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Tryout: Marion Cobretti Reviews "Bret v. Shawn" DVD

Before I get started, I'd just like to list a few matches that I've given 5 stars to, so you guys can have a frame of reference for when I rate matches.
Technical: Bret Hart v Mr. Perfect - SummerSlam 1991, Kurt Angle v The Undertaker - No Way Out 2006, Eddie Guererro vs Brock Lesnar - No Way Out 2004
Hardcore: Ric Flair v Triple H - Taboo Tuesday Cage Match, John Cena v JBL - I Quit Judgement Day 2005, AMW v XXX - Cage Match Turning Point 2004

I know a lot of reviewers do a bit of a play by play for documentaries, but that isn't so much my style. So, I'll just give my thoughts on it, and talk about the high points.

The interview is done a lot like most of the interviews they've done for recent DVDs. It's JR sitting down with Shawn & Bret, and we get video packages with a narrative talking about
certain points in their careers then cut back to the guys as JR asks them questions regarding what we've just seen..

Honestly, if you've read Bret's book, as well as Shawn's, you're not going to really get any new information. It's cool to see the two guys sitting in the same room, and talking, but you're really not going to be floored with any new information. It's nice to hear Shawn clearly admit what a piece of shit he was, and actually get emotional about the way he acted. It helps to make me believe he's actually changed, because honestly, I've never bought it. He does seem genuinely remorseful. It's also nice to see Bret talking about letting go of all the
hate and anger he had for Vince & Shawn for all those years. He talks about it being like a sack of rocks that he carried around, and once he let it go, life started getting better.
Honestly, when you think about it, all that happened to Bret should have happened to Shawn. I'm a believer in karma, and that only seems fair to me. Yet, one of the biggest
pricks in wrestling history got to retire after having his 2nd classic match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania, while Bret had to retire after a stupid match on Nitro that ended in a DQ.

It's a great documentary, and probably the strongest reason to buy the set.

The Rockers v The Hart Foundation
MSG - November 25th, 1989

In some circles, this match is known as The Match of 1,000 Wrist-locks. Because that's seriously all it seems like it is. The match is only 20 minutes long, but the wrist-locks seem to take up about 3 hours of that 20 minutes. Once they finally get over all this, the match turns out pretty decent. Bret delivers some of the sickest looking and sounding forearm uppercuts I've ever seen. It turns into [some country place] on a Saturday Night as they all start brawling after the time-limit draw, and have to be peeled apart by the likes of Big Herc, Tito, and Paul Roma.
Time-limit draw at the 20 minute mark

Bret Hart v Shawn Micheals
Wrestling Challenge - February 10th, 1990

This match isn't long, about 5 minutes or so, and within that 5 minutes they manage to repeat quite a few spots from the Rockers/Foundation match at MSG. Honestly, that's just sloppy on the part of those who chose matches for the DVD. Because it's back to back, and they're pretty memorable spots.
Double-DQ for both Bret & Shawn at 4:58

The Rockers v The Hart Foundation
Tokyo Dome - March 30th, 1991

You know, I have to say, it's pretty incredible of me to get back in the saddle for another Rockers/Foundation match after having to endure all those wrist-locks, and insanely is he doing the body-slam spot again?...wait..that's a wrist-lock! And another! another! NO!! This must be the MSG match again, I must have hit the wrong button!?...oh dear God, I haven't. Yes, they pretty much re-create the same exact match from MSG, simply to make me re-live the incident all over again. At least this time, it's about 5 minutes shorter, and The Rockers have improved as a team, so it's crisper. I complain about the beginning, because it deserves it, the rest of the match makes up for it. Again, just sloppy on the behalf of the match choosing folk, because this is just like their MSG match.
Bret Hart pins Shawn Micheals in 14:38

Bret Hart [C] v Shawn Micheals - Ladder Match for the IC Championship
Portland, ME - July 21st, 1992

I'm sure a good portion of you out there know this, but for the few that don't, this is the first ladder match in WWE history. They use to have them up in Canada, in Stampede Wrestling, and Bret asked Vince if he could try it out, to see if it'd work here in WWE. As time has shown us, it really hasn't.
For the match it self, it's damn near perfect. Unlike a lot of ladder matches today, the ladder itself isn't the match, but rather a tool used to help strengthen an awesome wrestling match, instead of being the whole work bench, like a lot of wrestlers seem to prefer. I really miss the whole "one ladder" aspect of the classic matches, because there was the suspsense of who could get to it first, and it was awesome watching them beat one another back in effort to be the first to grasp it. An awesome match, and in my opinion, the best encounter between the two.
Bret Hart grabs the belt at 12:54 to retain the title

Bret Hart v Shawn Micheals - IC Championship
Syracuse, NY - April 29th, 1992

This match runs a little less 10, and there's nothing that really stands out about it, and I assume included to just pad the track-listing. I will say, if the match would have had an extra 5-10 minutes, it would have been something, because they really started picking up in the last 2-3 minutes or so. I also enjoyed that Shawn wins via count-out. That's something we don't see with heels much these days, but I miss it. You know, they get the count-out win, then parade around with the title, then they don't get it, and demand that they should, lay claim to beating the champ --BOOM-- instant rematch with some heat. C'mon now!
Shawn Micheals wins via count out in 8:50

Bret Hart [C] v Shawn Micheals - WWE Championship
Survivor Series - November 25th, 1992

I wonder if anyone else has noticed that this match is Bret v Shawn, for the WWE title, at Survivor Series, with Earl Hebner as the ref. Well, at least this time around no one had to break a promise on their children's lives. These are the kind of matches that I really miss. Using the best wrestler in your company to take a great mid-carder to the limits, and up his star power in a fantastic match. Thankfully, with someone like CM Punk at the helm, we're starting to again [see Punk v Dolph from November]. It's such a better way to elevate a wrestler in the eyes of the fans, as opposed to Cena accidently falling through a table, thus  turning Sheamus into the new champion. One of the great parts of this match is in the beginning when Vince talks about Bret being perhaps the greatest champion ever, and Brain says "nope" to which Vince asks him who he thinks is the greatest, and in this awesome, mono-tone yell he says "FLAIR!". It's a perfect example of the Brain being the greatest of all time. Something that I've always wondered; why are the kids NEVER excited when Bret gives them his glasses? It's the freaking champion's glasses! It's not like it's Yokozuna's cathedor or something. I've never seen a kid excited, and when I was a kid, that pissed me off, because I would have lost my fucking mind. Hell, if it happened today I'd lose my mind. As you guys know, this is a great match, although a tad over-hyped in some circles.
Bret Hart wins with the Sharpshooter at 25:59

Bret Hart v Shawn Micheals - Steel Cage Match
Utica, NY - December 1st, 1993

This match isn't a cage match near the level of Bret v Owen, or Taker v Shawn, but it gets the job done. If it had more time, and they weren't sort of phoning it in, we could have had a classic. Two things that stuck out for me, is that Raven could have really had a 2nd life as a commentator, if he wasn't in Raven character. He's fun to listen to, not to mention he's a member of MENSA, so he's got knowledge for all.  2nd, Gorilla, at points, talks like someone who watches wrestling with you, that doesn't like it. He says things like"Wait! Why is Shawn getting up to climb out the door, instead of just crawling out?! This makes no sense!" and then he yells later about why he's taking such a long time to crawl over the top of the cage. I don't understand why he recieved 3 WON awards for worst announcer, I love Gorilla.
Bret Hart wins when Shawn Micheals' leg is caught while climbing down in 11:35

Bret Hart [C] v Shawn Micheals - Iron Man Match for the WWE Championship
Wrestlemania XII - March 31st, 1996

Look, I'll take some heat for this I'm sure, but I do not like this match. It's insanely boring. You know how a lot of great matches have the first 5-10 minutes where they mat wrestle, execute reversals & stall, while building it up to really get it on pace? Well this damn match does it for half n hour! I fell asleep twice while I watched this, and was rather bummed at how bored I was, because I was expecting to love the hell out of this one. I assume I've been spoiled with more current matches that run the distance that kick ass the whole time, IE Shawn v Cena, Lesnar v Guerrero, and Rock v HHH. This one just can't compare. Again, I expect to take a little heat for this....
Shawn Micheals wins in Sudden Death with the Super-Kick at 1:01:52

Bret Hart's Hall of Fame Induction
Chicago, IL - April 1st, 2006

I remember this giving people hope that Bret might interfere during the terrible Shawn v Vince match, but no cigar. I also enjoy Stone Cold's comment towards Hogan. Too bad that never happened.

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

I was so excited for this. I'm not really one to watch Raw, but I made good and sure that I was tuned in this Monday. Plus, TNA was airing at the same time, and it was awesome. It felt like it did 13 years piror when I would flip back & forth between WCW & WWE. Anyways, it's too bad that this didn't happen in Canada, because it probably would have been the crowd reaction to end all crowd reactions. Great segment.

Shawn Micheals Hall of Fame Induction
Atlanta, GA - April 2nd, 2011

Another induction, and recommendation to watch.

The Last Word: It's a strong set, but to be honest, the two strongest matches on the set have been available for years on others. It's nice to have the HOF inductions on the set, for those who like them and didn't want to shell out the extra dough for the triple-disc WM sets that come out every year. The inclusion of Bret's return to Raw is also great. There isn't a bad match on the set, and the variation on the stipulations helps to keep things fresh. So, with all that added up with the documentary, you get a strong rating of ****1/4 for the set. A strong DVD, but not as great as some of the others they've put out in the last 6 months. Although, if I'd had the Blu-Ray, perhaps I'd rate it a bit higher. Thanks for taking the time to check out the article, hope it was worth it.

For those wondering, here's what's available on the BluRay:

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

Extra Interview Pieces:

The First WWE Ladder Match

SummerSlam 1992

Winning the WWE Championship for the First Time

Bret's WCW Regrets

Cameras Rolling Between Takes