Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be. When you look at that catchphrase, you think of some snobby heel who can’t get enough of themselves, but true wrestling fans know, truer words were never spoken.
Bret Hart is probably the greatest technical wrestler and in-ring performer of all time, he’s probably the greatest wrestler of all time, period.
So, it’s only fitting that the greatest in-ring technician of all time would have a submission as his finishing move, and what a submission it is.
Fun fact, Bret Hart didn’t create the sharpshooter, it actually existed before he started using it.
It was created by Japanese wrestler Riki Choshu, and it was called sasori-gatame, which means scorpion hold. WCW legend Sting used it before Hart and he called it the Scorpion Death Lock.
But guess what the submission hold is commonly referred to as today? That’s right, the Sharpshooter.
Guess who’s associated the most with the hold? That’s right, it’s the Excellence of Execution, Bret Hart.
This is one of the most famous cases of a wrestler making a move their own. Bret Hart was the biggest hero and the most over babyface in the 90s until he eventually turned heel, and he was brilliant at that too. The Sharpshooter was his trusted weapon and he put away countless opponents and won many titles with it.
The Sharpshooter, at least the Hitman’s version, was a lethal move that only a handful of wrestlers ever got out of.
Hart also used the finisher to tell beautiful stories in the ring, like when Owen Hart put him in the hold as they were brothers and they both would’ve known how to do it, and then Bret reversed it to lock in his own Sharpshooter to make Owen tap out. And who can forget that legendary finish of the Mania 13 match with Steve Austin?
Also, the hold on its own is a visual spectacle. It’s a hybrid of the two-legged Boston Crab and the Texas Cloverleaf, two very good submissions in their own right, and the fans can also relate to the pain as the victim’s back is clearly bent in an awkward way.
So many wrestlers have used the sharpshooter in matches, and it’s always great to see the move.
Some use it for a pop, some may use it to pay homage, Shawn Michaels used it to get heat because that’s all he’s ever going to get from it, Natalya uses it as her finisher.
Sting is another notable wrestler who had the submission as his finisher, but he used a standing variant of it, it never looked as seamless and natural as Bret’s.
Bret Hart has created a legacy that’d last forever, including the significance of the Sharpshooter. It truly is, like many of Bret’s matches, a masterpiece.