Our match of the week is Ric Flair vs Bret Hart, on February 20, 1998, from Las Vegas, Nevada (WCW).

There is a certain magic to watching a handheld, they act as a portal into the past, almost like watching something you weren’t ever meant to see. New footage emerging is always exciting, but in the form of handhelds even more so, giving hope that literally anything could be out there.

Historically, we’ve seen more handhelds emerge out of America than Japan or Mexico. Over the last couple of years there’s been an explosion of new Japanese handhelds popping up on YouTube, going as far back as the early 80’s, giving us new footage of all time greats in matches we thought we’d never see, including young lion era footage of New Japan second gen stars like Jushin Thunder Liger and Keiji Muto (which when it comes to NJPW handhelds, I advise watching as soon as you discover them, as NJPW is very quick with the copyright claims), All Japan house show matches from the hottest period of the Four Pillars era, and tournament matches that either haven’t been seen since they originally aired or were thought to have never been on tape to begin with. Roy Lucier has done a great job unearthing and uploading 1980’s lucha handhelds, which is especially vital when you consider the overall lack of pre-1990’s Mexican footage.

Our MOTW theme over the next few weeks will be focused on handhelds, and we start with this Ric Flair vs Bret Hart WCW house show match from Las Vegas. According to records (it’s possible some house show matches are missing), this was Hart’s third WCW match, following his PPV debut against Flair at Souled Out a few weeks earlier…

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