I enjoyed that 6 man tag from Superstars, but never thought it was THAT good. I'd put a TON of matches ahead of it, such as Master/McIntyre, Masters/Most People, Regal/Goldust, DiBiase/Goldust (one of the funnest matches ever, even King and Cole sounded like they were having an absolute BLAST on commentary) and a bunch of others I'm too lazy to really remember and write down .
Never really brought into Shelton tbh. The first win was a roll-up, and then he head a win or 2 by count out/DQ, and then they didn't face after that for a long while. No doubt he gave Shelton a rub though and some attention, but Benjamin was never going anywhere with just one 1-2-3 school boy win over HHH. The first match between them was an excellent TV match, and I have it at ***3/4. TBH though, I was more excited with him after the HBK gold rush match. That's the point where I saw him becoming something great in the future.
Of course, Benjamin was probably never going to be a star anyway. He lacked personality, mic skills, and a lot of the general requirements for being "The Next Big Thing" or even a top guy. It's almost like God just said "Fuck this, just make this guy an amazing wrestler and forget about all his other qualities". I could've seen him getting a small stint as WHC years down the line at best imo and then being pushed back down the card, similar to Miz.
That Shelton/HHH match is excellent. The pop Shelton gets when successfully pinning HHH is unbelievable. Crowds back then were full of life everywhere. Too bad WWE wont show that match again because Benoit is standing at ringside.
Re: Classic Wrestling General Discussion & Review Thread
Terry Funk vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart ECW: Terry Funk Presents Wrestlefest September 11, 1997
Terry Funk personally requested to wrestle Bret Hart, the WWF Champion, at this special show in Amarillo, TX celebrating his lifetime achievement in pro wrestling. Terry respected Bret’s wrestling ability and maybe more importantly, his family and legacy.
Before the match, Bret told Terry “he is the greatest wrestler in the history of the game.” Bret talked about when he was a small child and first came to Texas and saw the Funks wrestle and how he treasured the memory of them. So there’s a sense this encounter will be a clean, respectable, play-by-the-rules wrestling contest...until Bret promises to give Terry "the greatest ass-whipping of his career!"
These are two 'old school' wrestlers and based on their facial expressions they look like they’ve been on the long road here. Terry has to be about 52 years old here. Bret’s in his mid-40’s and looking pretty rough with his face a little beat up.
They start off with the traditional wrestling fundamentals – headlock takedowns, fireman’s carry, and armbars. I think the mat wrestling here was done because these two veterans wanted to exhibit their talents the best way they know how in layered storytelling. It is also a way for Funk to show the fans who only know him as a “hardcore wrestler” that he can work on the mat and perform as well as “the best there is.”
When Hart initiated the brawling, it was like he was angered that Terry Funk was besting him on the mat. Hart made the choice he was not going to partake in just a clean wrestling exhibition. He’s going to have to fight this old man to win.
I noticed how when one man made a move the other answered back in spite. Funk and Hart aren’t just exchanging wrestling hold for hold, they are throwing the other man's attack right back at him with more force. There’s an "I'll show you" intent behind their actions, maybe it’s a prideful thing for them. For example, after Hart escaped from Funk’s Spinning Toe-hold, Bret targets Terry’s legs so he couldn’t apply the move again. Dissecting the opponent's legs is Hart’s normal game plan but here Bret locks Terry in the FIGURE FOUR which is a move Bret knows Terry has said “I Quit” to in one of his most famous matches ever with Ric Flair. However, there is no quit in Funk here.
I looked up the definition of the word underdog and Terry Funk is one in every sense of the word here. The definition is, “One that is expected to lose a contest or struggle” and “One that is at a disadvantage.” The Texas fans wanted to believe that Terry Funk in a commemorative match of his career he will somehow beat the younger, current World Champion but there are too many odds against him. Bruce, Keith, and even Stu Hart are on the outside in Bret’s corner. Bret is in the prime of his career at the top of the mountain while Terry is seemingly in the twilight of his career.
The Hart brothers at ringside continuously battered Terry with a steel chair and because there are no disqualifications they weren’t stopped. I think a fan tried to attack one of the Hart brothers too because I saw security escort a man out of the building. It is like the lifelong Funk fans in the crowd is all he has here along with the devotion of his family, friends, and peers.Funk literally feels and bleeds passion when he wrestles and that is probably the main reason he is so relatable to his diehard fans.
You can’t talk about a Terry Funk match without mentioning his incredible nuances and selling in his performances. When he gets punched he shakes his head back and forward selling the punch as if he were punch-drunk but also an attempt to shake off the pain and come fighting back for more. I laughed at how awesome it was to Funk punch himself in the head after Hart knocked him almost senseless into a table. It was Funk’s way of keeping his body in check. Seeing Terry lying on the ground with his cramped, shivering hand and twitching fingers you pull hard for him to get up. But what Funk does best, as a face at least, is punch his way up from the bottom, staying in the fight. The crowd yelled louder for every punch Terry hit to Bret’s ribs because the people wanted to see him make that striking comeback.
Hart played his role well showing his character getting more irritated at the fact Funk wouldn’t just stay down which makes him fight Terry more viciously. Hart wrapped Funk’s leg inside a steel chair twice trying to snap his leg in half. At this point Hart not only wants to beat Funk but put him down most likely for good right here. Maybe Bret wanted to be the one to end the career of the man he called “the greatest.” It would further solidify Bret’s own legacy and maybe more importantly to his character’s ego.
Funk eventually got on top again and he brought the payback spot calling for the fans to throw him a chair to now punish Bret’s LEGS. Again, Funk’s connection with the fans is incredible. They are the one’s out there supporting him to win this fight. He doesn’t have his brother at ringside with him to hand him a chair, his fans are his family and they will do it impassionedly.
When Funk finally decided to bring out his hardcore side it meant something. He wanted to wrestle a traditional match but it was the so-called “best technical wrestler” that drove him to take the fight to the extreme. So Funk hit Hart in the back a couple of times with the chair and set up a table spot where he missed a backwards, springboard body splash! Yes this man is probably crazy! But Funk was put at a further disadvantage when he landed on his KNEES. Funk was also split open above his left EYE when he crashed through the table. I may be looking too much into it but dammit I think this match does indeed tell a story of Funk’s career as displayed through the psychology I mentioned they used. Funk’s infamous “MY EYE!” injury is now a bloody piece to the story.
For the finish, both men returned to the ring and took the match to where it began which was back to the basics. Hart back-suplexed Funk with both men’s shoulders on the mat until Bret got his up before the three count. I thought the finish they chose was marvelous in its simplicity.
It was an emotional moment for Terry Funk, his family, and all of Amarillo, TX. They ended the night with a respectful handshake, old school wrestling. They told a story the way Terry wanted to commemorate his career.