Wrestler of the Day – June 28: Hart Foundation

The pink and black attack is back with the Hart Foundation.

This is going to be about the tag team, not either of the stables.

We’re going to start with what may be their first match together as a team. From July 13, 1985.

British Bulldogs vs. Hart Foundation

That was their first match in MSG, and this is their second. Joined in progress with Dynamite and Bret getting us going. The Brits clean house until the power guys come in for a test of strength. Bret comes back in and the Harts take over with some nice double teaming stuff. Bret misses a charge and knees Anvil by mistake to bring in Dynamite.

House is cleaned and everything speeds up. There’s a falling headbutt to Bret as things finally get down to one on one. Missile dropkick puts Bret down and there’s the powerslam but Jim breaks up the cover. That allows Bret to take over and the Harts dominate. Dynamite hooks a sunset flip but the curfew comes on. That means it’s I think 10pm in New York and therefore the show has to end. Imagine that happening today.

Rating: C+. Good stuff here but there’s only so much they can do with so little time. These teams just couldn’t have a bad match in this time period if their lives depended on it. Dynamite was so great with his speed stuff and it’s easy to see how Benoit modeled himself after the Kid. Fun match, would have been great with a finish.

Another from September 10, 1985. According to Hart, these teams fought roughly 500 times.

Hart Foundation vs. Killer Bees

I told you these teams always hooked up. I think we’re in Philly here. Blair clears house to start and it’s off to Brunzell. Bret is in trouble early and the Bees stay on the arm, which the announcers criticize them for. Bret gets in an elbow and here’s the Anvil. Blair is in trouble but gets in a right hand to a big pop. He doesn’t do anything after that but it shows you how strong the crowds were back in the day.

The Dream Team has the belts at the moment so this is late 85-early 86. Bret misses a charge into the ropes and it’s off to Brunzell. Brunzell hits his dropkick on Hart but Anvil makes the save. Everything breaks down but Bret and Brunzell go to the floor. And there’s the LAME double DQ. This didn’t run long enough to really get going.

Rating: C-. These two were incapable of having a bad match but they needed more time here. The double DQ came in way too fast and that really hurt things. You could easily watch any of these guys’ matches and you would get a good match out of it. Fun stuff here, while it lasted at least.

And another from August 9, 1986.

Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff vs. Hart Foundation

In Boston here and this would be heel vs. heel. The Harts are the faces by default and get cheered as a result. They also break up the Russian national anthem to really ensure their cheers. Even Gorilla acknowledges that no one cheers the Harts most of the time. The Harts clear the ring and eventually we start with Bret vs. Nikolai. Off to Sheik before anything happenes.

Bret sends him to the floor pretty easily as the Harts are in desperate need of a better team than this to face. Sheik gets him in the heel (I guess) corner but he misses a boot so Volkoff gets knocked down. Nikolai does get up to break up the middle rope elbow and Neidhart is shoved away. Sheik can take over now and brings in Nikolai who gets caught in a sunset flip which the referee misses.

The team that should have been called the Iron Curtain uses the classic basic heel moves to control as Sheik runs through his array of offense: abdominal stretch, gutwrench suplex and camel clutch, the final of which is broken up by Jim. Bret blocks some suplexes and it’s off to Neidhart. Jim cleans house with a bunch of dropkicks but Sheik breaks up a cover. Everything breaks down and Sheik pulls Neidhart’s leg to break up a slam and Volkoff falls on top for the pin.

Rating: D. Bad match and it’s not the right pairing for the Harts at all. They’re much better against the speed teams and since there was at least one for them to fight in the Killer Bees, I’m assuming there’s something up here. Not much of a match and pretty short, but the Harts did what they could. It just didn’t work all that well.

Let’s jump to TV with Saturday Night’s Main Event VIII.

Hart Foundation vs. Killer Bees

According to Bret, these teams fought about 400 times at least so they know each other very well indeed. The Harts say they want the belts. Well that’s a great shocker. The ring looks small for some reason. Apparently this is a number one contenders match, or at least I think it is. They say the Bulldogs who had the belts at the moment are waiting n the winners.

Should be noted that around this time that the Bees were wearing masks where no one could tell who was who. We get an inset interview of them with Gene where they argue over who is Jim Brunzell and who is Brian Blair. That’s different I guess. Wasn’t this supposed to be an elimination match? They mentioned that in the opening of the show but I haven’t heard anything about it here.

You know, in every match we have with Anvil in it, he does a dropkick and everyone busts a nut over it. It’s not like it never happens. Also apparently the Harts haven’t worn pink before. This is being written just after Jesse and Vince did commentary on Raw so I’m all happy about that. Vince was so much better back in the day. He didn’t have that annoying gravelly voice.

We go to a break and when we come back we’re right where we were a second ago. Ok, now this is just to get into the tag title scene. I don’t get half of what’s going on here. The heels are dominating here. Has there ever been a better spot than having the referee miss a face tag?

The Bees go under the ring and put on their masks and do the obvious switch. Bret takes out the illegal Bee and they do another switch. The legal one pins Bret, which Jesse of course panics at. So much for the elimination nonsense. Vince uses the horrible line of to Bee or not to Bee. Yeah and he was considered good on the mic.

Rating: C-. It got a decent amount of time, but it wasn’t that great. They’ve wrestled each other so many times that if nothing else they’re going to be smooth out there and that was the case this time. This wasn’t bad at all, but the ending was predictable as all goodness.

The Foundation would finally get a Tag Team Title shot on the February 7, 1987 episode of Superstars.

Tag Titles: British Bulldogs vs. Hart Foundation

No intros at all here. How weird is it that the guy in the best shape of these four today is likely Neidhart? Jimmy hit Dynamite with the Megaphone apparently. Oh and evil Danny Davis is referee. Remember that. So it’s Smith vs. both guys and he’s handling them fairly well actually. He gets the powerslam on Anvil but Davis intentionally just goes to the floor to yell at Dynamite who is out cold.

This is happening in like 2-3 minutes. After the double team, a Hart Attack and an accelerated count ends this to give the Harts their first titles. MAD heat on the heels. Like I said, this whole thing was less than 4 minutes so I didn’t have time to go into commentary or anything.

Rating: N/A. Not even a match really as they were just all over the place and it was an angle rather than a match. That’s fine though as they were going this fast. For that though, it was interesting if nothing else and more or less the peak of the Davis is Evil angle. There would be a six man at Mania with Davis and the Harts vs. Bulldogs and Santana who Davis had screwed over also.

The rematch took place on Saturday Night’s Main Event XI.

Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. British Bulldogs

This is 2/3 falls. Before the match Hart gets bitten by Matilda which looks cool for obvious reason. Davey and Bret start us off. It’s interesting that Anvil is by far and away the worst wrestler in there and he’s hardly terrible. He’s not particularly good but he’s certainly watchable. The Harts are champions here and this is the official rematch for when Davis cheated to give them the titles.

The heels dominate early as they’re not doing much of note here. It’s fine though, mainly based on just pure raw talent. Dynamite and Bret crank things up a bit. The crowd is way into this too so they have that going for them. The champions get to double team Dynamite and the champions get disqualified eventually, making it 1-0 Bulldogs.

This really isn’t all that great of a match but it’s not terrible. Davey chases like five people around the ring as it looks like a weird comedy skit. I need some Benny Hill music in there somewhere. Bret goes for a cross body on the ropes and winds up getting crotched. Hot tag to Smith and it’s on all over again. He gets the delayed vertical on Neidhart which is rather impressive.

Vince gets PISSED at Jesse, telling him to shut up. Now that’s your Mania match right there. Tito pops Davis for a huge pop and then Kid is picked up and thrown at Bret for a cross body to win in two straight falls to blow the freaking roof off the place. Jesse laughs because the first fall was a DQ so no title switch. They would switch that in 89 so the Brainbusters could win the belts. Holy Dusty Finish Batman.

Rating: B-. Fun match but the ending hurts it a lot. These teams always worked quite well and this was definitely no exception. The ending was a nice way to get the fans going and also to continue the feud since now it’s clear that the Bulldogs can beat them. Strike Force would jump in soon and win the belts, taking the Can-Am Connection’s spot after Zenk went insane.

We’ll jump ahead to after Strike Force took the Tag Team Titles from the Harts. This led to the teams captaining Survivor Series teams at Survivor Series 1987.

Team Hart Foundation vs. Team Strike Force

Hart Foundation, Bolsheviks, Demolition, Dream Team, Islanders
Strike Force, British Bulldogs, Killer Bees, Young Stallions, Fabulous Rougeaus

The rules here are that if one member of a team is eliminated, both members are out so it’s still just five eliminations needed. Strike Force recently stunned the Harts for the titles. I think you should know every team here. The Dream Team is Greg Valentine and Dino Bravo and the Stallions are Jim Powers and Paul Roma. I’m a big Strike Force fan so it’s good to see the fans pop loudly for them.

I’ve seen this show many times as it was one of my favorite tapes but I’ve never figured something out: for this and the main event, the lights are turned down. Why would that be the case? It’s clearly darker in the arena now and it’s not a dome with sunlight coming in or anything. I’ve never gotten that. Volkoff and Martel start things off. There are so many people on the apron that you can’t see most of the ring from a standard camera shot.

Volkoff powers him down to start before bringing in Zhukov. Since Zhukov is pretty much worthless, Martel beats him up and brings in Santana for the forearm out of nowhere for the quick pin. Santana’s reward for the pin: he gets to fight Ax. Ax does his pounding but knocks Tito into the corner and it’s off to Jacques Rougeau who speeds things up with a jumping back elbow to take over.

Dino Bravo comes in and the good guys start speeding up their tags. I’m sorry for all of the play by play in this but when you have 18 guys in a match there isn’t much room for analysis or anything else. After Bravo gets beaten up by about five different guys we wind up with Smash vs. Dynamite and the Bulldog (Dynamite) gets caught in the heel corner. Well actually it would be the heel side of the ring because they don’t all fit in one corner but corner sounds better.

Off to Haku and they chop it out before Dynamite tags in a Killer Bee who tags in the other Killer Bee. Neidhart comes in and gets his legs stretched by Brunzell and Roma. Back to Smash and then Ax who beat on the (somehow) future Horseman. I’m not listing a lot of the tags as there are probably five of them a minute and there’s no point in listing off stuff like “Ax comes in and hits Roma once before tagging back out.”

Roma tags in Powers who gets beaten down just as fast as Roma did, so it’s off to Jacques again. Not that it matters much as Jacques misses a cross body and Smash gets a quick pin. That’s good as we’re now down to sixteen guys left in the match. Off to Dynamite vs. Tama but Powers comes in, only to hesitate and gets his head taken off by a clothesline. Neidhart comes in and puts him in an over the shoulder powerbomb position as Haku drops a double ax (is there a single ax?) to the chest.

Off to Roman who gets beaten up by Ax and then Valentine. The Stallions are jobbers for all intents and purposes but they were great at selling so there was a point to having them around. Bravo comes in and hits a gutwrench suplex for two. Roma crawls over and brings in a Killer Bee who tags out to Dynamite almost immediately to face Smash. Smash fires off something similar to Sheamus’ ten forearms but shoves the referee, drawing the DQ to knock out Demolition. Notice that they kept Demolition VERY strong here and didn’t let them get pinned.

Bret immediately comes in and piledrives Dynamite for only two. Jesse immediately starts singing Bret’s praises as he was known to do. Bret misses a charge and hits the post shoulder first and it’s off to Powers again to face Tama. Tama misses a Vader Bomb and there’s the tag to Martel. Rick cleans house but when he puts the Boston Crab on he’s too close to the ropes and Neidhart gets a tag.

Rick gets away enough to bring in Santana who hits the forearm almost immediately for two. The saving shot to the back of Santana’s head by Bret is enough for Neidhart to get a pin and eliminate the champions. To recap, we have the Harts, the Dream Team and the Islanders vs. the Bulldogs, the Stallions and the Bees. At least now things can slow down a lot. Haku hits a HIGH dropkick on Powers as Jesse talks about his great great grandfather coming over on the Mayflower.

Valentine comes in and does Arn Anderson’s jump in the air and get crotched spot. Anvil (Neidhart for you schmucks out there) comes in and hot shots Powers followed by a superkick from Haku. Off to Valentine who has his suplex countered but still blocks the tag by bringing in Hitman. Bret suplexes Powers but Roma is still able to get the tag somehow. Back to Valentine who comes off the middle rope with a shot to the back for two.

In something you rarely see, Bret whips Roma into the ropes and knocks Valentine off the apron. Bret misses a dropkick and there’s the tag to Dynamite. A belly to back gets two for the Kid and it’s off to Roma which is a pretty questionable move given the beating he’s taken. Off to Haku vs. Blair as Roma was only in for a few seconds. Davey comes in and it’s power vs. power. Make that power vs. Powers but Jim misses a corner charge and Haku tags Anvil.

Powers dives away from Bret and it’s time for Davey Boy vs. Bret in a Summerslam 92 preview. Davey uses a perfect gorilla press on Hart and hits the powerslam for two on Haku. Dynamite tries a middle rope headbutt (notice all the similarities between Dynamite and Benoit. Benoit basically cloned himself after Dynamite) on Haku but knocks himself silly, allowing Haku to superkick him for the elimination.

It’s 3-2 now and Roma immediately charges in with a dropkick for two. Off to Bravo who misses an elbow and it’s off to Powers. Why won’t they tag the Bees already? Valentine Hammers away on Powers as do both Harts. Valentine comes in for a second before handing it off to Bravo again. Dino hits his side suplex but tags off to Valentine for the Figure Four, which is countered by a kick to the back. Off to Roma who sunset flips Valentine off the top to make it 2-2 (Stallions/Bees vs. Islanders/Harts).

The Bees double team Anvil in a match that by their own words probably happened 300 times over the years. Brunzell hits a high knee to the face for two and it’s off to Bret who does about as well. Tama comes in and takes out Roma and it’s off to Haku. Haku misses a legdrop and it’s back to Brunzell. Brunzell hiptosses him into the heel corner for some reason and Bret comes back in. Roma gets two off a middle rope fist but Hart comes right back with a belly to back suplex.

The Islanders hit a double headbutt and this referee counts SLOW. Haku pounds on Roma and hits a dropkick which is rather impressive for a guy his size. It’s not quite as impressive as Anvil doing a dropkick of his own (literally 2 seconds after Monsoon says he’d like to see Neidhart try one) though. Bret comes back in and Roma slides between Bret’s legs and tags in Brunzell.

Brunzell tries to slam Hart but Tama dropkicks Bret’s back. Brunzell rolls through and gets a fast pin to eliminate the Harts and get us down to 2-1. Tama hooks a nerve hold on Brunzell followed by a shoulderbreaker from Haku. That gets two so Haku puts on a nerve hold of his own. Now Tama puts on ANOTHER nerve hold. To be fair we’re over half an hour into this so the guys are likely getting tired.

Brunzell tries a sunset flip but there’s no strength in it at all and he only gets two. He FINALLY gets a tag off to Powers who tags in Roma for a powerslam for two. Things start to break down a bit and the Bees being in the ring allow the Islanders to double team Roma a bit. Roma escapes enough to tag Blair but Tama kicks him before Blair can even get in. Tama misses an elbow and it’s off to Brunzell again for some reason. He can barely get Tama over for a backdrop but the signature dropkick gets two. Everything breaks down and Blair puts on his mask (it was a thing the Bees did to cheat) and sunset flips Tama for the pin.

Rating: C-. This match just kept going on and on and it was kind of exhausting to sit through. It runs nearly forty minutes and by the end there were no combinations we hadn’t seen already. You could easily cut out fifteen minutes of this match and it would have improved greatly. If you like tag wrestling, find a copy of this NOW but otherwise be ready to fast forward a lot. It’s not a bad match or anything but man alive is it long.

Time for a house show match to continue the feud. From Houston on December 10, 1987.

Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. Strike Force

Strike Force had won the titles about a month or so before this and this is match #857 or so between them. Still though, it should be awesome. The Harts jump the champions as they hit the ring but Strike Force fights them off. No Jimmy here for some reason. We stall for a good while before it’s Bret vs. Martel to start us off.

Martel cartwheels out of something (nearly kicking Bret in the head) and gets a cross body and sunset flip for two. They are MOVING out there. Tito comes in as Bret goes to the floor to hide. Thankfully it’s short and it’s back to Tito working on the arm. He cranks on an armbar which really is looking painful.

Martel comes in for no apparent reason and Neidhart comes in to block him. The referee gets Jim out and the champions tag without the referee seeing it at all. Apparently this is all cool. Who are the heels here again? Martel cranks on the arm a bit and does the ever important thing of mixing up the things he does to it. After some quick double teaming it’s back off to Tito and the flying forearm gets two.

Anvil comes in with no tag but he says he did. Well that’s on the referee then for being an absolute idiot. Jim takes over on Tito and Bret adds some cheating while Martel tries to get in. Little things like those are what make matches great. Tito gets tied up in the ropes as it’s all Foundation here. The fans chant for Tito and the Harts keep doing such basic cheating that they get the fans further and further into the palms of their hands with every second.

Bret gets the backbreaker for two. The crowd is into this as this is very good heel vs. face stuff. Anvil breaks up another tag to kill the crowd (in a good way) all over again. They run the ropes and collide with Bret possibly having hurt his knee. Both partners come in and Jim puts Bret on top for a VERY close two. Tito sends Bret into the corner chest first as Bret would do almost every match.

Anvil AGAIN stops the tag though and chokes away as Bret and Martel chase each other around the ring for awhile. The Harts try to cheat again but Bret accidently hits a running knee to Jim. THERE’S the hot tag to Martel and the fans are literally on their feet. It’s dropkicks all around and we get the Boston Crab (the hold they won the titles with) to Bret. The referee tries to get Tito out and Anvil hits Martel with the belt. The referee misses that but Tito picks it up to hold the Harts off. Somehow Strike Force wins despite the referee having no idea what Jim did.

Rating: B. The ending holds this back but seeing the GREAT job of getting the crowd into this was impressive. They kept building on the whole “they can’t get Martel in” until the tag finally was made and the place erupted for it. That’s how you work a crowd and considering this was on a house show, that’s impressive beyond belief. This would have been a good PPV match and it’s on a house show. Great stuff, questionable ending aside.

The Harts turned face over the summer and would challenge for the Tag Team Titles at Summerslam 1988.

Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. Demolition

Demolition is defending and the Harts don’t even get an entrance. The champions have Mr. Fuji and the Harts’ former manager Jimmy Hart with them. Bret and Ax start things off with Ax pounding Hitman down like he’s nothing. Bret avoids an elbow drop and it’s off to Anvil (Jim Neidhart) vs. Smash with Neidhart taking over. Ax hits a knee to Jim’s back from the apron and the champions take over again.

Neidhart gets in a punch to Ax’s face and it’s off to Hart vs. Smash again. Smash will have nothing to do with this selling stuff and whips Bret shoulder first into the post as the champions get their first extended advantage. Bret’s bad arm is caught up in the ropes and both champs pound away on the injured limb. Smash bends Bret’s arm around his own leg Off to Ax for more cranking on the arm. Bret is shockingly not selling it all that well.

Smash sends the arm into the post again and Bret is in big trouble on the outside. Back in and Ax pounds away while Graham is SCREAMING at Anvil to do something. Bret comes back with a clothesline with the injured arm but the referee misses the tag. Smash charges into a knee in the corner and now the referee sees the tag. Anvil comes in and cleans house, even slingshotting over the top onto Smash on the floor. Back in and Bret throws Anvil into Smash in the corner for two before everything breaks down. Neidhart goes after Fuji, allowing Ax to hit Bret in the back with the megaphone to retain.

Rating: B-. This took some time to get going but once Bret got in and started selling, it was all awesome. Demolition would hold the titles for nearly another year in the longest tag title reign in company history. These teams would go at it again in two years in one of the most entertaining tag matches ever. This was good stuff, but they were capable of much better.

They were also at the first pay per view Royal Rumble in a six man tag.

Dino Bravo/Fabulous Rougeaus vs. Jim Duggan/Hart Foundation

2/3 falls here. Anvil vs. Bravo gets things going and they collide a few times with no one going anywhere. Both guys miss elbows and it’s off to Duggan for a BIG reaction. Ray Rougeau comes in and is immediately slammed down and hit by a knee drop. Hart comes in to a small but audible reaction and gets two each off a small package and a sunset flip. Jacques comes in and things break down a bit with all three heels being caught in one corner where Anvil drives shoulders into them, crushing Ray against the corner under two other guys.

Ray FINALLY gets something in by low bridging Bret to send him to the floor. At the end of the day, when you need someone to sell something you call on Bret. Dino’s side suplex puts Bret down and The Rougeau Bomb gets the first fall. Bret and Ray start things off in the second fall with Hart in big trouble. Jacques comes in and sends Bret into the corner for the traditional chest first bump in the corner which gives Dino two.

Bravo puts on a bear hug for a bit before it’s back to Jacques. A sunset flip gives Bret a quick breather but he’s immediately put in a camel clutch. Anvil makes the save but as he’s being put back in the corner, Ray comes in and puts the same hold back on. That’s good stuff there. The heels take turns working over Bret until Jacques puts on a Boston Crab. Gorilla wants Duggan or Neidhart to come in and break the hold up, because you’ve got five seconds. I love the hypocrisy you would get from him at times.

Bret breaks the hold and tags in Anvil but the referee didn’t see it. That’s such a basic spot but you don’t see it much anymore. Ray puts on an abdominal stretch before it’s off to Jacques for the exact same hold. Bret FINALLY hits an atomic drop to break up the momentum and there’s the white hot tag to Duggan. Anvil hits a slingshot shoulder on Ray and a Duggan elbow drop ties the match up at a fall apiece.

Duggan pounds on Ray to start before going to the wrong corner to try to beat up both guys. Bravo hammers away a bit but rams Duggan’s head into the buckle for no effect at all. Duggan gets punched over into the corner and there’s the tag to Hart. Everything breaks down and Duggan hits Bravo with the board to give Hart the pin.

Rating: C. This was fine but Duggan’s reactions are amazing. The guy was probably the third most over guy in the company at this point, which is covering a lot of ground given how over some of the guys were in 1989. This was fine for an opener but the ending was never quite in doubt, which is ok.

What would a tag team be without a Wrestlemania appearance? From Wrestlemania V.

Greg Valentine/Honky Tonk Man vs. Hart Foundation

Valentine and Honky aren’t Rhythm and Blues yet. Bret and Honky start and it’s atomic drops all around. Honky sells his hilariously but Greg plays it a bit more serious. Off to Anvil for some power but Bret misses the middle rope elbow. The beating begins and you know Hart is going to sell things very well. Valentine gets to pound away as Gorilla says Greg isn’t warmed up yet.

Honky hits the Shake Rattle and Roll but tags in Valentine for the Figure Four instead. Greg gets rolled up for two instead as Gorilla goes NUTS complaining about Honky not covering. The hot tag brings in Anvil again to clean house on both heels. A great clothesline gets two on the Hammer before it’s back to Bret for the middle rope elbow. Everything breaks down and Bret gets Jimmy Hart’s megaphon to drill Honky for the pin.

Rating: D+. Enough filler matches already! This is probably the fourth match out of ten so far that have been there with no particular reason for it to happen. The show is already well over two and a half hours now and there are still four matches to go. That’s one of the problems with the late 80s: they made the shows long for the sake of having them be long.

Here’s a dream match from Summerslam 1989.

Hart Foundation vs. Brain Busters

The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) won the tag titles a few weeks before this show, but since the match was already signed this is non-title. Why it wasn’t changed to a title match is beyond me but there’s no way this won’t be awesome. Heenan is with the Brain Busters here, making what Jesse said even more confusing. Bret and Tully get things going with Hart going straight for the arm. Arn comes in to take Bret to the mat with a headlock, only to have Bret crank on his arm as well.

A hammerlock slam puts Arn in a cute bit before it’s off to Neidhart for some powerful cranking on the arm. The Harts change two more times and both guys get to crank on the arm before Bret puts on an armbar. Arn slips out and brings in Tully who has his own arm pulled on by Anvil. Blanchard pulls on the beard to escape but can’t hiptoss the big man over. Back to Bret for more arm work before Anvil sneaks in without a tag. It’s only cheating if you get caught remember.

Anvil completely no sells some chops to the chest and sends Tully into the buckle before bringing Bret back in. The fans are all over Heenan with a Weasel chant while Bret works on a hammerlock. Tully grabs a top wristlock but Bret bridges off the mat to escape and the Busters are sent to the outside. Back in and Bret wins a slugout with Tully but gets suckered into a chase with Blanchard making a blind tag to Arn who blasts Bret from behind.

Everything breaks down again with the Brain Busters being knocked out to the floor once again. Back in and Bret sends Tully’s face into Anvil’s boot before bringing Neidhart again. Things break down again but Bret accidentally whips Jim into the buckle to give the Busters control. Arn drives a middle rope elbow into Neidhart’s back before it’s back to Tully for a reverse chinlock. Neidhart picks him up but Tully makes another blind tag off to Anderson to block a tag.

Arn punches him down but Anvil LAUNCHES Anderson off at two. Back up and both guys collide before Bret gets in a knee to Arn’s back to give Neidhart a breather. The hot tag brings in Hart vs. Blanchard with Bret dropping the middle rope elbow for no cover. Everything breaks down for the third or fourth time tonight with Bret being whipped into Tully to put both guys down.

Arn and Jim go to the floor but Bret slingshots Jim over the top into a shoulder block to Tully. Anvil powerslams Bret onto Blanchard but Anderson hits an ax handle to Bret’s head for the pin (while covering his head so the referee doesn’t see it’s Arn in the ring because Arn Anderson is more awesome than you).

Rating: B. I could watch Arn Anderson matches all day because of stuff like that at the end. I mean, who would think of such a little thing like that at the end of a match? This was a very solid opener but again I have no idea why the titles weren’t on the line here, especially if the Busters were going to go over by pin. The Harts wouldn’t even be a factor in the title scene for another year and even then they were big underdogs.

Something a bit more fun from Wrestlemania VI, in Canada.

Hart Foundation vs. Bolsheviks

National anthem, Canadian assault, Hart Attack to Boris, pin in about 20 seconds.

Now for probably the most famous Hart Foundation match ever (or maybe it’s just my favorite) from Summerslam 1990 in yet another 2/3 falls match.

Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. Demolition

This is 2/3 falls and Demolition is defending. Basically the Harts have about as much chance coming into this as I have at being Miss America 1974. Bret starts with Smash but the Harts knock Crush to the floor before anything gets going. Things settle down and Bret gets a quick rollup for two. Anvil comes in to crank on Smash’s arm before Bret comes back in with a fist to the back. Smash tries to get into a technical match with Bret and gets caught in an armbar for his stupidity.

Smash finally slams Bret down and brings in Crush, only to have Bret avoid an elbow and pound away. Crush charges into a boot in the corner and gets rolled up for two before it’s off to Neidhart vs. Smash, only to have Crush kick Jim in the back to give the champions the advantage. Crush comes in again and misses a charge into the corner, allowing for another double tag to Bret and Smash. Neidhart falls to the floor as everything breaks down. Smash is whipped into Crush and Bret gets two off the middle rope elbow but here’s Crush again. The Decapitator to Bret is enough for the first fall.

The second fall begins with Crush hitting a hard clothesline on Bret and Smash pounding on the chest. After a quick neck crank by Crush, Bret fires off the Hart Attack clothesline on Smash, allowing for the hot tag to Neidhart. A powerslam gets two on Smash and Bret launches Anvil into Smash in the corner. The Hart Attack takes Smash down but Crush breaks up the pin for the DQ to make it 1-1. Why they didn’t let the Harts get the pin there is beyond me.

During the break between falls, Demolition knocks Bret to the floor, allowing Ax to run down and sneak under the ring. The third fall starts with Bret getting two off a sunset flip before taking Smash down by the leg. Neidhart picks Bret up for the reverse powerslam for two on Smash. Now things get tricky as Smash rolls to the floor and rolls under the ring, switching places with Ax.

The idea is that Ax and Smash look so much alike that the referee can’t tell them apart. This is fine except for one problem: THEY DON’T LOOK ALIKE! Ax is taller, heavier set and has a rounder head, not to mention a deeper voice. This reasoning never made sense to me as a kid and it still doesn’t to this day.

Anyway the fresh Ax destroys Bret and gets two off Bret’s chest bump in the corner. Anvil comes in sans tag as Smash takes Ax’s place again. They try to switch again and the Legion of Doom come out to break it up. Smash goes after Hawk and Animal as Anvil shoulder blocks Crush into a rollup by Bret for the pin and the titles. The place comes unglued as the Harts have shocked the world.

Rating: B. That’s probably a bit high but I love this match. The wrestling is just ok but the storytelling is as good as you’ll get in a tag match with the LOD coming out to even things up, allowing the Harts to finally do the impossible and win the titles. This is a popular match among old school fans and if you watch it you’ll see why.

Here’s something more infamous, in a match that wasn’t released until about twenty years later. From October of 1990.

Jim Neidhart was fired while still half of the Tag Team Champions. Therefore, a quick title change was necessary and was taped during a Saturday Night’s Main Event taping in October of 1990. However, something happens during the match that changed everything.

Tag Titles: Rockers vs. Hart Foundation

This is 2/3 falls and there’s no commentary since it wasn’t released at the time. Marty and Bret get us going and they hit the mat for a technical sequence leading to a standoff. Bret gets taken down with an armbar into a hammerlock but he elbows Marty in the face to escape. It’s strange to be able to hear the wrestlers talking so loudly with no commentary to cover it up. Shawn comes in and the Rockers speed things up, leading to a double backbreaker on Bret.

Neidhart will have none of this double teaming stuff and comes in to get us to another stalemate. Shawn vs. Anvil now with Jim blocking some hiptoss attempts but getting taken down by a headscissors. Back to Marty who is afraid to charge at Neidhart so Jim runs him over with a shoulder and clotheslines him to the floor. Michaels is knocked outside as well, leaving Neidhart alone in the ring. Marty comes back in with an atomic drop to give Shawn a two count before it’s back to Jannetty for some arm work.

Jim drags Marty over to the corner for a tag to Bret (crowd pop) as the Harts start tagging quickly. Shawn knocks Neidhart into a sunset flip for two and Bret is sent outside. A double slam puts the Anvil down and Marty’s top rope fist gets two. Back to Shawn who gets caught in a powerslam for a very close two before Bret comes in to continue the rivalry of rivalries. Hart gets a series of two counts off some of his signature stuff plus a piledriver but stops to argue with the referee, allowing the hot tag to Marty. Jannetty quickly sits on a sunset flip for the pin and the first fall.

Now here’s the interesting question: given what’s coming, why did they not just cut out the rest of the match and say it was only one fall? It’s fine for a quick match and the fall was clean, so why not just give the Rockers the titles there? They can make Edge and Christian friends instead of brothers but can’t edit that? Always kind of strange.

Anyway the second fall begins with Bret atomic dropping Marty down before it’s back to Anvil for a hard shoulder. Bret stomps on Jannetty’s ribs and whips him hard into the corner for two. We hit the front facelock until they fight over a suplex, during which Marty makes a blind tag to Shawn. Michaels catches Jannetty to block the suplex, also drawing in Anvil. The Rockers go to the corners…..and the top rope breaks.

This changes the match entirely as they clearly can’t go to the top rope anymore which is the Rockers’ big trademark (or run the ropes at all actually). Bret is FURIOUS and swears at Shawn, even though Shawn wasn’t in the corner when it broke. We hit the front facelock on Michaels as Bret suggests stopping the match but it keeps going. With nothing else to do, Shawn backdrops out to put both guys down as they try to figure out what to do.

Everything breaks down again with Anvil breaking up a tag attempt to Marty and we hit another chinlock. Shawn fights up and sends Bret into the middle buckle and makes the tag but Marty is taken down immediately as well. They’re clearly making this up as they go out of necessity so Bret slams Anvil onto Jannetty (usually Anvil does the slamming) for another near fall. Something resembling the Demolition Decapitation gets two and Shawn comes in sans tag to dropkick Neidhart outside in a pretty dangerous bump.

Back in and Bret suplexes Shawn down, followed by a quick Hart Attack to tie it up. Bret continues to whine about the match continuing as the third fall begins. We take an edited in break for a novel concept: FIXING THE ROPE. After the breather it’s Shawn being whipped into Bret’s knee and the Hitman goes to work on Michaels’ back. We get down to a regular tag match now with Shawn playing Rick Morton for a bit, including being tied in the ropes. Bret misses a charge though and it’s hot tag #9 or so to Marty.

Jannetty stops a charging Bret with a boot in the corner and hits a kind of middle rope bulldog for two as everything breaks down. We get a crisscross between Bret and Marty until Hart blasts him in the face with a forearm. Back to Neidhart for some powerful shoulders in the corner. Anvil tries to slam Bret onto Marty but it hits knees and Shawn comes in again without tagging. Another Hart Attack is countered by Shawn dropkicking Marty onto Anvil for the pin and the titles out of nowhere to finally pop the crowd.

Rating: D+. The match wasn’t very good but it’s hard to blame the wrestlers for that. The interesting thing here was Bret acting like a total jerk because he had to improvise instead of having the entire match planned out. I get that he wanted to stop the match but don’t take it out on a referee who is just doing his job. This is much more of a piece of wrestling trivia than anything else.

We’ll wrap it up with one of their last matches together, from Wrestlemania VII.

Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. Nasty Boys

The Nastys got got hot in WCW in 1990, weren’t signed to contracts, and debuted in the WWF in late 1990/early 1991. They won a tag team battle royal for this shot they’re getting here. Jerry and Bret start things off and it’s a quick Thesz Press to take Sags down. Brian gets knocked off the apron by the Hitman and Sags gets tripped down to the mat. No Sharpshooter yet though as Bret stomps the midsection instead.

Off to Anvil who starts powering Knobs around and pounds away in the corner. After being knocked to the floor, Brian comes right back in and is immediately caught in an armbar. The Nastys double team Neidhart in their corner to FINALLY take over, but a mat slam is enough to let Neidhart tag Bret back in. Hart tries to fight off both of the Boys, only to get decked from behind by Knobs.

Bret is sent out to the floor where he may have hurt his knee. Back inside Jerry whips him into the corner as we hit the heat section of the match. Sags hooks a reverse chinlock before Knobs comes in to do exactly the same. Back to Jerry for a neckbreaker for two and Brian breaks up a hot tag attempt. Hart breaks up a reverse chinlock by Knobs and now it’s Jerry to break up another hot tag.

Brian misses a splash in the corner and Bret makes the tag but, say it with me, the referee doesn’t see it. We get heel miscommunication and NOW we get a tag to Anvil. Jim cleans house and hits a quick powerslam for two on Knobs as everything breaks down. Jimmy Hart gets decked by Bret and there’s a Hart Attack for Knobs. The referee tries to get Bret out and Sags decks Bret with Jimmy’s helmet, giving the Nastys the titles.

Rating: B-. Another solid tag match here as the division was getting very hot all of a sudden. The Harts would quietly split up after this with Bret moving into the IC Title picture soon thereafter. The Nastys would hold the titles over the summer before dropping them to the monsters known as the LOD at Summerslam.

What do you want me to say here? It’s the Hart Foundation. If they’re not the #1 team in WWE history, they’re maybe #3 at worst. They worked together perfectly and mastered the speed/power combination. With Neidhart being completely insane and Bret being Bret, there’s no way this team wasn’t going to be awesome. Go watch their matches and see how good they are compared to modern tag team wrestling.

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