Shawn vs. Bret: WWE Superstars weigh in, part one

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October 25, 2011

Perhaps no single event in sports-entertainment history is as polarizing as “The Montreal Screwjob.” A shocking culmination of the lengthy rivalry that burned between Shawn Michaels and Bret “Hit Man” Hart both in and out of the ring, the incident created a divide between Superstars, sports-entertainment fans and the men who were in the spotlight that night. Fourteen years later, HBK and The Hit Man address that unforgettable turn of events and much more in WWE: Greatest Rivalries - Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart — a compelling, in-depth series of unscripted conversations between the two WWE Hall of Famers.

With the DVD stirring up some serious debate in the locker room, WWE.com cornered 15 competitors, including John Cena, Christian and CM Punk, and asked the inflammatory question: “Shawn or Bret — whose side are you on?” What we heard in response was controversial, surprising and always entertaining — just like the rivalry between HBK and The Hit Man.

 Shawn Michaels My Journey - Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart - Available Now
Who was your childhood hero?

Bret “Hit Man” Hart made his WWE debut on Aug. 24, 1984 in a tag match alongside The Dynamite Kid. Four years later, on July 7, 1988, Shawn Michaels set foot in a WWE ring for the first time. In the decade that followed, their paths crossed in tag bouts, WrestleMania main events and one life-changing night in Montreal, Quebec in November of 1997. Along the way, they inspired an entire generation of young hopefuls to step through the ropes and pursue the impossible dream of becoming a WWE Champion.

CHRISTIAN: I followed Bret Hart’s career ever since Calgary Stampede Wrestling, so I really enjoyed watching him grow as a performer and move on to the Intercontinental Championship and then, of course, the WWE Championship. I always admired his style. He was just no-nonsense — a pure wrestler. That’s what he wanted to be known as, and the people loved him because of that.

CM PUNK: Shawn Michaels definitely grabbed my attention when I was a kid.

CODY RHODES: I grew up regularly defending the chaps and ridiculous outfits of Shawn Michaels.

ZACK RYDER: When I was a kid, I was always on the Shawn Michaels side for sure. He was just one of my favorites growing up. I guess I always wanted to be a sexy boy.

DREW McINTYRE: As much as I love Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart was always my No. 1, as far as I can remember. I’m not saying that Michaels wasn’t a close second, but Bret was always No. 1.

TED DIBIASE: Bret Hart was one of my favorites, other than my dad, for the longest time. One day, I was sitting front row and he gave me the glasses. I still have them actually, which is pretty cool.

JOHN MORRISON: Growing up, I was a huge fan of Shawn Michaels. He was the only bad guy I liked as a kid. 

The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation – World Tag Team Championship Match
Who was on the better tag team?

Before they broke out as singles stars, both The Hit Man and Michaels established themselves in the tag team division as members of The Hart Foundation and The Rockers, respectively. Alongside the powerful Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Hart captured the World Tag Team Championships on two occasions, and rumbled with legendary teams like Demolition and The British Bulldogs. HBK and his partner, Marty Jannetty, never won the titles, but gained legions of fans with their cocky attitudes and flashy offense. The team may best be remembered, though, for their breakup, which saw Michaels send his longtime friend through a plate-glass window.

McINTYRE: They were both equally innovative, but I’m going to go with The Hart Foundation since they actually held the titles officially. That gives them the edge, but they were both awesome tag teams.

BETH PHOENIX: The Rockers were definitely more fun and upbeat, but The Hart Foundation appealed to me more, because they had the technical style and the colorfulness of Jimmy Hart. They had a way of making sure the job got done by any means necessary.

DIBIASE: I’m going to have to say The Rockers. I just loved watching them come out every time they were on TV.  It was electric and a lot of fun to watch.

RYDER: Definitely The Rockers. The Hart Foundation were the bad guys beating up The Rockers, so I was always going for Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty and I always aspired to be just like them.

JOHN CENA: I prefer me and Shawn Michaels. We were the World Tag Team Champions — it’s in the book!

 Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart - WrestleMania XII's WWE Iron Man Match
Who had the better finishing maneuver?

Like any great Superstar, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart built their reputations around their finishing maneuvers. For HBK, it was Sweet Chin Music — a devastating thrust kick that the WWE Hall of Famer executed out of nowhere to destroy opponents like Triple H and Chris Jericho. The Excellence of Execution favored the Sharpshooter, a wrenching submission hold that was later adopted by a myriad of competitors, including The Rock and Hart’s niece, Natalya.

CENA: I haven’t been on the wrong side of The Sharpshooter, but if you’re on the wrong side of Sweet Chin Music, by the time you wake up you’ve already lost.

EVAN BOURNE: That’s easy — The Sharpshooter. The technical prowess it takes to put on a Sharpshooter?  Lock it in and make your opponent give up? I know how to kick, but can I put on a Sharpshooter and make somebody tap? I don’t think so.

McINTYRE: The Sharpshooter. I used that bad boy so many times on people. And I could apply it perfectly — unlike The Rock. 

RYDER: Sweet Chin Music can come out of nowhere, but I feel like a lot of people throw a similar kick. That Sharpshooter, once Bret Hart has it hooked on, that’s it. 

CURT HAWKINS: How about the HBK elbow drop? 

WADE BARRETT: Sharpshooter. I’ve always liked that style of move where you can pose for photographs while it’s happening.

DIBIASE: I have been kicked in the chin quite a few times by Shawn, so I am going to have to pick Sweet Chin Music, because it hurts.

PHOENIX: Sharpshooter by far, because with Sweet Chin Music there are many counters, but The Sharpshooter is one of those holds that you rarely ever saw countered. Once it was locked in, it was always the tap out. 

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