The Summerslam was unquestionably Bret Hart’s PPV. Yes, he has his fair share of WrestleMania and Survivor Series classics, bangers littered around King of the Ring tournaments and In Your House shows where he wasn’t expected to carry a feud against Jerry Lawler that would have sunk anybody even a little less talented than him, but look at his singles career:
- 1991: Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect (Intercontinental Championship)
- 1992: Bret Hart vs. “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (Intercontinental Championship)
- 1994: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WWF Championship, Steel Cage)
- 1997: Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker (WWF Championship, guest referee Shawn Michaels)
I skipped a couple of years, but those four matches are among the most important in the development of what we now know as the WWE style. Bret/Perfect’s finish is in wrestling’s general bag of tricks. Bret/Bulldog was the first time Wrestling was trusted to headline a WWE pay-per-view. Bret/Owen was, regardless of what some say, a completely different take on cage matches that, if nothing else, expanded a tired format by innovating clever new near-escape spots. Bret/Undertaker is, simply put, the best special guest referee match of all time, and absolutely set the template for that particular Attitude Era staple.
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The Summerslam belongs to Bret Hart, so much so that he didn’t refer to it as “Summerslam,” which is what WWE actually calls the event. It’s The Summerslam to the Hitman, emphasis on The, each letter of the word excellently executed because they belong there. Regular-ass Summerslam is beneath Bret Hart.
Well Demolition/Mr. Perfect/Jerry Lawler/Undertaker/Isaac Yankem, at The Summerslam, you will be excellently executed by the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.
- It is frankly wonderful when wrestlers have quirks that are unique to them. It's like you're being charmed by someone's actual personality rather than being awed by how oiled their hair and pectorals are at any given time.
- The extra syllable really lets a guy know how fucked they're going to be at the upcoming August pay-per-view.
- The Summerslam separates the weak from the strong, the wheat from the chaff. Those unbothered by the article may come to know the pleasures of The WCW. Those who find themselves annoyed will live eternally in the chill of Bret Hart's shadow.
- I watched a 2020 Bret Hart interview where he kept referring to it as plain ol' Summerslam, which makes me think that maybe the Hitman isn't living the gimmick on this one :(