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Who Was Better: Bret Hart or Kurt Angle?

Rating: 5 votes, 4.20 average.
It’s been over two months since the last edition of ‘Who was better?’ so a couple of quick points. Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone for the fact that the last edition had over 10,000 views and almost 60 comments. I made this blog series with the intention of creating debate, so the more people leaving comments, the better.

Secondly I should announce the winner of the last edition, which was between The Undertaker and Sting.

The winner with a monster 40 votes was ‘The Demon of Death Valley’ The Undertaker, who dominated Sting’s 8 votes.

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In this edition of ‘Who was better?’ we’re looking at two technical, mat-based, submission specialists who outmanoeuvred legends on their way to the top. Both were King of the Ring winners, multiple-time WWE Champions and Royal Rumble winners.

But who was better: Bret Hart or Kurt Angle?

Bret Hart

One of the legends of the nineties, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart brought a new class of wrestling to the WWE Championship. During a decade at the top-level he battled the likes of The Undertaker, Yokozuna and British Bulldog as well as propelling Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels and his brother, Owen Hart, to the main event.

A star of the WWE at a time when the company was at its weakest, ‘The Hitman’ was a main-eventer for a company in transition. The megastars of the previous decade, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, stepped back from the limelight and towards WCW and the supposed heir to Hogan’s crown, The Ultimate Warrior, failed to deliver as he struggled against his personal demons. It was then left to Hart to carry the company on his back. It should be noted that this was before Shawn Michaels made the step up to the top level.

He also signalled a transition from the powerhouse wrestling of old to a slower-paced, submission based style. He showed that you didn’t have to be a 300-pound steroid monster to hold the attention of the crowd and that was reflected in the quality of his matches. For over a decade he was the standard bearer of exceptional wrestling mixed with good storytelling and was arguably Mr WrestleMania before Shawn Michaels.

In my opinion his top ten matches in no particular order were:

  1. Vs British Bulldog – Summerslam 1992
  2. Vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 12
  3. Vs Undertaker – One Night Only 1997
  4. Vs Roddy Piper – WrestleMania 8
  5. Vs Stone Cold – WrestleMania 13
  6. Vs Owen Hart – WrestleMania 10
  7. Vs Mr Perfect – King of the Ring 1993
  8. Vs Diesel – Survivor Series 1995
  9. Vs Chris Benoit – Nitro 1999
  10. Vs Mr Perfect – Summerslam 1991


Like many of the best performers Hart had the ability to take a lower calibre of wrestler to a great match and the higher calibre of wrestler to an excellent match.

One of Hart’s rare weaknesses was his confidence and charisma on the mic. It was quite a contrast to see his on-screen confrontations with his rival, Shawn Michaels, and while the DX-bound Michaels was able to adapt to the adult-nature of the ‘Attitude Era’, Hart always seemed uncomfortable with the new brand of wrestling. He represented an older-style of mat-based wrestling that seemed old-fashioned compared come the turn of the century.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that although Bret was a brilliant as solo performer, his roots in WWE we firmly entrenched in the tag team system. As one half of the Hart Foundation, along with Jim Neidhart, he was part of the original revolution of tag team wrestling. The Foundation, as well as The Rockers and the Nasty Boys (when they were young and talented) were huge reasons that tag wrestling in the WWE changed from two wrestlers being in a team, to partners working as a team, in unison.

In conclusion it is difficult to think of better wrestlers during the nineties. Aside from Shawn Michaels, there have been few other wrestlers who could consistently perform at the level that Hart executed.

Kurt Angle


Debuting at a time when ‘Attitude’ was at its peak and when charisma was the primary tool in being successful in the WWE, Kurt Angle immediately stood out. His three I’s (Intelligence, Integrity and Intensity) and all-American hero persona made him a pure-comedy heel.

Over the next six years the gold medallist became a Euro-Continental Champion, a Tag Team Champion, a World Heavyweight Champion, a WWE Champion, a Royal Rumble and KOTR winner and wrestled every main eventer, from Hogan to The Rock, Austin to Taker and from Lesnar to Triple H. He not only faced them but created many classic moments and memorable matches with them.

By 2006 he was at his absolute peak and he went on to join TNA and work on making more moments. His matches with Samoa Joe, including the incredible MMA-style match, elevated the TNA original to new levels and made him a deserved champion, the same way he had done with ‘The Next Big Thing’ years before.

What was most impressive about Angle during his early years in the WWE was his ability to deliver a great comedy promo and suddenly transform into an intense predator in the ring. His promos with Edge and Christian, a heel Stone Cold and John Cena were hilarious and unfortunately that side of his personality is something that he’d lost by the end of the decade.

As an in-ring performer Angle had everything. He had unrivalled athleticism (he perfected the moonsault), devastating submission skills (compare his ankle lock to Swagger’s version), a great mix of power and technical moves and a brilliant use of reversals. Although I tend to say this about every great wrestler, Angle lifted others to the top level, perhaps better than any other (remember how good Cena looked on his debut?). Deservedly he was voted the wrestler of the decade by the Wrestling Observer.

In my opinion his best ten matches in no particular order were:

  1. Vs Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 21
  2. Vs Undertaker – No Way Out 2006
  3. Vs Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania 19
  4. Vs Samoa Joe – Lockdown 2008
  5. Vs Stone Cold – Summerslam 2001
  6. Vs Chris Benoit – Royal Rumble 2003
  7. Vs The Rock – No Way Out 2001
  8. Vs Samoa Joe – Genesis 2006
  9. With Chris Benoit Vs Rey Mysterio and Edge – No Mercy 2002
  10. Vs Mr Anderson – Lockdown 2010


(I’ll point out that I’ve never seen much of TNA so I couldn’t say too much about that stage of his career, but I have watched these chosen TNA matches on YouTube to see how good they are)

In conclusion perhaps the greatest compliment I could pay Angle is that I see him as possessing the same technical and submission skills as Hart but also having the athleticism and intensity of Michaels. He is the perfect blend of that old-school mat-based wrestling and the modern, faster-paced mix of power and skill.

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Now it is up to you to decide.

Who was better: Kurt Angle or Bret Hart?


Please leave your votes and comments below.
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  1. Rick BoA's Avatar
    Hart or Angle, that a tough one. Angle was more willing to do crazyer stuff but Bret was a master.

    Ill go with bret, but only because I cannot choose.
  2. THE_CRIPPLER's Avatar
    To be Honest, I think both men have the most inflated egos in pro wrestling but I love both of their work.... but if you look at the stats Bret has this won.

    Bret was much better at carrying lower level performers to excellent matches, Bret Hart has made more stars and overall Bret was much more important to the wrestling business than Kurt Angle.... I mean think of it, The contract WWF and WCW was offering Bret Hart, Would they even come close to offering it to Angle? You think the WWE would let Bret Hart go to TNA if he was at his prime when TNA existed?

    Bret Hart had Classics with Diesel, Rowdy Piper and a whole host of others that are not known for putting on Good matches.

    Bret Hart has But on Really good matches with on the undercard with Low level jobber talent who has never had a great match on WWF TV such has Doink, Jerry Lawler, Jean piere Lafette.

    Bret Hart is the only Wrestler that can have a Great old school match with a Bob Backlund, A Technical master piece with a Owen hart, a excellent Brawl submission match with Steve Austin and Carry a basicly unconscious Davey Boy smith to a 5 Star match.

    Kurt Angle had many great matches but Kurt Able died down in 2004 due to injuries and was no where near the performer he once, Kurts peak was (2001, 2002 and 2003).... Kurt Angle also had a huge problem with selling and Angle alos had problems pacing a match when he was heel.... If you dont beilve me watch a Kurt Angle match and look how his leg gets worked the whole match but he goes nuts, leaps on the top rope does a belly to belly off the top and no sells the leg, Pulls down his strap and hops around like a monkey and does a Angle lock... Not to mention his sudden rest holds done out of no where.

    To me Bret Wins this Hands Down.. BRET HART
    Updated 07-01-2012 at 02:42 PM by THE_CRIPPLER
  3. cjstonecold's Avatar
    Bret Hart far surpasses Kurt Angle. Bret made every wrestler he ever wrestled look ten times better than they where. Kurt, in my opinion, made only one wrestler look better than he was, and that wrestler was Brock Lesnar!!! Bret wins!!!
  4. Taker=Legend's Avatar
    HART .. without a second thought.
    Angle is good.. but he is crying baby as well.. for god sake why does he wanna create story to prove he is good.. we know he is.. for HART.. he never did that.. cos he is the best there is.. the best there was.. the best there ever will be
    Updated 07-01-2012 at 03:06 PM by Taker=Legend
  5. TheGreatOne's Avatar
    I'm giving the nod to Kurt. I like him a lot better and he is still one of my favs today. I didn't grow up wiith Bret as I did with Angle which may be a bit of biased there.
  6. eldoryazdee's Avatar
    Aaaahhh...

    BRET HART.

    Most of my reasons were already posted and commented. In, addition, Bret was a collegiate champion, and started pro-wrestling in Stampede Wrestling and NJPW in 1978 which lasted up to 2000 at WCW.
  7. Liston's Avatar
    I really don't understand how this can be even close. If this poll were to be conduct solely outside of the Americas, it would be Hart all the way.

    He was an international superstar. Angle is at best a national star.

    Which one of the two has appeared in the Simpsons? I think that goes along way to say who was 'bigger'.

    As far as in-ring goes Bret Hart all the way. Angle is good, but not in the same league as Hart.

    Bret Hart carried the WWE internationally for the majority of his time in the company. He toured the world for years, wrestling across Europe and Asia. He appeared live in front of millions across the world. He honed is craft around the world.

    In comparison Kurt has been in WWE and TNA. In WWE he was very green. In TNA he really put over talent hard, that they have now released.

    I really don't understand how a balanced review can go to anyone over than Hart. If you just go by the top 10 matches of each listed above, you cannot go for anyone else.

    Angle peaked very quickly at the beginning of the Naughties, and injury has held him back. Hart was at the top for considerably longer.

    Angle is very very good. Hart is in a league of his own.

    HART
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