Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: The WWF at Madison Square Garden 1/31/92

Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. the Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

We are now at the end of the month and coming off a very historic Royal Rumble, we were now on the Road to Wrestlemania and it was going to be interesting to see where some guys were headed. Hart had just lost the IC Title to the Mountie who in turn lost it to Piper at the Rumble so it looked like the signs were pointing to a potential dream match between Hart and Piper for the title. On the flip side, Taker had his brief run as WWF Champion and now he seemed to be in a state of flux going into Wrestlemania. Even though these two men had not crossed paths since facing each other back at Survivor Series 1990, it was pretty cool to see that they would face off here at this random MSG house show.

These two mainly stayed away from each other over the last month as Hart continued his feud with Mountie and Taker would work with Sid Justice which included a few early casket matches, and it was announced that the two men would face off here at MSG. Again, it was interesting to see these two paired off with each other at this point in their careers and you wondered if they would have good chemistry to potentially have a bigger feud in the future.

Hart gets a good pop from the crowd while Taker was still pretty hot as a heel though he was getting some cheers as well. Taker wastes no time and attacks Hart to start the match as he pounds on him and he rams him into the buckle, and he chokes Hart in the corner and continues to pound on him as he continues to choke him and he takes Hart to the mat. He whips Hart into the other corner only to miss a charge and Hart hits an atomic drop and a pair of clotheslines, and Taker reverses a whip and Hart ducks a shot before hitting a dropkick that sends Taker over the top to the floor. Hart hits a slingshot plancha onto Taker on the floor which is nearly botched and he pounds on Taker on the floor, and Bearer attempts to hit Hart with the urn only for Hart to block it and he stalks Bearer which allows Taker to get a shot in. He rams Hart into the steps and throws him back into the ring as he pounds on him and he tears at his face, and he hoists Hart up in a choke and tosses him to the mat only for Hart to attempt a sunset flip and he avoids a shot from Taker. Hart gets a kick in and rams Taker into the buckle as he pounds on him in the corner only for Taker to reverse a whip as he sends Hart chest first into the other corner, and he works on the arm and goes up top as he walks across the top rope and comes off with a blow to the back of Hart’s head for a two count. He knocks Hart down and hits a flying clothesline for a two count before hooking a smother hold on Hart and he takes him to the mat, and Hart fights to his feet and breaks the hold as he pounds on Taker only for Taker to get a shot in. He goes back to the arm and goes up top again only for Hart to toss him to the mat though Taker quickly sits up, and Hart fires up on Taker and hits another atomic drop before hitting a clothesline and he pounds on Taker. He hits a Russian legsweep on Taker for a two count and then he hits a suplex on Taker for a two count, and he hits a backbreaker on Taker and goes up to the middle rope as Bearer gets on the apron and distracts the ref. Taker gets to his feet and Hart hits a clothesline off the middle rope before grabbing at Bearer as Taker sits up, and he knees Hart in the back as Bearer drops the urn in the ring and the ref gets knocked out as well. Taker stomps on Hart only for Hart to catch a kick attempt and he trips Taker up before hooking the Sharpshooter on, and Bearer grabs the ref and keeps him distracted as Hart releases the hold and goes after Bearer. Taker gets to his feet and hits an axehandle on Hart before grabbing the urn only for Hart to avoid it, but then Taker hits him in the face with the urn which gets the three and Taker wins the match.

The match itself was decent as both men worked hard and put on a solid match. Hart was really getting into a groove by this point while Taker was also getting into a groove in terms of his character though his in-ring work was starting to get a little better by this point. This was an interesting match to just throw out here on this house show and it was pretty cool to see as these were two guys that could be potential main event players for the future. Considering this was really the first time they faced each other, they had some good chemistry and meshed fairly well aside from Hart almost killing himself on that plancha. It was a bit weird to see Hart take the pin especially after losing the IC Title since he seemed prime to possibly have another run with it, but it was clear that Taker was also headed for a big angle and Hart didn’t lose clean either as it took the urn to beat him. The crowd was into the match and Hart, but are not happy when Taker wins though again some did cheer for him. Taker gets the win over Hart and both men move on as they look towards Wrestlemania.

Final Grade: **1/2