Matches That Time Forgot #30

Prepare yourself for a deluge of useless information. Today's match that time forgot comes courtesy of The Fed circa 1997. Ah, 1997...the year that The Attitude Era exploded, propelling the first of many thorns into the side of Eric Bischoff. It's funny how nostalgia clouds sapience and sound judgment. Most wrestling fans don't realize how spotty The Attitude Era was. You can blame selective memories or short-sighted brand loyalty, but it doesn't change the truth. 1997 was just as inconsistent as any other year. Sure, the highs were high, but the lows...man, they were pretty damn low. Vince was still shaking off the residue of The New Generation. For every "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, there was a Salvatore Sincere (more on him later).

This match took place right in the middle of Bret Hart's heel turn. He needed a patriotic babyface to feud with, and since "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan sucked, Vince brought in The Patriot. Here, the star-spangled eidolon trades blows with The Sultan (Fatu repackaged as a generic foreign villain). Apparently, they were both undefeated, as evidenced by The Patriot's pre-match promo. It doesn't matter to the commentators. They ignore the finish as The Hart Foundation swarms the ring for a bit of angle advancement (speaking of "angle," check out The Patriot's entrance theme). Fun stuff.

Del Wilkes, the man behind the red/white/blue mask, retired in 1998 due to an injury. Ironically, The Patriot still wrestles on the indie circuit. How is that possible, you may ask? The current Patriot is played by Tom Brandi (a.k.a. Salvatore Sincere). Twist ending! Actually, Wilkes claims that Brandi never asked his permission to use the gimmick. Hell, maybe I'll make a few appearances as The Patriot. Don't be surprised if a masked cripple crashes your local gymnasium while humming "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

PS-Parts Unknown will be posted on Sunday, as opposed to Saturday.

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