Their best years: Bret Hart, CM Punk, and Christian
by, 11-21-2012 at 03:44 PM (4617 Views)
Hello everyone. Welcome to another "Best Years" blog. As usual, I'll be listing three wrestlers and telling you guys what their best year was along with giving reasons as to why I feel that was truly their best year in professional wrestling. Now this could mean they were put in more money feuds that year, they were putting on amazing promos nonstop that year, and/or they put on the best matches that year. In my previous blog, I listed Stone Cold, The Rock, and John Cena's best years in their wrestling careers in terms of in-ring matches. The three wrestlers that I'll be listing as their best year are Bret Hart, CM Punk, and Christian. The criteria of this would strictly be about the best matches they put on that makes that said year their best year.
Bret Hart in 1997 was one of the best heels in professional wrestling besides Hollywood Hogan and the NWO and also put on the best matches in the WWE. In his heel persona, he really cut a lot of great promos in my opinion. Just take a look at this promo right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxCDDlSw9-A He was put in a lot of big time feuds and also put over Stone Cold Steve Austin in their match at Wrestlemania 13. Bret Hart was obviously a big part of the whole Canada vs USA angle that the WWE had between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels and also others which led to one of the most infamous incidents in professional wrestling histroy, the Montreal Screwjob. Lets take a look at the matches/feuds Bret Hart was apart of which is a reason why 1997 is his best year:
Bret Hart's best year: 1997
Bret Hart vs Vader vs Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Undertaker at IYH: Final Four 1997
This was a fantastic Fatal Four Way match involving top main eventers. All four were working their asses off to make this match entertaining. With matches like these, I truly don't understand how WCW were still beating them in the ratings war that year. It was one of the best Fatal Four matches with a lot of story-telling and brawling in it. It was also nice seeing Bret Hart win the WWE title even though he would lose it in a steel cage match with Sid on Raw. This proves that if done right, Fatal Four Way matches can be entertaining and not a borefest.
Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13
The match that made Austin: 316 happen. It made Stone Cold a household name. I honestly feel that this match right here was the start of the Attitude Era. Instead of Austin tapping out to Bret Hart's Sharpshooter, he refused to give up despite him not being able to get out of the Sharpshooter, like, at all. Ken Shamrock stops the match even though Stone Cold doesn't tap. That right there, is smart booking and it's the reason why this match is so important and will always be remembered as one of the best matches ever booked at Wrestlemania. Also, another funny thing about this match is that Stone Cold thought it was going to suck because he never worked a submission match before but it ended up being the greatest match ever. This is the best double turn ever booked in wrestling history and I don't think anything is going to top that.
Bret Hart, Pillman, Bulldog, Owen, and Anvil vs LOD, Stone Cold, Shamrock, and Goldust at IYH: Canadian Stampee 1997
This match is amazing because of The Hart Foundation getting massively cheered in Canada while LOD, Austin, Shamrock, and Goldust were getting heel-like treatment from the Canadian fans. It made the match along with the Canada vs USA angle much entertaining. The in-ring stuff was great too and get's over-looked at times. This is another 5 man tag team match that is my personal favorite along with the PPV itself. By the way, seeing Austin get Cena-like treatment by the Canadian fans was pretty funny. The Hart Foundation along with the Hart family was a nice touch on things.
Bret Hart vs The Undertaker at Summerslam 1997
Bret Hart was put in another interesting feud which was with The Undertaker. I could never get tired of seeing Bret Hart and The Undertaker work a match between one another. Their match was very solid with the involvement with HBK as the special guest referee. Bret Hart winning the WWE title was needed since he was a heat magnet at that point and having him as the WWE champion at the time would give us more interesting feuds to see. Also, lets not forget HBK hitting The Undertaker with a steel chair by accident which would lead to a great feud between which they would have a classic Hell in a Cell match.
Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels at Survior Series 1997
Yup. The match that holds one of the biggest incidents in wrestling, the Montreal Screwjob. We all know how mind-blowing that whole situation was and how it lead to Vince Mcmahon's on-screen character becoming an evil heel authority who would feud with a rebellious Rattlesnake named Stone Cold Steve Austin so I'm not going to go into details on that but the match itself was wonderful. I think it's easily Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart's best encounters. I really didn't like their 60 min Iron Man match that much so much as I thought it was pretty dull but their match at Survivor Series 97 was special from the start of the match to the ending. I definitely consider 1997 to be the year of Bret "The Hitman" Hart.
Honorable mentions: Bret Hart vs Sid inside a steel cage on Raw for the WWE title and Bret Hart vs Ken Shamrock on Raw is War for the WWE title.This was a hard one. I was split on choosing between whether or not CM Punk had his best years in terms of matches back in 2008 because his matches with Rey Mysterio, JBL, William Regal, and Chris Jericho were great stuff but in 2011, he had far better matches. CM Punk had the best year in 2011 in terms of match quality. He was hungry for his placement in the WWE of being the top guy along with John Cena and really tried to show the fans that he is the best overall wrestler in the business today. His matches back in 2011 were truly phenomenal and was the start of CM Punk's lengthy WWE title reign. Let's take a look at his best matches in 2011.
CM Punk's best year: 2011
CM Punk vs Randy Orton at Extreme Rules 2011
CM Punk and Randy Orton's match at Extreme Rules match was better than their Wrestlemania 27 match by miles. While their Wrestlemania 27 match was pretty good, their Extreme Rules PPV match was brutal, intense, and the ending toward to the made the match even better. Although Punk never picked up a single win during his feud with Randy Orton, it was still a great feud between the Viper and the Best in the World.
CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio at Capitol Punishment 2011
This match was great, fast-paced, and had a lot of story-telling action in it. Gotta love CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio matches because they always deliver a great match between the two. I love technical vs high-flyer matches like these as it's really fun to watch. This was also Punk's rise toward him being the 'Voice of the Voiceless' when he cut a worked shoot promo in Los Vegas on Raw.
CM Punk vs John Cena Money in the Bank 2011
CM Punk and John Cena's match at Money in the Bank 2011 was awarded match of the year from the Wrestling News Observer and led to CM Punk winning the WWE championship in his hometown of Chicago. Words cannot explain how awesome that match was. It was a match that made me want to see what they were going to do with CM Punk. From build-up of the match, the Mr. McMahon involvement, the atmosphere, to the wrestling match itself, it was a great time to be a wrestling fan. CM Punk definitely made himself a star that night with his match performance and John Cena putting CM Punk over big time made this match even more great.
CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series 2011
This match is great for two reasons being that 1) this was the start of CM Punk's 367 day title reign and 2) the in-ring action between CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio being great also. The crowd loved CM Punk here and gave him a huge pop when he won the WWE title. It was a really great match along with a really amazing MSG crowd. The Fink was the special ring announcer for CM Punk's entrance. How awesome is that?
Honorable mentions: CM Punk vs John Cena at Summerslam 2011, CM Punk vs Triple H at Night Of Champions 2011, CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio vs John Cena at Hell in a Cell, CM Punk vs Dolph Ziggler on Raw 11/21/11, and CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio vs The Miz at TLC 2011.
Christian's best year was 2011 without a doubt. Pretty simple really He put on a collective of awesome matches with Randy Orton that year, even winning the World Heavyweight title after everyone was pushing for Christian to capture a WWE World title. It was great to see Christian finally win a World title in the WWE not once but twice with his first title win at Extreme Rules and his second World title win at Money in the Bank. Some people may not have liked him turning heel after losing to Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight title and thought his heel work was underwhelming but he put on pretty splendid matches in the year of 2011. Here are Christian's best matches in 2011 which makes it his best year in my subjective opinion.
Christian's best year: 2011
Christian vs Alberto Del Rio in a steel cage match on Smackdown
This was an extremely good steel cage match between Del Rio and Christian and a good Smackdown main event match too. I was happy Christian won although it came as a surprise seeing as though Del Rio was on the verge of facing Edge for the World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 27 so I thought he would have won to look strong going in to the Mania 27 PPV. It was still great to see Christian win and it let me know that he would become a World Heavyweight title holder in the main event picture WWE sooner or later.
Christian vs Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules 2011
Great match and moment right here. Del Rio and Christian put on one hell of a ladder match. That spot where Del Rio fell off a ladder and onto another ladder looked painful. The best part of this match was seeing Christian win the World Heavyweight title for the first time ever in the WWE after years of being a mid-card wrestler. Sucks that he had a VERY short reign as the World Heavyweight champion after this match as he would lose it 2 days later on a Smackdown taping but it was still a great moment.
Christian vs Randy Orton at Over The Limit 2011
In comparison to their other PPV matches, this was easily Christian and Randy Orton's best match with one another with the in-ring action at it's best. This match felt like a main event match even though it was the third last match on the card that night (or I think it was). For those who haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. I consider this the third best match of the year right behind Taker vs Triple H at Wrestlemania 27 and John Cena vs CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2011. Such a wonderful match in their feud.
Christian vs Randy Orton at Summerslam 2011
Man, this match was VERY intense and the ending to this match was awesome. Sadly, this was the end of their collective PPV matches between the two. Their series of PPV matches were freaking entertaining and showed why long-term feuds like these are entertaining to watch. These collective of PPV matches between Orton and Christian also proved that Christian is a top worker and showed that he was a true main eventer.
Christian vs Randy Orton in a steel cage match on Smackdown
While their collective of PPV matches ended at Summerslam, they still had a fantastic steel cage match in the main event of Smackdown. Usually, I hate steel cage matches because sometimes they are boring to watch but if have two great workers that can work a steel cage match, it will be joy to watch. This was a great way to end off the Christian/Orton feud. Hopefully we'll see another feud between Randy Orton and Christian with Orton being the heel. These two facing each other again can only lead to another great series of matches for us to see.
Honorable mentions: Christian vs Randy Orton on Smackdown 5/6/2011, Christian vs Randy Orton at Capitol Punishment 2011, Randy Orton vs Christian at Money in the Bank 2011, Christian vs CM Punk on Smackdown, and Christian vs Sheamus at Hell in a Cell 2011.
Thanks for reading guys. Take care and stay safe.