mankind delivered in Pittsburgh.

Source: Bleacher Report http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1821080-wwe-classic-of-the-week-remembering-undertaker-vs-mankind-in-hell-in-a-cell

Why John Cena vs. CM Punk Is the Best WWE Rivalry Today
Category: Voices of Jazz
Tags: john cena cm punk wwe rivarlry today word life production feature blog

By:Ryan Dilbert

Cenapunk_c-homepage_crop_north

John Cena vs. The Rock may be the glitzier matchup, but Cena's rivalry with CM Punk is still WWE's best as they proved again on Monday's Raw.

WWE fans have watched Punk and Cena put on some of the company's best matches in the PG Era. They added to that collection with their latest—a fantastic match where the winner earned the right to face The Rock at WrestleMania.

The contrast in their personas, the blend of their in-ring style and how they seem to inspire each other have made for an ideal feud.

Yes, WWE fans have seen Punk and Cena go at it a number of times in the last two years. The best rivalries, though, entertain despite their lack of novelty.

Fans saw Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H time and time again. These foes managed to find new ways to entertain us, to keep the fire of their mutual hatred going.

So far, that's what Cena and Punk have created. They represent a dependable go-to option for WWE's writers.

 No Light Without Dark

A big part of what makes Punk and Cena so special is how distinctly they differ.

Cena is the goody two-shoes, clean-cut, family-friendly WWE golden boy. Punk is the edgy, silver-tongued narcissistOne represents the mainstream, the other, the fringe.

As much as their styles and personalities clash, it almost seems as if each man were created as the other's ideal opponent.

Photo from WWE.com

French author Louis Aragon once wrote, "Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness."

This concept helps explain the attraction to Punk and Cena's rivalry. For Punk to project his anti-establishment image, he needs a figure of establishment to stand out against. For Cena to showcase his merits, his honorable traits, he needs a rival whose faults provide a stark contrast.

Their position as opposites has energized their battles. Like when two ends of a magnet meet, something powerful emanates from them.

Drawing Out Greatness

Punk brings out the best in Cena. Cena brings out the best in Punk.  

Either in the ring or armed with a microphone, each rival pushes each other to his absolute best.

As their Night of Champions 2012 match approached, there was little electricity sparking. It was a matchup that fans had seen several times over. Cena and Punk managed to reinvigorate their feud with a fabulous segment on Raw.

John Cena and CM Punk segment before Night of Champions 2012

Cena gave one of his best performances that night.

It was as if being in Punk's presence sharpened all of Cena's swords. The same was true for Punk. There were far fewer sparks when Punk berated Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho or John Laurinaitis.

Punk and Cena's mutual inspiration evoked their greatest efforts. This seems to carry itself to the ring as well.

Cena, at his worst, is a sloppy wrestler with a limited repertoire. At his best, he is a vital part of a wrestling masterpiece. Few guys make the most of a big moment like Cena does.

A growing number of Punk's best matches have been against Cena. With Monday's instant-classic now over, add that to their greatest hits collection.

John Cena vs. CM Punk-Money in the Bank 2011

Their chemistry explains some of it, but there also seems to be something about their rivalry that inspires both men to elevate their games. The best, it seems, play their best against the best.

This will no doubt lead WWE to return to Punk vs. Cena again at some point. It's just too good to ever fully abandon.

Cena will head into WrestleMania 29 with revenge on his mind. He will continue his high-profile feud with The Rock, while his best rival is forced to slink away from the main event spotlight for now.

Source: Bleacher Report  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1544410-why-john-cena-vs-cm-punk-is-the-best-wwe-rivalry-today

Wrestling's Greatest Rivalries: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, Part 1
Category: Voices of Jazz
Tags: shawn michaels bret hart wwe greatest rivalries word life production features

They say the greatest stories cannot be written, they must be lived.

In the beginning, it was a dream that inspired two boys to dedicate themselves to becoming professional wrestlers. Then, as they grew into young men, they realized they were fully capable of achieving this dream through hours of training and hard work.

Finally, they achieved that dream. They achieved greatness and changed what a WWE Superstar was supposed to be in the process. Their paths would cross each step of the way up the ladder, until finally, a once friendly rivalry became one of bitter hatred both on and off television.

Welcome to Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries. This is part one of the story of Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels. Enjoy.

This two-part article is derived from the WWE Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart DVD that was released by the WWE in 2011. All the matches—sans the 1997 Survivor Series match—as well as the quotes, can be found on the DVD. 

Climbing The Ranks: Tag Team Division

In 1988, a young tag team called The Rockers—consisting of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty—debuted in the WWE. Though WWE’s tag team division was stacked at the time, The Rockers were different from those teams. They weren’t big wrestlers who predicated their style off raw power or even a team that prided themselves on technical ability, although that technical ability did exist. No, they were small. They were fast. They were high-flyers.

The Rockers climbed their way through the tag team ranks, even with the system working against them. Everybody told them they were just too small, but they didn’t care. They had grown a backstage reputation of being partiers, but they were so good inside the ring, that they were given a break.

Shawn Michaels on The Rockers Backstage Reputation:

Marty and I were two young guys having the greatest thing in the world happen to us; coming to the WWE and even prior to that. I mean gosh we were two young guys enjoying life and being in this line of work. It was certainly a reputation that was well-earned, but the one thing that was our saving grace was that Marty and I were pretty darn good in the ring.

They wanted to reach the top, and challenge the then-WWE Tag Team Champions, The Hart Foundation; Bret Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.

The Hart Foundation was managed by Jimmy Hart—no relation to the Hart family—until the Hart Foundation’s face turn in 1987.

Hart was the son of Stu Hart, the founder of Stampede Wrestling and the trainer behind the legendary Hart Dungeon. Hart was a fiery, young technical wrestler—perhaps the best at the time.

Meanwhile, Neidhart was a former Dallas Cowboy who went to train under Stu after his release. Soon, he married Stu’s daughter Ellie and got his first break in the professional wrestling business after the purchase of Stampede Wrestling with the WWE. The Anvil was the powerhouse and talker of the team.

Bret Hart on Shawn and Marty's arrival:

I looked at Shawn and Marty and thought they’re good workers and good wrestlers. And I was interested in them coming in because being a tag team—me and Neidhart were the tag champs when they arrived—we really needed a new, fresh team. And when I saw them, I was really keen on them coming in, and getting a chance to work with us.

 

Hart Foundation vs. The Rockers

On November 25, 1989, The Rockers and The Hart Foundation finally crossed paths. Inside the legendary Madison Square Garden, these two teams finally met inside the squared circle.

The crowd seemed very split about who they were rooting for between the two face teams, with the veteran Hart Foundation probably with a little bit of an edge.

The Rockers had the advantage throughout the early portion of the match, showcasing some nice technical prowess they hadn’t often shown and also utilized many double-team maneuvers. You could tell they had been working together for quite a while.

As the match wore on however, The Hart Foundation began to roll. Frequent tags would not allow Michaels to get to Jannetty, which he desperately needed to do.

When he finally did, Jannetty would regain momentum for his team. From this point on, the action would go back and forth with near fall after near fall.

Eventually, Anvil got into the face of Jannetty and things began to get ugly. The four would engage in a brawl before the bell sounded and they were broken up.

The official decision from referee Earl Hebner was that the match was a draw.

This was a superb tag team match with nice psychology and pacing. The contrasting styles of The Rockers, Hart and Neidhart really meshed well, which would show itself in their later matches as well.

 In October of 1990, The Rockers defeated The Hart Foundation in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match. However, the top rope broke during the match, making the match so bad that it never aired, and the belts would be returned to The Hart Foundation.

Though there was no real storyline, this match was the beginning of a pretty solid tag team rivalry and succeeded in its attempt to make the two teams look evenly matched.

Though they wrestled on numerous other occasions, the other most noteworthy match between the two teams took place in 1991 inside the Tokyo Dome.

Given that it was in Japan, the crowd was obviously much different from the normal crowd of a WWE match. These fans were more silent and respectful, with occasional applauses to the particularly impressive stuff. Japanese fans, perhaps more than fans of any other nationality, understand the art of wrestling.

The other thing noticeably different was the commentary; it was in Japanese.

 

 

The match very much resembled the one from Madison Square Garden two years earlier. The Rockers had the early control thanks to an impressive arsenal of mat-based and double-team moves. Although this time, The Rockers implemented a more frequent tag strategy to keep each other fresh while keeping their opponents off balance.

Bret Hart gained control for The Hart Foundation with a tough, physical style centered towards Michaels. Then, The Anvil came in to wear down the significantly smaller man.

Continuing with the similarities, Michaels would be isolated from his tag partner by both Hart and Neidhart in the minutes to follow.  In a bit of a contrast to the MSG match, the crowd appeared to be firmly behind The Rockers, thanks in part to The Hart Foundation’s more aggressive style.

A missed elbow drop would again allow Michaels the opportunity to tag Jannetty in. Jannetty would pick up some momentum for his team before tagging Michaels back in, which is where this became more fast-paced without either team holding a distinct upper hand over the other for long.

However, Hart would gain a quick and somewhat unexpected pinfall to pick up the victory over The Rockers. Despite the clean finish, this shorter match wasn’t quite as good as the MSG match, but did feel fresh due to it taking place in the Tokyo Dome. The Hart Foundation worked a more gritty style, especially the usually technical Hart. Meanwhile, The Rockers growth as a team was evident. Also evident was the fact that all four of these Superstars were ready to break into singles competition.

 Singles Stardom

A little over a year after their tag team battle inside the Tokyo Dome, the careers of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels had begun to skyrocket. They had broken loose from their respective tag team partners and began to shine as singles wrestlers.

Michaels had kicked Marty Jannetty through Brutus Beefcake’s barbershop window to effectively end The Rockers. He would adopt the "Heartbreak Kid" moniker at the suggestion of Curt Hennig and begin an on-screen relationship with Sensational Sherri. During this time, Michaels debuted his "Sexy Boy" theme song that would last him through the rest of his illustrious career in many different variations.

Meanwhile, Hart would breakaway from The Anvil after their loss to the Nasty Boys at WrestleMania VII. Soon afterwards, he’d capture his first Intercontinental Championship by defeating Mr. Perfect at 1991′s SummerSlam.

Hart would defend that same Intercontinental Championship against Michaels on two occasions.

The first was a chain wrestling and counter-heavy match that showcased the technical skills of both young Superstars that ended in Michaels winning by countout thanks to some assistance by Sensational Sherri. The second was on a show called Wrestling Challenge in the WWE’s first ever ladder match. Could Michaels beat Hart with a decisive finish and finally capture the elusive Intercontinental Championship? Or would Hart regroup since their last bout and retain his gold?

 

This match saw the WWE exploring the vast possibilities for the ladder match with perhaps its two best in-ring competitors of all-time. It was nothing fancy, really, but it employed a nice, simple strategy and psychology to put on a pretty good match.

Each man attempted to wear the other down before bringing the ladder into the match. After all, to win the match, you had to have the other beaten down substantially enough to allow you time to climb the ladder and grab the title.

Shawn optimistically strolled down the ramp to grab the ladder after he had downed Hart. However, on his way back, Hart would meet him halfway with a punch to the face.

Hart would take advantage then begin to put the ladder in the ring, however, Sensational Sherri pulled it away from him. With his opponent distracted, Shawn would pull the ladder in and set it up. He’d start to climb, but Bret yanked him down to save his championship.

They’d go back-and-forth, with Shawn being the first to use the ladder as a weapon. He’d position Hart in the corner then simply use the steel as a battering ram into the gut of The Hitman. Continuing minutes later, he’d whip Hart shoulder-first into the ladder that was resting on the turnbuckle.

In the end, this absolute struggle for the upper hand would be won by the defending champion, Bret Hart.  He’d drop kick the ladder, sending Michaels crashing to the outside, buying himself enough time to climb the ladder and retain his title. Although it was a good match, it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to see this match after these two had fully developed as performers and after the ladder match had reached its maximum potential.

 Reaching the Top: 1992 Survivor Series

By the time Hart and Michaels met again at 1992′s Survivor Series, they had reached the apex of their profession. Hart was the WWE Champion and Michaels was the Intercontinental Champion—making them the top two Superstars in the company.

Bret Hart talked about his relationship with HBK in 1992:

Shawn and I always got along. Right from the start. I can remember having a lot of fun with Shawn and Perfect. I considered Shawn one of my better friends. We were tight back then. I can honestly say I went to bat for Shawn. I always said Shawn was one of the better athletes I ever saw.

 

The match got off to a feisty start. Bret Hart was an aggressive, fighting champion while Shawn Michaels was a youngster with nothing to lose. His Intercontinental Championship belt wasn’t on the line, yet he could walk away with the WWE Championship around his waist.

Michaels' early strategy of trying to outwrestle the Excellence of Execution wasn’t wise. Hart was in his prime and on top of his technical game while Michaels, though he grew into the greatest in-ring performer ever, wasn’t quite on Hart’s level technically just yet. Hart would school the Intercontinental Champion through the early portion of the match, until Michaels changed his game plan.

Michaels would use more of a physical, brawling style to combat the unmatched technical ability of The Hitman. He used any part of the ring he could as a weapon, including the ropes, turnbuckles and ringposts. Once he grounded him, Michaels would revert to headlocks and other similar moves to zap Hart of his remaining energy.

Despite his best efforts, Michaels just couldn’t quite put Hart away. Just when he thought he had him, Hart would power out of a submission, or reverse a move.

The resilient champion would get in his groove late. He’d overcome one final offensive surge from his aggressive and tenacious young challenger by locking in The Sharpshooter for a submission victory.

 A Sizzling Rivalry Boiling Over

The rivalry between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart was beginning to sizzle out of control. Although their friendship outside the squared circle had yet to deteriorate, the bad blood on-screen was boiling. They had reached a point to where the ring couldn’t contain them. No, they needed the confines of a steel cage to settle the score.

 

 

Learning his lesson from their previous encounters, Shawn Michaels didn’t allow Bret Hart the time to even step inside the cage. He immediately attacked, using vicious offense in hopes of not allowing him to ever get settled in.

The match would consist of the two taking turns trying to escape both through the door and by climbing the cage, but neither would work. Just when one of them seemed to be out of it, they’d recover and thwart the other’s attempt to win.

In the end, it would come down to a race to climb down the outside of the cage. Hart would slam Michaels’ head into the remorseless steel, causing him to fall back and get his feet caught in the structure. Hart would drop with both of his feet touching the floor, therefore giving him the win.

This match was on the short side for these two, especially given that it was a steel cage match. It felt like more of a race to escape the cage than anything, but nonetheless, Hart and Michaels would go in different directions following the match.

Hart would stay atop the WWE, while Michaels continued to climb his way into the upper echelon of the company to solidify himself as a main eventer. At WrestleMania 12, he would do just that, at the expense of one Bret “The Hitman” Hart.

Thanks for reading part one of Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries: Hart vs. Michaels, A Hitman vs. A Heartbreak Kid. Part two will be coming to Bleacher Report soon. Thanks

Source Bleach Report

 http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1688492-wrestlings-greatest-rivalries-bret-hart-vs-shawn-michaels-part-1

RSS
Spread the word
Search

This website is powered by Spruz