Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: Saturday Night’s Main Event 29

Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase (w/ “Sensational” Sherri)

We come to a pretty historic moment for the WWF as this would end up being the last Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC for 15 long years and while the show would happen again in 1992, this in essence ends the first run of this show that started back in 1985. Since the show debuted on Mother’s Day way back then, we have seen many memorable moments and some hidden gems as the show has been one of the highest rated shows ever, but it was fairly clear by this point that the show has gotten a bit stale and also NBC seemed like they were ready to move on from wrestling. As a result, this ends up being the only SNME in 1991 and as mentioned, the last one and one of the matches featured on it is a pretty interesting matchup between the newly-christened singles star Bret Hart taking on Ted Dibiase. After Wrestlemania, the Hart Foundation were finally split up as Bret was ready to be pushed as a singles star and having him face Dibiase here was a good first step for him especially being on national TV.

Since Wrestlemania, Bret would break off on his own and vowed to work his way up the card towards the Intercontinental Championship, and he would gain steam on TV with squash wins while working a house show program with the Barbarian. As for Dibiase, he would continue his feud with Virgil and Piper on TV as he also faced Piper on house shows including our most recent MSG house show with Dibiase winning the match as it was announced on TV that Bret would face Dibiase here. This was a big opportunity for Bret to get a big match on the national scale and we got a brief glimpse of it back at the Survivor Series, and you figured that they would have some good chemistry and put on a solid match.

Dibiase cuts a good promo before the match putting over Bret while putting down Roddy Piper, and Bret gets a good pop from the crowd while Dibiase was pretty hot as a heel and a key note is Piper joining commentary for this match. The two men lock up to start and they jockey for position as Dibiase backs Bret into the ropes and gets a knee in, and he pounds on Bret in the corner only for Bret to reverse a whip into the other corner and he hits a hiptoss. He hits a trio of clotheslines on Dibiase with the third one sending him over the top to the floor, and Dibiase regroups with Sherri until Bret hits a slingshot plancha onto Dibiase on the floor and he pounds on him. He throws Dibiase back into the ring and takes him to the mat with a headlock as Dibiase rolls him over for a two count and Bret regains control, and Dibiase gets to his feet and whips Bret off only for Bret to knock him down and he ducks a shot as Sherri trips him up from the outside. Bret pulls her onto the apron and he avoids a knee from Dibiase who knocks Sherri off the apron as Bret hooks a rollup for a two count, and Bret goes back to the headlock and he knocks Dibiase down only for Dibiase to hotshot him on the top rope. Dibiase hits a piledriver on Bret for a two count and Bret escapes a slam attempt only for Dibiase to send him to the outside, and Dibiase rolls outside and rams Bret into the steps before rolling back inside as Sherri picks Bret up and gets a shot in. Dibiase goes outside and throws Bret back into the ring before stomping on him and he chokes him on the ropes, and Sherri takes her jacket off and chokes Bret with it from the outside as Dibiase continues to choke him on the ropes. Sherri gets another shot in on Bret from the outside and Dibiase rams him into the buckle before pounding on him in the corner, and he whips Bret hard into the other corner and attempts the Million Dollar Dream only for Bret to ram him into the corner to block it. Dibiase goes up to the middle rope only for Bret to nail him coming in and he fires up on Dibiase as he knocks him down, and Dibiase begs off as Bret pounds on him in the corner before hitting an atomic drop and a jumping back elbow for a two count. He hits a Russian legsweep on Dibiase for a two count and then he hits a backbreaker before going up to the middle rope and dropping an elbow on him for a two count, and Bret argues with the ref and pounds on Dibiase before hooking a headlock as Dibiase whips him off and Sherri trips him up again from the outside. Bret goes outside and stalks Sherri as he grabs her only for Dibiase to come off the apron with an axehandle, and he throws Bret back into the ring as Piper leaves the commentary table and comes down to ringside. Bret catches Dibiase ducking by slamming his head into the mat and he pounds on him as Piper steps up behind Sherri and chases her around the ring, and he pulls a broom out from under the ring as Bret pounds on Dibiase in the corner and Piper hits Sherri with the broom before chasing her to the back. Dibiase rakes Bret’s eyes and goes outside as he chases Piper while Bret goes outside and they trade blows as the ref counts both men out and the match ends in a draw.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard for the 10 minutes that they got and they put on a solid match. This was a good showcase match for Bret and it was clear that they were ready to push him strong as a solo star, and putting him with Dibiase was a good move and they showed some pretty good chemistry here. The only thing here was that they obviously didn’t want Bret to lose his first big high profile match though Dibiase couldn’t lose either given the feud he was in, so they had to cop out and do a double countout which was a fairly weak ending. It was also clear that the match was also more focused on the ongoing issue with Dibiase and Piper though it was a bit weird that Virgil didn’t make an appearance as well, and the crowd was into the match and Bret though they are not happy at all with the ending. The match ends with no winner and both men move on as Bret continues to climb the ladder and Dibiase goes back to his feud with Virgil and Piper.

Final Grade: ***