And then, there were two… Time to settle this bracket and determine for all time who is the greatest WWE World Champion ever!
The Final Four matches saw some hotly contested bouts, and left us with an intriguing revisiting of one of the most important rivalries to the timeline of WWE’s progression between eras.
It felt like a toss-up in both matches, and the result is a clash of two champions who couldn’t be any more different in terms of character work, strengths, standing and treatment by WWE historically, and (pun intended) attitude.
Scroll below to see the results of the Final Four, and to vote on the Finals
(Voting is from April 24th- April 29th)
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FINAL FOUR RESULTS
This was almost a really easy piece of analysis for me to write. It looked like we were going to get the Attitude Era WrestleMania rematch, and all I had to do was link out to the Limp Bizkit “My Way” promo for Rock and Austin.
But then, Bret Hart came through! The Hitman posed an impressive 64% of the vote against The Rock. Say what you will about Bret’s acting chops in comparison to The Rock, but when it comes to being a professional wrestler, full stop, Bret was undeniable.
In the match-that-never-was, CM Punk’s road through the bracket came to a stop. He had defeated large monsters like Bruno and Brock, but it was the man who’s character Punk based much of his voice on (and who in gimmick terms is very much his antithesis) who got the win.
#3 BRET HART vs. #2 STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
It’s impossible not to think back to their classic WrestleMania 13 match, where in a losing effort Steve Austin really “won” in that a double-turn took place. Bret Hart came in the undisputed good-guy babyface champ and Austin the typical brash heel. But through no change in their character choices, the audience over the course of the match shifted their tastes about what makes a good guy good and a bad guy bad, and the table was set for the Attitude Era.
The next year, Bret Hart had severed ties with the WWF in the ugliest way possible. Steve Austin, meanwhile, was the biggest crossover star on the planet, winning his first World Title against Shawn Michaels with Mike Tyson in the wings. The tragedy of these two titans of the sport was that within the next three years both of their bodies would be broken. Bret Hart never recovered from a concussion at the hands of Goldberg, leaving his WCW tenure short and disappointing. Steve Austin started his World Title reign by holding it for 181 days (with a one day World Title reign by Kane right in the middle of it), but then was forced to vacate it to injury. Austin would win the title a few more times in the Attitude Era, but they were always shortened due to injury and the one-time workhorse’s in-ring moveset was crippled.
But this is the glory, the joy, of this fictional title unification bracket. We can live in a world where these two men, arguably the best two wrestlers to ever live, can regain the title and hold it in perpetuity. Free of the negative effects of father time.
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