As the countdown to Wrestlemania 29 continues, I thought it would be a good time to write about some of my favourite Wrestlemania matches. So for starters, the incredible encounter between Owen Hart and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania X which is quite possibly the greatest opening match on any Wrestlemania, and one of my favourite Wrestlemania match of all time.
Bit of background first, the 1994 Royal Rumble saw Bret Hart and Lex Lugar simultaneously go over the top rope. As a result, at Wrestlemania X, both would face the champion, Yokozuna. A coin toss determined that Lugar would take on Yoko first then Bret would face the winner of that match to close the show. However, Bret still had two matches that night, the first against his younger brother Owen.
What a great feud this was, I even remember talking about it at school. The story went that Owen was tired of living in the shadow of his brother Bret and things came to a head at the Survivor Series. In their match Owen was the only member eliminated from the Hart family team owing to a collision with Bret. They patched things up to face the tag champions The Quebecers at the 1994 Royal Rumble but Bret failed tag his brother and the match was stopped due to his knee injury. Owen then kicked that same knee from under Bret after the match setting up this brother v brother match that kicked off Wrestlemania X.
Neat start to the match with the announcer calling out the first person stating he’s from Calgary Alberta Canada which raises cheers from the crowd until Owen’s music hits. They start with amateur lock-ups with Owen gloating every successful move. Something he’d later revisit during his Slammy winning phase.
Bret escapes a lock-up that sends Owen out of the ring to the floor. A clearly riled Owen returns and slaps his brother across the face, much to the delight of Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler. Some great amateur wrestling from the two Hart brother, something you weren’t used to seeing on WWF television all that often at that time. Owen is great at generating cheap heat from the crowd using classic heel moves from the aforementioned in your face celebrations to pulling Bret’s hair. Owen delivers a masterclass here in how to get over as a heel.
The two get in a shoving match and Bret slaps Owen and gets a two count from a roll-up. Bret gets another two from a crucifix and its back into an arm bar. They hit the ropes and Owen nails his brother with a spinning heel kick. Owen takes the fight to his brother outside of the ring and runs ‘the Hitman’ into the ring post. Bret sells a hard whip to the turnbuckle which Owen follows up with a back-breaker and a camel clutch submission hold. Bret all able to break free but Owen gets a two count from a belly to belly suplex. The Hitman is then able to roll through a high cross body for a two of his own but Owen is back on top by going to work on the back.
Owen nearly gets another near fall with a bridging German suplex and a two from a shot to his brother’s back. Bret reverses a suplex with a small package and gets two. Owen then reverses an attempted backbreaker into a piledriver but misses the diving headbutt from the top rope.
We get the classic Bret repertoire with an atomic drop then a Russian leg-sweep for a two. A backbreaker and a driving elbow from the second rope gets another two count. Bret catches an attempted kick but Owen hits an enziguri and goes for a Sharpshooter but its reversed and then Owen wriggles out of an attempted sharpshooter. Sounded like Owen gets a three from a victory roll but Vince and the King assure us it was a near fall. Bret goes over the top rope and hits Owen but hurts his knee in the process, an area that Owen then focuses on and locks in a figure four leglock but it’s reverses.
Owen then takes his brother’s signature chest bump in the corner and Bret gets a two count. Bret nails a bulldog and a piledriver but can only get a two. Vince says it’s exhausting calling the match, try writing about it! Bret hits an awesome looking superplex but it can only get a two count.
A sleeper is broken with low blow and Owen slaps on a sharpshooter but Bret reverses it into one of his own but Owen makes the ropes for the break. Bret is whipped into the corner and attempts a victory roll but his younger brother counters for the three count.
Great promo post match with Owen claiming to be ‘the best there is, best there was and best there ever will be’ and states that after the beating he’s just handed out, Bret doesn’t stand a chance in the main event tonight. Brilliant stuff.
Without doubt the greatest opening match in Wrestlemania history and arguably one of the greatest WM matches ever, certainly the best since the epic Steamboat v Savage encounter at WM3. 20 minutes of incredible back and forth wrestling. I wish I could rate the match higher than 10 out of 10. You can run out of superlatives describing this match. It has everything; a great build up, two fantastic competitors and a result that allowed the feud to continue owing to Bret winning the title later that night.