Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. the British Bulldog for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
We make our way through the summer of 1992 and are now at the biggest event of the summer with Summerslam, and after being pretty much stationed in North America for the last 7 years the WWF decides to head across the pond and holds the show in Wembley Stadium. It was pretty interesting that they decided to head over there now especially after Hulk Hogan seemingly stepped away for good, but to their credit they did manage to draw over 80,000 fans which was tremendous though not totally surprising given the UK has been starved for wrestling. While the card as a whole didn’t look like one that could draw that many people, the thing they had going for it was the IC Title match between Bret Hart and the British Bulldog which was the main draw seeing Bulldog main event in front of his home country. It was going to be interesting to see the dynamic of the crowd given it was their hometown hero though Bret was extremely popular as well, and given that this was the first time the IC Title would main event a show was a major show of faith to these two that they would deliver in the end.
Following Wrestlemania, Bret would begin a feud with Shawn Michaels on TV as well as on the house shows while Bulldog feuded with the Repo Man and on the 5/3 Wrestling Challenge, Repo Man would use his rope to hang Bulldog over the top rope. The two feuds would also continue on the house shows and on 6/30, Bret and Bulldog would face each other in a dark match before the TV taping with Bret getting the win. On the 7/25 Superstars, it was announced that Bulldog would challenge Bret for the IC Title at Summerslam and in the ensuing weeks, we would hear comments from the Hart family who felt that the family was being torn apart by this match. Bulldog would be taken off the house shows due to health issues while Bret would continue his feud with Michaels which included them facing off in the first ever Ladder match which was a dark match on 7/21. Given that they only had the one singles match which Bret himself claimed was not that good and that Bulldog was having his own issues, it was going to be interesting to see how they could pull it off when the lights were going to be shining bright.
Both men cut great promos before the match as they bring up the dissension in the family and we also hear from Diana Hart-Smith who voices her concerns for her husband and brother, and Bulldog gets a huge pop from his home country as he comes out with boxer Lennox Lewis and gets a great entrance though Bret also gets a big pop from the crowd as well. The two men have a staredown to start the match and they exchange shoves as they lock up with Bulldog shoving Bret into the corner, and they lock up again with Bulldog hooking a headlock and Bret whips him off before leaping over him only for Bulldog to knock him to the outside. Bret regroups and returns to the ring as they lock up with Bret taking Bulldog to the mat with a headlock, and Bulldog escapes with a headscissors and Bret kicks out of it before taking Bulldog back to the mat with the headlock. Bulldog fights to his feet and whips Bret off only for Bret to escape a slam attempt and he hooks a rollup for a two count, and Bret hooks a small package for a two count and he takes Bulldog back to the mat with a headlock. Bulldog escapes the hold and drives the knee into Bret’s arm twice as he continues to work on the arm, and Bret hits a back elbow on Bulldog and works on his arm as Bulldog rolls and flips through as he regains control on Bret’s arm. Bret whips him off and leaps over him only for Bulldog catch him on a leap and he slams him to the mat, and he slingshots Bret into the corner and goes back to the arm as he lifts Bret up in the air and slams him down to the mat. He continues to work the arm until Bret whips him off and Bulldog hooks a crucifix for a two count before going back to the arm, and Bret fights to his feet and attempts to escape a slam only for Bulldog to hang onto the arm and he continues to work on it. Bret fights to his feet and whips Bulldog off as he rams the knee into ribs and he stomps on Bulldog, and he hits a legdrop on Bulldog and hooks a submission on as Bulldog fights to his feet and breaks the hold. Bret catches Bulldog with a back elbow and he drops an elbow on Bulldog before hitting an atomic drop, and Bulldog attempts a second crucifix only for Bret to hit a Samoan drop for a two count and he goes back to the submission on Bulldog. Bulldog fights to his feet and whips Bret off only for Bret to knock him down and Bulldog leaps over him before hitting a monkey flip, and Bulldog hits a headbutt on Bret and whips him hard into the corner before whipping him into the other corner only for Bret to catch him with a boot to the face. Bret hits a running bulldog on Bulldog and goes up top only for Bulldog to grab him first and he tosses him to the mat, and Bulldog goes up top himself only to miss a diving headbutt and Bret rams his head into the mat. Bulldog escapes a slam attempt only for Bret to avoid a rollup as he sends Bulldog through the ropes to the outside, and Bulldog regroups on the floor as Bret attempts a slingshot plancha though Bulldog is not in position and Bret tackles him to the floor in a nasty spot. Bret hoists Bulldog up and rams his back into the post before throwing him back into the ring, and he whips Bulldog hard into the corner and knocks him down before hitting a headbutt and then he hits a Russian legsweep for a two count. He pounds on Bulldog and hits a standing dropkick before hitting a backdrop for a two count and he goes back to the submission, and Bulldog fights to his feet only for Bret to hit a suplex for a two count and he goes back to the submission on Bulldog. Bulldog fights to his feet again only for Bret to hit a headbutt though Bulldog hooks a backslide for a two count, and Bret drops an elbow on Bulldog before hitting a backbreaker and he goes up to the middle rope as he drops an elbow on Bulldog for a two count. He pounds on Bulldog and yanks him up by his hair before slamming him to the mat and he hits a headbutt, and he continues to pound on Bulldog and hits a snapmare before going back to the submission on Bulldog. Bulldog fights to his feet and Bret pounds on him before ducking a shot and he hooks a sleeper on, and Bulldog crawls towards the ropes and forces a break as Bret stomps on him repeatedly and he hooks the sleeper back on. Bulldog fights to his feet with Bret on his back and he rams Bret into the corner to release the hold, but Bret quickly hooks the sleeper back on and brings Bulldog to his knees as Bulldog again fights to his feet with Bret on his back and he rams him into the corner to break the hold. The two men trade blows and Bulldog reverses a whip as he presses Bret up though nearly loses his grip on him and Bret gets crotched on the ropes, and he whips Bret into the corner and hits a trio of clotheslines for a two count before hitting a press slam for a two count. Bulldog hits the delayed suplex on Bret for a two count and Bret begs off in the corner as Bulldog whips him hard chest first into the corner for a two count, and he hoists Bret up and hits the running powerslam for a two count as Bret falls through the ropes to the apron. Bulldog attempts a suplex back into the ring only for Bret to escape and he hits a German suplex for a two count, and Bulldog blocks a suplex attempt and he puts Bret on the top rope before going up himself and he hits a superplex on Bret for a two count. Bret reverses a whip and Bulldog ducks a shot only for both men to clothesline each other as Bret rolls towards Bulldog’s legs, and he rolls through and hooks the Sharpshooter on Bulldog who manages to get to the ropes to force a break. Bret pounds on Bulldog who reverses a whip and Bret attempts a sunset flip only for Bulldog to block it with a rollup which gets the three and we have a new champion. After the match, Bulldog celebrates with the title and offers a handshake to Bret who turns away and looks to leave the ring, but he instead turns around and embraces Bulldog to a pop as Diana comes in the ring. She embraces both men and they celebrate for the fans as pyro goes off and we go off the air.
The match itself was great as both men worked hard and put on a tremendous match. Even though the match was thrown together fairly quickly and seemed to come out of nowhere, they did a great job in making the match feel important especially by having the family involved. Now you could say that the only reason this match was the main event was because that it was in England, but it was still a pretty big matchup to have for the show and it was a big catalyst in 80,000 fans coming to the stadium. Bret was really hitting his stride by this point and for as messed up as he probably was, Bulldog held up his end and kept up with Bret for the 25 minutes that they got and they told a great story throughout the match. Needless to say, the crowd was red hot for the whole match and for both men, and they popped huge for Bulldog though they still showed Bret the respect he deserved. Bulldog gets the win over Bret and is the new Intercontinental Champion as both men move on and we will see what the future holds for both of them.
Final Grade: ****1/2