Bret Hart Talks Stone Cold; CM Punk on Edge-Orton; Drew McIntyre's Dream Matches

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2020

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Pro wrestling Hall of Famer Steve Austin united with other celebrities under a common cause to join Wendy's in the effort to spread the news that good BBQ is now available to everyone with Wendy's new BBQ Pulled Pork offerings.  As part of Wendy's #bbq4Merica campaign, celebrity spokespersons Austin, actor and dancer Alfonso Ribeiro and actor and filmmaker Ralph Macchio created a series of humorous public service announcements videos launching today.  (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Wendy's)
Moses Robinson/Getty Images

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Hart and Stone Cold Discuss Survivor Series Match

WWE Hall of Famer Bret "Hitman" Hart appeared on FS1's WWE Backstage on Tuesday to discuss several topics, including his match against fellow Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at Survivor Series 1996.

The discussion was born from the fact that Survivor Series 1996 aired on FS1 prior to WWE Backstage. That marked the first time Hart and Austin had ever wrestled and began what became a storied rivalry.

Hart expressed his belief that Austin was nervous prior to their matchup:


"In all fairness to @steveaustinBSR, he would get a little nervous. He was intense." - @BretHart on his first rivalry with Stone Cold. #WWEBackstage https://t.co/V1ChsSkT7G

"I actually was really looking forward to working with Steve. I would say back in those days that was the first real consequential match that we ever had. I would think that in all fairness to Steve, he would get a little nervous. He was pretty intense. Anxious—I think—about working with me.

"It showed when I worked with him that he was going to come at me with everything he had, at the same time I could tell that he was nervous, if that is the right way to put it. There was a little bit of nerves there that I sensed—later on when I worked with him that he didn't have. He was still maybe finding himself a little bit. It was one of my favorite matches that I had with Steve. It was very close, or on par, with the match we had at WrestleMania 13."

After Austin caught wind of Hart's assessment, he replied on Twitter and made it clear that he was intense rather than nervous:

Steve Austin @steveaustinBSR

@WWEonFOX @BretHart No, not nervous. Just running on the edge of a razor blade. Confidence was sky high. Intensity was on point. Great time working with the best there is, was, and ever will be.

Regardless of how Austin was truly feeling, he performed well in that match and took a huge step toward becoming the massive star wrestling fans know him as today. Going toe to toe with one of the greatest in-ring workers of all time in Hart proved that Austin could be a top guy.

Austin later went on to face Hart at WrestleMania 13 about four months later in a submission match. Hart won that match just as he did the Survivor Series bout, but Austin scored a morale victory as he passed out before actually giving up.

That match featured a perfectly executed double turn, with Austin becoming a fan favorite and Hart going heel. From that point forward, Austin was the hottest thing in wrestling, and he helped usher in the Attitude Era.

Austin was destined for stardom, but if any single opponent helped him reach his potential more than the rest, it was undoubtedly Hart.


Punk Talks Edge vs. Orton Match

CM Punk addressed the "Greatest Wrestling Match Ever" between Edge and Randy Orton at Backlash during his appearance on WWE Backstage on Tuesday.

Punk felt the match between Edge and Orton was good, but he also suggested that the tagline didn't do them any favors:


"It was a lot of unnecessary pressure. Especially on @EdgeRatedR coming back."- @CMPunk on calling @RandyOrton vs. Edge 'The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever' before it ever happened. #WWEBackstage https://t.co/ZZnd41O9YM

"I think if you're Randy and Edge you just ignore that, you can't live up to that, it's too subjective of a label. Greatest match of all time? What's the greatest single of all time music-wise? What's the greatest band of all time? It's too subjective. Everybody's gonna have a different opinion, but I think that's what makes wrestling great. ... I think they had a great match. Was it the greatest match of all time? I've seen better Randy Orton matches. I've seen better Edge matches.

"To put that on the marquee, and get people to watch, I kind of feel like it was a lot of unnecessary pressure—especially on Edge—coming back after almost a decade of not wrestling. They did a great job of compartmentalizing that, and almost ignoring it, just going out there and delivering."

It was fairly obvious going into Backlash that Edge and Orton wouldn't truly be able to deliver the greatest match ever, but the tagline unquestionably got people talking and likely increased interest in a pay-per-view that typically isn't one of the biggest ones on the calendar.

On top of that, Edge and Orton pulled out all the stops, and it can be argued that their match was one of the best in all of wrestling in quite some time. It is also possible that it was the best single match in each of their careers.

That accomplishment can't be understated considering it was Edge's first traditional singles match in over nine years. Unfortunately for Edge, he paid the price by suffering a torn triceps, which is expected to keep him out for an extended period of time.

As much as Edge proved the doubters wrong, so did Orton. Fans have long called Orton a safe worker and suggested that he isn't capable of putting on a five-star match, but he and Edge delivered that caliber of match at Backlash.

Perhaps the tagline was unfair, but Edge and Orton rose to the occasion, so WWE accomplished its mission.


McIntyre Discusses Dream Opponents

Drew McIntyre is riding high as the reigning WWE champion, and if he isn't already the face of the company, he appears to be on that path.

McIntyre is coming off a big win over Bobby Lashley at Backlash in what was a highly anticipated match, but there are so many other opponents fans would undoubtedly love to see the Scottish Superstar face in the near future.

The champ was asked about some of his dream opponents in an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, and McIntyre named several possibilities.

The person who stands out above the rest for McIntyre, however, is AJ Styles:

"The top of my wish list is AJ. We're two ships in the night. When I was gone from the company and headed toward Impact Wrestling, he was on the way out and I just missed him. He went to Japan and even though a lot of independent shows tried to get us together, it never worked out. AJ went to WWE, I returned to WWE, but we were both bad guys on Raw. I thought it was finally about to happen, and then he went to SmackDown. Eventually, it's going to happen."

McIntyre vs. Styles isn't on the table currently since AJ is now the Intercontinental champion on SmackDown, but there is no doubt that they could potentially make magic if placed in the same ring.

Some of the other possible opponents McIntyre mentioned are two of his closest real-life friends in Sheamus and Jinder Mahal. Drew also listed New Day members Kofi Kingston and Big E, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and Undisputed Era members Adam Cole and Roderick Strong.

McIntyre also revealed that he nearly signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling before returning to WWE, and he named both Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada as dream opponents.

Drew has shown that he can have a great match with just about anyone, and there is plenty of reason for optimism for his reign if he gets to face any of the aforementioned Superstars.  


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