Brother, can you spare some gold?

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September 01, 2007

They say that blood is thicker than water. On August 27, 1992, Bret "Hit Man" Hart and brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith proved that sometimes, it's also thicker than championship gold.

SummerSlam 1992 was held at Wembley Stadium in London -- the first (and only) time a SummerSlam had ever traveled overseas -- and the main event saw the hometown hero "British Bulldog," Davey Boy Smith, challenge "The Excellence of Execution" for the Intercontinental Championship. The match looked phenomenal on paper, but there was one slight complication: Smith and Hart weren't just top-notch WWE Superstars. Because Bulldog was married to Bret's sister Diana, they were also family. Yet while SummerSlam 1992 could have been the catalyst that tore the Hart family asunder, instead it became the day that fostered an instant classic between the two Superstars, and WWE.com's No. 1 Greatest SummerSlam Moment.

Of course, long-time fans might remember that Bret and Davey were no strangers to being on opposite sides of the ring. Throughout the late-1980s, Bret and Hart Foundation partner Jim Neidhart -- also a Hart family in-law -- waged a heated rivalry with Davey and British Bulldogs partner Dynamite Kid over the World Tag Team Championship. But in 1992, Neidhart and Dynamite were out of the picture, leaving Bret and Davey to battle for Bret's Intercontinental Title.

As if facing his brother-in-law wasn't enough, the "Hit Man" was in the unusual position of hearing boos from the overwhelmingly pro-Bulldog crowd. That didn't seem to rattle him, though, as for nearly 30 minutes, the two men threw everything they had at each other. At one point, Hart even locked Bulldog in his Sharpshooter, a maneuver that had put away some of the best in the business. However, be it familiarity with the hold, the raucous cheering of his hometown fans in London or something even he couldn't identify, Bulldog escaped the hold.

Ironically, it was the simplest of moves that would finish this most complex of contests. As Hart went for a sunset flip, the challenger simply dropped down, putting his weight on Bret's shoulders. Bulldog then hooked Bret's legs, and three seconds later, the hometown boy was WWE's new Intercontinental Champion. As referee Joey Marella's hand slapped the mat for the third time, the capacity crowd of over 80,000 inside Wembley Stadium erupted in a raucous ovation, all proud that their fellow Briton had become champion.

What happened afterwards, however, was a moment that made even the instant classic that had just transpired a secondary thought. As the Smiths celebrated with Bulldog's newly-won gold, former champion Hart stared down his successor. As the capacity crowd gasped, Bret showed the true class of a gentleman in defeat, shaking his brother-in-law's hand and embracing Bulldog and Diana. With the battle over, the Hart Family was reunited once more, and the 80,000-plus inside Wembley Stadium went bananas.

Through the 2006 edition of the event, SummerSlam has seen the Intercontinental Championship change hands a dozen times in 19 years. However, while the other 11 were classic battles in their own right, none of the other matches had the internal family drama of the Bret vs. Bulldog classic of 1992.

Perhaps no future SummerSlam battle ever will.

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