Greatest Matches of All-Time - Bret Hart vs Steve Austin

This was the oft-referred to double turn, the match in which Steve Austin really endeared himself to the crowd and Bret responded by vindictively taking out his frustrations on Austin.


At Wrestlemania 13 Steve Austin met Bret Hart in a submission match. It ended up being a bloody affair with the more experienced submission wrestler, Bret Hart, emerging victorious. However the story of the match was Steve Austin getting over in defeat, a blood splattered mess who refused to give up instead passing out.


This match received a 5 star match rating from Dave Meltzer and is rated at 4.87 stars on the Grappl app after 534 votes making it the highest rated WWE match on the app alongside Gargano vs Almas which has the same score.


Watch it on the WWE Network here.

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Match Stats

Bret Hart defeated Steve Austin here. He negotiated the aggression and ferocity aimed at him by his opponent who didn't even let the bell go before attacking him. His means weren't always appreciated by the crowd by they led him to victory nonetheless.


This was a varied match with periods of parity between the competitors, periods of almost complete dominance, periods of vindictive injury targeting and even a brawl through the crowd.


Where did it all go wrong for Austin? Let's dive in deeper!


This wasn't the main event of Wrestlemania 13 but it is the most memorable and highest quality match of the event.


This match went over 20 minutes and contained a massive 180 offensive manoeuvres. This meaning we saw an average of 8.2 offence per minute.


We also saw 29 tide changes as Austin and Hart battled for supremacy. Thus just over a tide change per minute with an average of 1.3.


Flow of Offence and Tide Changes

The first thing that jumps out when we analyse the flow of offence from this match is that as time went on the competitors were able to subject their foe to more offence before each tide change.


Hart racked up impressive numbers due to sustained flurries of strikes designed to take advantage of Austin's head injury and long submissions exploiting the damage he had subjected Austin's legs to throughout the contest.


Austin had more of a spread of offence with a higher percentage of his moves being grapples and dives in comparison to Hart.


Flow of Offence - Periodised

From the periodisation of offense we can see that after a fast start both men slowed down to a more methodical pace before ramping it up as they aimed for the victory,


The first five was characterised by a ferocious brawl through the crowd, neither man taking much of an advantage.


The second five saw Hart take control with that brutal Figure-Four using the ring post but it also saw Austin hit an early match Stunner at only 7m 30s into the match!


The third five saw Austin start to really go for the win with two submission attempts however this five was important for another reason. It was in this period Bret sent Austin into the railing, busting him open.


In the fourth five, Hart brutalised Austin with targeted strikes to the head and chair shots to the legs. Austin fought back valiantly and strung some offence together but ultimately fell to the Sharpshooter at 22m 5s.


Time in Control of the Contest

It is unsurprising to see that Bret Hart was in control of this match for significantly longer than Austin. The amount of time he had Austin in submission holds alone contributed to 2m 4s of his eventual 8m 20s in control.


What we do see is that Austin did get his offence in. He was more methodical with Hart often striking in a flurry, venomously.


A large portion is also attributed to neutral spells or back and forth action, reflecting the struggle for dominance which was prevalent in this contest.


Highlights


The way Austin starts the match is great. All guns blazing and results in a real brawl to start of the match. Brawling through the crowd is over-done but here it was done right.


The vindictive performance of Bret Hart really adds to the story of this match. The way he goes after Austin's head after he is busted open is evil and the persistence in targeting the leg goes from smart to sinister before you even notice.


The submission hold at the end lasts almost two minutes but it does not feel that way, the drama is palpable.


Conclusion


It is easy to understand why this is an iconic match. It's filled with great wrestling, story-telling and visuals. Additionally, it holds up, 23 years later.


I really enjoyed watching this. A great wrestling story executed well by supreme performers.


4.5/5

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