Hey everyone! It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for One37PM.
This time I’ll be ranking the 30 best matches of the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, Bret “The Hitman” Hart. I thought it was appropriate to work on an article on Bret Hart due to his being announced as an inductee for the 2021 Canadian Walk of Fame. Outside of that though, the Hitman was my childhood hero and arguably the greatest wrestler in the history of the business. I grew up idolizing Bret Hart and as a kid from Canada, he was representing our country.
Many wrestlers of today would say Bret Hart was an influence of theirs and everyone has a favorite Hitman match. He wasn’t dubbed the “Excellence of Execution” for no reason. I could watch Bret Hart matches all day and to be honest I did exactly that for a couple of days preparing for this article. Shoutout to everyone on my Instagram and Twitter who gave me suggestions including All Elite Wrestling’s very own Dax Harwood of FTR.
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This will be a catalog of Bret Hart matches that I think are must-watch matches. This list will be focusing on his single matches and not incorporate his classic matches as one half of the Hart Foundation tag team or major multi-man matches like the “In Your House: Canadian Stampede” ten-man tag match which was also a classic. Bret Hart was an extraordinary in-ring competitor so I am sure I might be missing matches you remember fondly so let me know on @thewrestlingclassic after you read this article.
WWF in MSG – 03/19/90
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Rick Martel
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event – 04/27/91
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase
WWF WrestleMania IX – 12/05/93
Bret “The Hitman” Hart (c) vs. Yokozuna w/ Mr. Fuji
WWF Raw – 02/21/94
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Dr. Tom Prichard
WWF WrestleMania X – 03/20/94
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Yokozuna (c) w/ Mr. Fuji
WWF King of the Ring – 06/19/94
Bret “The Hitman” Hart (c) w/ Jim Neidhart vs. Diesel w/Shawn Michaels
WWF Royal Rumble – 01/21/96
Bret “The Hitman” Hart (c) vs. Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
WWF In Your House 6 – 02/18/96
WWF Championship – Steel Cage Match
Bret “The Hitman” Hart (c) vs. Diesel
WWF Shotgun Saturday Night – 01/25/97
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Mankind
WWF Raw – 02/17/97
WWF Championship – Steel Cage
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Sycho Sid (C)
WWF Raw – 03/31/97
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Rocky Maivia
WWF In Your House 14 – 04/20/97
Bret “The Hitman” Hart (c) vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
WWF Raw – 08/09/97
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Vader
ECW Wrestlefest – 11/09/97
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Terry Funk
WCW Nitro – 06/22/98
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Chris Benoit
WCW Mayhem – 12/05/99
Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Chris Benoit
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M2ySv7jVlJ8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed30. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Jean Pierre Lafitte","subhedIn Your House 3 - 09/24/95</code>
The angle was silly. Lafitte was a pirate and pirates are known to steal so the whole angle was built around Jean Pierre stealing Bret Hart’s leather jacket. I just remember watching this match a bunch of times on a VHS tape I had as a kid. I was a Bret Hart fan of course but also really liked pirates growing up so this worked for me.
Many people might know Pierre better as PCO these days as he’s been prominent in the independent scene these last few years. He was better remembered as one-half of the Quebecers tag team in the WWE but for me, it was this match. The fans were into it and it just proved Bret could have a good match with anyone. I just have fond childhood memories of this match.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjrul3NfGto" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed29. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Ric Flair","subhedSuperstars - 10/12/92 (WWE Championship)</code>
This may not be one of his best matches but it was definitely one of the most significant. This was the match where Bret Hart won his first-ever WWE Championship title. Bret Hart had been getting popular with the fans as a singles wrestler over the past year and a half. He had won and lost the Intercontinental Championship so it was time for the next step. I don’t think many people expected Bret to win his first World Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada.
This match against Ric Flair was not televised live but the match aired exclusively on the other syndicated shows and coliseum video releases. It seemed as if WWE was moving into a movement of pushing the younger generation and the Hitman was going to lead that push. Ric Flair gave his notice to leave the company soon after and all of this was unpredictable. The promo Bret Hart gave after this match was memorable too, reminding us that the biggest dreams could still come true.
Bret Hart isn’t very fond of his time in World Championship Wrestling so a lot of younger fans are quick to write it off. However, the Hitman had a handful of memorable and solid matches that you’ll find on this list. If you never took the time to watch these matches, definitely do so. The first one that makes the list is Randy Savage versus the Hitman at Slamboree with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the special referee. It’s crazy how many times and for how long Savage and Hart were in the same company together but yet they have very few matches against each other.
Out of that handful of matches, only two of them were televised. At this point in their careers, they were both larger-than-life names, multiple-time World Champions, and even though this match wasn’t as technically sound as their other matches on this list, it showcased just how good they both were at telling stories in the ring. The finish was overbooked in typical WCW fashion with shenanigans but the work between my two all-time favorites and the addition of Hot Rod make this a memorable one.
This is one of those hidden gem matches. Most fans remember Bret Hart versus Hakushi from the very first In Your House event but they had a rematch later in the year on Monday Night Raw. This was a shorter match and different from their first encounter as Bret Hart seemed more confident against Hakushi. These two worked a faster pace here pulling out ahead of their time aerial moves mid-match.
Hakushi did a moonsault over the top rope while The Hitman sprung off the middle rope to splash onto his opponent outside the ring. Another big difference between this match and the one at In Your House was that Bret picked up a definitive victory here where he felt like he just snuck away with the victory in their previous match.
This is another one of those classic WCW matches that Bret “The Hitman” Hart had. After years of teaming with his brother Stevie Ray as one half of Harlem Heat, Booker T was focusing on his singles career. The Hitman was embroiled in a short feud with Booker in the Summer of 98 that accumulated at Bash at the Beach. Bret Hart seemingly injured Booker’s knee which would sideline Booker for a handful of months.
Therefore when they met again in 1999 to become the number one contender for the United States Championship, Booker T made it clear that his knee was all better and he was ready for the opportunity. This was a really good match and Hart made Booker T look like a star. The finish even saw Booker T pick up the win when he reversed a sunset flip into a quick pinfall victory. Definitely a hidden gem for you younger fans.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ewChvfIL7GI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed25. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow","subhedKing of the Ring - 06/13/93 (Finals)</code>
I always enjoyed it when the Hitman would face off against larger opponents. It reminded me why Bret Hart is one of the greatest storytellers in the ring because he told a different story with every opponent. This was the finals of the King of the Ring tournament and the Hitman was selling the injuries he carried over from his previous two matches on the same night. It really added to the drama.
We wanted to see if Bret was going to be able to beat Bam Bam Bigelow who was still relatively fresh since he got a bye in one of his previous matches. Bigelow almost picked up the victory by cheating when Luna came to the ring and hit Bret Hart with a chair. However, the match was restarted by the officials and the Hitman was able to secure the victory becoming the 1993 King of the Ring.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xXeYHcHHQ_c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed24. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Diamond Dallas Page","subhedNitro - 10/26/98 (United States Championship)</code>
Diamond Dallas Page really found his stride in 1997. Dallas’ feuds against the New World Order and Randy Savage really elevated his career as a top star in the company. Therefore it wasn’t shocking that Bret Hart and Dallas Page would cross paths. On the last episode that Nitro would beat Raw in the head-to-head war, the Hitman defended his United States Championship against DDP.
Diamond Dallas Page was just off an unsuccessful attempt at winning the World Championship from Goldberg and Bret Hart just successfully defended the US Title against Sting 24 hours earlier at Halloween Havoc. They still had a solid match where Bret Hart would put Diamond Dallas Page over.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4ZU7LogHJx0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed23. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Razor Ramon","subhedRoyal Rumble - 01/24/93 (WWE Championship)</code>
This is one of the best matches that took place at the Royal Rumble that wasn’t the Royal Rumble match itself. Usually, the Royal Rumble matches overshadow any other matches that happened on the same show, especially in the 90s. This was also Razor Ramon’s only WWE Championship opportunity on PPV. Although Razor was the bad guy in this match, as a kid I was a fan of both men.
The story here was that Razor Ramon would be too tall for Hart to be locked in the sharpshooter. Bret still continued to work the legs while Ramon worked his ribs. In the end, the Excellence of Execution was able to lock on his finisher while they were both laying on the mat which I had never seen before this match. It was excellent.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eZJP_KBDtVs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed22. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair","subhedSould Out - 01/24/98</code>
This was Bret Hart’s first match in World Championship Wrestling and it was against none other than the person he won his first World Championship against, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Ric Flair and Bret Hart had not crossed paths since 1992. Since then the “Dirtiest Player in the Game” was not fond of Bret Hart’s phrase about being “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”
In Flair’s mind, the Hitman had to beat him to live up to that moniker because to be the man you have to beat the man right? Flair and Hart would have an old-school back-and-forth match at Souled Out with the Hitman picking up the victory. This was a masterclass in psychology between two seasoned veterans.
This was the real first-ever ladder match in the WWE. The company likes the narrative that the first one took place at WrestleMania X between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels because it sounds better that it took place on the bigger stage under a larger spotlight. Also, this ladder match wasn’t aired live on television but became a Coliseum Video Exclusive. In this ladder match, Bret Hart defended his Intercontinental Championship against Shawn Michaels which actually took place two years before WrestleMania X.
They were really testing out the concept here and it led to a pretty good match. Sensational Sherri was in HBK’s corner which also added to the match. The Hitman who wrestled in a ladder match back during his days in Stampede Wrestling won the first-ever ladder match in the WWE. The match would become a staple in the company to this day. Check it out if you’ve never seen it.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ik2NrGGMB7A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed20. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Hakushi","subhedIn Your House 1 - 05/14/95</code>
The first encounter between Bret Hart and Hakushi took place at the very first In Your House event. Hakushi aka Jinsei Shinzaki had already made a name for himself in Japan for Michinoku Pro Wrestling. When he worked on the card for the WWE tour in Japan, he was offered a contract with the company. Hakushi introduced a newer, more aerial style to the WWE fanbase.
Hakushi along with his manager Shinja would soon get into a feud with Bret Hart which led to this match at In Your House. They had a competitive battle with some spots from Hakushi that were truly ahead of their time such as the moonsault off the middle rope to the outside. The story here was Bret trying to find a way to compete against this unique offense but eventually finding a way to capture the victory.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YpJddNlGjxc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed19. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels","subhedSurvivor Series - 12/05/92 (WWE Championship)</code>
There was this instant chemistry between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. They both excelled in the tag team division and began focusing on their singles careers around the period. By Survivor Series 1992, they were both champions and succeeded as singles stars. Bret Hart was a former Intercontinental Champion and now WWE Champion while Shawn Michaels was the current Intercontinental Champion.
This match was only contested over the WWE Championship though. Shawn Michaels worked at a much faster pace, could sell better than most others, and wanted to prove he belonged since this was his first major main event at a PPV. Bret Hart was an already proven technician in the squared circle and was able to elevate Michaels’ strengths in this match while still picking up the victory. If only they had the same level of respect for each other five years later at the same event.
The SummerSlam 1992 main event between British Bulldog and Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship is the more memorable match between the two but this encounter from In Your House 5 was awesome as well. It really gets forgotten or overshadowed due to the significance of their SummerSlam match and it took place in a year that was really weird for the business overall. If I did a list of the top ten In Your House matches, this match would definitely make the list.
Davey Boy Smith was a bad guy here with Jim Cornette in his corner so he was more aggressive and violent towards his brother-in-law. Bret’s sister and Smith’s wife Diana were in the crowd for this as they would show her reactions to things throughout the match. The Hitman got busted open here and was bleeding quite a bit which really added to the story that he had a lot to overcome here. Bret ended up retaining but it came off as if he barely did.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZGnVkSUPRd4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed17. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Diesel (C)","subhedSurvivor Series - 11/19/95 (WWE Championship)</code>
Diesel and Bret Hart had wrestled before at King of the Ring 1994 and Royal Rumble 1995 which were both good matches in their own right. This match was different for a few different reasons. They both came in as good guys, there was no disqualification and there were no count-outs. Diesel had been the champion for over a year but it wasn’t till this match that we started seeing him get frustrated with an opponent.
Diesel began working a more heel-like style to get the fans more behind The Hitman throughout the match. Big Daddy Cool even sent Bret Hart through the Spanish announce table which was a big spot at the time for the WWE because we rarely saw table spots back then. In the end, Diesel’s overconfidence would cost him the match as Hart who took a beating for the majority of the match played possum to catch Diesel with a small package to win the WWE Championship. Diesel would attack The Hitman after the match and officially turn heel.
This is another one of those matches younger fans might not know about and other fans might have forgotten about but I had always enjoyed it. Bret Hart and Undertaker are two of my all-time favorites so I was always conflicted when they wrestled with each other growing up. This was the rematch from their Summerslam encounter where Bret Hart had won the championship from the Phenom. The time around Bret Hart wasn’t trying to defeat the Undertaker but rather survive him to keep his title.
It took place in the UK so the fans were actually split down the middle even though The Hitman was a heel at this point. It was a simple story of where Hart targeted Undertaker’s knee to keep the advantage. Bret would go back to attack it every time Undertaker got the upper hand. Undertaker would not stop his attack to the point that the match ended in DQ which was an underwhelming finish to a solid match.
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I remember when I read Bret Hart’s autobiography, he talked very highly about this match and it made me go find it on the internet. This was early Hitman while he was still one-half of the Hart Foundation tag team. Ricky Steamboat was one of the best in-ring performers and he reportedly really pushed for working with Bret Hart on the Wrestlemania 2 card but it never happened. Instead, they ended up having the match in the Boston Garden and it was phenomenal.
Every move had a purpose and it really showcased the potential Bret Hart would one day have as a singles star if they ever decided to go that route one day in the future. There was nothing at stake here but it felt like both guys were fighting for pride and to be able to call themselves the better wrestler. It was a technical masterpiece in an era where there were very few in the WWE.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z976fLWo3lc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed14. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage","subhedSaturday Nights Main Event Main Event - 11/28/87</code>
As I mentioned earlier, it blows my mind how these two didn’t have more matches against each other while being in the same company at the same time so much of their careers. Both Randy Savage and Bret Hart were great storytellers in the ring and second-generation superstars who had a different level of respect for this business. The “Macho Man” Randy Savage was on his first babyface run in the WWE and Bret Hart was aligned with Savage’s rival at the time, the Honky Tonk Man.
The Hitman had his Hart Foundation tag team partner Jim Neidhart and his manager Jimmy Hart in his corner which stacked the odds against the Macho Man who just had his valet, Miss Elizabeth, with him. Savage began to sell a leg injury after a bump to the outside which allowed him to work as the underdog against a talented technician like Bret Hart. Savage would overcome the odds by sneaking away with the victory from a quick roll up but these two told a great story through ring psychology and drama. I wish we got more from these two against each other.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ekt-m1LNWIM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed13. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Mr. Perfect","subhedKing of the Ring - 06/13/93 (Semi-Finals)</code>
In another match between second-generation superstars, we got a classic between Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart. It was the King of the Ring semi-finals and unlike their last popular encounter, they both were babyfaces here. This meant it became more of a competition of pride rather than anything personal or over a championship. The promo between the two before the match really set the tone and Perfect made it clear that he would do anything to win.
These two were familiar with each other, there were tremendous counters, they kept a great pace and it felt even all the way through. Perfect resorted to some heel tactics like faking a knee injury only for The Hitman to show that he couldn’t be outsmarted still picking up the victory in the end. Lastly, factoring in that you had Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Jim Ross on commentary for this match just added to it even more.
This match was surrounded by drama due to the people involved and stipulations in place which really added suspense to every minute of it. The Undertaker was defending his WWE Championship against Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Bret Hart said he would never wrestle on American soil again if he didn’t win the championship. Shawn Michaels somehow weaseled himself into being the special referee. Bret Hart got paranoid about Shawn screwing him over so the bosses made a rule that if he intentionally cost Bret Hart the match he also would no longer be allowed to wrestle on American soil.
If all of that doesn’t already make you want to see how this match plays out, how about the fact that it was actually a really good match itself. Bret kept finding ways to gain the upper hand even if it was borderline cheating. Shawn Michaels was conflicted the entire match, holding himself back from slipping and The Undertaker wouldn’t stay down even breaking out of the sharpshooter at one point which nobody has done before. The finish was controversial but the results of this match planted the seeds for everything that would happen for the next seven months till WrestleMania 14.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LFRQEgSL7Bw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed11. Bret "The Hitman" Hart (C) vs. "King of Harts" Owen Hart","subhedSummerSlam - 08/29/94 (WWE Championship / Steel Cage Match)</code>
This was the final match of the brother versus brother feud in 1994 between Bret Hart and his younger brother Owen Hart. The feud really kicked off in January and by the Summer it had come to its climax. At that time, Owen had successfully defeated his brother at WrestleMania but the Hitman would still win the WWE Championship by the end of the night. This never sat well with Owen as he felt like his older brother had to outshine his victory from earlier in the night and was still in the spotlight when it should have been him.
They settled this feud inside of a steel cage where the WWE Championship would be on the line and the only way to win would be to escape the cage. The entire Hart Family was at ringside for this match too. This match was technical, filled with drama and they had some big spots like the suplex off the top of the cage which was a bigger deal back then. In the end, Owen got hung up in the cage and the Hitman was able to escape. If you have never seen this match, definitely go check it out.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EuGdLGoG3e4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed10. Bret "The Hitman" Hart (C) vs. "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels","subhedWrestleMania - 03/31/96 (WWE Championship / 60 Minute Iron Man)</code>
The night the boyhood dream came true for Shawn Michaels but it took him 60 minutes to make it happen against Bret “The Hitman” Hart. By 1996, Bret Hart was an established top guy with multiple WWE title runs whereas Shawn Michaels was finally catching his break to win his first WWE Championship. It only made sense that Michaels would have to beat someone of Bret Hart’s caliber for it to feel legitimate. Considering the ability and talent of both men, the company went ahead to make it a 60-minute Iron Man Match.
This meant the match would go 60 minutes no matter what and the competitor with the most falls at the end of the due time would be victorious. The Hitman and the Heartbreak Kid went the entire time with no falls forcing them to go into overtime only for Bret Hart to drop the title HBK after a Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere. If you have the time, definitely check this match out.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wGE1uYz5TP8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed9. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Chris Benoit","subhedMonday Nitro - 10/04/99</code>
On May 23, 1999, the world, unfortunately, lost Owen Hart when he passed away in a tragic accident while performing a stunt for his entrance on a WWE pay-per-view. Later that year on Monday Nitro, Bret “The Hitman” Hart would wrestle Chris Benoit in a tribute match to his later brother. It was a technically sound match really focused on the essence of wrestling.
These two were trying to out-wrestle each other. Each counter and block made complete sense. There was no movement in this match that felt illogical. The way wrestling has evolved, I know this match might not be for everyone but if you enjoy some good old classic wrestling and can still stomach watching Chris Benoit matches, definitely check this match out.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zFAxibB9GjE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed8. Bret "The Hitman" Hart (C) vs. 1-2-3 Kid","subhedRaw - 07/11/94 (WWE Championship)</code>
As the years go by this match gets more and more praised and rightfully so. Bret Hart was the WWE Championship and 123 Kid was this new kid on the block who picked up some surprising victories in his time with the company. I don’t think anybody thought Kid was going to beat The Hitman but he surely gave him a run for his money. Early on The Hitman realized he might be taking Kid too lightly and from that point forward it was a great encounter.
Bret Hart knew how to let Kid shine without making himself look weak at all. Bret was super gracious allowing Kid to work on top for a good bit of the match. There were times when it seemed as if Kid almost had Hart but in the end, the Hitman won with the sharpshooter. This is a match that every fan should watch at least once…I could say that for every match on this list though but trust me.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nx_BFtn-SHE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed7. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin","subhedSurvivor Series - 11/17/96</code>
The Hitman took a hiatus following WrestleMania 12 when he lost the WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels. When he returned the first person he wanted to work with was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Austin entered the WWE as the Ringmaster the year before and only recently started portraying the more brash Stone Cold character. This was also five months after the legendary Austin 3:16 promo that Austin cut after winning the King of the Ring. The winner of this match would get a shot at the WWE Championship at the December PPV.
This was Hart’s first match back since Wrestlemania and he was met with two middle fingers from Stone Cold. The match started off slow but picked up slowly as it continued. These two had a really good technical match here that would break out into a brawl before getting back to wrestling holds. Austin only lost because he would not release the Million Dollar Dream hold allowing Hart to get Stone Cold’s shoulders on the mat for the three count. The Hitman proved he didn’t have any ring rust and that he didn’t lose a step. Austin proved that he could hang with the Hitman only losing by making one single error.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ei8C2_IJ73M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed6. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Dynamite Kid","subhedCapitol Wrestling - 09/14/85</code>
I was reminded of this match by Dax Harwood and Kid Chocolate on my Instagram page. I had definitely watched it before but haven’t watched it in years with the perspective I have towards wrestling today. This was a wrestling clinic between two of the best technicians of the time. Both men were firmly in the tag division at the time and not singles wrestlers at the time. Bret Hart was one-half of the Hart Foundation at the time and Dynamite Kid was one-half of the British Bulldogs at the time.
In a time where larger-than-life characters, showmanship, and quick squash matches were the norm in the WWE, these two had a technical wrestling match. It ran fluid, crisp, and clean between two highly skilled wrestlers. The counters and sequences between the two told a great story in only 12 minutes. They aired this match on Prime Time Wrestling in 1987 even though the match took place two years earlier so it is on the WWE Network if you still have access.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ahSZxdpxsx0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed5. Bret "The Hitman" Hart (C) vs. "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith","subhedSummerSlam - 08/29/92 (Intercontinental Championship)</code>
This is the Davey Boy Smith versus Bret Hart match that is held in such high regard and talked about more regularly. It took place in the United Kingdom at Wembley Stadium. Due to it taking place in the British Bulldog’s home country, this match was able to main event the 1992 SummerSlam event. It was the only time the Intercontinental Championship match was the main event of one of the big four PPVs outside of the main event of Wrestlemania 6 where the World Title was on the line too.
Davey Boy is Bret Hart’s real-life brother-in-law since Davey married his sister Diana Hart. Diana played a role at ringside being conflicted over her husband and brother fighting each other. These two gave us a classic where it seemed it could go either way. In the end, though, Davey Boy caught the Hitman with a three count after countering a sunset flip attempt. The two would embrace after the match to the delight of the fans in England.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IXD7Jm_6LVw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed4. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Mr. Perfect (C)","subhedSummerSlam - 08/26/91 (Intercontinental Championship)</code>
Bret “The Hitman” Hart was kicking off his singles run after Wrestlemania 7 when the Hart Foundation disbanded. By SummerSlam time he became the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Mr. Perfect, who was managed by The Coach, was the champion at the time. Low-key, Perfect was already injured but still decided to go through with the match. This match was action-packed for the entire 18 minutes. They had mat wrestling, high-impact moves, great counters, and the great commentary team of Heenan and Monsoon.
The Hitman kicked out of a Perfect Plex which was a big deal since finishers weren’t kicked out of that often. While on his back, Bret caught the leg, got back up, and slapped on the Sharpshooter for one of the best counters I’ve ever seen. Although it launched Bret Hart’s career to another level, it was only possible because Perfect had been such a dominant champion. Madison Square Garden exploded when Hart won. It was a memorable match for both men.
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/p3GStxz9b5U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed3. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (C)","subhedWrestlemania 8 - 04/05/92 (Intercontinental Championship)</code>
This match isn’t talked about enough in my mind. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper won the Intercontinental Championship at the Royal Rumble from The Mountie. This was Roddy’s first and only singles title run in the WWE. Bret Hart set his focus on getting the championship back and this led to the Piper and Hart rivalry. During the build-up, Roddy spoke about his close relationship with the Hart family and how he knew Bret since he was a little Hitman. This would play a part in the match as Piper would have an internal conflict due to his respect for Bret in a pivotal moment of the match.
This match overall was fantastic and might be Piper’s best match in his WWE career. It started off slow but picked up along the way and it looked as if either man could win. The blood on Bret really added to the intensity of the match. When Piper had the opportunity to cheat when the referee was down, he ultimately chose not to, which showed the growth in Piper’s character because years prior he wouldn’t have thought twice. In the end, Hart picked up the victory the same way he beat Austin at Survivor Series 1996. Roddy Piper rarely got pinned clean so this was a big win for Bret Hart early in his singles run on the biggest stage of the year.
I still think this match stands as the greatest opening match for WrestleMania. Owen Hart started off 1994 by being sick of being in his brother’s shadow after some controversy between the two in the end half of 1993. Finally, The Rocket got his brother to agree to face him in a match at the grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. It was a battle between the older brother and the younger brother. Bret was going to wrestle two matches this night since he was the co-winner of the Royal Rumble so it made sense that his matches would be kept apart. Also as the top babyface, it made sense that he would both open and close the show.
Nobody expected that Bret Hart would lose with a big WWE Championship match later in the night. The match was perfect from the jump. Owen Hart was celebrating every little successful move he did while Bret Hart was more reserved and smart about the bout. The spots in the match, the pacing, the purpose behind every move, and just the work they put in were perfection. These two told a great story and used the canvas to portray their art. Owen ended up having one last lucky counter that earned him the victory. As a younger brother myself, it was awesome to see the younger brother outsmart the older brother with a slick victory. This is one of the greatest matches of all time. Don’t @ me.
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This match. This is my personal favorite match of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched Bret “The Hitman ” Hart versus “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13. This match literally saved WrestleMania from being one of the most lackluster additions of the annual event. It wasn’t even supposed to happen either. The plans were to have Bret Hart face Shawn Michaels in a WrestleMania 12 rematch but HBK lost his smile which changed everything.
Instead, they continued the feud between Steve Austin and Bret Hart which linked back to Survivor Series 1996. Austin continued to be a thorn in Hart’s side ever since that event by stealing the Royal Rumble win from him, costing him his WWE Championship against Sid, and constantly screwing Bret Hart from his opportunities. I really have no idea where Austin would have been penciled in if Shawn didn’t get hurt because it really seemed as if Bret was his target the entire time.
I always say Austin’s rivalry with Bret Hart is what really solidified Steve as a top guy and really made him into the star he would become. The seeds were planted so well heading into the match with Bret growing more frustrated with getting screwed and Austin gaining more popularity for his brash yet badass attitude. Society was changing and this match was symbolic of that change. This was the match where “Stone Cold ” Steve Austin truly got over.
The match was booked to be a submission match which was seemingly more favorable to Bret Hart since he had more submission moves in his arsenal. Stone Cold had become more of a brawler at this time even though he was still an excellent in-ring technician. Ken Shamrock was booked as the special referee to make sure things were called down the middle and was dubbed the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” after success in the MMA world.
Things had gotten so personal between these two that it was a fight right off the bat. This match had a little bit of everything. It’s my go-to match when I need a solid wrestling fix. It was the perfect mixture of technical wrestling, brawling, and the hardcore style of wrestling blended with brilliant storytelling filled with drama. The match ended with Austin in a pool of his own blood fading away while locked in the sharpshooter. It’s one of the most iconic images in professional wrestling.
The finish of this match confirmed the double turn where Austin became the fan favorite and the Hitman officially became heel again after 6-7 years as one of the top babyfaces in the company. Austin never surrendered but the match ended because he passed out in the hold. This earned him the fans’ respect for his toughness and heart. Bret Hart was victorious but still wanted to continue to injure an unconscious Steve Austin but was stopped by Shamrock who he backed down from thus losing the respect of the fans. Austin refused to not walk out of the arena on his own even though he was a bloody mess and had just been knocked out.
This proved that you didn’t necessarily have to win the match to get over if you’re able to tell a great story and work with a genius in the ring like Bret “The Hitman” Hart. If you have never seen this match, please go watch it RIGHT NOW. The best match…period.
I hope you all enjoyed this list of the legendary Bret “The Hitman” Hart matches. Let me know if I missed any matches you think should have made this list but didn’t.
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