November 19, 1995


Alundra Blayze . . . shows exactly why the WWF women’s division was already on borrowed time; even before she trashed the belt on Nitro.

Bam Bam Bigelow . . . ends his WWF run with a whimper and puts over the hot new heel on his way out.

Bret Hart . . . drags the WWF Champion to one of his better individual matches of his entire career.



It’s no surprise that this winds up being a fun match, with so many good workers involved. But, given the time constraints and the lack of any real story until the very end when Jannetty is on his own, it’s not much more than just fun. The match has the usual pitfalls that these sorts of matches have, with the early eliminations looking far too easy to be credible. The match itself is mostly a spotfest, with only Barry not having much to do (other than his inside cradle that previously beat Skip and eliminates Radford), and the counters and transitions show that the members of both teams are able to get ahead by outsmarting their opponent. The only real heel shortcuts are Kid’s kick to Hakushi that causes his elimination, and Sid’s interference that finishes off Marty. Things pick up quite a bit when Marty is left on his own, and he and Skip look just as good as they did in their TV match from back in September. Marty’s top rope powerbomb that finishes off Skip is the first mind-blowing spot of the night and is the first elimination spot that looks like a real finisher. The last stretch isn’t as good as it is heated, but Kid sells his ass off for Marty. His reaction to the Rocker Dropper is great, and he looks positively desperate grabbing for the ropes after he barely gets the shoulder up. As much as the Sid interference sucks, Marty somewhat salvages it by gasping for breath as Kid is getting the pinfall.



This honestly isn’t all that different from the opener, only it’s twice as fast and about three times as stiff. The only one who really doesn’t fit in is Alundra. I don’t know if it’s because she never caught on to working the AJW style or if she’d just spent too many years in American promotions, but she sticks out like a sore thumb. For as awful as the Bertha Faye gimmick is, she works something like a Kong-lite as far as stiffness goes. It’s nice to see Alundra fight from a 3-1 disadvantage to the match being down to her versus Aja, but the eliminations of Lioness and Bertha look godawful; and aside from her ducking the Uraken and going for her German suplex, the Alundra/Aja exchanges aren’t anything special either. For all the rumor and innuendo that the Raw match between Aja and Chaparita was the death knell for women’s wrestling in the WWF until 1998, it’s hard to imagine that an Alundra/Aja singles match wouldn’t have been just as detrimental.



If this happened in 1992 or 1993, these two would probably have had a very good match. But this definitely isn’t it. Goldust has almost no real offense other than punching, kicking, and stomping, other than the bulldog that he uses to get the win. Bigelow doesn’t get in more than one or two things at a time before getting outsmarted and losing the advantage. By the time the match finally ends, he looks like little more than a bumbling idiot. If nothing else, it’s impressive that Bigelow bumps so much for him, especially the lariat that sends him over the top. But this just came off like Dustin wasn’t comfortable carrying the offense yet and Bigelow said, ‘to hell with it’ and told him to just do his best and he’d make it work.



This actually isn’t bad as a comedy match. When the heels are working over Vega, it’s pretty much an insomnia cure. None of them have any real offense aside from Lawler’s piledriver, so it’s mostly punching, kicking, choking, etc. HHH is the only one of the heels who can be bothered to do any selling and stooging for the babyfaces, aside from Mabel missing a corner charge at Fatu. They plod along for about eleven minutes until Savio no sells a piledriver from Lawler and tags in UT, who starts eliminating the heels in short order. Mabel is on his own and when UT sits up after the belly to belly and leg drop, he takes a hike to give the faces a clean sweep.



To no surprise at all, this is the Shawn Michaels show. He has more time in the match than all three of his partners combined (not that I’m implying that’s a bad thing). The Shawn and Owen segments are the best things here, although Shawn and Douglas work together pretty well too, and it makes one wonder how a feud between them might have gone if Douglas hadn’t bolted from the company so soon after this. Hell, Shawn even makes the bits with Yoko work, by bumping and selling his ass off. The role reversal with some of the guys makes this fun as well, such as Davey running in and getting put out by the ref like a dumb babyface, while Razor takes the opening to work over Ahmed in the corner like a dirty heel. Shawn’s indifferent reaction to the errant superkick that leads to Sid getting pinned by Razor is probably the best moment of the match. The only elimination that really looks bad is when Shawn eliminates Douglas with the roll up, and even that’s explained by Douglas and Razor shoving each other and Shawn taking advantage of the distraction. Everyone else falls victim to someone’s finisher after being worked over. Davey takes advantage of a distraction by Kid to give Razor the powerslam, but he was laying a beating on Razor with some nasty looking forearm shots right before that. Shawn and Owen are the clear cut best workers in the ring, but pretty much everyone else adds something worthwhile to the mix, with the exception of Ahmed. He takes a corner lariat from Razor and stumbles too far across the ring so that Razor can’t do his bulldog, and then he makes it worse by standing on the second rope and basically putting himself in position for the Razor’s Edge. Although the work is inconsistent, at times, this is still a damn fun match overall, and it’s a bit of a shame that the WWF never went back to the Wild Card concept.


DIESEL © vs. BRET HART (WWF World Heavyweight Title)

I have to wonder if the main reason that this match is so fondly thought of is because it’s surrounded by such a weak field. Diesel’s title defenses on PPV over the last six months had been opposite Sid, Mabel, and Davey Boy, along with house show runs against Bigelow, Jean Pierre Laffite, and Yokozuna. So, yes, going twenty five minutes with Bret is certainly a marked improvement over all of that. And it’s plain to see that this isn’t a bad match, it’s actually pretty good. But that’s about it. This certainly isn’t at the level of the best PPV match, or even the best WWF Title match, of the decade, Shawn/Foley from Mind Games leaves this in the dust in both of those categories. If anything, this feels like it’s on par with the Bret/Davey IYH match from the month after this.


The biggest thing that holds this back is Nash’s performance. It wouldn’t be entirely fair to call it lazy. He clearly has a game plan for the match, which is to wear down Bret’s back for the jackknife powerbomb, and he’s very good at sticking to it. He’s got his usual spots, like the sidewalk slam and dropping across Bret’s back while he’s draped over the second rope, and he takes advantage of the no dq stipulation to add a chair shot to the back and throw Bret into an exposed turnbuckle. He even throws Bret into the ring stairs before it becomes a mandatory spot. However, Nash just isn’t interesting at all while he does any of that. He doesn’t show any sort of personality when he’s working over Bret. He does heelish things, but doesn’t convey a heelish attitude, it’s as though he figured that just doing them was enough. There’s nothing as far as trying to play to the crowd, or to the camera, or any real embellishment from him at all. Nash seems almost machine-like when he’s in control. The one area where he comes through strong is his selling after Bret takes over and starts sharking on his knee. If it’s not the best sell job of his entire career, then it’s really close. Despite taking back control of the match several times, Nash never lets it leave his mind. Even when he’s pulling out familiar spots, like charging while Bret is draped over the ropes, the ‘charge’ in this case is more accurately described as a hobble. And he doesn’t even try for the knees in the corner or the big boot after Bret starts wearing him out. The most memorable spot of the match is Bret’s table bump (the historic first time that the Spanish Announce Table gets broken) and Nash uses his strength to simply hurl Bret off the apron, rather than charge at him and use his size and momentum to do it.


Of course, Nash’s biggest detriment is something that Bret is absolutely able to make up for. Bret’s personality is all over the place. When Nash is in control, Bret bumps like a fiend and sells like he’s dying. Even the clubbing forearms that Nash uses at the beginning take a toll on Bret, between the damage being done to his back and Bret seemingly being unprepared for Nash to start the match in that fashion. When Bret takes over, it feels like sweet revenge after everything that Nash put him through. Even when Bret takes heel shortcuts (if they can be called that in a no dq match) like refusing to break the figure four after Nash grabs the ropes or taking the chair to Nash’s knee, Bret doesn’t come off like a jerk, instead he comes off like he’s giving Nash a taste of his own medicine. And, being a Bret match, there tons of smart touches and bits throughout the match to appreciate. One of the better sequences is after Nash tries to do the snake eyes on the exposed buckle, and Bret escapes and rams Nash’s head into it. Bret starts going through some of his usual stuff like the bulldog and the Russian leg sweep; and Bret goes for pins after each one of them. Normally those are just filler moves or setup moves for the sharpshooter, but after getting his bell rung like that, it’s not inconceivable that Nash is stunned enough to stay down for good. Bret really goes for the classics by digging out the running lariat from his days in the Hart Foundation.


The genius of how Bret pulls off the win is that it seems like a complete fluke, until one starts thinking about what Bret did throughout the match and how it all ties together. It’s easy to see Bret take that table bump and assume that Nash has him dead to rights, especially when Bret can’t even seem to go along with Nash picking him up to put into position for the powerbomb. But all is not what it seems. Nash tries to muscle him up for it, and Bret counters with a small package, and between Nash’s general lack of technical skills and his already bad knee, it’s enough for Bret to get the pin. It’d be easy to write it off as a fluke, but was it really? Bret had already shown a penchant for blocking and escaping the powerbomb, so Bret sandbagging him on that last attempt and playing possum fits right in with what he’d been doing. If anything, Bret lures him into a false sense of security/overconfidence and then makes him pay for it by outsmarting/outwrestling Nash into something he’s not prepared for and can’t escape.


Overall, this is a very good match, and one of Nash’s best matches of his Diesel run, even if it’s lacking the emotion of his WrestleMania match with Shawn. But it’d be lucky to crack a top ten list for Bret, even if it was narrowed down to just title matches or PPV matches. And if you factor some of the other great stuff happening during the year, like the two Hashimoto/Mutoh matches, the Misawa matches with Kawada and Taue (both in singles matches and the tags with Kobashi), and the classic that Kawada had with Albright the month before this, it only looks weaker. It’s less of an all-time classic and more of a good PPV main event, where Bret gets pretty much everything he can out of a limited worker. ***1/2


Conclusion: The main event is the best thing to see here, but this is far from a bad show, and definitely worth checking out.