’95 Bret


Hi Scott,

What was the deal with Bret in ’95? Was there anyone at that level in worse feuds? Was it really the clique just ruining his life? Did Vince really have no clue what to do with him? If it was the clique, wouldn’t Bret have had the power to be like, "Nah, I’m not going to go into a feud over my own jacket."?
Thoughts?

​I dunno, I think Bret wanted to prove that he could take that stuff and get it over, and he kind of did. Plus he got to work with great workers like Hakushi and Lafitte, and he always loved working with Lawler no matter what. His book doesn’t make it sound like he was particularly miserable about it or anything.

  • TatR!

    It was 1995. Everyone was in terrible feuds.

  • y2j420

    Did Bret hold any grudges against Lawler for the injury he sustained from him at King of the Ring ’93?

    • “No Way Jose” Gomez

      Not sure. Although from what I hear when they met at Summerslam he CRANKED on the Sharpshooter on Lawler as payback

      • Zac Campbell

        I believe that Sharpshooter was the receipt and they were fine afterwards

      • GoodOldBoz

        Not only that, the referees and officials actually helped him crank back on it too!!!!

    • Greg Phillips

      As mentioned, he was upset, got his receipt in at SummerSlam, and all was well.

  • PATRICKisLEGEND

    It’s not like ANYONE was doing anything good in ’95.

    • taabr2

      Hey, I think ECW had their best year in 95! Oh wait you mean the WWF…… Um yeah that year was one big boring turd sandwich.

    • brak_attack

      I think this is important to note. Yes, Bret had some terrible feuds but remember, around this time the Kliq was feuding with King Mabel and country singer Jeff Jarrett. It wasn’t as if the Kliq had these epic and cool storylines while Bret was relegated to the dentist.

    • Stan Ford

      Exactly. 1995 WWF was Bret, Diesel, Shawn and NOTHING.

  • thejob111

    1995 was atrocious. There were no legit heels in the company for most of the year.
    Ask Undertaker, Diesel, Razor, and HBK. It was a suckfest.

    • Yes, that was why WCW was able to make an impact late in the year and kick off the Monday Night Wars.

  • Buff_Bagel

    I can’t think of a single good (not just “watchable” like Bret-Lawler) 1995 WWF feud other than Diesel-Shawn. Was there anything else?

    Everything involving Sid, Mabel, Goldust, Ahmed, the Smoking Gunns, Kama, or Savio was hot garbage.

    • PeteF3

      Does Bret-Hakushi count? The storyline was silly and, if you were paranoid, could be interpreted as a smear job on Bret. But the matches were good.

      Oh, oh! Skip vs. Horowitz. Would have been better had it really done anything for either guy in the long run, but still entertaining on its own.

      • RG-Dallas

        Skip vs. Horowitz was a bad running joke.

    • brocore

      The Owen Hart/Shawn Michael enzugiri angle that led to a brief run between the two was interesting.

    • I think the Bam Bam – LT angle was good from a storyline perspective. Made sense and had a definitive beginning, middle and end. Match wasn’t too shabby either!

  • Stan Ford

    “What was the deal with Bret in ’95? Was there anyone at that level in worse feuds?”

    Never heard of Diesel?

    Christ. Sid and fucking Mabel as PPV cycles, plus Bundy and Backlund on the house show circuits. Dude has said he developed a friendship with Jarrett largely because Jarrett (JEFF JARRETT) was the first actual worker* he got to work with as champion, even if it was only at house shows. His best feuds were with Shawn right before he left and the feud toward the end of 95 with Bret where he lost the belt.

    Hard to blame the guy for bailing for a larger paycheck and a roster where the best idea for a feud for him wasn’t goddamned Mabel.

    * Backlund, of course, was a good worker, but was from a wildly different and incompatible era.

    • Didn’t he only fight Backlund once, for thirty seconds?

      • Stan Ford

        On TV, but they worked together on house shows.

        • Jake Ziegler

          Actually that match wasn’t for TV either.

  • JJ

    I’d still take 1995 over today’s product.

    • Kanye Batista

      Hmmm … it’s a tough call. The similarities are amazing. Bret Hart once compared Roman Reigns’ push to Diesel’s World Title run and I think that’s a spot on comparison.

      • brocore

        Diesel’s run was a year. Roman’s is coming up on three.

      • brak_attack

        Other than “ass kicker becomes super popular and they change everything about them,” I don’t really see it all too much. Granted, back then I was a kid and probably didn’t know or notice a few things, but it’s important to keep in mind that WWE has actively sacrificed other characters AND popular babyfaces in order to try to get Reigns over. Compare that to when Michaels became popular. They pushed him — hard — and ultimately put him over Diesel. That’s a far cry from what you see with Reigns/Ambrose.

        • Greg Phillips

          Ambrose has himself to blame for whatever booking issues he has. They wanted him to be the guy on SmackDown, put him over Reigns and Rollins, and then he got outpopped by the opponents he wrestled throughout the summer.

          • brak_attack

            How could you say that Ambrose is to blame for his push ending because his opponents outpopped him (which I disagree with — AJ is the only one who rivaled him) when Reigns continues to get his mega push despite getting NO pops at all?

          • Greg Phillips

            Because that’s how wrestling works for most people who aren’t pet projects like Roman, who still gets louder *reactions* than Dean. When Reigns comes out, the place comes unglued with a 2007 Cena-like combo of boos and cheers. When Dean comes out, it’s polite applause.

            Go watch the build for SummerSlam and tell me Dolph didn’t win over the crowd against Dean. And then AJ blew him out of the water. Dean was doing babyface sympathy spots while the crowd was chanting for AJ and going silent in the middle of matches.

            Dean Ambrose was given the ball on SmackDown and did nothing to stand out — his matches were subpar when Styles wasn’t involved, his promos were weak until he teased the heel turn vs. Cena, and his merch sales never rose despite being the featured guy for several months.

          • Greg Phillips

            A great example of this — Ambrose goes out at SummerSlam and craps the bed with Dolph in a bad match. Two nights later, Styles goes out and steals the show with a damn near **** TV match against Dolph.

          • GoodOldBoz

            The Ambrose – Ziggler match was truly awful. Aside from Dean waiting an ice age to sell a superkick on the outside, they didn’t really screw anything up. The moves they did to each other were fine.

            Yet the emotion, the pacing, the story, the development?? All of those were non-existent. THAT is what makes a WWE match bad..and boy did that happen here

          • Greg Phillips

            Completely agree, and it sucks because the build for that match was excellent. It was the most interesting either guy had been in ages. And then the match was just a complete dud, with weird selling choices, a horrible pace, both guys oscillating between babyface and heel tendencies, and an exposure of the two guys’ offensive sets.

            The AJ-Ziggler match two days later featured a much clearer story between the bells, clear sympathy segments, escalation and emotion.

          • brak_attack

            I honestly don’t recall the Ambrose/Dolph thing being anything other than split down the middle — I’ll watch again. And AJ is an unfair example, he’s blown EVERYBODY out of the water. Every major feud he’s had — Jericho, Reigns, Cena, Ambrose — he’s had the audience firmly on his side.

            You’re likely right that Ambrose should have done more to push for better booking but he wasn’t given the best shot. He wins the first three way Shield match, he’s the first draft pick for Smackdown, and the first major feud they put him in is against Dolph Ziggler? In a match that was clearly pushed as being below the Universal title match, Lesnar/Orton and arguably even Cena/AJ. What chance did he have?

            On top of that, Ambrose did bring it with a great promo where he brought up that Ziggler cares so much about stealing the show but he can’t win a match. An element that the writers did nothing with and the announcers never once played upon. The guy was fighting an uphill battle there.

            And actually, when you consider the fact that THAT’S how he was used going into the draft extension, can you honestly say he was truly given the ball?

          • Greg Phillips

            He was the top draft pick above John Cena, was given main events on every TV show for two months, and was given clean wins over Rollins solo and Rollins and Reigns in a triple threat (where he pinned Reigns in the middle of the ring) building up to the draft. They did everything they could to make him the face of SmackDown, and he was boring. The only success he had as a character was when he cut heel promos on Dolph Ziggler and John Cena.

        • The Great American Beard

          Gotta remember that it took Diesel leaving to do so, which is important. Plus, Clique.

      • Peter

        Except that Reigns is actually, you know, damn good in the ring as opposed to Nash who absolutely sucks.

        • Kanye Batista

          Nash has some appeal when he was able to show more of his real personality and charisma in the nWo and Reigns seems like he was meant to be a big heel. The face thing just ain’t working. If they had started out as a heel and turned him face later I think it could’ve done ok.

        • Mike Mears

          Nash did not suck in the ring.

          • Dana

            Has he had a good match that didn’t involve Bret? Or Shawn?

          • Peter

            Conpared to Reigns, he did. Reigns is able to hold his own end better, is quicker than Nash ever was, more crisp, better seller, everything.

      • Mike Mears

        It is a very easy call.

    • In a heartbeat.

    • Mike Mears

      It’s all yours.

    • Peter

      You should try watching 1995 RAWs every Monday instead of the current ones. See how long you last. Watch effin’ Isaac Yankem, Jean Pierre Lafitte, Diesel, Mabel, etc.

      I don’t know in what parallel universe that is more entertaining than current WWE.

      I love when people look at the past with rose colored nostalgia goggles and forget how to be realistic.

      • thatguyJMM

        In a given week in 1995 you had Raw (1hr) on Mondays, Superstars (1hr) on Saturdays, and Challenge (1hr) on Sundays. It was easy to break up the monotony instead of trying to slog through a 3 hour show on Mondays, a 2 hour show on Tuesdays, and a PPV every other Sunday nowadays. I think just having a break to do something else is part of why 1995 is looked upon so fondly

      • Chris Hirsch

        I was 12 and I still know that 1995 SUCKED.

  • Kanye Batista

    Bret did a great job getting over everything and anything the WWF gave him in 1995. In retrospect it helped showcase how versatile he was.

  • Bret “Hitman” Clark

    I still can’t believe that something didn’t happen with Oulette after that Bret match.

    I mean, I know *why* nothing ever happened, but that match was awesome and he looked like a million bucks even as a stupid pirate. SAD.

    • brocore

      How Oulette never had a run as an athletic monster in ECW in the mid-to-late ’90s is something that still confounds me. If he had jumped in ’96, I imagine he and Scorpio and he and Jericho could have had an awesome series of matches over the TV Title. If he sticks around, he also probably gets a run as World Champion in ’99 after Taz leaves.

      • Thesyckid

        I’m sure they just would have fed him to Taz like they were trying to do with everyone else like him at that point.

        • brocore

          Eh, I think Heyman might have given him a shot like he did with Snow. The guy was talented unlike most of the slugs that Taz was dropping on their heads.

  • RG-Dallas

    1995 was harmless if you didn’t know any better. Diesel vs. Sid were some great hard hitting matches. Diesel vs. Mabel was horrible waste of 9 minutes. Diesel vs. Bulldog was bad, but not terrible as they tried and failed miserably. Bret vs. Diesel was maybe Nash’s greatest match ever and Bret vs. Bulldog was okay.

  • Big D Wangston

    I just read about how he lost the sight in his eye by getting shot with a pellet gun when he was young. Guess it’s too bad for him Turner didn’t start playing A Christmas Story 24 hours every Christmas until it was too late.

    • Thesyckid

      The iconic tongue scene was filmed right here in St. Catharines Ontario.

      • Got Luger’d

        Funny where that iconic tongue wound up when the actor became an adult…with his pole getting tongued too.

  • Greg Phillips

    As bad as 1995 was creatively, it was among Bret’s best years in-ring. Two **** matches with Diesel, some incredible ****-plus matches with Owen (including a great tag match with Davey vs. Owen and Neidhart), the classics against Hakushi, the great match vs. Lafitte, and an absolutely phenomenal bout against Davey at In Your House.

    • The Great American Beard

      Don’t forget a ***-***1/2 affair with a fairly green Kane at SummerSlam that same year.

    • GoodOldBoz

      From a pure in-ring perspective, the IYH match blows Summerslam ’92 out of the water. The emotion of the Wembley main event is still amazing though

      • Greg Phillips

        I actually agree with that. All of it. Wembley is a great match in its own right, particularly as a one-man show, but I love the intensity of the IYH bout and have always preferred it as a match. I also enjoyed the bloodshed and Bret digging into a new finish.

    • spicollidriver

      he seems to agree, considering three matches of that year were picked by him for his first dvd set (compared to the runner ups of 1993,1994 and 1997, which all had two).

  • HartKiller_09

    They were taking a shot with Diesel as their next big star so they moved Bret to the midcard. His midcard feuds were kinda of blah because the roster was mostly kind of blah.

  • Thesyckid

    Vince loved Ahmed more then Bret at that point. I’m sure he saw doller signs when he saw Ahmed the first time.

    ” Ha ho..That’s one mighty Johnson hahaha”

    Vince tried with new people but always had Bret to fall back on. He was his safety net.

    • HartKiller_09

      I’m pretty sure JR said someone was “manhandling the big Johnson” during a Royal Rumble.

    • GoodOldBoz

      Tony Norris actually came up with the Ahmed Johnson name himself. Vince wanted to call him…er… Buck.

  • MaffewOfBotchamania

    Razor Ramon feuding with Mabel and getting Savio Vega over while getting cheered louder than half the roster sucked.

    Feud with Jarrett was good though.

  • GoodOldBoz

    The feuds might have sucked, but the matches rocked. Bret adapts like a frigging pro to Hakushi’s offence, and the Lafitte match is a *believable* back-and-forth

  • Kenola

    I don’t think Bret was as much of an egomaniac about being champion as much as his detractors make him out to be. He just didn’t want SHAWN in particular as the top guy because he hated his guts.

    I think as long as Bret was able to work with guys and put on great matches he was fine.

    • GoodOldBoz

      Agreed. Bret is FAR from beyond criticism on many things, but the “he’s such a mark for himself that he thinks he legitimately WON the titles?” meme? Ludicrous

    • HartKiller_09

      And where does Bret start to hate Shawn’s guts? About when Shawn’s given his spot.

  • Empian

    To be fair them Bret matches always got promotion and felt bigger than they were just because of Bret.

    He had his run at top in 94 and would get others. 95 was just a cool off year and he did great with it.

  • Michael Kehm

    I think the biggest problem of 95 was not that the Clique was pushed, but that the WWF wasted guys like Bret, Owen, Bulldog, Luger, Yokozuna and Undertaker in the midcard. Who in the blue hell thought that Mabel of all guys was worth beeing not only King of the Ring but also in the Summer Slam main event???

    • Vince did.

      • Michael Kehm

        You always hear that he likes the muscle guys, but actually I think he likes the big fat guys more: King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, Yokozuna, Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastian Booger, Mantaur, Mabel, Mark Henry, Big Show,Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe…;);)

        • brocore

          Andre wasn’t really fat until the last few years of his career when his body had started to break down.

        • That’s Owens and Joe’s problem.

          When you’re fat for Vince, you’ve got to COMMIT.

    • HartKiller_09

      I think the idea was to push the top faces so much that the heels didn’t matter.

      • Michael Kehm

        I think both always matter. A wrestling feud is never a one man show. And the heel is sometimes even more important.

  • Jeremy Rinehart

    Turn Razor after WrestleMania XI, he wins King of the Ring and challenges Diesel for the title at SummerSlam.

    • Stan Ford

      I think it’s more or less been confirmed that the only reason Razor never went higher on the card than he did was because his partying was already causing big problems with his reliability in 1995.

    • Michael Kehm

      Or what about this. Let HBK win the title from Diesel (they weren’t even in the main event, so why not let the heel win) and then Bret win KOTR and you can have heel Shawn vs Bret at Summer Slam.

      • Jeremy Rinehart

        The only problem with that is it robs us of the Shawn/Razor ladder rematch

        • Michael Kehm

          We had that at WMX and maybe they could have made a ladder match for the World Title down the line.

  • LScisco

    I’ll keep touching on this in my WWF reviews but the other problem with the company is that the heel side of the roster was really, really underdeveloped. Guys like Luger, Razor, and Bigelow should’ve been strong heels throughout 1995.

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