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Aaron Wood
This Week In WWE Vintage Collection History: The Bret & Shawn Cage Match You Barely Knew Existed (Until The DVD Came Out Anyway)
By Aaron Wood
Feb 19, 2012 - 1:44 PM

VINTAGE COLLECTION #195
mean Gene was on-hand to introduce the show as he told us we'd continue the "Famous Foes" deal, including a rivalry that Gene said was "perhaps the greatest rivals of all time". Remember this come the end of the show. Anyway, we were kicking off with one of the "hottest" feuds in history ***Nudge Nudge Wink Wink***. Because when Scheme Gene says "hottest", he means Lita & Trish Stratus. Both women proved that there was more to them than just a pretty face. After starting out by managing their respect teams against each other, to battles over the Women's Title, they built up to an encounter on the RAW of December 6th 2004 for Trish's Women's Title. Indeed, this match was such that it was the actual main event of the show, which was in Lita's "home" of Charlotte, NC. I'm not sure we've seen that since.


After the break, in the studio Gene talked about how long before the formation of Legacy, the family names of Rhodes & DiBiase were often intertwined, beginning with their fathers, who had a different outlook on life, Dusty was the common man while Ted believed anyone could be bought, which included Dusty's valet Sapphire. And each man would recruit backup for their cause. While DiBiase obviously had Virgil, Dusty brought in his son Dustin to fight alongside him in a tag team match that took place at Madison Square Garden on November 24th 1990.


After the break, we went to the NWA/WCW Worldwide episode that aired on July 11th 1987 and a clash of Tag Team titans as the NWA US Tag Team Champions, The Midnight Express and the NWA World Tag Team Champions, The Rock & Roll Express, took each other on in another classic match, with the World Tag Titles on the line. interestingly, of the seemingly many videos online of their matches, I can't track this bastard down.

So, we join things in progress with Ricky Morton working the legs of Stan Lane. He got out but dropped again before Robert Gibson tagged in. This went on for a little while. I should note that Jim Cornette was not with the Midnights here, as he was taken out. Also, the referee is a certain Earl Hebner. So you know he's going to suck at doing something at some point here. Lane escapes long enough to try a bodyslam, but his leg gives out and so he was still buggered. He eventually managed to tag out, but Bobby Eaton ran right into a drop toehold. Eaton powdered out, but Morton hit a suicide dive onto him as we took a break, and we were told 10 minutes had elapsed.

We came back as we skipped ahead with Robert Gibson having inevitably been taken advantage of. The Midnights draw Morton in to distract Hebner as they dumped Gibson out over the top rope, a move that SHOULD have been a DQ. The Midnghts draw Ricky over and out as they Gibson in and toss him out the other side of the ring, again without Hebner seeing. Told you he would suck. That said, these tossing out led to something in the range of F**k and Nothing, so I don't entirely see the point.

Anyway, the Midnights continued to Gibson their wonky-eyed bitch until after a Worldwide ad break where we saw Gibson hit a kneelift in telegraphing a backdrop. However, being in totally order meant the Midnights could easily stuff a comeback. However, Eaton missed an elbow off the top, which allow Ricky Morton to tag in and go wild. However a Rock & Roll dropkick bumped Hebner out of the ring. In the melee, Big Bubba Rogers (Big Bossman) came in and hit the Bossman Slam on Morton, dragging Eaton on top. In a neat touch, Rogers remembered to remove his hat (in a callback to a previous match and it's similar finish where the hat was left and the Midnights DQ'ed). Hebner counted the three, seemingly giving The Midnight Express the World Tag Titles. However, another referee quickly ran down to tell Hebner what happened, resulting in Hebner DQ'ing the Midnight Express and allowing the Rock & Roll Express to keep their titles.

This week's main event saw us look at a rivalry that was possibly the most personal one ever. While the Montreal Screwjob was a tipping point in their careers, Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart had been a thorn in each other's side since the days of The Rockers and Hart Foundation. However, between the tag days and Montreal, with both men on a mission to make themselves household names in a steel cage match. This match took place at a TV taping on December 1st 1993, although it only ever appeared on the "Bret "The Hitman" Hart VHS tape of 1994. That was at least until the awesome DVD of Shawn & Bret's feud.


Gene said it was neck and neck but Hitman would escape with the win. However, Okerlund noted the next marquee match they would have would be the Ironman match at Wrestlemania that saw Shawn's boyhood dream come true. But they would just be a couple of the big moments in a long rivalry that while now forgiven wouldn't be forgotten. Gene then noted we had one more week of it next week, saying we'd be looking at "perhaps the only feud bigger than Michaels and Hart". Dude knows how to carny this stuff. Either that or between links, someone realised there was a bigger feud.

Epilogue
Trish would actually end up winning the title back a month later at New Year's Revolution when Lita suffered a legit injury on a Thesz Press off the apron, tearing her ACL. Trish moved on to spark a feud with Diva Search winner Christy Hemme, who had also just done a Playboy shoot. Trish took exception to Christy doing all of these things. After she had "slut" spray-painted on her back by Stratus, Christy challenged Trish to a match at Wrestlemania, revealing that she was being trained by Trish. However, she eventually lost.

The whole Trish & Lita feud at this point revolved around the stuff going on with Kane, and after Christy was unsuccessful, the feud continued on for a little while longer, albeit on a by proxy basis. It ended at Backlash when Lita's Kane beat Trish's Viscera, with Big Vis laying Trish out after being berated by her. However, it would be 2 weeks later that Lita turned on Kane, hooking up with Edge.

Dustin Rhodes had not long made his debut in WWE at this point. However, not long after this same tag team match happened at the 1991 Royal Rumble, both Rhodes left the company and went back to WCW. Dustin initially feuded with Larry Zybszko before moving onto the York Foundation, specifically Terrence Taylor. Leaving WWE meant the end of Dusty's full-time in-ring career as when he returned to WCW, he took up the booking duties for a period before moving onto commentary duties with Schiavone on WCW Saturday Night.

After the tag match at the 91 Royal Rumble, after winning, DiBiase ordered Virgil to strap the Million Dollar Title around his waist. However, not only did Virgil refuse, but he lamped DiBiase in the head with it, splitting away from him. They fought at Wrestlemania, with Virgil winning by countout with help from Roddy Piper. Then at Summerslam, Virgil would win the Million Dollar Title itself. However, on the "Survivor Series Showdown" show before the PPV itself, DiBiase won his title back, essentially ending the feud. Things went downhill for Virgil from there, being used as enhancement talent, albeit one that got major PPV matches in going so until his release in 1994.

The Midnight Express would hold on to their US Tag Titles for nearly another full year after this match here, losing to The Fantastics in April 1988. They would win them back in July, only to vacate the belts when they won the World Tag Titles from Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson, holding those for just over a month before the newly-heel turned Road Warriors beat them, completing a Midnight face turn.

Arn & Tully won the tag titles from The Rock & Roll Express in September of 1987 (with a feud between Luger & Windham for the Horsemen before losing to the Midnights), and this would be the last World Tag Title win for the pair, at least in WCW terms. They would wrestle in the Continental Wrestling Association under the AWA banner in 1988, having the feud with the then named-Midnight Rockers, which put Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty on the map. When they returned to the NWA/WCW in 1989, the RnR's found themselves a lower card act, thanks to teams like the Road Warriors and Steiners being on top of the babyface side. They would remain there until 1991 when Gibson turned on Morton to join the York Foundation.

The cage match took place not long after Shawn's return to the WWE having "retired" in September. He would soon kick off the feud with Razor Ramon that would lead to the famed Ladder match over who was the true IC Champion at Wrestlemania 10. Niggling injuries would soon blight Michaels once again, which were covered by the beginning of the Heartbreak Hotel talk show segment on Superstars.#

As for Bret, at the Royal Rumble, he and his brother, Owen, faced The Quebecers for the Tag Titles. However, when Bret went down with a knee injury, the referee stopped the match. Owen, pissed off with losing a title opportunity, attacked Bret, working over the leg. After Bret "won" the Royal Rumble with Lex Luger, both men would face 2 match at Wrestlemania. One for the title and one other. Bret would actually lose to Owen at Wrestlemania in a bona fide classic match, but would end the night beating Yokozuna for the WWE Title.


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