Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit - (WCW Monday Nitro 10/4/99) - 10

For those that aren’t pimping this match, I’ve got to ask, what’s up? I mean, seriously, contextually, this is one of the most important matches of our time. And, it’s treated like what, the used condom from a ’98 Scott Hall late night anal adventure? Where are the props for this match? I want to know.

So, anyway, Harley Race does the ring introductions and even he, a legend in his own right, and also a chili wizard, says that this is one of the biggest honors of his career. Then, Benoit comes down to the ring, sporting what can only be described as an Owen Hart t-shirt that was designed and created using a teenager’s desktop computer. Bret comes down to ringside, in the arena that, gasp, his little brother died tragically in. The poetry of this is too good to be written, which is all right, because this drama isn’t scripted, unlike a ten-minute in-ring promo by The Rock that was likely airing on another channel at the same time.

They start off doing some amateur wrestling, jockeying for position, etc. There are some good reversals, realistic cinching on holds, and so forth. I kind of look at this match like a three-act play. The next act is when they start ratcheting it up a notch, tempers start flaring, and things take a more physical tone. Strikes are being used now, and we’re starting to see these guys’ competitive urges manifest themselves. For me, the third act is ushered in by a scintillating suicide dive to the floor by Benoit, that just absolutely drills Bret in the face, and Hart flies backwards about ten-foot down the entrance aisle.

There’s a lot of money stuff in this last section, namely a picturesque superplex that gave me back pains by proxy. The whole time Benoit’s just drilling Bret with chops, showing no remorse for the grieving Hart. The finish is sublime, transcendent some could argue, as Hart finally sinks in “The Sharpshooter” and Benoit taps in the middle of the ring. After the match, Bret looks up at the rafters that his younger brother Owen fell to his gruesome death from, and in that moment, this is cemented as one of the most priceless pieces of wrestling footage ever. Thank you Bret and Chris, as well as Harley for the priceless introductions, and most of all, to Owen.


Adam said...

I can see how some people might think that it's a 10. Honestly, for me, 10 has to make me bow down to it for all eternity. Not that I'm saying this wasn't a good pick for the second ever NHO 10-spot, I myself would probably give the match a high 8 or 9.

Jessie said...

i told you no one was talking about this match....but it has real legs as a 10. i've seen it recently, well, in the last 2 years or's damn fine almost made me forget about beniot's heinous actions...seeing how well they tributed owen...congrats, on discovering it....

Brian said...

Adam, while I honor that you reserve the right to your opinion, I wholeheartedly disagree. If the value of a 10 should be measured by its ability to make one bow down before it, then I can't think of another match I'd rather get on my knees in gratitude for. Besides the wrestling itself and storytelling being splendid, the context further cements this as something very, very special. I'm extremely honored to have put Chris and Bret alongside Jun and Kenta in the highly prized "10" category.

Jessie, thanks for the kind words, and you owe it to yourself to eventually see this one again. I'm still puzzled why it's not widely accepted as a genuine masterpiece.

Adam, I suggest watching this again, and studying every detail. I watched this match incredibly closely. I didn't view it as a passive spectator, but in my head I was watching every nuance, like a UFC or boxing judge, keeping a mental record of every movement these guys made and the ebb and flow of the match. It's flawless and I strongly stick by my score.

Didge said...

I have to agree with brian. You will not find a better match than this, maybe with more emotion or better wrestling but you will not find one with both. Its very rare and whe might not see something like this again!