The infamous ‘lost match’ between Bret Hart and Tom Magee has surfaced online in full for the first time.
The contest took place as a dark match on the WWF Wrestling Challenge taping in Rochester, New York on October 7th, 1986 and was never aired. Or so everyone thought, until now.
On that night Hart lived up to his moniker as ‘the best there is…’ and carried rookie Magee to a match so well received that Vince McMahon immediately labelled the ex-bodybuilder ‘the next Hulk Hogan‘.
Despite picking up the victory over ‘The Hitman’, Magee’s subsequent matches in the Federation highlighted his true ability, or lack of, and he was limited to house shows and dark matches until his release in 1988.
In the years that followed the match became the ‘holy grail’ for wrestling tape traders but was never found. The almost mythical status of the match only grew further when it was reported even WWE themselves could not locate the match within their video library.
Then, in March 2019, came the breakthrough tape traders had long waited for. Wrestling photographer Mary-Kate Anthony had previously helped Bret Hart digitise his VHS collection and came across a cassette labelled “09/19/89 Bret Hart v Tom Mcgee”, tweeting a photograph and sending the internet wrestling community in to a frenzy.
Whilst the date was wrong, it was indeed the ‘lost match’.
— Mary-Kate Anthony (@marykayfabe) March 27, 2019
WWE reached out to Anthony and quickly produced a mini documentary “Holy Grail: The Search for WWE’s Most Infamous Lost Match” to air on the WWE Network. WWE called the story “one of the greatest mysteries in sports-entertainment history” and debuted the footage following RAW on May 13, 2019, alongside wrestlers and industry historians commenting on the finding. At the end of the documentary the contest is joined in progress.
Now, thanks to Instagram user abuyousef2007, the match is available in full for the first time ever. Posting the 10-minute clip to their Instagram account, the footage is from an Arabic language WWF programme broadcast at an unknown date in the 1980’s, complete with in-ring introductions.