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WWE.COM article - The greatest technical wrestlers ever.


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There has been a lot of talk on this site before about who is a great technical wrestler (usually in a debate to explain why Bret Hart is more of a power/brawler than a technician).

 

WWE.COM has an article up to discuss who they feel are the greatest technical wrestlers in the company's history, although it is from June 2012, so may be out of date now.

 

"A great technical wrestler is somebody who dedicates his time and energy to learning every nuance of why a hold hurts and how to apply it correctly to get the most benefit out of it,” the British master said. “It’s somebody that is never happy with the knowledge that they have and is always trying to come up with better ways to execute a hold.”

 

So who made the list? The elite, according to the website, are -:

 

  • Daniel Bryan (with William Regal explaining why)
  • Dynamite Kid (with Tyson Kidd explaining why)
  • Dean Malenko (with Billy Kidman explaining why)
  • Bret Hart (with Natalya explaining why)
  • William Regal (with Daniel Bryan explaining why)
  • Mr. Perfect (with Curtis Axel explaining why)
  • Eddie Guerrero (with Dean Malenko explaining why)
  • Bob Backlund (with Matt Striker explaining why)

 

They also have a list of the 14 greatest technical matches and it goes like this -:

 

 

  • Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. Owen Hart: WrestleMania X
  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle - WWE Championship Match: WrestleMania XX
  • Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio - Cruiserweight Championship Match: Great American Bash 1996
  • Daniel Bryan vs. William Regal: WWE Superstars, November 10, 2011
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. "Lord" Steven Regal: Fall Brawl 1993 - WCW World Television Championship Match
  • The Dynamite Kid vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage: The Wrestling Classic
  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko: Best 2-out-of-3-Falls Match - August 26, 1995
  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko: Best 2-out-of-3-Falls Match - August 26, 1995
  • Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog: SummerSlam 1992 - Intercontinental Championship Match
  • Daniel Bryan vs. Tyson Kidd: Smackdown
  • Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund - WWE Championship Towel Match: Survivor Series 1994
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage: December 7, 1985
  • Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. Mr. Perfect: SummerSlam 1991 - Intercontinental Championship Match
  • Tiger Mask vs. Curt Henning: Junior Heavyweight Championship Match - All Star Wrestling, November 27, 1982
  • Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart - WrestleMania XII's WWE Iron Man Match

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Wasn't Hennig quite the technician when in the AWA? I don't really have the in depth knowledge you have JR but I do seem to remember him being technically sound in the old AWA Matches I saw. I think against Nick Bickwinckel. Either way I'm a sad face as your description seems to quite under sell our Curt :lol
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And that right there is why I love you............ well that and the lulz :lol

 

But yeah I suppose, I get Me Redman's point on Mr Perfect I just also believe when against the right guy he was technically brilliant. The Curt Hennig to Mr Perfect theory works too, I think when he he was the over acting bumper to an extent depending on opponent but when he was (rarely too) Face he showed his technical ability tio

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Brets list of moves:

 

Punch, kick, head butt, elbow from middle rope, stomp to the groin, clothesline, running falling clothesline, Russian leg sweep, inverted atomic drop, back breaker, drop kick, pile driver, flying cross body, sharpshooter. Apart from his finish there's no technical moves in his routine. Literally none unless you consider his various transitional head locks as technical wrestling and in that case, Randy Orton is a top notch technical wrestler.

 

Lets not forget, he used to like to bite people too on the middle rope. The ever technical bite to the face.

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Yeah, and I'm basically making the same point about Mr Perfect. As Mr Perfect he didn't really do technical moves or trade holds. He had a normal set of signature moves, and mainly bumped around like a lunatic. Over bumping isn't really technical wrestling.

 

He was probably more technical pre-WWF, but still not to the point where you call him one of the greatest technical wrestlers ever. And let's be real, WWE.com aren't exactly talking about his AWA run. He's on the list because like Belty said, he was a small guy for his time and mechanically sound.

 

Also, I watched the Steamboat/Savage '85 match and it was pretty good. Not really a technical wrestling match either, since it consisted of multiple instances of ringside brawling, perfunctory arm work that went nowhere, and a dirty finish. But as a match in general, it was good stuff.

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People consider Bret to be 'technical' and not a brawler because of how the sequence of moves told a story. I'm not quite sure what story it told, but there you go. I think an apt description would be a methodical brawler. He picked a body part, wore it down and then slapped on the Sharpshooter and went home to swim in his pool with Sunny. He's not Bruiser Brody, for example, but he's not a Dean Malenko or anything.
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People consider Bret to be 'technical' and not a brawler because of how the sequence of moves told a story

 

I agree, I think it has to do with the way he excuted the moves inside the ring he was very smooth an in the ring a very good wrestler who have good to great matches, i don't think its due to his technical moves.

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Agree on the whole bret hart stuff. Owen was much more technically diverse in my opinion then bret ever was. I love that Dean Malenko finally makes any list because he is one of the greatest technicians of all time.

 

I don't know what everyones opinion of this but what about Tully Blanchard? He was the best pure wrestler of the horsemen and had some great matches with a host of guys in the 80s. I know the onlyt match that pops up normally in regards to him is the cage match with Magnum T.A. but his talent goes much farther than that. Damn shame he couldn't kick the cocaine.

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We all know there's one missing here who might just beat everyone on the list, but it's no surprise he's been left out.

 

And in addition to Kurt Angle there's no Chris Benoit either.

 

Punch, kick, head butt, elbow from middle rope, stomp to the groin, clothesline, running falling clothesline, Russian leg sweep, inverted atomic drop, back breaker, drop kick, pile driver, flying cross body, sharpshooter. Apart from his finish there's no technical moves in his routine. Literally none unless you consider his various transitional head locks as technical wrestling and in that case, Randy Orton is a top notch technical wrestler.

 

I can tell you from experience (detailed in a Wrestling101 blog) that Bret's longer matches had him use the KNEEBAR a lot as a set up to the sharpshooter. To be fair Bret did have a variety of moves that worked the legs over, the ringpost figure four comes to mind as well.

Edited by Chris2K
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I don't know what everyones opinion of this but what about Tully Blanchard? He was the best pure wrestler of the horsemen and had some great matches with a host of guys in the 80s. I know the onlyt match that pops up normally in regards to him is the cage match with Magnum T.A. but his talent goes much farther than that. Damn shame he couldn't kick the cocaine.

 

Tully was class and a super worker, him and Arn were a fantastic team.He did kick the coke, he's a preacher now.

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We all know there's one missing here who might just beat everyone on the list, but it's no surprise he's been left out.

 

And in addition to Kurt Angle there's no Chris Benoit either.

 

Since you mention him, I think Angle is the Bret of the 00s in terms of the "fake technical wrestler" theory. I mean, Christ, the guy is a legit Olympic wrestler, his GIMMICK is that he's a legit Olympic wrestler, and yet he rarely ever uses holds or trades them in a meaningful way, and in the vast majority of his matches uses the same 'punch - kick - stomp' method of offense as everyone else.

 

But hey, he has the Ankle Lock for a finish.

 

On the point about performing moves smoothly and transitioning well and telling a story in the ring as justification for the Bret tag, I think there begins to be a schism between two definitions of 'technical wrestler'. One seems to mean a style of wrestling, akin to brawling or high flying, that involves matwork, using a lot of holds, chain wrestling and body part work. The other seems to mean "someone who is technically/mechanically sound", and is more about having good matches and executing moves well, without those moves necessarily being technical. The Bret Argument, I guess. But to be honest I am much more using the former definition. Or else you kind of end up with a scenario where "technical wrestler" is synonymous with "best wrestler", but in a way that seems to exclude guys who work definitively different styles that people wouldn't associate with the word "technical". Where you get someone like say a Steve Austin (picking a name out of the sky) who is just as mechanically sound and good at performing moves and putting a match together as a Bret Hart, but nobody who is justifying Bret the Technical Wrestler on account of his execution would call Austin a "technical wrestler" even if he has equally good execution, because they'd see Austin as a brawler. But if it doesn't matter if Bret didn't do technical moves, why does it matter for Austin or anyone else?

 

In the end, it is all about perception. A technical wrestler is whoever you want to think is a technical wrestler.

Edited by Jimmy Redman
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yet he rarely ever uses holds or trades them in a meaningful way,

 

I don't think that's true. He uses plenty of holds and move transitions in his matches. The amount of unique reversals he does when his opponent attempts a move is impressive too.

 

One of the best technical wrestlers I've seen.

Edited by Jamster26
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I wouldnt go that far. By that logic, if somebody perceives and wants to think the Warlord was a technical wrestler, that makes him one when he very obviously wasnt...that doesnt make any sense.

 

No of course, I didn't phrase that well enough, but I'm saying that perception is definitely a part of it.

 

I don't think that's true. He uses plenty of holds and move transitions in his matches. The amount of unique reversals he does when his opponent attempts a move is impressive too.

 

One of the best technical wrestlers I've seen.

 

What unique holds and reversals does he do though? Honest question. He does a lot of "roll from X move into the Ankle Lock" spots, but by that token Randy Orton is a technical wrestler because he counters lots of moves into the RKO.

 

Anytime I see Angle wrestle he works exactly the same as everyone else, fundamentally. He punches, forearms, kicks, stomps to get ahead, brawling tactics. He rarely ever works the leg to set up the Ankle Lock. What he does is throw a million different suplexes, which makes him more akin to Scott Steiner than a mat technician. Maybe I'm watching the wrong matches (and by all means, point me to the right ones), but Angle doesn't really work much technical stuff in the ring unless the match gimmick is that they're having a technical match. But I'm talking in an average match.

Edited by Jimmy Redman
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i went back to the best year in WWF history, 1997, to look for a Bret Hart match vs. The Patriot. Instead, I found this from Raw Is War vs. Ken Shamrock. It's actually a far better example of The Bret Argument.

 

[video=youtube;zA9xh4mOp0U]

 

Both men have leg-based submission finishers, both have a long mat-based history (Bret trained by Stu in the dungeon, Shamrock a wrestler and then an MMA fighter and then a wrestler again), and both were considered at the time to be very similar workers. And if you notice, both work with punches and kicks a lot, and lots of strikes to the body part with the occasional twist or hold. There's a strong mix of styles in there, but never a complete British wrestling-style use of slow, bone wrenching holds or transitions. It's a cross between holds and brawling, but even the brawling tells a story. There is a reason for everything. Every punch, every kick, even the DDTs and hurricanranas, they are in there to wear the opponent down for a particular reason at a particular time. That is why Bret gets a good reputation as a wrestler, even if it's misappropriated as the second coming of Johnny Saint. Lord knows I'd take ten of Bret right now, talent-wise.

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