King of the Ring ’93

King of the Ring Semi Final
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect
Time limits have gone up to 30-minutes. Bret injured his fingers in the opening match and makes a point of showing that with tape on those digits and he shakes off early contact to sell that to the crowd. Excellent execution. Heenan puts over the early encounters as “crisp and sharp”, which is why the wrestling is so good. They do some cool mirror stuff before Bret takes over with a headlock, which is exactly the same move he controlled the SummerSlam match with. Both guys are keen to prove they can take a better bump, which leads to some glorious sequences. Mr. Perfect starts to bring the face-face psychology by taking a few shortcuts first. A little pull of the hair here, a knee on the ropes there. He feels a little guilty about it and holds the ropes for Bret, only to put the boots in immediately afterwards. Perfect’s aggressiveness takes over the match and the fans aren’t sure how to respond. This is highlighted by Bret taking a huge bump off the apron that leaves the former champion down holding his knee. Perfect wants to win it in the ring, which leads to all kinds of mind games. He’s desperate to not only win the King of the Ring, but to avenge that IC title loss by pinning Bret in the middle of the ring. The increase in tempo after the bump off the apron causes the crowd to get seriously drawn into the match. Bret is eager to even things up and kicks Perfect’s leg out, which not only evens up the leg injuries but also helps set up his finish. Bret hooks a figure four and Perfect again takes a minor shortcut by punching Bret in the face. The fans are in a real predicament because they want both guys to win. Perfect has his leg problem though and Bret is fatigued after a harder first round match. It becomes obvious when Perfect grabs a sleeper and Bret drops to his knees immediately. Perfect throws in some amazing selling moments later. He trips while breaking the hold on the ropes and falls. Instead of looking like a jackass, he slaps at the knee to sell that injury instead. He takes a mistake and makes it look like part of the bigger picture. Bret goes to the reserves and throws an amazing forearm uppercut. I’m not sure how much Perfect saw it coming and the bump is sick. Five Moves of Doom follow and that works in two ways. It gives us the hot finish and the crowd pop the moves doubly hard, as they’re all trademark stuff. Perfect goes to the injured fingers to block the Sharpshooter, which is exemplary stuff. It’s another layer of storytelling on top of the match they’ve had. Bret feels the Perfectplex coming and blocks it into a suplex over the ropes. It’s a great defensive spot from a man who’s struggling to survive. Perfect is still having knee problems, so he goes for a quick finish inside cradle, but Bret is the technical master and reverses the pinfall. Bret wins and advances to the finals in a classic. The layered selling and psychology was beautiful to behold. I love that they came in as babyfaces and Perfect slowly turned a few fans against him with his behaviour, but remained within his face parameters. It looks like he might blow up after the match, but opts instead for the handshake. I love this match, it blew away even the high expectations and delivered a match even better than the SummerSlam ’91 encounter. And that’s a classic too.
Final Rating: ****¾

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