Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I've Always Wanted to Watch This Match Wednesdays...

Bret Hart/British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart/Bob Backlund (WWF Action Zone 1/25/95 (Aired 2/26/95)

ER: We have so much wrestling available to watch no matter where we are, that I think it might make  us watch a less diverse sampling of wrestling than we did when we had to buy boxes of VHS. I'm positive it's worked that way with music. Once every song ever written was made available at any time, I'm positive that people got overloaded and their musical selection became more narrow than ever before. It was way easier to listen to Arthur and love it, and then suddenly you're presented with every single documented Kinks performance and you clam up and stick to what you know. I know too many people like this, and it's frustrating. So there's all the wrestling out there. Lord knows I wish this level of wrestling accessibility existed when I had minimal responsibilities in life. Tuesday thru Thursday college schedule when I was 20? VHS comp tapes! Working 50 hours a week when I'm 35? Every wrestling match available ever!

So there are countless little gems out there that I've still never seen. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Shoot I haven't even finished every season of Martin. There are great Columbo episodes out there that I haven't watched. There are Timothy Carey bit parts that I haven't seen. Timothy Carey was on an episode of Airwolf!? I need to see that.

And today I got this weird urge to watch this match that I've never seen before, but I've seen it popping up on match lists for practically two decades. It's always stood out as weird to me as on paper it looks like a PPV quality match for 1994/1995 WWF, but it was shown on a short lived Sunday morning syndicated show called Action Zone. For anybody who has been to a WWF syndicated TV taping, they were most often 5 hour slogs filled with squash matches and interview segments. You look at the rest of the taping and it's squash matches with Bob Holly, Mantaur, Adam Bomb, Duke Droese, Kama, King Kong Bundy, etc. Yet right at the top of the tapings they had a long Bulldog/Backlund match and then this gem of a tag. Imagine going to a taping and seeing three Adam Bomb matches, three Jeff Jarrett matches, a couple Bob Holly matches....but then THIS tag!?

Post 1983 Backlund has always fascinated me, as outside of Jack Brisco I can't really think of anybody who reached that level of stardom, and then just mostly walked away. Brisco walked away for good, Backlund stayed just barely active until coming back full time to WWF in 1993. I really need to go back and rewatch all of the Backlund BattlArts stuff soon.

And this match is terrific. If it was on a PPV it would be fondly remember as one of the best tags of 90s WWF. But here it is, relegated to a syndicated show that most people don't remember. The match is called by the legendary team of Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill. But they actually work quite nicely with each other! But everybody in the match is so expressive that they really wouldn't have had to do much to make this work. This is a really great ONE TIME pairing of Owen and Backlund, and they make a killer team. I can't believe they never even teamed up on a house show. This match is literally their lone pairing. But they interact better than most teams you saw on TV during this era. Owen is especially vicious as most of the match is spent with he and Bob taking apart Bret's knee. They both do tons of wishbone splits, Owen drops a few kneedrop variations on his brother's knee, does that wonderful Hart move (that somehow doesn't get used anymore) where they would grab a leg while their opponent was on their back and then do a kind of cannonball into the mat while holding the leg, snapping the leg back over the opponent's body. But the best is when Owen first takes over on Bret. Bret is going through the 5 moves, and when he lifts Owen up for the backbreaker Owen literally just grabs at his eyes and face. Don't think I've ever seen that reversal, but damn does it make too much sense. Bret is great at selling the knee and we get a couple near comebacks, some great small package reverals, and the best being Bret almost getting the Sharpshooter which leads to Backlund coming in to immediately break it up. We get a couple of tags that get missed by the ref, and this match is hot as hell! Again this is maybe Owen's nastiest performance. He clubs Bret all over the ring and just come off mean, as opposed to bratty. Backlund was around for stooging but provided several weird quirks, like driving his knees into the back of Bret's thighs. It all builds to Bret trapping Bob on the floor and locking in the sharpshooter, with Davey planting the powerslam for the win. This was 15 minutes of tag glory, one of the best WWF matches of the 90s, and one that needs more people talking it up. It took me 20+ years, but I finally watched it. Now you can enjoy it with me.

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