Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Lost WWE Iron Man Matches

For years the WWE maintained that the first ever Ladder Match in the WWE was at WrestleMania X.  They would later release on home video and admit that the first ever ladder match was held almost two years before at a house show in Portland, Maine between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels.

July 21, 1992 Portland, Maine
Bret Hart defeated Shawn Michaels in the first ever WWE Ladder match
Currently the WWE  tells us that the first Iron Man Match was between Bret "Hitman" Hart and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII March 31, 1996, this is not true.  Over three years before WrestleMania XII on January 9, 1993 at the Boston Garden Bret "Hitman" Hart defended his World Championship against the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair in a 60 minute Iron Man Match.

During Ric Flair's final weeks in the WWE in 1993 he and Hart were working the house show loop, having on average thirty minute matches for the WWE World Championship, sometimes twice in one day.  In fact on January 9th in Boston after wrestling for an hour on a matinee show in the main event they then drove up to Portland, Maine to headline a show that evening and wrestled for thirty minutes before Hart secured the win.

I don't know if WWE has any footage of this Iron Man Match between Flair and Hart but there is a poor quality fan cam of it on YouTube.  Also during this time the WWE sometimes referred to this as a marathon match.

Here is a description of the match courteous of The History of WWE:

January 9, 1993 The Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

WWF World Champion: Bret "Hitman" Hart defeated "Nature Boy" Ric Flair w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan in a 60-minute Ironman match, three falls to two

Fall 1 - Hart pinned Flair with a waist lock into a roll up at 27:17
Fall 2 - Flair defeated Hart via submission with the figure-4 and by holding onto the top rope for leverage at 35:00 (during the fall, the referee ordered Heenan backstage)
Fall 3 - Flair defeated Hart via submission with the figure four leg lock and by holding onto the bottom rope for leverage at 37:40

Fall 4 - Hart defeated Flair via submission with the Sharpshooter at 55:03
Fall 5 - Hart pinned Flair by reversing a figure four leg lock attempt into an inside cradle at 59:42 as Flair attempted the figure four; at the beginning of the fall, Heenan returned to the ring to hand Flair a pair of brass knuckles - which ended up being used on the champion - before once again being ejected from ringside

This match had been set up on December 5, 1992 at the Boston Garden, Hart had defeated Flair in just under thirty minutes so Flair challenged Hart to a marathon match when they returned to Boston in January.

In 1994 the Hitman would defend his WWE Championship four more times in Iron Man Matches at house shows against his brother Owen Hart.

July 8, 1994 The Meadowlands, East Rutheford, New Jersey
Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart three falls to two winning the final fall with the Sharpshooter just before the end of the sixty minutes

July 9, 1994 Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York
Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart three falls to two in sudden death overtime of a sixty minute iron man match.  There is a fan cam of this match on You Tube
Fall 1 - Bret pinned Owen reversing a sunset flip 35:31
Fall 2 - Owen submitted Bret with the figure four leg lock 43:58
Fall 3 - Owen submitted Bret with the figure four leg lock 46:08
Fall 4 - Bret submitted Owen with the Sharpshooter 53:45
Fall 5 - Bret submitted Own with the Sharpshooter 1:08:23

July 29, 1994 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California
Bret Hart with Bruce Hart defeated Owen Hart two falls to one in sudden death overtime in a sixty minute iron man match

August 6, 1994 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart two falls to one in a sixty minute Iron Man Match

So there you have it, five lost Iron Man Matches that the WWE doesn't talk about.  I for one would love to know if WWE has any of these in their vault.  Who knows, maybe one of them will be on the forthcoming WWE Unreleased 1986 - 1995 DVD Set.

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  1. Wow, I had no idea about any of these. I’d love to see the Bret/Owen overtime match in professional quality.

  2. The Rockers fought the Rougeaus in Montreal in 1987 in the companies first Iron Man match

    1. Really!! I'll look into it. Were you there for the match?

    2. I found the match, it took actually took place in 1989. Thank you for bringing this to me attention!