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Thread: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

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    Senior Member RIH's Avatar

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    Default Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    My brother, myself, and a couple friends of ours were talking about our "top wrestlers" and various names were thrown out. We ended up talking about Bret Hart for a bit, but it wasn't because he's any of our favorites. So I wanted to throw the discussion to the PW boards and see what other people thought...

    Basically, we just started trying to list our "personal top 10" off the top of our heads. There were enough names thrown out to make a bigger list than just 10, but each of us were throwing out names we would put in our top 10....just off the top of my head, I know I would say Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Ric Flair, The Rock, Macho Man, Roddy Piper, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guererro.....I know I would pick all of these guys over Bret Hart, and that's just off the top of my head. Then there are other wrestlers who I wouldn't say are my favorite but would still say I think they are better overall than Bret.

    I think Bret Hart is a great wrestler. I didn't care for his promos much unless he was a heel. I liked heel Bret on the microphone. But even as a heel, I would still pick all those above wrestlers (and more) above Bret. I know this is just my opinion, but I wanted to share it and get a discussion going since my brother and our group of friends pretty much all agreed on this subject.

    I know a lot of people will say Bret was one of the best ever, and I wouldn't tell them they are wrong. Bret is great. But if I were to make a top list, Bret wouldn't be in my top 10. Even when I look at the current roster now, I would say AJ Styles is better than Bret was, Seth Rollins has potential to be better, etc. The list goes on. Who's to say that there aren't several people on the current roster that will one day be looked at as better than Bret.

    I don't want to go as far as to say Bret is overrated because I do think he was really good.

    Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

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    Moderator UT's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    I talked about this awhile back and a few times since and the short of it is - Bret Hart used to be my favorite wrestler of all time but now has probably fallen outside of my personal top five. And it's not nearly as much his fault as much as I've just grown to admire different things about wrestling and many of Brets matches don't hold up as well for me upon rewatch (aside from a few obvious classics).

    I do think he is probably the greatest and smoothest 'ring general' of all time , he truly embodied the gimmick and catchphrases. I'll always love Bret and wouldn't be a fan today without him - but yeah - I'm just rambling now.

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    Senior Member RIH's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    I agree with many of Bret's matches being good, but there aren't many that I rewatch often. A lot of Bret's matches seem to be very similar and he doesn't change up his moveset much.

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    Senior Member nath45's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Probably not even within my Top 20.

    Wrestling is much more than having a " good match " and I'm pretty sure that's the only metric Bret Hart himself considers important.

    What puts the majority of GOAT wrestlers in the top 10 were the intangibles, the character work, etc. He may have told a good story / his psychology was sound and his execution, excellent - but the greats can get so much more from the crowd, and evoke so much more from the audience with half the effort.

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Bret was a favorite of mine growing up. However, getting older and more critical of wrestling, he isn't at the same level as he once was. For me, the five moves of doom that he did to end his matches really bugs me as an adult. Don't get me wrong there are several matches that I can go back at watch over again...

    - Hart vs. Piper Mania VIII
    - Hart vs. Owen Mania X & SummerSlam '94
    - Hart vs. Diesel Survivor Series '95
    - Hart vs. Austin Survivor Series '96 and Mania XIII
    - Hart vs. Benoit Nitro '99

    That's just off the top of my head. He's a smooth worker, but he's not an elite entertainer in my opinion.

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    I feel kinda invincible Kilgore's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    The best pure wrestler I've ever seen. So much of the shit I hate about current wrestling, Bret was the antithesis of, so I actually like his work even more now. It seems like nobody in the last 15 years has had a great match without at least a couple of nearfalls*, the laziest form of wrestling storytelling, and Bret seemed to despise nearfalls, using them pretty sparingly in his matches. IWC has rubbed off of me, and I really hate loose submissions now, bad punches, bad selling, things I used to not care about at all. Bret made everything look tight, and was the best seller this side of Savage/Steamboat. Bumping and selling are not the same thing. Dudes like Ziggler and Michaels can bump better than everybody, but they can't sell for shit. Bret could do both. All in all, I'd take Bret's Top 10 over pretty much everybody, with the exception of Flair, maybe. So, I rate him pretty high, to say the least.

    *I'd be interested to see what are regarded as the best matches of the last 15 years and then observe how many included spamming finishers and kickouts. I think we're looking at a really high percentage, and pretty much every WWE match that would make the list (Perhaps an I Quit match or two, where you're literally not allowed to pin people, might be the exceptions).


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    Senior Member MV's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilgore
    The best pure wrestler I've ever seen. So much of the shit I hate about current wrestling, Bret was the antithesis of, so I actually like his work even more now. It seems like nobody in the last 15 years has had a great match without at least a couple of nearfalls*, the laziest form of wrestling storytelling, and Bret seemed to despise nearfalls, using them pretty sparingly in his matches. IWC has rubbed off of me, and I really hate loose submissions now, bad punches, bad selling, things I used to not care about at all. Bret made everything look tight, and was the best seller this side of Savage/Steamboat. Bumping and selling are not the same thing. Dudes like Ziggler and Michaels can bump better than everybody, but they can't sell for shit. Bret could do both. All in all, I'd take Bret's Top 10 over pretty much everybody, with the exception of Flair, maybe. So, I rate him pretty high, to say the least.

    *I'd be interested to see what are regarded as the best matches of the last 15 years and then observe how many included spamming finishers and kickouts. I think we're looking at a really high percentage, and pretty much every WWE match that would make the list (Perhaps an I Quit match or two, where you're literally not allowed to pin people, might be the exceptions).
    You really spoke to the art of building a match. I'm betting a high percentage as well too especially since the Attitude Era wrestlers go for their finishers multiple times during the match. I prefer how back in the day the match would build to the finisher. Seems like they tease finishers or hit 'em multiple times for a dramatic effect.

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Quote Originally Posted by MV View Post
    You really spoke to the art of building a match. I'm betting a high percentage as well too especially since the Attitude Era wrestlers go for their finishers multiple times during the match. I prefer how back in the day the match would build to the finisher. Seems like they tease finishers or hit 'em multiple times for a dramatic effect.
    I hate the resilience of finishing moves used in matches. It's the worst on independents and their dependence on insane spots to just continue a match.

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    Senior Member MV's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Quote Originally Posted by WrestlingRecap
    I hate the resilience of finishing moves used in matches. It's the worst on independents and their dependence on insane spots to just continue a match.
    I can only imagine. As much as it's cool to see insane spots matches need to be believable.

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Quote Originally Posted by MV View Post
    I can only imagine. As much as it's cool to see insane spots matches need to be believable.

    I remember one time seeing a literal top rope tombstone piledriver... and the guy kicked out at two. Maybe 90 seconds later, the guy who took the spot won with an inside cradle.

    I was baffled.

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    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Bret is the best pro wrestler that ever lived. Nobody even comes close.

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    Senior Member bizil's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    In my opinion, he's in the top 10 of all time in WWF history. My top ten (no particular order would be)

    Hogan
    Austin
    Rock
    Taker
    Bruno
    Bret
    Macho
    HBK
    Andre
    Cena (even though HHH could be in the top 10 too)


    For smaller guys (under 240) in WWE history, Bret is in the big three with Savage and HBK. ALL THREE at the time they were on top did great in my opinion. Savage was the biggest of them star power wise, but Bret was the BEST world champion of the three. In ring, Bret could do it all. He even had a very good-great aerial WHEN HE CHOSE to use it. Bret's bread and butter was being the ultimate technician. He would use the brawling and aerial stuff when it made the MOST SENSE. He had a shooter type element to him BUT Vince knew how to market him.

    So for all intents and purposes, Bret was the evolution to guys like Thesz, Backlund, Brisco, and Verne in the new age. Through the WWF machine, that style of wrestler lived on THROUGH Bret. And from there, guys like Angle and Benoit got shots got to be world champs down the road. So in my opinion, Bret is the FACE of technical wrestling on a worldwide level. He was on top of the biggest company in the world AND PROVED u can make it to the top by being the best in the ring.

    Bret didn't need to be a big guy or an over the top persona to make it to the top. In Vince's WWE, Bret was the FIRST to bring that to the table. HBK and Mach had flashy or over the top personas to go with their in ring ability. Bret's steady climb gained the fans respect ENOUGH to justify being a long term WWF World Champ.
    Last edited by bizil; 04-14-2017 at 01:31 PM.

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    Senior Member MV's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Quote Originally Posted by WrestlingRecap
    I remember one time seeing a literal top rope tombstone piledriver... and the guy kicked out at two. Maybe 90 seconds later, the guy who took the spot won with an inside cradle.

    I was baffled.
    *Chuckles*


    Quote Originally Posted by bizil
    In my opinion, he's in the top 10 of all time in WWF history. My top ten (no particular order would be)

    Hogan
    Austin
    Rock
    Taker
    Bruno
    Bret
    Macho
    HBK
    Andre
    Cena (even though HHH could be in the top 10 too)


    For smaller guys (under 240) in WWE history, Bret is in the big three with Savage and HBK. ALL THREE at the time they were on top did great in my opinion. Savage was the biggest of them star power wise, but Bret was the BEST world champion of the three. In ring, Bret could do it all. He even had a very good-great aerial WHEN HE CHOSE to use it. Bret's bread and butter was being the ultimate technician. He would use the brawling and aerial stuff when it made the MOST SENSE. He had a shooter type element to him BUT Vince knew how to market him.

    So for all intents and purposes, Bret was the evolution to guys like Thesz, Backlund, Brisco, and Verne in the new age. Through the WWF machine, that style of wrestler lived on THROUGH Bret. And from there, guys like Angle and Benoit got shots got to be world champs down the road. So in my opinion, Bret is the FACE of technical wrestling on a worldwide level. He was on top of the biggest company in the world AND PROVED u can make it to the top by being the best in the ring.

    Bret didn't need to be a big guy or an over the top persona to make it to the top. In Vince's WWE, Bret was the FIRST to bring that to the table. HBK and Mach had flashy or over the top personas to go with their in ring ability. Bret's steady climb gained the fans respect ENOUGH to justify being a long term WWF World Champ.
    Great explanation!

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    COYG Todd's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    He was a truly great worker. Another big plus for him was his ability to draw internationally.

    When you're looking at where he ranks in history? As a worker he's up there with pretty much anybody. As a draw he isn't, he spearheaded the product at a time when fans were rejecting it.

    He did move the industry on in terms of his style and workrate but was it what people wanted? History tells you fans wanted something different. I'm unsure also of his influence on modern wrestlers.

    A difficult guy to place.

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    Senior Member bizil's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    He was a truly great worker. Another big plus for him was his ability to draw internationally.

    When you're looking at where he ranks in history? As a worker he's up there with pretty much anybody. As a draw he isn't, he spearheaded the product at a time when fans were rejecting it.

    He did move the industry on in terms of his style and workrate but was it what people wanted? History tells you fans wanted something different. I'm unsure also of his influence on modern wrestlers.

    A difficult guy to place.
    I agree! Bret's overall resume is legendary. He's in the top ten of all time in WWF. In ring wise, he's obviously GOAT caliber. He parlayed that ability to be a multiple time WWF champ. HOWEVER, u have guys who draw in the mainstream audience. Guys who have so much charisma that its easier for casuals to get into them. So in that realm, he's not on the level of Rock, Hogan, Austin, Andre, etc. From there, I feel Flair and Savage were better TOTAL PACKAGES than Bret. They had the perfect blend of in ring ability, charisma, mic skills, and look. I compare Bret to those two often BECAUSE size wise they weren't the biggest guys.

    I think Bret's legacy is being Vince's GOLD STANDARD technician. Bret is the FACE of technical wrestling in the WWE. BUT he didn't have the star power to DOMINATE a company and be a mainstream draw. In Vince's WWF, he's ALWAYS looking for that. By old school NWA World Champ standards, Bret would have been a prototype guy to hold the belt. Because they wanted the best in ring guys who got over ENOUGH to justify being a world champ. So in that realm, the guys like Bret, HBK, Jericho, Benoit, Eddie G, Angle, and Hennig would have been what they were looking for.

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    I feel kinda invincible Kilgore's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Bret (along with 'Taker) were the best draws during a dead period for the WWF. The dead period wasn't their fault, those were the cards they were dealt post-Hogan. Now 'Taker got to enjoy the turnaround because he was eight years younger than Bret, who had just turned 40 for his last WWF Title run in 1997. That's not to say, Bret would have transformed into some upper tier draw, because he clearly wouldn't have, but he's getting penalized for things that are completely out of his control, like his birth date, or being signed to the WWF when it was still the land of giants. The fact is, when the WWF was hurting, Bret drew more money for Vince than anybody. Vince tried other people in the ace babyface role (Nash, Michaels, and briefly Luger), and Vince had to turn back to Bret each time, because they drew significantly less than him. Bret is a better draw than he gets credit for because he did it in a much smaller pool than Rock & Wrestling, Attitude Era, and the current Monopoly Era. He wasn't a top tier draw, but neither is anybody in the last 15 years. Those guys are rare.


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    Senior Member RIH's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    I do agree that there are way too many nearfalls and finisher kickouts nowadays. That's something I don't like because I think they use it too often during big time matches. Shane McMahon kicked out of the Styles Clash at Wrestlemania....I loved that match, but come on...

    Kilgore, I like what you said about Bret being there to help the WWE when they were definitely going downhill in the mid-90's. It could definitely be argued that without Bret Hart (and Undertaker) during that time, the WWE would have sunk even lower than it already had.

    My reasons for considering several other wrestlers to be better than Bret are the fact that Bret really wasn't that good on the microphone unless he was a heel (just my opinion); a lot of his matches were very, VERY similar and he didn't like to change up his move set very much (if you pay attention you can see this in his matches. I've heard of a few wrestlers mentioning that it was difficult to work with Bret for this reason); and I can just think of several wrestlers who were much, much more exciting to watch and listen to.

    One of the issues in discussing who the "best ever" are is the fact that everybody has a different definition of what makes a wrestler great.

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Top 10 all time. Of course I'm biased due to Bret being a top guy during my favorite era. Nor was I always a Bret Hart fan. But so many of his matches and feuds rank among my all time favorites. 1997 Bret Hart is among the greatest characters in wrestling history. Got over in a bunch of different roles....tag team specialist (face & heel), up & coming midcard workrate guy, top face, top heel. Pulled off the genius gimmick of being hated in the US while being beloved elsewhere. Was obviously a great technical wrestler but is also an underrated brawler. Was even one of the best promos around during his 1997 peak. Definitely an all time great.

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    Senior Member bizil's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    When I look at the greats, I judge them by two different criteria in terms of their peaks. One is the WWF formula that Vince brought around in the 80's. Where being his world champ was MORE ABOUT charisma, look, and putting butts in the seat. Great in ring skills weren't a requirement AT ALL to be WWF World Champ. Then u have the old school NWA World Title criteria. Where it was about great in ring workers who GOT OVER enough to carry the strap. Sure there were exceptions in each formula.

    So in the case of Bret, he was a PROTOTYPE world champ in terms of the NWA old school template. But Vince saw the value in guys like that and INDEED turned to Bret too. But the thing is Vince would give a like Bret A LONG TERM title run before guys like Hogan would EVER get a real run under the old school NWA template. So my point is Bret's legend comes from being one of the GOAT in ring guys who GOT OVER ENOUGH to be a multitime world champ in WWF.

    Bret wasn't Vince's ideal world champ in many ways, BUT Vince also knew those guys with the old school NWA template COULD carry the ball good enough. Because those guys had more versatility in what they can bring to the table. So if u can't have a Hogan, Austin, Rock on top, Vince was smart enough to go with guys like Bret. Especially when the WWF fans saw Bret rise through the ranks and saw his growth. He gained huge emotional investment through his great in ring shit, cool pink and black look, and his steady climb to the top. I think Flair was the perfect NWA style guy, but Bret would rank near the top in that style too.
    Last edited by bizil; 04-18-2017 at 01:10 AM.

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    Theend Is Here Theend's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    The best thing Brett did was work a body part and make it look believable that was his guy to victory. He was the one who really brought that to mainstream popularity.
    Outside of that, the greatest thing Brett did was sell a mythos near in line with the mythos of Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee sold a mythos that old martial arts were real and he could use them in a fight. Even though the UFC shows that is bunk today people still believe. Brett sold the mythos of being a Hart and the Hart dungeon. And that being a Hart or being related to one or training in the Hart dungeon made you to things. 1) A tough SOB who might in a real fight. 2) A great technical wrestler. Both of these are of course untrue. The great technical wrestler is a great ambiguous term with no real criterion that two people can agree on. There is no set standard for what one is. In fact, it is a bit of ironic term.

    Those contributions put him head and shoulders above many. People are still making money today off of his legacy. It may not last for much longer but it has endured. I may have never gotten excited about a Brett Hart match because he was a bit too immobile for me, but I do not deny the millions that did.
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    The Wrestle-O-Pedia TheMaskedOtter's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Pro wrestling is about making money, nothing else. I always look at Bret's time on top of the WWF, from roughly 1992-1997, as him being the best of the mediocre draws. You were never going to have wild financial success with Bret Hart that you had with Hulk Hogan or the Steve Austin/Rock combo, but he was able to keep the boat afloat. If you look at the history of his time on top you can see the WWF is CONSTANTLY trying to find someone else to put on top, but keep going back to Bret when each other choice crashed and burned. When Bret left in 1997, it had zero negative effect on the WWF's finances. If anything, it could be said it helped lead to the WWF boom period of the late '90's.

    As an in-ring worker I think he was very good at a lot of things, but wasn't great at any one thing, no matter how hard a Gorilla Monsoon catch-phrase from the 80's is pushed.

    IMO, Bret is in the second tier of draw, on about par with John Cena and Triple-H.

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    Fan Fic HOFer Kid Jericho's Avatar

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    He's still probably in my Top-10. Now, my ranking of top guys isn't necessarily based on their sheer ring rate, it's my personal favorites ... kind of like loving a good-but-not-great movie.

    My Top-10, in no particular order, is Jericho, Punk, Cena, Bryan, Eddie, Shawn, Bret, Taker, Styles, Sting.

    Now, Bret is arguably a better technical work than anyone on that list (save maybe Daniel Bryan) but again, my list is my own personal list.

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    I like Bret, but I don't really consider him a top tier guy when it comes to his place in wrestling history. His time at the top was relatively short and when he was on top, the company was running short on good talent. For me he is in the top 40 somewhere. Guys like Angle, Brock, Taker and Sting are way above him. While his career isn't finished, I put Bret in a spot next to Alberto Del Rio somewhere. Before you scream bullshit lets compare. Del Rio has 4 WWE/world championships to Bret's 5 WWF runs. Both have Royal Rumble wins(Bret had a split win). Bret had 1 WCW championship while Alberto has had the AAA and CMLL belt. Del Rio's runs with the WWE belts are during the brand split which lessens the world title some while Bret's WWF runs were during some of the "down times" in company history.
    The one thing the puts Bret higher on the list is his number one ranking in the PWI top 500 in 1993-1994. I don't put too much stock in the Top 500, but being number one is a significant accomplishment.

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Let me start off by saying that Bret has been and still is my favorite of all time with AJ Styles pushing on that. But that doesn't reduce the greatness in my eyes that Bret Hart was. Things just evolve and that's ok. That's the way it should be.

    Now let me now say that the way we remember and are drawn to a particular wrestler being our favorite has a lot to do with how we responded to them during their time coming up, at their peak and on their decline. I don't call him my favorite because I think he was the best in all areas compared to other wrestlers past and present. I just connected with him and his style when he was at his peak.

    Next, to the meat of it. Actually ranking based on merit and not nostalgia or "like" is a different story. I don't hate on anyone who doesn't rank him as high as I do. If I rank him in the top 2 or 3, that doesn't mean someone that has him in the top 10 or top 15 is out of their mind. However I will admit that I have issue with those who don't feel he was great at all or those who put him in the Alberto Del Rio level simply because of title wins. My issue is the REASONING people rank him completely low.

    EVERYTHING EVOLVES. I don't think that disqualifies the standing of those in the past. Sure they can be pushed down a bit, but I feel moving someone down due to evolution is completely different from outright writing them off. AJ Styles is my favorite at the moment. I feel he is a great storyteller like Bret Hart was. I feel he is simply talented like Bret Hart was. Yet, I feel he is better on the mic than Bret Hart was. I feel his matches and move sets are more exciting than Bret Hart was. It's very possible that I might rank him higher than Bret Hart when it's all said and done.

    Yet it's not all about whether he wins more titles or not. That can be part of it, but we all know that in today's WWE, title wins come a lot more often than in the 90s and early 2000s. Triple H, Orton and Cena all have a pretty massive amount of title wins simply due to their longevity and still wrestling in a time where Vince allows more title changes. I honestly feel Orton's title record has a lot to do with the fact that he's in this era, is reliable to transition the title and as a way to have him keep up with Cena.

    Ultimately I think we need to rank based on what each wrestler meant to the business RELATIVE TO THEIR ERA. It's a shame to hear a comparison of Bret Hart to Alberto Del Rio. Not because Alberto Del Rio isn't a great talent or storyteller. It's not because Bret Hart has the most exciting matches. It's because Bret Hart was the creme of the crop along with HBK during his peak, during that era, in this company. If AJ Styles was the creme of the crop (main-eventer who carried the title and partially carried the top card of the company) in TNA or another, then I would put him on that top tier. Can you really say that Alberto Del Rio meant more to the WWE in the past decade than Bret Hart meant to the WWE in the 90s? Many arguments are that Bret Hart was the best during a down time in the business. I don't disagree that can hurt his case a bit. When compared to someone like Austin, Bret Hart was able to be the workhorse and keep the business afloat, but he wasn't able to completely revolutionize the business the way Austin and company was able to. That's ok. Austin just had a bit more that the audience was craving for. Bret may have been a part of revolutionizing how main event wrestlers could look, be a babyface, connect with the audience and wrestle the anti-Hogan like matches, Austin really revolutionized the business. Austin did that on right hands, stomps and stunners. He wasn't the best wrestler. He had skills, but the WWE machine needed him to be a butt-kicker, not a pacing mat technician. He's great because of his meaning to the company, not because anyone argues he was a better technical wrestler than Angle/AJ Styles or because anyone's trying to compare his title numbers. Some might say Cena is greater overall to Austin. I wouldn't bash them for their argument. But I feel you could argue just as much for Austin simply because of how he revolutionized the business vs. Cena who became a beneficiary of a new era even though he led it.

    I look at it in tiers and the WHOLE package. Sure you can find many wrestlers who probably had 30 unique moves to Bret Hart's 10 unique moves and call them better technical wrestlers. However many of those guys never had to carry the main event, brass ring, Vince McMahon, face of the company banner of the WWE global machine that was built on having the signature moves, the 5 moves of doom, the over the top storytelling, the push for being an extreme babyface when Vince needs you to play that role and perform the signature moves that gets the crowd going. There was a formula that guys like Hogan/Warrior, Bret/HBK, Austin/Rock, Cena/Orton had to follow based on their respective eras. I don't think we can fault Bret Hart for being a part of that formula in the 90s. The 90's wasn't the "HOLY S&*^*#&$!" chant era of backflips off ropes. Austin never did that. The Rock never did that. They didn't need to because it wasn't required of them. Yet Bret Hart also broke barriers of what a WW(F) superstar looked like and how he wrestled for that particular time. Sure it's easy to look at wrestling today in 2014-2017, watch and old Bret Hart match and say "hmmm, he really wasn't THAT great" because of the type of matches we're used to now. I am sure many who were watching Bret/HBK at their peak thought Hogan's wrestle was ho-hum because we got used to more technical moves, better selling and pacing from Bret Hart. However I think you're missing the point. He WAS great during and for his time. It's just that the business, fans and styles have evolved PARTIALLY BECAUSE TODAY'S BUSINESS AND WRESTLERS LEARNED AND IMPROVED ON YESTERDAY'S BUSINESS AND WRESTLERS like Bret Hart.

    It's like any other sports or profession. You can be great in the 1980's. Then someone else can be more evolved and great in 2017. That doesn't disqualify you from being great simply because things changed and evolved. That someone else in 2017 became great or even greater because they learned from your greatness of the 1980s and even improved on it....and that's ok.

    A 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon at 840 HP is a better car than the first motor car ever made in 1885. Yet that shouldn't mean the greatness of the person(s) who created the first car is obsolete. It's simply evolution and both can be great not only for their time, but both can occupy similar spaces with respect to all time.
    Last edited by TyrantT316; 04-27-2017 at 11:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Where do YOU rank Bret Hart?

    Quote Originally Posted by TyrantT316 View Post
    Let me start off by saying that Bret has been and still is my favorite of all time with AJ Styles pushing on that. But that doesn't reduce the greatness in my eyes that Bret Hart was. Things just evolve and that's ok. That's the way it should be.

    Now let me now say that the way we remember and are drawn to a particular wrestler being our favorite has a lot to do with how we responded to them during their time coming up, at their peak and on their decline. I don't call him my favorite because I think he was the best in all areas compared to other wrestlers past and present. I just connected with him and his style when he was at his peak.

    Next, to the meat of it. Actually ranking based on merit and not nostalgia or "like" is a different story. I don't hate on anyone who doesn't rank him as high as I do. If I rank him in the top 2 or 3, that doesn't mean someone that has him in the top 10 or top 15 is out of their mind. However I will admit that I have issue with those who don't feel he was great at all or those who put him in the Alberto Del Rio level simply because of title wins. My issue is the REASONING people rank him completely low.

    EVERYTHING EVOLVES. I don't think that disqualifies the standing of those in the past. Sure they can be pushed down a bit, but I feel moving someone down due to evolution is completely different from outright writing them off. AJ Styles is my favorite at the moment. I feel he is a great storyteller like Bret Hart was. I feel he is simply talented like Bret Hart was. Yet, I feel he is better on the mic than Bret Hart was. I feel his matches and move sets are more exciting than Bret Hart was. It's very possible that I might rank him higher than Bret Hart when it's all said and done.

    Yet it's not all about whether he wins more titles or not. That can be part of it, but we all know that in today's WWE, title wins come a lot more often than in the 90s and early 2000s. Triple H, Orton and Cena all have a pretty massive amount of title wins simply due to their longevity and still wrestling in a time where Vince allows more title changes. I honestly feel Orton's title record has a lot to do with the fact that he's in this era, is reliable to transition the title and as a way to have him keep up with Cena.

    Ultimately I think we need to rank based on what each wrestler meant to the business RELATIVE TO THEIR ERA. It's a shame to hear a comparison of Bret Hart to Alberto Del Rio. Not because Alberto Del Rio isn't a great talent or storyteller. It's not because Bret Hart has the most exciting matches. It's because Bret Hart was the creme of the crop along with HBK during his peak, during that era, in this company. If AJ Styles was the creme of the crop (main-eventer who carried the title and partially carried the top card of the company) in TNA or another, then I would put him on that top tier. Can you really say that Alberto Del Rio meant more to the WWE in the past decade than Bret Hart meant to the WWE in the 90s? Many arguments are that Bret Hart was the best during a down time in the business. I don't disagree that can hurt his case a bit. When compared to someone like Austin, Bret Hart was able to be the workhorse and keep the business afloat, but he wasn't able to completely revolutionize the business the way Austin and company was able to. That's ok. Austin just had a bit more that the audience was craving for. Bret may have been a part of revolutionizing how main event wrestlers could look, be a babyface, connect with the audience and wrestle the anti-Hogan like matches, Austin really revolutionized the business. Austin did that on right hands, stomps and stunners. He wasn't the best wrestler. He had skills, but the WWE machine needed him to be a butt-kicker, not a pacing mat technician. He's great because of his meaning to the company, not because anyone argues he was a better technical wrestler than Angle/AJ Styles or because anyone's trying to compare his title numbers. Some might say Cena is greater overall to Austin. I wouldn't bash them for their argument. But I feel you could argue just as much for Austin simply because of how he revolutionized the business vs. Cena who became a beneficiary of a new era even though he led it.

    I look at it in tiers and the WHOLE package. Sure you can find many wrestlers who probably had 30 unique moves to Bret Hart's 10 unique moves and call them better technical wrestlers. However many of those guys never had to carry the main event, brass ring, Vince McMahon, face of the company banner of the WWE global machine that was built on having the signature moves, the 5 moves of doom, the over the top storytelling, the push for being an extreme babyface when Vince needs you to play that role and perform the signature moves that gets the crowd going. There was a formula that guys like Hogan/Warrior, Bret/HBK, Austin/Rock, Cena/Orton had to follow based on their respective eras. I don't think we can fault Bret Hart for being a part of that formula in the 90s. The 90's wasn't the "HOLY S&*^*#&$!" chant era of backflips off ropes. Austin never did that. The Rock never did that. They didn't need to because it wasn't required of them. Yet Bret Hart also broke barriers of what a WW(F) superstar looked like and how he wrestled for that particular time. Sure it's easy to look at wrestling today in 2014-2017, watch and old Bret Hart match and say "hmmm, he really wasn't THAT great" because of the type of matches we're used to now. I am sure many who were watching Bret/HBK at their peak thought Hogan's wrestle was ho-hum because we got used to more technical moves, better selling and pacing from Bret Hart. However I think you're missing the point. He WAS great during and for his time. It's just that the business, fans and styles have evolved PARTIALLY BECAUSE TODAY'S BUSINESS AND WRESTLERS LEARNED AND IMPROVED ON YESTERDAY'S BUSINESS AND WRESTLERS like Bret Hart.

    It's like any other sports or profession. You can be great in the 1980's. Then someone else can be more evolved and great in 2017. That doesn't disqualify you from being great simply because things changed and evolved. That someone else in 2017 became great or even greater because they learned from your greatness of the 1980s and even improved on it....and that's ok.

    A 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon at 840 HP is a better car than the first motor car ever made in 1885. Yet that shouldn't mean the greatness of the person(s) who created the first car is obsolete. It's simply evolution and both can be great not only for their time, but both can occupy similar spaces with respect to all time.
    Ok, I guess you are talking about me with ranking Bret in the Alberto Del Rio range. Believe or not, I followed your criteria when ranking, especially the part about not allowing nostalgia to influence my ranking. Trust me, I'm not trying to be mean or disrespectful to Bret(as if Bret would give two shits about what i think) or any of his fans. The thing is if I ranked Bret based on what he meant to the WWE at the time then he would be above everyone from the tail end of the Attitude era until now. The company has 5 times more product on TV and way more ppv's. They can't rely on just one company ace at the top especially since you have 2 different brands and at one time had 3 brands(Raw, Smackdown, ECW). Alberto was never the company ace, but then who was? The company ace position has remained unfilled since HHH was boring fans to tears at the start of RAW every week.
    Bret's drawing power as champ has always been a bit of a controversial issue. He didn't do nearly as well in the USA as he did in Canada.The same could be said of Del Rio except gauging drawing power as champ is much harder to figure now. I know the company really liked Del Rio do to his ability to draw in Mexico. IMO, both Del Rio and Hart were/are exceptional talents in the ring. Both men came from a long lineage of wrestlers which means they understand the business. I factored in the fact that Bret was number one in the PWI top 500 for 2 years. However, Del Rio had a number 6,8 and 9 finish in 2011-2013. Being number 6 in 2011 is really about the same as being number 1 in 1993, IMO. If you look at the PW lists, in 1992-1995 the top ten is pretty much the same guys in different order with a couple of guys out of right field in there(Lawler in 1992 for example). In 2011-now you have a much more volatile list. One other factor is that Del Rio has done much better outside of WWE than Bret Hart did outside the WWF. Much like free agents of the New England Patriots, when you don't perform outside your comfort zone then you could be labeled a "system" player/wrestler. I do believe that Bret's status was elevated a little bit because of circumstances he had nothing to do with. The best thing to happen to Bret's career was the indictment of Vince McMahon on steroids.
    Anyway, if you put Del Rio in Bret's era and Bret into Del Rio's era, I believe that Del Rio comes out better but thats a fantasy booking thing. Like Austin and The Rock, Bret's time on the top was relatively short. However, Austin sold more merchandise than anyone once he reached the top after 7 pretty good years in the business. The Rock has had the best "short" career of any wrestler.

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