Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 4/24/89

Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Mr. Perfect

As we now deal with the fallout of Wrestlemania V and begin the slow trek towards Summerslam, there were a lot of guys on the roster that were looking to see what direction they were going to go. The roster was pretty stacked in terms of talent in all facets especially in the midcard and the tag division, and now that WM was over it was interesting to see what new feuds were going to come about while some might continue on after WM. Two guys that were amongst those on the roster that were looking for a bit of direction were Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect. While the Hart Foundation was still a pretty hot team on the face side, it was fairly clear that they were the number two team behind Demolition and you could even argue the Rockers were inching close behind them for the number two spot. So a decision was made to have the Foundation start working more singles matches over the spring with Bret getting more of a showcase than Neidhart. On the flip side, Perfect was clearly a guy on the rise as he had the “Perfect” record going and had a tremendous showcase match with the Blue Blazer at WM, and you figured it was only a matter of time that he would become a top heel in the midcard even with Rick Rude as the IC Champion. In what would be one of the better decisions made this year, it was decided to have Bret and Perfect face each other on the house show circuit throughout the spring which was going to be a treat for those fans. Even though the feud would not see TV time due to both men’s position in the company at this point, those going to the house shows were going to be in for something special seeing these two face off.

Following Wrestlemania, the two men would work the European tour facing different opponents with Bret having a memorable match with Andre the Giant in Italy, and they would have their first match on 4/22 in Philadelphia which went to a time limit draw. They would also go to a time limit draw in Toronto the night before and it was announced they would face off here in at MSG. Knowing that these two were more than likely going to go the time limit again here, you would hope that they could put on a great match and be able to showcase their skills to the MSG crowd.

Perfect was gaining plenty of steam as a heel as the MSG crowd is not very kind to him while Bret gets a pretty good pop from the crowd. The two men lock up to start with neither gaining an edge and they lock up again with neither gaining the edge again, and they lock up a third time with Bret hooking a headlock until Perfect whips him off and Bret knocks him down. Bret counters a hiptoss and hits one of his own as Perfect regroups in the corner and they lock up with Bret going back to the headlock, and Perfect whips him off as Bret knocks him down again before avoiding a drop toehold. They lock up with Bret going back to the headlock and Perfect whips him off as Bret hits a high crossbody, and Perfect sends him out of the ring only for Bret to get a shoulder in and he hits a slingshot sunset flip for a two count. Bret takes Perfect to the mat with the headlock and grinds down on him as Perfect gets to his feet and backs Bret into the ropes, and he gets a chop in only for Bret to hook a crucifix for a two count as he takes Perfect back to the mat with the headlock. Perfect fights to his feet again and backs Bret into the ropes before getting a knee in, but Bret catches a kick attempt and trips him up before stomping on him and he pounds on his back. Perfect reverses a whip into the corner and hits a slam only for Bret to kick him to the mat, and Bret hits a slam only for Prefect to kick him to the mat and Bret sends Perfect face first into the mat. Bret hits a clothesline that sends Perfect over the top to the floor and Perfect regroups before returning to the ring, and Perfect stalls in the corner as they lock up with Bret backing Perfect into the corner and Perfect gets a shot in as the ref gets between them. Perfect pounds on Bret and hits a kneelift before continuing to pound on him as he knocks him down, and he stomps on Bret and shoves him to the outside before going outside himself and he rams Bret into the apron. Perfect returns to the ring as Bret regroups and gets on the apron as Perfect knocks him back to the floor, and Bret gets back on the apron as Perfect pounds on him and he slings Bret off the apron into the guardrail. Bret rolls back into the ring and Perfect kicks at him before pounding on him and he tosses him back to the outside, and Bret rolls back into the ring as Perfect pounds on him only for Bret to battle back. Perfect reverses a whip and sends Bret chest first into the corner for a two count before hitting a standing dropkick that sends Bret to the outside, and Bret rolls back into the ring and Perfect pounds on him before getting a knee in and he kicks at Bret. He sets Bret up for a piledriver and snaps his neck with his legs before tossing him to the mat by his hair, and he continues to stomp on Bret and pounds on him before hitting a slam for a two count. Perfect trips Bret up and hooks a spinning toehold on until Bret shoves him off with Perfect ramming his shoulder into the post, and Perfect begs off in the corner and Bret stomps on him before wrapping the arm around the rope and pounding on it. Bret rams Perfect’s arm into the buckle and continues to pound on it before hitting a slam on the arm, and Bret hits a legdrop on the arm and hooks a submission on before driving the knee into the arm. Bret continues to pound on Perfect and continues to work the arm only for Perfect to reverse a whip and he counters a crucifix with a Samoan drop, and Perfect drives the knee into Bret’s back and stomps on him before pounding on him. Perfect attempts an abdominal stretch only for Bret to hook it on himself until Perfect escapes with a hiptoss, and Bret reverses a whip and Perfect escapes a slam attempt before hooking a rollup for a two count. Bret sends Perfect to the outside and he hits a slingshot plancha onto Perfect before throwing him back into the ring, and Bret hits an atomic drop on Perfect and then he hits a suplex for a two count. Bret hits a backbreaker on Perfect and goes up to the middle rope as he drops an elbow on Perfect, but then the bell rings which signifies that the time limit has expired and the match has ended in a draw. Perfect starts to head to the back as Bret grabs the mike and demands 5 more minutes to settle things, and Perfect takes the mike and says that another 5 won’t help him as he starts to head to the back. Bret turns to the crowd as Perfect runs up behind him and nails him in the back as he stomps on him, and he pounds on Bret and slaps him in the face twice before continuing to pound on him and he hits a slam. Perfect goes up top only for Bret to nail him first as Perfect crotches himself on the top rope and falls to the mat, and Bret kicks at his leg and pounds on him in the corner before whipping him chest first into the other corner. Bret hits a headbutt on Perfect and then he hits a back elbow that sends Perfect over the top to the floor, and Perfect heads to the back as Bret celebrates in the ring.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard for the time they got and put on a pretty solid match. This was an interesting match in that Perfect was clearly the guy on the rise as he was still undefeated and looking pretty strong on TV, but this was really a showcase for Bret as a solo star. This was a good spot for Bret as the Hart Foundation were clearly not the top team on the face side of the tag division, so this was the best time for Bret to get some solo shine and build up some cred. I like how they kept trading momentum throughout the whole match with neither gaining an edge to show how even they were, and it was a good boost for Bret while also keeping Perfect looking strong. This was a match that didn’t feel like it went the full 20 minutes and I thought the time limit draw was fine, but considering that they went at it afterwards they could’ve just gone 5 more minutes and still did the draw. The crowd was a bit in and out of it for the match which I was a bit surprised by though they were into Bret’s comeback, but they were not happy with the draw and clearly wanted the match to go a bit longer. The match ends with no winner and both men move on.

Final Grade: ***1/2

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