The Undertaker Vs Bret Hart – WWF Raw 05/02/1996
Everyone remembers the matches from SummerSlam 1997 and One Night Only 1997, and maybe their MSG match from 1992 that was played on WWE Classics on Demand earlier this year, but few people remember they had a match at the 1996 Royal Rumble (which was great), and even fewer people know about this Raw match (hell, I didn’t even know about it lol). So, is it simply not remembered because it happened so long ago and has never been released on DVD, or because it straight up SUCKS? Time for me to find out.
At the Royal Rumble a few weeks ago, The Undertaker had Bret beat, but Diesel got involved and attacked the referee. Bret Hart, being the great champion that he is, asked for a rematch, with the title on the line! And the winner of this will take on Diesel at the next PPV in a cage match for the belt!
Undertaker stalks Bret around the ring, but Bret’s quickness allows him to trap the Dead Man in the corner until a headbutt sends Bret down. As The Undertaker starts to wear down Hart, the fans are firmly behind him, which is a little unusual as Bret was still extremely popular at this time.
Just like their Royal Rumble match, things go at a slow pace with Undertaker trying to suffocate Bret, but during an Old School attempt Big Daddy Cool shows up and distracts him long enough for Bret to reverse the move and begin the typical yet smart work on the leg of his bigger opponent.
The Undertaker sells the leg work nicely, and does a great job of desperately trying to escape the grasp of the Hitman and avoid taking more punishment to his limbs. It seems that The Undertaker’s desperation is what is able to get him back into the match. Cool to see The Undertaker like this in 1996. As big of a supporter of The Undertaker as I am, even I think of him as only really becoming a good seller in the last decade, but the more “Old School” stuff I watch, the more I see that he was ALWAYS a good seller, but before his gimmick really started to evolve, he was limited to when and where he could actually sell. And hey, if there is ever a year for me to realise Undertaker was better than before, it’s 1996 lol, the year myself and other fans agree he truly came into his own (largely due to facing opponents like Bret who could work).
After a lengthy control segment from the Dead Man, Bret is set up for a Tombstone. However, knowing that the Tombstone was the move that almost ended his title reign at the Royal Rumble, Bret makes damn sure to escape, and unfortunately the referee gets knocked out in the process!
After escaping the Tombstone, Bret wisely goes right back to the legs, but with the referee down and out, Diesel makes his presence felt and attacks Bret, only to in turn get attacked by The Undertaker, before retaliating and decking the Dead Man with a chair!
With Bret and the referee still out, Diesel gives The Undertaker his full attention, giving him2 Jackknife Powerbombs! Undertaker is out cold in the ring, and Bret is still down and out on the floor, and the referee hasn’t woken up yet either!
After a commercial break, we find out that the match ended in a draw :(. Kinda sucky that the match didn’t have a finish, but like the Royal Rumble match, the finish was just another way to build up to the next PPV and even WrestleMania, so I can live with it. Besides, everything including the way the match ended was great anyway. Undertaker looked great on offence, Bret was great working the leg and Undertaker sold it nicely, and the finish was well done too. Not quite as good as their 3 PPV matches, but a worthy addition to their collection of matches for sure!