Greatest Matches in Raw History: Bret Hart & British Bulldog vs Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart

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Greatest Matches in Raw History is our short series which looks at some of the arguable contenders for the distinction of “Greatest Match in Raw History”. With Raw a decades old show boasting well over 1,000 episodes, this is, of course, purely opinion based. Today, we take a look at one of the greats from Raw’s early history: the tag team, Hart Civil War bout featuring Bret Hart and the British Bulldog versus Owen Hart and Jim Heidhart from November 7, 1994.

Bret Hart and British Bulldog vs Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart: November 7th, 1994. Bushkill, Pennsylvania

For the second and oldest inclusion of the collection, a tag team match involving four of the most famous alumni of the famed Hart Family Dungeon, from a late 1994 edition of Monday Night RAW. Over the course of that year, Owen and Bret Hart had been the premier feud in the company. Kicking off the feud in January of ’94 at the Royal Rumble and carrying through to singles matches against each other at both WrestleMania and SummerSlam, with Owen and Bret taking home separate victories at each event respectively.

It was after their cage match at SummerSlam where things truly degenerated for the family, however; when Jim Neidhart hopped the barrier to assist Owen in beating Bret down after he had won the match. He then locked the rest of the family out of the caged ring to prevent them from coming to Bret’s aid – the most notable of the family being Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldog, who had recently returned from a short-lived run with World Championship Wrestling (WCW). This match, which was just a few weeks before the company’s annual November event Survivor Series where Bret would, with Bulldog in his corner, defend his WWF Championship in a submission match against recently returned and 45 year old ex-champion, Bob Backlund. That night, Backlund would boast Owen in his corner, with each corner-man sporting a towel to throw in for their respective man in the case they wouldn’t/couldn’t submit for themselves.

Before Owen and Jim can enter the ring, Bret and Davey Boy take the fight directly to them, blowing past the referee before he can even ring the bell. The two remain in control for a while, making sure to tag in and out to keep fresh, until Bulldog gets caught coming off the ropes with a wicked spinning heel kick from Owen – allowing the heels to take control of the match and put the beat-down on Bulldog, much in the way of an old school southern or Canadian tag match, only in most cases, the powerhouse would be the one waiting on the hot tag. With Bret Hart being the World Champion, however – and needing to look strong going into a big title defense, he is the one waiting on the tag, with Bulldog the one taking heat. It is an undeniably simple structure, but certainly an efficient one. The heels, Owen and Neidhart, keeping Davey Boy isolated in their corner; making frequent tags and keeping him on the ground with oppressive holds and tag team maneuvers. All the while, they tease the crowd with the potential for a tag to Bret, even “faking” them out at one point with a false tag behind the referee’s back, whilst he deals with Jim Neidhart – rendering it meaningless and unofficial.

Finally, after dodging a dropkick that hits Neidhart instead, Bulldog manages to make the tag to Bret, who comes in like a house of fire; using nothing but punches and “babyface fire” on both men, driving the crowd into a frenzy in doing so. It isn’t long before the match degenerates into a four men brawl, with Bulldog taking Owen outside the ring, while Bret puts his former Hart Foundation partner in the Sharpshooter for a submission victory.

Unfortunately, only one member of this match still lives to this day, but it is certainly one of the more underrated matches the four have had together, and is more than worth the watch. It feels very much like a tag team match one might see on an old episode of Stampede Wrestling, with all four men working at 120%, making for a match that is mostly action, and with truly little negative space to it.

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