Truly the Best There Is, the Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be
by, 03-01-2011 at 02:45 AM (5780 Views)
Today I want to talk about something that I truly feel I'm not alone on. People always make these lists about who the greatest wrestlers/superstars of all time were, and it seems like there's a consensus about the number one spot usually going to Ric Flair. Now despite the fact that I've never been a fan of his, I do have all the respect in the world for Ric Flair. He truly did carry the entire portion of the business that wasn't monopolized by Hulk Hogan for decades. He was the like the Bizarro Hogan always there in NWA/WCW stealing the show. Anywho, the reason I bring this up is because I think there's a man who is always mentioned as being high up on any list of greats but never seems to make it to the top. And as if you haven't guessed it from the title, that man is Bret Hart. Now before I get into specifics, I want it to be known that I'm not doing this as a typical fan praising his idol type thing. Anyone who knows me knows that my all time favorite wrestler is not Bret Hart, it's Macho Man Randy Savage. Bret's barely in my top five. No, this is strictly what I would consider an unbiased segment of giving credit where credit is due.
Now I know Bret wasn't always Mr. Charisma when it came to interviews or cutting promos, but that was the beauty of his character. He did ALL of his talking in the ring. And when he did, the whole world listened. The man did it all in the business. He dominated every facet of the World Wrestling Federation at a certain given time. You know there are guys who are high up on the list of greatest singles competitors of all time, and there are guys who make up the list of greatest tag teams of all time. But my friends, Bret Hart is the only person who sincerely belongs at the top of both of those lists. I'm not saying the Hart Foundation was the greatest tag team of all time, but by God there are in the top three at least. With the perfect mix of power from the Anvil and technique from the Hitman, they were virtually unstoppable, and not to mention, so entertaining to watch. With the Anvil, they became tag team champions twice. One time was at Summerslam '90 in a two out of three falls match against Demolition. That match stole the show by leaps and bounds. And this was merely a preview of the future for Bret Hart as we would know him to go on and steal the show at countless other events.
Some of Bret's best matches were back in his Intercontinental days, back when that belt actually meant something (but that's a different topic for a different day...very soon). One year exactly after beating Demolition, Bret went on to Summerslam '91 and beat Mr. Perfect for his first IC title. This match was an instant classic. While it was only the 2nd match of the night, it was by far the most entertaining and definitely the only one people still talk about today. Now let's fast forward several months to Wrestlemania VIII and a match I believe I mentioned in my last blog. This would be the 2nd time Bret Hart would win the IC title, but this time it was from fellow babyface Roddy Piper. Their match was very intense with Bret wearing the "crimson mask" of blood and Piper facing a moral crossroads trying to decide if he should hit Bret with the ring bell to keep his title while the ref was knocked out. Piper took the high road and continued on fair and square, and the match resulted in what was presumably the first time Piper had ever been officially pinned. The last stop on Bret's IC championship journey was at Summerslam '92 where he lost his title to his brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, in front of about 80,000 of Smith's fellow English countrymen. With an already impressive card, Bret and Davey Boy went to McMahon to let them be hyped more as they knew they would once again steal the show. Vince decided to take a chance on the young talent and put them on in the main event in the very last match. Their match went on even after the match between Savage and Warrior for the WWF title. And with their spot in the show, they did anything but disappoint. To this day, that will go down in history as one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time.
Shortly after this, the world saw that Bret "the Hitman" Hart was the real deal. And just a few months later he became WWF champion. This was a breakthrough considering this title didn't really ever go to young talent. It was sort of reserved for Hulk Hogan only, with a few other people here and there along the way. Now I'm not going to go into all Bret's matches as champ, especially since he was dubbed the fightingest champion of all time, taking on all comers at any time. Bret went on to be a 5 time WWF champion over the next 5+ years, and that alone speaks for itself. But I do feel the need to touch on him going nonstop for entire hour with HBK and Wrestlemania 12 for one of the greatest exhibitions of physical stamina and conditioning ever. That match never had a dull moment in it. He also helped bring back Mr. Backlund to the spotlight in the mid '90s and was even professional and gracious enough to drop the title to him at Survivor Series '94. There were also the legendary matches between him and his brother, Owen. First, Owen defeats Bret fair and square at Wrestlemania X, and then Bret beats Owen in a cage at Summerslam '94. Both of these matches were pieces of history in the making. Finally, I'm going to lightly touch on the "I Quit" match I mentioned in my last blog between Bret and Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13. Now we all know Stone Cold was a natural and had all the makings of a star on his own, but I promise you that having that awesome of a match with Bret "the Hitman" Hart at that point in his career did more than people realize to skyrocket Austin into being the legend he is today.
And so in closing, there's so much more we could say about how much Bret Hart has wowed us over the years, but if I keep going, you might stop reading. Just go back and see for yourself. Anytime I try and put together a list of what I think are the greatest matches of all time, it's almost difficult to even think of matches that don't involve Bret Hart. That, my friends, is what makes him the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. 'Til next time...