Part two of the "Triple Crown" invitational will take a look at the final eight participants left in this tournament of champions. We will then narrow it down to four and then crown our "Triple Crown" champion.
Just to recap (in case you didn't read Part I) to be eligible for the invitational you had to have held the WWE/World, Tag Team, and Intercontinental Championship in your career.
Kurt Angle vs. Bret Hart
This could easily be a Wrestlemania main event pitting two of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time. "The Hitman" versus "The Olympic Hero" would be a match that I would certainly pay to see.
Angle is a "Grand Slam" Champion, having won every major WWE title there is. His Tag Team and Intercontinential reigns were less than impressive but you can't argue with 5 WWE/World Title reigns.
What can you say about Bret Hart that hasn't already been said? He has just as many WWE/World Title reigns as Angle, but he gets the edge because his reigns as Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion were much better than Angle's.
Winner: Bret Hart
The Rock vs. Edge
"The Great One" versus "The Ultimate Opportunist." These two guys are already probably considered first-ballot Hall of Famers.
The Rock is one of the greatest there is when it comes to charisma. Add to it that he had the look, great mic skills, and, of course, "the people," and Vince McMahon saw a goldmine. Nine-time WWE Champion can only be topped by Triple H, and his 265-day reign as IC Champ is seventh-longest ever.
Edge is currently the top heel on Smackdown and arguably tops in the entire WWE. He will probably eclispe The Rock's nine WWE/World Title reigns before it's all said and done, as he's already at six and still in his prime. Twe reigns as Tag Team Champion is awesome!
This matchup was too close to call....
Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton
HBK is the first man to be dubbed a "Grand Slam" Champion. He was in a successful tag team (The Rockers) and had classic matches as Intercontinental Champion.
Randy Orton is the top heel on RAW. He doesn't have an "HBK-like" resume, yet but he is clearly part of the future for WWE. If I were to write this article say five years from now it may be close, but....
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Triple H vs. Steve Austin
They were rivals during the "Attitude Era" and at one point formed an alliance together known as "The Two-Man Power Trip." That alliance was short-lived, due to Triple H's quad injury.
"The Game" likes to call himself the "measuring stick" and in our current era he is. Surpassing Ric Flair's 16 World Championship reigns is in sight. Surprisingly his only Tag Team Title win was with the man he's facing in this round.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is an all-time great. He will surely be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame (possibly in 2009) on the strength of being a six-time WWE Champion and being wrestling's biggest money maker arguably of all-time. "The Game" gets the slight edge here, though.
Winner: Triple H
THE FINAL FOUR...I mean...FIVE
Bret Hart vs. The Rock vs. Edge (Triple Threat)
What's a wrestling invitational without a triple threat matchup!! We couldn't get a clear winner out of The Rock vs. Edge match so let's throw "The Hitman" in the mix. Now the picture is much clearer....It's gotta be Bret Hart right?
Edge holds claim to being a part of one of the greatest tag teams of all time. Is he one of the greatest IC Champions ever? Probably not. He will go down as one of the best WWE World Champions, but he's not quite there yet.
The Rock is defintely one of the greatest WWE Champions as well as IC Champions. He lacks as far as his Tag Team reigns go (though The Rock N' Sock Connection was very entertaining).
Hart wins because in all three divisions he is one of the best ever. He is arguably the greatest WWE Champion ever, He is one of the best IC Champs Ever and he was a member of one of the all-time great tag teams. He was truly a "Triple Threat." (nice)
Winner: Bret Hart
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H
"Are you ready"? Can you believe these two never won Tag Team gold together? I know when they formed DX they were singles wrestlers, but come on!
This is a tough matchup. The first ever "Grand Slam" winner (Michaels) versus the second. "The Cerebral Assassin" versus "The Heartbreak Kid."
I really could pull a "Montreal screwjob" (What's up Mina) and give this matchup to HBK but that wouldn't be fair would it?
Winner: Triple H
"TRIPLE CROWN" CHAMPIONSHIP
Bret Hart vs. Triple H
These two men are most deserving of the title of the greatest "triple crown" champion of all-time. I've ran through their accomplishments, so no need to rehash there.
Triple H holds the advantage of combined title reigns by a 2-1 margin (18-9). He has the power of his lovely wife Stephanie and the "McMahon Machine" behind him. That however in no way takes away his contributions to this business.
Triple H as WWE/World Champion defended his title against the likes of The Rock, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Batista, Randy Orton and John Cena. Also throw in Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker guys who also competed against Bret.
Triple H arguably had to defend against a better caliber of opponents.
I just can't help but go back to the fact that Bret Hart competed in all three divisions at a high level. He's had a countless number of classic matches, probably a few more than Trips.
Winner and Champion: Bret "Hitman" Hart
So there you have it, Bret Hart wins the "Triple Crown" Invitational. What do you think? Should he have won it? Was there someone more deserving? Feel free to comment.