Bob Backlund and Bret Hart were part of a heated feud on television that culminated in an “I Quit” match at WrestleMania 11 on April 2nd, 1995. The Hart Family got involved, and Backlund’s mental state was in question throughout! While the idea of their final match at WrestleMania 11 may have sounded good in theory, according to Bret Hart, this match with Bob Backlund was his least favorite pay-per-view match of all time. Here’s what these two legends have to say about their 8-month feud.
Bret Hart on his feud with Bob Backlund and why his “I Quit” match with him at WrestleMania 11 was his least favorite pay-per-view match of all time:
“The [match] that I really hated the most was at WrestleMania 11. That was in Hartford where I fought Bob Backlund in the ‘I Quit’ match.
Roddy Piper was the guest referee and he kept asking on the live microphone, ‘What do you say!?’ while Bob and I were wrestling. It turned into a real farce of a match. And I knew it would be a terrible match because they took the pinfalls out of the match — it was all submissions, so it made it even harder to have a good match. I really thought it was a disrespect to Bob to put him in that match. Me and Bob had been wrestling each other for about a year up to that point already, and it was a stretch to put us together again at WrestleMania. It wasn’t very entertaining.
I never thought that match was Bob’s fault. I told Vince before we ever had it that it was going to be terrible. He said ‘no, no, it’ll be great.’
I was right. It was terrible.
The Survivor Series match we had was really good — the one where he got the title. I loved Bob in that match. He was really good. Bob was really intense in those days!
That was actually quite a humorous match when I look at it now. Davey had tripped and bonked himself on the stairs and was out cold. My mom — all she knew is that she had to come to the ringside in a certain spot and throw in the towel after much pleading from Owen. I remember when my mom came up on the apron, she had to step right over Davey. This is her son-in-law, out cold and hurt, and she stepped right over him as if he never mattered! (Laughs). I always thought it was so funny. We had planned the whole thing out and perfected the story, but nobody thought at the end, ‘Hey, what about when Davey’s down, mom’s gotta step right over him to get there.’ When you see it, my poor mom just does it because she’s following the little script she’s got. It was hilarious.”
Bret Hart had further to say about his “I Quit” match against Bob Backlund in his autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling:
“When I marched out to face Bob I got a huge pop, but from the moment the bell rang the match went downhill. Roddy Piper was the guest referee and kept sticking a live mic in our faces, asking, “What do ya say?” which only sounded comical and made the crowd laugh. I cringed, thinking nobody laughs during my matches unless I want them to! As hard as Bob and I tried, the match deteriorated into a farce. Finally Bob went for his chicken wing, and I slipped under and reversed it, hooking his hold on him, falling backward to the mat. Bob was finding out, as I had, that the hold hurt like hell, so bad that as Roddy stuck the mic in Bob’s face and asked, “Do you give?” Bob could only manage to scream, “Yes!” Bob was specifically supposed to say “I quit,” but with the painful hold cutting off his air, Roddy finally had no choice but to ring the bell and declare me the winner. This was, without a doubt, my worst pay-per-view match ever.”
“This was, without a doubt, my worst pay-per-view match ever.”
We have to agree with Bret on this one. The match just didn’t work. The feud had lost its momentum by the time WrestleMania 11 rolled around but we still had high hopes that they would be able to deliver on “The Grandest Stage of Them All” as they had a great match at Survivor Series the year before. Adding the “I Quit” stipulation could have made the match even better. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, things just didn’t click. What didn’t help was having guest referee Roddy Piper on the mic throughout. Piper yelling into the microphone and asking the wrestlers if they wanted to quit from every basic hold got a bit distracting. You could even notice Bret getting a little annoyed by that during the match. While Bret usually delivered when it mattered, this was just not his night. Too bad because a classic Bret match could have saved this show which featured the headlining match of Bam Bam Bigelow against Lawrence Taylor.
Despite it all, Bob Backlund had favorable things to say about Bret and their feud.
“It was a great pleasure to work with Bret, when I first tried getting into the wrestling business I called lots of promoters and Bret’s father Stu was the first promoter I rang, Bret and I had some great matches together.
That’s when I turned into a bad guy and I didn’t ever think I would do that during my career but there were a lot of changes with society and a lot of the good guys in the WWF at the time were lying, cheating and swearing. So I thought, let me be the bad guy by being good…”
Watch Bret Hart versus Bob Backlund in their WrestleMania 11 “I Quit” match with Roddy Piper as guest referee below: