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#ThrowbackThursday: Sean Waltman's Best Match Ever

On July 11, 2004, almost exactly 21 years ago today, reigning WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bret "The Hitman" Hart defended the gold against a young Sean Waltman in his upstart 1-2-3 Kid persona in a match many fans have called one of the greatest to have ever aired on RAW.

The Hitman was in the middle of his second World Championship reign, having regained it mere months earlier from Yokozuna at WrestleMania X, and was on a mission to continue his run as "the fightingest champion of all time." The Kid, on the other hand, was years away from finding massive fame as X-Pac in DeGeneration-X, and was still carving out a career as an underdog on the rise.

The match was epic, running nearly twenty minutes—unheard of for RAW at the time.

Bret was in peak "Excellence of Execution" form, dishing out flawless bulldog headlocks and chain wrestling combinations. Waltman, for his part, was equally superb with his high-flying tactics, including a spectacular off-the-top-rope diving somersault senton to the Hitman as he stood on the arena floor, and his patented moonsault and top-rope legdrop—moves which were innovative at the time in mid-90s North American wrestling, and dominating the World Champion for long stretches.

Hart initially appeared to have won the match after reversing a crucifix pin attempt into a thunderous fallaway slam. But in a rare show of sportsmanship you wouldn't see in the WWE today, he spotted the Kid's foot draped over the bottom rope even as referee Earl Hebner counted to three, and demanded the match be restarted.

You'll have to watch the match itself (or look it up on Wikipedia) if you want to see who emerged victorious, but we guarantee it's awesome.

For all the "X-Pac Heat" Waltman notoriously drew in the fading stages of his career, all you have to do is to look back to this one contest that took place over two decades ago to realize that the man could go in the ring.


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