March 28, 2010
University of Phoenix Stadium
This is, for several reasons, the absolute worst match in WrestleMania history. It’s a sad, depressing happening. The buildup was excellent, with Bret returning to finally take up his issues with the mastermind of the Montreal Screwjob, Vince McMahon. Bret faked a hit and run and a subsequent injury to finally get Vince to agree to the no holds barred match, only to reveal the injury was a trick. Excitement was so very high to see Bret Hart in his first WWE match in 13 years. But then the match happened.
As soon as Bret’s music hit and he appeared wearing a t-shirt and jean shorts, the sinking feeling was already beginning in everyone’s stomach. Vince walked out next with the entire Hart clan bought and paid for in his corner, only to have Bret deliver a very poor promo saying that the Harts got paid up from and were actually putting one over on the chairman.
As the match begins, with Bret’s brother Bruce revealed as the special referee, the beat down ensues. Bret pummels Vince, and then spends several minutes on the inside of the ring watching his family members take a bite out of Vince. Bret uses a crowbar and a chair in his methodical, boring, sluggish whipping of Mr. McMahon, all the while teasing a sharpshooter but continually opting to extend the beating, and in turn, the viewer’s torture. At one point, Bret even sits down in the chair, breathing heavily and checking his nonexistent watch while McMahon crawls around the squared circle selling the injuries before Bret resumes trouncing Vince. What is meant to be a cathartic drubbing is an excruciating 11 minutes squash match that is not the definitive battle between two nemesis, but rather (as Jerry Lawler accurately describes it) an uncomfortable to watch annihilation, finally ending with a weak tap out to the sharpshooter.
Even Michael Cole’s statement meant to underline the match is a misfire, saying that “After 13 years, Bret Hart spits in the face of Montreal.” There is absolutely nothing redeeming about what is meant to be a redemption story for the Hitman. If you love wrestling, and especially if you loved wrestling in the 80s and 90s during Bret Hart’s heyday, I implore you not to ruin that imagine of one of the very best with this joyless exhibition.