WWE At Its Hart: Greatest Match by Non-US Wrestlers of All Time
In life, we wrestle with the world. We compete against every obstacle put in front of us and combat hundreds even thousands along the way to get to where we want to go, but there is one person in life no man ever wants to fight. His own flesh and blood.
Before one’s self comes family because they are the ones a person can truly care for, the ones that they see every day of their lives. When a man looks in a mirror, he can be disgusted with himself, but he can never with a good conscience be sickened by his family.
However, that is not to say that ties of blood stop everyone. Even though a man can never put himself in good will above his family, he can do so with selfish intent at heart. When this occurs and families fall apart, it is the most tragic of all stories.
At WrestleMania X, as hundreds of thousands of people watched, two of the greatest brothers in wrestling history fell into just that battle. A war based upon brutality, idiosyncrasy, and most importantly pure jealousy.
As the night of WrestleMania began, Owen’s music hit. The curtain in Madison Square Garden opened, and Owen walked out with pure confidence. He pointed both hands in the sky and walked out to a crowd completely against him. Obviously, he didn’t care because he expected it.
He was Owen Hart, the King of Harts. He had tried so hard to deal with his older brother, the more experienced and loved man in the family. Yet week after week, Bret had caused him to lose, made him look like a fool, and then left Owen with nothing.
Owen didn’t want to have to say it, but he knew he had to. “I’m the best,” he called out to the crowd as he made his way into the ring, the one battleground where he could truly prove it to them all. He didn’t care what anyone had to say because he knew deep down that he could defeat his “perfect” brother.
“This is going to be a brawl all the way. This is going to be finally the opportunity for Owen Hart to give Bret Hart what he’s had coming his entire life.”- Jerry Lawler
As Owen symbolically ripped apart the Hart glasses on his face staring down at the camera, he told the entire world this was the end of Bret. The true Hart, the Black Hart, was here to stay.
Yet all Owen’s confidence had to wane when Bret Hart’s music hit to a huge crowd reaction. People were on their feet to see Bret at its best. Bret pumped them all up ready to make his dreams a reality.
While he had to fight his brother here tonight, that wasn’t why he fought that night. What Bret wanted was to compete at the end of the night against the WWF champion whoever they were which was his right as co-Royal Rumble winner, whether that winner be Yokozuna or the other Royal Rumble winner Lex Luger.
While Owen’s jealousy caused this battle, Bret was ready for it all to end. However, that didn’t mean he was just going to lie down and let his cocky little brother get the best of him. Owen had assaulted him and ridiculed him, and Bret was not going to stand for that.
Bret was a champion in his heart and a fighting one at that. Two times he had held the Intercontinental Champion, two times he had held the tag team championships, he had even won the King of the Ring twice, but only once was he the WWF Champion. He was not going to allow Owen to ruin his momentum in gaining that one championship he craved more than anything to hold again.
“All of those accomplishments he would gain while holding his brother Owen behind him, holding him in the shadows.” – Jerry Lawler
As the bell rang, Owen locked up with Bret, and the two came out even with Owen using the opportunity to gloat if he had won the tie up. Every time Bret brought him down, Owen popped back up and acted as if he were dominating.
The confidence though quickly turned to anger. Bret kept beating down on Owen, keeping him down as if he was a rookie challenging the master, and Owen wouldn’t stand for it. He came right up to his brother and, without a second thought, slapped him hard across the face.
Bret who had been playing it cool up to that point lost it, forgetting everything else around him. He came after Owen quickly, but his emotion got the best of him. Owen took Bret down and began to control proceedings though momentum was always quick to shift. Owen performed flips to keep Bret off balance using his natural athleticism to combat Bret’s technical style.
“Let’s go, Bret! Let’s go Bret!” the crowd chanted, completely behind the Pink and Black Attack. Bret fed off the energy, battling with more intensity and quickness, flipping Owen from underneath as Owen was running, sending the younger brother to the outside.
Frustrated, Owen lost himself in the moment. He wanted no part of this battle anymore and tried to make his way to the back. As he did, he felt a hard tug on his ring gear and then his hair as his brother forced him head first back into the ring.
It was obvious that Owen was working off emotion, trying to pull out anything and everything in order to get out his aggression, while Bret kept to his technical wheelhouse, outmaneuvering his brother for the most part.
“Bret Hart is tenacious; however, you have to wonder whether or not being the older brother, being the one who unquestionably protected Owen as Owen grew up – (if) Bret has that killer instinct in this match as he does in all other matches.” – Vince McMahon
As Bret tries to keep things confined to pure wrestling, Owen catches Bret with a perfect spinning kick to the face. Smelling blood in the water, Owen doesn’t waste more than a second to begin assaulting Bret even bashing Bret straight into the ring post.
Owen takes Bret and whips him into the turnbuckle before hitting a harsh knee to the back and applying a camel clutch. Owen yells at Bret, trying to make his brother feel inferior for once in his life.
The brutality of Owen’s continuous attack upon his back begins to wear Bret down. His ability to even stand or fight back lessens as every quick reversal is merely a brief second of respite. Bret falls to the outside in pain.
“He’s running. He’s trying to rest.” – Jerry Lawler
Owen’s early confidence is now an absolute conviction. Owen knows that his brother, the great former World Champion, is reeling. Suplexes left and right are all in Owen’s favor with Bret only able to reverse one into a close count roll up.
Just as Bret seems prepared to come back, Owen reverses a series of near slams into a perfect piledriver. Owen knows in his mind that he’s won. He yells at the crowd that this is over as he marches to the top rope and prepares a frog splash; however, as he flies, Bret rolls out, leaving nobody home as Owen bounces off the mat.
That one mistake was the chance Bret needed as he fights back with an atomic drop transitioned into a clothesline. Bret can’t get the win, but he feels confortable again, back in the driver’s seat.
“See what you forget is that nobody knows Bret Hart’s moves better than his own brother Owen. He probably knows what Bret’s going to do before Bret knows it.” – Jerry Lawler
These brothers were the ones who had trained their whole lives together, grappled in the dungeons of their father against one another. They had gone through the same rigors, the same living style from their births to this very moment. They were born to be wrestlers, and they were brought up as wrestlers.
They learned the same moves, the same styles, yet they played different roles in the ring. Owen was the flyer, the athlete, while Bret was the natural technician, the prototypical grappler. Even so, as they battled here, their familiarity shined through, creating the perfect environment for unadulterated, natural wrestling at its finest.
Every move is reversible, understood by each man. Sharpshooters become the other man’s sharpshooter which quickly transitions into a tight roll up. Nothing is certain as the crowd is getting more and more pumped up.
“What a matchup this is! Unbelievable!” – Vince McMahon
As Bret feels the need to gain back some semblance of security and control, he makes a risky decision and flies over the top rope hitting Owen on the outside. However, the high risk doesn’t pay off as he tweaks his knee. Owen takes advantage as if a bull’s eye rests on the left knee of the Hitman, showing no remorse for his own blood.
Owen knows that his time is now. He monstrously assaults the leg, ready to hospitalize his brother if it means that Owen can get this win in his favor. Much to the crowd’s disdain, Owen locks in a figure four, and he smiles as he sees his brother drowning in the pain.
Bret lays on the other side, grimacing, barely even able to keep his shoulders off the mat, yet he won’t quit. In fact, he can’t quit. Bret has forgotten all the outside circumstances, and he just wants this win. He just wants to make sure that, at the end of the night, he doesn’t have to deal with the fact that his little brother beat him after all the abuse Owen has put on Bret and the family.
Bret finally gets out and uses pure tenacity to control himself. He takes down his brother again and again with hard shots even though his knee is ready to collapse at any second. Somehow, even on one leg, adrenaline pumps through Bret enough to hit a superplex to Owen off the top rope which Owen still kicks out of somehow.
“If that didn’t do the Rocket in, you have to wonder what could.” – Vince McMahon.
“He can’t do it. Bret Hart cannot beat his younger brother, and he senses it right now.” – Jerry Lawler.
As Bret begins to doubt himself, he applies a sleeper hold. Owen gets to the ropes to break it, and Owen low blows Bret, directly behind the distracted referee. Owen immediately capitalizes as he hooks in what has become the family hold, the Sharpshooter. Even with Bret’s bad knee, he manages to reverse it once again.
With Bret’s last gasp, he goes to the top rope and grabs Owen. He wobbles in the air before rolling forward for the victory roll. However, Owen knows Bret too well, stepping forward mid move into a perfect roll up for the three count and the victory Owen had craved for so long.
Owen could feel the wave of emotion run through him, excitement for that final three count. Bret though sat there in awe, unable to comprehend that he had been beaten by his young brother. Nothing else went through Bret’s mind as he realized that he had truly lost.
This was the moment that changed Owen’s career. Bret would take the loss in stride in the end though as he became WWF Champion at the end of the pay-per-view. Poor Owen had the win but no title, yet he was now truly a winner. That said, the fans were the true winners in the end.
Of every match in WWE history, most are contested with at least one of the wrestlers being born in America. On the rare occasion that two stars in WWE face off that are both foreign born, they have many matches to live up to.
However, none more exemplifies the true passion of wrestling like this one. The two Canadian brothers putting together a classic at WrestleMania that will go down in history as the greatest opening wrestling match in history and the greatest match ever contested in WWE between two stars born outside of the United States.
Why was this match so great? Well, you now know the story. You can watch the match as I posted to make it even clearer. However, what truly made this the greatest match to ever be contested between two foreign born stars? Wrestling.
Wrestling at its purest needs no added weapons or even a story because the greatest matches of all time tell their story in the ring. Here, we all saw pure grappling, ring awareness at a level that is unheard of to this day, and the greatest possible chemistry between two stars.
It is no exaggeration to say that Bret and Owen were born wrestlers. While Owen tried other pursuits, both men ended up training and developing together in the Hart Dungeon. No one knew Bret Hart better than Owen, and it showed.
While Bret may just be the greatest wrestler of all time, his brother was no slouch himself. Both men could do anything in the ring, tell any story, and make anyone look good. Together, they painted flawless art in that ring.
It is a true shame that this match had to go down as the greatest of Owen’s career only because he wasn’t allowed the time to beat it. The late Owen Hart will always be remembered especially through this match, and Bret can always look back on this match with pride.
Two brothers, one ring, twenty minutes to steal the show, and they stole much, much more than that.