The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Presents: Holy Grail: The Search For WWE’s Most Infamous Lost Match
OH MAN. IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING. I feel like I shouldn’t even watch this because it’ll just ruin the legend forever. But of course, I must.
We start with a brief overview of the start of Tom Magee, who was #2 in the World’s Strongest Man contest and was supposed to be trained by Stu Hart to be the next Hulk Hogan. So on October 7 1986, he had a dark match tryout with Bret Hart in Rochester NY. Bret went to him before the match and told him to do everything he was told and he’d get hired. Which he did.
X-Pac pops in with some funny lines about watching Tom Magee against Ted Dibiase at a TV taping, when “quality matches weren’t a thing at TV tapings”. When he was younger, he just assumed someone like a Dibiase would take Magee on the road and work with him for a few weeks in a row because they could make money with him. And then, nothing happened.
Over to Harry Smith and Tyson Kidd, who relate the story of Bret promising to play the match at a BBQ in 1996 and then losing the tape and never finding it again. Sam Roberts talks about the tape trading scene in the 90s and how no one even knew about that match and it was treated as an urban legend. Sam Roberts thinks that WWE kind of purposely lost the match because it was just a reminder of how wrong they were and there was no reason to keep it at the time.
Over to Mary Kate Anthony, who was entrusted with bags of VHS tapes from Bret’s collection to convert to DVD, and LO AND BEHOLD she found “Bret Hart vs. Tom McGhee”, albeit with the wrong date on the tape. And then the internet freaked the fuck out.
So now let’s talk about Bret again, as Vince believed he was looking at his next big superstar World champion as a result of that match, and he was. It was just the other guy. Kassius Ohno geeks out as we watch, and he’s as excited as anyone to finally see it.
In 1990, Magee’s association with the WWF ended and he left the wrestling business completely, with no more interest in pursuing it. X-Pac thinks that they should track him down and do Tom Magee meet-and-greets and make money off him again. Obviously this was done before Conrad organized that exact thing.
And then they actually find Tom Magee for this documentary! He says that he never heard Vince’s hype about “the next Hulk Hogan” but he really enjoyed the match. Although he’s never actually watched it.
And now…THE HOLY GRAIL!
Bret Hart v. Tom Magee (10.07.86)
Gorilla and Bobby are on commentary. So yeah, we’re joined in progress with Magee backflipping out of a headlock and going to an armbar. Magee leapfrogs into an armdrag, but Bret beats on him in the corner, and Tom backflips off the top and dropkicks Bret to the floor. Back in, Bret gets an atomic drop to take over and chokes him out on the ropes and drops a leg. Bret pounds away in the corner, but Magee gets a sunset flip for two, and Bret takes him down with the backbreaker again. Middle rope elbow gets two. Magee whips him into the turnbuckles for the Bret Bump and comes back with an elbow into a small package for two. Magee with a rollup for two, but he misses a dropkick and Bret tosses him for some verbal abuse from Jimmy. Bret with a suplex back in, but Magee rolls him up for the pin at 7:33 aired, and now we can all say we’ve seen it once and for all. Really, the star rating is immaterial because that’s hardly the point of why the match is so famous, but I’d go about *** on it. Not great by today’s standards, but seeing someone doing backflips off the top three years before Muta would have been pretty mind-blowing.
So that’s it! The package on Christmas morning has finally been unwrapped and it’s now on the Network available to view whenever we want. Along with the Last Battle of Atlanta. What a strange and beautiful time we live in.