UPDATE: 2023/12/08 07:30 EST BY BENJAMIN VIEIRA
The Best There Is. The Best There Was. The Best There Ever Will Be. This is the phrase synonymous with the legendary Bret “The Hitman” Hart. His career spanned decades and took him to a number of different promotions. “The Hitman” is a multi-time world champion, holding gold in both WWE and WCW. Furthermore, his style of technical wrestling that he utilized has kept him the conversation of the best to ever step into the ring. He put on classic matches against the likes of Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. In this article, get to know the legendary moves of “The Hitman.”
When you refer to yourself as The Excellence Of Execution, you better back it up with some excellently executed moves and move sets. Widely regarded as one of the best technical wrestlers of all time, Bret “The Hitman” Hart didn’t necessarily innovate new moves. But he did find new ways to make moves hit harder and seem more realistic.
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Minus only a small booking snafu and there’s a good chance that “The Hitman” would be an even bigger star than he already became. Some of those moves have, however, become as iconic as Bret Hart would become. Others, he just simply did better than anyone else.
10 Sternum First Turnbuckle Smash Was A Hart Original
The Devastating Move Launched Hart Into The Turnbuckle
Sure, it’s not exactly a move Bret Hart or his fans wanted to see him pull off, but no one has ever been driven into the turnbuckles quite like “The Hitman.” Opponents would send Bret in, and he’d take the move as hard as he could, almost like he was shot out of a cannon.
To this day, seldom, if any other superstars have gotten sent into the turnbuckles chest first. You’d have to assume that if they did, immediate comparisons to “The Hitman” would be made.
9 The Small Package Got Bret Hart His Third WWE Championship
It Was A Simple Yet Effective Winning Maneuver
Yes, you’re reading this correctly. A simple Small Package is on the list. That’s because, as performed by “The Hitman”, the move is actually a successful pinning combination.
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It’s a move he’s used on more than one occasion to big success – several of his world titles and King Of The Ring victories have come out of nowhere with Bret surprising his opponents for a quick victory. Part of the appeal of Bret’s version would be him suckering his opponents in by playing possum, before executing the move for the win. He also famously used it to sucker in Diesel at Survivor Series 1995 to win his third WWE Championship.
8 Inverted Atomic Drop Was A Transitional Move For The Hitman
The Comeback Move Helped Set Up Hart For Victory
While plenty of fans have bemoaned and bellowed about John Cena and “The Five Moves Of Doom,” he certainly wasn’t the first wrestler to utilize a specific move set. He also isn’t the last, either. When The Excellence Of Execution began his comeback, he too had a specific set of moves that he’d break out to wear down opponents for The Sharpshooter.
One of those moves was delivering a massive Inverted Atomic Drop. Depending on how his opponent handled the blow, Bret would either start punching or just attempt to snap on The Sharpshooter right then and there.
7 Bret Hart’s Superplex Was A Major Deal In His Era
This Big Time Risk Move Often Paid Off
The sports entertainment landscape is much different from when Bret “The Hitman” Hart was on top of the world. Nowadays, a Superplex is fairly passé – it’s a transition hold for some reason. We certainly are not saying you should try this, but imagine taking a flat back from couch height. Does that sound like it would feel like a transition hold to you?
Bret not only would break out this big move, he would head all the way to the top rope to do it – which was unheard of at that time. While he seldom, if ever, won a match with it, both men were usually down for a substantial amount of time.
6 Backbreaker Was One Of Bret Hart’s “Five Moves Of Doom”
It Was An Essential Move In His Repertoire
One of the big power moves in Bret’s arsenal was a backbreaker. Probably from years of pounding on his brothers playfully with the hold, Bret was always able to put a little extra oomph and showmanship into the slam. He would catch an opponent coming at him or simply pick them up. Then he would pause for a moment, almost to get strong enough footing and to synch up his grip, so he could slam them down with even more force. It made perfect sense for him to work an opponent’s back with this move to set up his signature hold.
5 Second Rope Driving Elbow
This Move Helped Set “The Hitman” Apart From The Rest
One of the big comeback moves of doom is another move that is seldom done these days the same way Bret did it.
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His elbow from the second rope was delivered with such force that you’d think the point of the “Hitman”’s elbow was going to smash a guy’s head clean open. The elbow drop was also unlike anyone else’s, helping Bret stand out and stand apart from the rest of the roster.
WWE Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWE World Tag Team Champion, WCW World Heavyweight Champion
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels
4 Bret Hart’s Russian Leg Sweep Sounded Devastating Every Time
It Was A Move With A Precise Purpose
Two of the ways that Bret would stand out is that there was seldom a wasted movement in any of his matches and he’d pull off these moves with authority. For his Russian Leg Sweep, first Bret would snap an opponent into the ropes and deck them with a punch to the gut, doubling them over.
Then, The Excellence Of Execution would nail the Russian Leg Sweep in quick and painful-looking fashion. There was a psychology to what Bret did and every motion in this sequence made sense.
3 Hart Attack Clothesline
The Tag Team Finisher Became A Legendary Move
From “The Hitman”’s days as part of The Hart Foundation, the team’s Hart Attack finish has got to be one of the top tandem finishers of all time.
The powerhouse Anvil would hoist up an opponent as Bret would run the ropes before nailing the poor helpless sap with a devastating clothesline that the team aptly called the Hart Attack.
2 Many Wrestlers Tried To Copy Bret Hart’s Ring Post Figure Four
Bret Hart was able to add to just about every move on this list (and others), in order to make it uniquely his. But only one was completely his creation. He took The Figure Four and made it even more painful by wrapping an opponent’s legs around the ring post and then wrenching himself down to pull back on their legs as hard as he could.
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No, it wasn’t going to win any matches, but it just looked utterly painful to see opponents suffer.
1 Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter Is Still The Best
While He Was Not The First, He Was One Of The Best
When Bret began his singles career, he needed a move that exemplified who “The Hitman” was as The Excellence Of Execution. He would co-opt Sting’s Scorpion Deathlock, which was actually originated by Riki Choshu as the Sasori-Gatame; or the Scorpion Hold.
There wasn’t much variation between any version. But the move took Bret straight to the top of WWE and through their promotion, it became iconic.