Excellence meets perfection
For years, Bret "Hit Man" Hart & Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart were a tag team force to be reckoned with in WWE. From January until October 1987, The Hart Foundation held the World Tag Team Championship. Between 1990 and 1991, the tandem stood tall as champions once again. But in August 1991, Bret "Hit Man" Hart claimed his first piece of championship gold as a solo competitor, and he did so in what WWE.com recalls as our No. 5 Greatest SummerSlam Moment.
When the "Hit Man" began entering singles competition in '91, he didn't take long to single-handedly establish himself as a Superstar and earn the role of contender to Mr. Perfect's Intercontinental Championship. Until these two future WWE Hall of Famers clashed for the title in New York City's Madison Square Garden, no SummerSlam match had ever offered such a clinic in technical wrestling. The incumbent exemplified nothing short of perfection in every maneuver, though the challenger demonstrated precisely why he had earned the deserving tag "The Excellence of Execution." In some respects, both opponents' intensity and desire to pick up the victory almost superseded the prize they battled over, while their every move in the ring drove emotions among MSG's capacity crowd to off-the-chart levels.
Upon kicking out of the Perfect Plex, Hart would take control of the match and slap a Sharpshooter on his opponent. Perfect's manager, The Coach, leaped onto the apron to interfere, though he couldn't have anywhere near the distracting impact on Hart that a bikini bottom-clad Miss Elizabeth had on the Mega Bucks when she stood on MSG's ring apron at SummerSlam three years earlier. Hart took care of the momentary distraction, then hit Mr. Perfect with another Sharpshooter, ultimately making his opponent submit.
SummerSlam 1991 marked the beginning of an era in WWE. Not only was Bret Hart awarded the first of his two Intercontinental Titles, but it signaled the solo career of one of sports-entertainment's greatest Superstars and champions to ever step into the squared circle.