The internet is a great thing. I've just been playing around lately seeing what rare matches I could find online through the download programs. I've found a few really neat matches. For example, Hulk Hogan as WWF Champion wrestling The Great Muta in a match that seemed to be right out of the WWF in 1998. However, the find that excited me the most? I found my three favourite wrestlers ever, one of the best wrestlers ever, my two favourite broadcasters ever, and the single best executive consultant of all time. Coliseum video presents Bret "The Hitman" Hart and "Macho Man" Randy Savage against Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels! This is in 1993, no one in the ring is a champion at the time, but everyone except Shawn is a former WWF Champion. How could I be so blessed?
JR is awesome here busting out statistical references based on title reigns that wouldn't matter a bit now. If Bret wins the WWF title one more time (he did, well 4 more times actually) he would be the first man to achieve a triple double with the Tag Team, Intercontinental and World Championships! I know that at the very least, The Rock has also achieved this feat. We start off with a very slick high five between Ric Flair and HBK, this must have been so cool for Michaels considering how much he idolized Flair. Michaels and Bret lock up in the center of the ring, and wow things were different in this simpler time. Before the accusations of homosexuality, before the dressing room fights, before the screwjob, before the midget, before the end of both their careers and the destruction of their reputations, before Shawn got rid of the freakin' mullet... before all that, Michaels delivers a text-book armdrag.
Macho Man has a temper and he doesn't like the heel's taunting! Shawn and Bret trade wristlocks until Bret nails a sharp elbow to the face. Off the ropes goes the Hitman, he leaps over Michaels, Michaels leapfrogs over Bret coming back, but the second time is not the charm. Bret catches him and hits a big atomic drop. He tagged Savage running off the ropes, and Macho is in with a left-arm lariat for Michaels, for Flair, and another one for Shawn! Flair doesn't want anymore of that, and the heels bail. Flair tags in, and Brain's "WOOOOO" hurts my ears. They lockup, Flair forces Savage into the corner and he struts backwards. Another lockup, a side headlock into the hammerlock by Flair, but Savage counters. Flair runs to the ropes, but Macho won't let go until they hit the end of the count while he slaps Flair on the back to remind him he's a coward. Flair doesn't like it; he shoves Macho, and gets a quick slap in the face in return! These two don't like each other folks!
Off the ropes goes Flair, and a shoulderblock drops him. He shoves Savage, but the return shove floors him. Flair can't win! Another shove from the Nature Boy, and Savage blatantly slaps him in the face a second time. I love it. Ric Flair has an absolute death stare on his usually smiling mug. The crowd is JACKED! Lockup, Flair gets a huge chop to take Savage down, and he tags out to Michaels. They try to double-team Savage in the corner, but he nails both of them with a flurry of right hands. Michaels gets tossed into the corner, Savage goes back after Flair, and finally HBK gets control from behind. Hard right hands from Michaels in the corner to a seated Bonesaw, and a head to the turnbuckle sold in a distinctive Macho Man fashion. He snaps his neck in a very unique way. Irish whip to the corner, but nobody there on the charge! Savage drags Michaels by the arm back to the face corner, and he tags in the Hitman. Bret goes instantly to work on the left shoulder, gets Michaels down and drops a couple of knees right onto it before settling into an armlock. Bret brings him back up and holds the arm for a double axe handle from Savage. Savage is in now, and he locks Shawn up in a couple armbars until Michaels pushes him back into the corner by the hair. Three rights from Shawn, Irish whip reversed by Savage, but Michaels leaps over him as he charges in, only to get hit with a left-handed lariat from the Macho Man! Somebody hit a damn spinebuster all ready!
Tag to Bret, he brings Shawn down with another armbar and really cranks it in on the mat. Wait, I'm confused, Heenan is claiming that Savage is currently the WWF Champion. This does not make a lick of sense. How could Savage be the WWF Champion if Bret has all ready been a champion before at this point? Is this some kind of Coliseum Home Video time warp? Shawn stands back up, and he breaks the hold by backing Bret into the corner. Bodyslam, and Michaels makes a much needed tag. Flair misses an elbow, but he throws a thumb to the Hitman's eye before he loses any momentum. Oh my god what a chop by Flair. Right hand, and Flair delivers another chop before they were cool. "How about that, baby!?" Irish whip reversed, and baaaaaaaaaaack body drop. Bret tags Savage, and Flair feigns begging off before throwing a right. He's blocked, and Savage unloads with right hands and a big elbow. Michaels gets one too! Flair tries to sneak up, and he just gets hit with another shot. "Noooooo!" Flair doesn't want anymore, but Savage backs him into the corner and takes the 10 punch count to 4. Flair brings him out of the corner to interrupt it with an inverted atomic drop, and it may have been below the belt since Perfect has the referee distracted.
Flair tries for the figure four twice, but both times Savage kicks him off. Michaels in, and Savage hip tosses him. Right hand for Flair, but HBK nails Savage with a pretty crappy superkick. Both Michaels and Savage end up outside. Ross tells Bobby he'd reject Sherri if she asked him for a date, and it's good to know that he has standards. Perfect decks Savage when Bret stupidly ties up the ref, and the heels are firmly in control. Michaels rams Mach into the (I miss the) steel guardrail before bringing him back into the ring. Flair chops Savage down, and another WWF Champion reference makes me wonder if this is actually in 1992, but maybe the commentary was recorded in a confusing timeframe? Michaels tags in, delivers a couples shots, tosses Savage off the ropes and hits him with a high knee to the face. Snap mare, and boy Michaels throws some weak kicks here. A boot choke by Michaels brings Hitman foolishly into the ring again, because the distracted ref can't see Flair taking over the choke! Hitman has to control his fiery Canadian temper! Sherri joins in on the choke and actually delivers a "big" right hand to her former client. Lots of history there, folks! It's Savage against the world.
Flair tags in, double toss off the ropes and a double elbow for McGraw. Flair lines him up, and there's the good old running knee drop! The little roll at the end really cements it as a Nature Boy knee drop. Macho Man rolls around on the mat holding his face, and in so doing displays the kind of selling we don't see much of anymore. Sometimes the simple moves should hurt these guys the most. Oh, what a cheapshot by Perfect! Everybody gets a shot in here! Bret flips out again, and Michaels goes back to choking Savage on the outside, except this time with the tag rope that he removed from the turnbuckle. Get a grip, Hitman! Off the ropes, a chop, and our first cover of the match gets a quick 2. Wow, over 10 minutes into the match before even one cover! What happened to that WWF initiative they were supposedly starting last year where the early covers were only supposed to result in 1 counts?
Flair kicks Bret, and that moron gets suckered in again! Michaels comes off the top with a double axe handle, and Bret nearly lets Perfect have it on the other side. Michaels has switched into the match without tagging, and he sticks his foot onto Savage's throat for a few seconds. Off the ropes, Michaels puts his head down, and he sells a kick to the face like an absolute champion. The boy looked like he got shot. Michaels tags Flair, and he stops Savage from tagging with a quick double axe handle to the back of the champ. Flair takes him back into the corner, throws a couple chops, snap mares him over and goes for the cover. He throws his feet onto the ropes and tries three times to hold Savage down for 3, but the Macho Man keeps kicking out. "Shut up!" The people are getting under Flair's skin!
Off the ropes, Flair goes for a hip-toss, but Savage turns it into a sunset flip. In the process, Flair got him close enough to the heel corner so that Michaels could break it up before even a 2 count. Bret runs in, and again Michaels comes in without a tag. I've never understood this devious tactic, if you are close enough to tag, why is it so evil to not do it? How does it give you an advantage? While the ref brings Bret back to his corner, Savage catches Michaels in an inside cradle, but without a ref Flair is able to turn it into a Michaels cradle for 2. If I was Savage I would beat the shit out of Bret, he never learns. Savage dives for the corner, but Michaels gets him up and hits a back suplex. Hey, remember when that was Shawn Michaels' finisher? Oh, tag! He gets two on the cover, and goes to the first chinlock of the match. Flair never looked quite as stinkin' evil as he did during his WWF run. Michaels is at least cranking the chinlock in instead of just sitting on it. Macho Man elbows out, but Michaels tags right away and takes him down with a drop toehold. The small stuff in this match is so neat, because you never see anything like it anymore.
Savage goes off the ropes and gets a shoulderblock, he keeps running, over Flair, and right into a sleeperhold. Flair snatched him up like a frog tonguing a fly, boy howdy. Savage just dives forward and runs Flair face first into the turnbuckle! Flair Flop!! Oh no, Flair is going up to the top rope, THAT NEVER WORKS! Savage slams Flair off the top, and he makes the tag! Wait, the referee had his back turned to the action for no reason! Bret is in, rights to Flair, Irish Whip and a back body drop. Looks like the tag is going to count, and the ref just screwed up. Michaels knocked down with a right hand; he's whipped into the corner and launches himself into the ringpost! Michaels could really fly, and he ends up lying on his stomach on the top rope. Meanwhile Flair gets whipped, and he ends up upside down, getting caught in the ropes, and falling back to the mat. Bret kicks Shawn in the stomach, and HBK is crotched on the top rope. A classic Michaels spot executed to perfection. Bret catches Flair on the apron, and he suplexes him back in. A Flair vs. Michaels selling competition is just what the doctor ordered, baby! Bret has a very unique style when landing a suplex. He picks Flair up, and there's the backbreaker. Michaels interrupts the cover before it gets to two. Savage runs in and rolls up Michaels from behind, and the ref counts to two. Neither man was legal, and by god the Brain knows it! Savage reverses a whip into Sherri, Michaels knocks her off and gets cradled... for the win!? God damnit! Neither man was legal! This one is over, and what a lousy ending to a match where they got all the other little things right.
That was a lot of fun. One thing really missing from wrestling these days, and I think it partially comes from the lack of seasoning some of the guys have, is the little things these guys added to the match. There's no wasted motion. Sometimes those tricks, while not high impact or visually stunning, can do a lot towards bringing a crowd into the match and helping them buy the kind of character you're trying to sell. If WWE wants their guys to watch matches so that they can improve, they might consider advising them to watch some of these old tapes so that they can pick up a few of the basics that seem long forgotten. I don't want to see a bunch of 10 minute leglocks, but there's a lot more to telling stories in the ring than signature spots and finishes.