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WWE Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels Vs. Bret Hart DVD Review

WWE Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels Vs. Bret Hart DVDWhen I first heard about the WWE Greatest Rivals – Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart DVD I could not wait to get my hands on it. After watching it, I can tell you that not only was it worth the wait, but this may go down as the best production in WWE home video history.

This was without a doubt the most intriguing documentary the company has ever produced. It wasn’t innovative as rivals have sat down together on Shoot Interviews for other companies. But never has a story as great as this one been retold by two legends the magnitude of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.

The interview is moderated by Jim Ross who really didn’t have to say a whole lot. For two hours the two greats talked about their careers, starting with their WWE tenures, all the way up through their current reconciliation. But let’s not kid ourselves here. This was all about the Montreal Screwjob and everyone involved knew that.

If you are strictly going to watch this for this to hear about the infamous night at Survivor Series 1997, you won’t be disappointed. Of the two hour interview, a full 45 minutes of it is devoted entirely to this topic. Nobody minces words and both wrestlers cover the before, during, and after in more depth than I ever heard before.

The interview starts with both talking about crossing paths for the first time in the WWE. Jim Ross asks Bret if he was apprehensive about Shawn coming to the WWE because of his reputation. Bret says no and says he was actually excited about Shawn coming, because it gave the Hart Foundation a new opponent in the Rockers.

Both guys talk quite a bit about the struggles early on of being smaller guys by the standards of that time period in the WWE. It was funny because as Bret talked about the big muscle heads of that period in the WWE, a picture of the Road Warriors were shown. It was ironic since they hadn’t come to the WWE for years later. Anyway, the guys point out that times were changing and Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage really opened doors for guys of their size.

The guys also touch on their infamous tag team match in which the top rope broke. The Rockers won the tag team titles in that match but it was later reversed. I would say of everything on the DVD, this is the only real place you get your WWE revisionist history. They tell a story as if the match was supposed to air on Saturday Night’s Main Event and be a breakthrough as a 2 of 3 falls tag team match. Well that was all factually incorrect as the match was never set to air on SNME, and there had already been a handful of 2 of 3 falls tag team matches on the program. I am not even sure why they would even have to bother skewing history here but they certainly did.

The guys then start to talk about Bret’s first singles push. Shawn is asked if it was inspirational to see Bret with the Intercontinental title. Shawn says no, and mentions that the I-C belt was always something of a worker’s belt. He says it became a much bigger deal when Bret won the WWE world title. When the guys were asked about the eras changing in the WWE, Bret says it was like going “from the dinosaurs to the mammals.” Bret also says that the fans were getting tired of moves being so predictable from the top matches.

Both guys talk about the WWE first starting to come around on guys their size by allowing tag team matches to close the show. I bring that up because I remember as a kid going to the Philadelphia Spectrum and seeing the Hart Foundation vs. the British Bulldogs and the Harts vs. the Rougeaus close the shows and being blown away even as a kid by the closers.

The discussion gets real interesting here as they start to talk about both guys finally crossing paths in their singles careers. Bret says the turning point for Shawn was his match with Diesel at WrestleMania 11. Bret says he knew he was going to be the guy. He also says that Diesel was done after that match.

It starts to get really interesting as they talk about their WrestleMania 12 Iron Man Match. Bret says it was flawless and is amazed at how perfect it was given the length of time. Bret says going into the match he felt like he was, “just carrying the belt for the sake of carrying it.” The point being, he says they were putting a lot more emphasis on Shawn at the time and he felt a little disrespected as the champion by that.

Now we get into our first urban legend. Urban legend has it that Shawn yelled at Bret to get out of the ring after the match. Bret says that it’s true, but that was planned all along. He said that they both agreed not to shake hands after the match, to build up a more heated rivalry for WrestleMania 13. For those unaware, Shawn has always been accused of shooting on Bret in that moment. According to Bret, “We were laying the groundwork for bigger and better things.”

This is also where perception starts to become reality. Bret mentions getting a phone call from his late brother Owen the next day. Owen told him the boys were upset at television that Shawn didn’t shake his hand. Bret says at that point he realized they had something. He told Owen to keep that story alive, in other words work the boys.

Bret says he started to get concerned when he heard that Shawn wanted to work programs with Diesel, Scott Hall, Hunter, and Sean Waltman right away. Bret says that he felt that Shawn was more interested in making his friends money than doing what was right for the company.

The subject then turns to the aftermath and the infamous “shooting” that went on between both guys while Bret was away. At this point in the Bret-Shawn rivalry, most look back and point to this as the start of the tension. Both guys again agree that the intention was just to build a storyline, although things turned out much differently. It appeared Shawn started to get a lot tired of some of the things Bret was saying during this time period. Bret on the other hand claims that he was only stirring the pot for their next match. Regardless, Bret later admits that they worked themselves into a shoot.

I want to point something out here in relation to today’s WWE. Bret said that the whole idea with this bitter side during that time was to get over the fact that he was angry at the way he lost the WWE title. He said that the shots he took at Shawn away and when he returned were to get that over to build heat to their rematch. I bring this up because you have recent examples of John Cena getting screwed in WWE title matches and yet he shows up on RAW the next night and acts as if it was no big deal. It is a pet peeve of mine to see Cena get screwed at WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Hell in a Cell this year and not give a darn about it. Bret and Shawn are smart guys and that is why people actually cared about Bret returning to go after the WWE title as opposed to when Cena continues challenging in 2011.

Anyway, back to the DVD.

The talk then turns to Shawn’s numerous injuries during that time period. Every time it appeared that Bret and Shawn would rematch, Shawn would get hurt, specifically the knee injury when Shawn “lost his smile.” Bret, “I wanted to contribute. I wanted to pitch and make a difference. He quit on the team.”

Shawn says that he went to a doctor at the time that just looked at it and said, “You can’t wrestle on that knee.” He says the times were different and they didn’t go to experts back then. Bret responds, “I didn’t see the commitment from Shawn.” Jim Ross points out that this was ironic since Bret would later suffer a knee injury of his own and miss time in the ring.

Bret then says how disappointed he was when he was told that he was wrestling Steve Austin, not Shawn at WrestleMania 13. Shawn turns to him and said, “You had a pretty good match didn’t you?” Bret in talking about his initial reactions to the switch, “I didn’t want to work with him. I’m done. I want to move forward, not back.” Again the irony here is that if not for that match switch, the course of history in the WWE may have turned out much differently for everyone.

The talk gets a little heated here for the first time in the DVD. Shawn mentions that Bret’s comments about his parents were a little over the line. Bret continues to plead ignorance. Shawn also brings up something Bret said about him dancing with little boys at the time in the ring. J.R. asks Bret what the difference was between dancing in the ring with kids and handing them sunglasses. Bret says, “A 5-year old kid putting on sunglasses is a lot different than doing a striptease in the ring.” Bam!

They talk more about their relationship falling apart around this time. Bret says, “There was zero trust.” Shawn says in the way he reacted to Bret at the time, “It’s not like I was the most emotionally equipped guy around.” The comment about Shawn’s parents comes up again. Bret says, “I injured the trust we had. I didn’t catch on to how much heat we had until one of Shawn’s promos.” The theme continues to be that Bret was just working the angle while Shawn started to take things personally. In referring to the infamous “Sunny Days” comment, Bret says, “Now we were crossing lines and it was going to get ugly.”

There were a few important parts of the history of this rivalry that weren’t covered here. For one, their infamous locker room scrap in which Bret reportedly pulled out a clump of Shawn’s hair was not covered, although it was briefly referred to as a “cat fight.” Two, they never went too in depth with their plans to wrestle at King of the Ring 1997. Other than that, I think the DVD did a great job of chronicling their issues leading up to the Survivor Series 1997.

The talk now moves to the Survivor Series 1997. Bret says on signing with WCW, “It was one of the ugliest days of my life.” They both rehash the time of events, and the conversation they had where Shawn said he wouldn’t put Bret over. Shawn never actually comments on it, and just stays silent as Bret relives it. Bret says that he would have been willing to put Shawn over the next night in Ottawa live on RAW, but he needed Shawn to put him over first after that conversation.

Shawn starts to talk about the plan. The only thing new here he revealed is that he was fine with the original idea of putting Bret over. Of course we go back to the fact that it was Triple H that shot that idea down. Shawn said he felt like a soldier doing what he was told. “It wasn’t fun being that guy.”

Shawn continues to say through this segment and most of the DVD that all he ever wanted from Bret was a pat on the back. They talk about the actual night and reveal that they had a great conversation a couple of hours before the match in which Bret gives him that pat. Bret said he felt great about the match after this conversation.

As for the match, Bret points out that when Shawn put on the Sharpshooter that he had it on wrong. He said that he actually tells Shawn in the middle that he was crossing the wrong legs. They show footage of this and that is exactly what happened. “I’m hanging him the bullets.”

Of course you know how crushed Bret was after this. Bret really puts into deeper context by saying that he never missed a date, missed numerous Christmas holidays, worked hurt, and gave 13 years to the WWE and just felt really screwed. Bret gets very emotional here and real choked up. Bret also reveals that he had met all of his contracted dates at the time and says, “I didn’t even have to go to the pay per view.”

The discussion moves for a second towards why it happened. When it was brought up that they couldn’t have Bret just hand someone the WWE title, Jim Ross  brings up the three times that Shawn handed titles over without losing them. Shawn doesn’t have much to say in response.

Bret says he knew Shawn was on it immediately, even though Shawn denied it. “I didn’t believe him. I didn’t believe anything he said.” Bret then says that he didn’t hit him because if Shawn really wasn’t in on it, he would have felt terrible. Bret says he never would have done that. “My loyalty is to the guys in the dressing room.” Bret also says that the reason people in Canada hate Shawn so much is because he dry humped the flag, which they both share a chuckle over.

Shawn talks about the baggage of being that guy after it happened. Shawn gets choked up. “I had my hand in all of the stuff that happened.” Bret was then asked if he still watched the WWE when he went to WCW. “He said he felt like he wanted to parachute in with a machine gun.”

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At this point they move off the Survivor Series. I have read and heard a lot on the incident and I have to say that I even learned a few new things here. It was a phenomenal segment for 45 minutes. Bret did most of the talking here and throughout the DVD quite frankly. Shawn just sat there and didn’t say much during this segment. It is obvious that it still makes him feel very uncomfortable and I think he was showing Bret respect by allowing him to vent then sit here and debate him point for point.

The rest of the DVD moves towards Bret going to WCW, Shawn coming and going, and of course Bret coming back to the WWE. There is some really great stuff here. Bret gets very emotional over the conversation he had with Vince after Bret suffered a stroke. Shawn says in summing up his problems with Bret, “For whatever reason, I just wanted Bret Hart to like me.”

This was just a tremendous documentary and whether you are a fan of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, both, or neither, it was fascinating to get behind the scenes of one of the most interesting time periods in WWE history. I found both guys to be brutally honest, even when it got uncomfortable for the other to hear it. On top of the great documentary, you get two other discs of some of tremendous matches that the two had with one another.

I can’t recommend this DVD enough. Not only do I recommend you buy it, I recommend you pre-order it now so you can open it the second it becomes available. The DVD is scheduled for release on October 25.

Disc 1

San Antonio vs. Calgary

The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation

Heartbreak Kid vs.The Hit Man

Intercontinental Champion vs. WWE Champion

Showstopper vs. Excellence of Execution

Progressive vs. Traditional

Fantasy vs. Reality

Respect vs. Trust

Redemption vs. Reconciliation

Hope vs. Peace

Disc 2

The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation
Madison Square Garden – 25th November, 1989

Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Wrestling Challenge – 10th February, 1990

The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation
Tokyo Dome – 30th March, 1991

Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Portland, Maine- 21st July, 1992

Intercontinental Championship Match
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Syracuse, New York- 29th April, 1992

WWE Championship Match
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Survivor Series – 25th November, 1992

Steel Cage Match
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Utica, New York – 1st December, 1993

Disc 3

Iron Man Match for the WWE Championship
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
WrestleMania 12 – 31st March, 1996

WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Bret Hart’s Induction
Chicago, Illinois – 1st April, 2006

Bret Hart Returns to Raw
Raw – 4th January, 2010

WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Shawn Michaels’ Induction
Atlanta, Georgia – 2nd April, 2011

Blu-ray Exclusive Moments

Vince McMahon Interviews Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart
Raw – 3rd February, 1997

Bret Hart Promo In Ring
Raw – 12th May, 1997

Hart Foundation Promo In Ring
Raw – 19th May, 1997

WWE Championship Match
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Survivor Series – 9th November , 1997

Blu-ray Exclusive Special Features

The First WWE Ladder Match

SummerSlam 1992

Winning the WWE Championship for the First Time

Bret’s WCW Regrets

Cameras Rolling Between Takes

WWE: Greatest Rivalries – Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart

WWE: Greatest Rivalries – Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart [Blu-ray]

WWE – Bret “Hitman” Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be

Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling

WWE: Shawn Michaels – My Journey

Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric’s work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

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