wrestling / Columns

The Bret Hart Categories: Bryan Danielson, Pentagon Jr., Alexa Bliss

July 5, 2022 | Posted by Rob Stewart
AEW Dynamite Grand Slam Kenny Omega Bryan Danielson Image Credit: AEW/Twitter

I am just WILDLY UNFOCUSED these day, and I have about a dozen irons in the fire any given moment, but it’s been a hot minute since I talked about The Bret Hart Categories! So I thought I’d bring in a few more of those for you to enjoy today.

As a reminder of course, because this IS the Internet: This is all in fun! Just something we were doing with some of the contributors over on my own site, SWO Productions. Your thoughts on the men and women listed below WILL BE DIFFERENT than mine, and that’s rad as hell! I just want two things from you:

First, tell me what YOU’D rate these folks and why! Get the comments section going!

And second, let me know who you’d like to see me rate in future articles. I’ll be honest… if it’s not WWE, AEW, or NJPW, it’s probably not my best wheelhouse, but I can always try my best. And I am happy to do classic or modern talent!

So without further ado…

Image Credit: AEW



LOOK: 7.5



THOUGHTS: I am a big fan of Pentagon and his hundred names (Look, I can never keep track of what he is going by, so for the sake of ease, I’m just referring to him as Pentagon. I clearly mean the guy in AEW currently and formerly a Lucha Underground champion). I gave him the same score I previously gave BRET HART, for god’s sake. But he does have a great look; his whole get-up is very striking, and it even allows for subterfuge, with guys like Jericho wearing it on occasion to get the jump on others. His stature and build scream “average”, but you dress him up like that? Yeah, great look.

Pentagon has a really powerful innate charisma–and a tremendous catchphrase–without really being a strong “promo guy”. I honestly, as a fan of LU and AEW, can’t really recall any specific speaking moment he’s ever had. But his physical charisma is powerful, and he really comes off as a vicious monster as a heel.

Ringwork is obviously a strength of Penta’s, and I think he is one of the very best in a company that has Kenny Omega and others. He can do really talented lucha shit, or he can get in there and just have a nauseatingly brutal hardcore match. He really puts his body on the line however he needs to to sell his matches. He is remarkably crisp, too.

So all in all… 22/30 feels high for Penta, but he is a well-rounded talent who I don’t see as even an 8.5 in any single regard. Everything about him is good, if not amazing.


Image Credit: AEW






THOUGHTS: It really is just the Look that holds Bryan down, as it’s a strange guy who makes Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit look like goliaths. Still, I can’t go any lower than a 3 because full bearded Bryan is so memorable, and his beard even became such a part of who he is. But man, Ring of Honor Bryan Danielson? Early WWE DB? That guy was a solid 1/10 in Look. Thankfully he found an appearance he could hang his hat on.

I feel INCREDIBLY BIASED giving Danielson a 10 in Charisma–Bryan is my favorite wrestler ever–but if he hadn’t been injured in the wake of Wrestlemania 30, he was genuinely bordering on Hogan/Austin/Rock/Cena levels of recognizability. He could have been one of the true all-time greats if he hadn’t lost so many prime years. As it is, you still have a guy who can pull of being truly despicable as a heel OR a beloved underdog babyface. Think about it: the guy who was universally adored and whose return to action was so heart-warming, took LESS THAN A YEAR from his return to go villainous, and fans bought it!

As for in-ring talent, Bryan is one of the true elite ever. He has the perfect blend of selling, story-telling, and athleticism. He has some fierce moves that look absolutely fantastic, and he just has the kind of built-in How To Make A Match Work ability that is unteachable. He is very much like Bret Hart himself in that he is a guy to whom wrestling is second nature. Or, hell, first nature.

That puts the American Dragon at 23/30, which feels completely appropriate for a guy who should have been a bigger deal if not for tragic luck, and who is basically a 10+ in two separate categories.


Image Credit: WWE



LOOK: 7.5



THOUGHTS: It’s always so damn hard to judge women’s wrestlers on Look because, honestly, so much of it comes down to beauty, which feels pig-ish to rate. That said, Alex Bliss is absolutely breathtaking. She looks like she was birthed in a lab somewhere to be the perfect pixie of a woman. She genuinely has no flaws. Add to that some really inspired ring attire and hair/makeup choices that just make her even more memorable (her classic Freddy Krueger get-up, or her Harley Quinn hair colors), and she feels like she’s so close to a high score. Why just a 7.5 then? Because even in the women’s ranks, Bliss is unbelievably petite, and her beating anyone without dirty tactics is hard to swallow.

Charisma has always been Alexa’s strong suit, and it’s what kept her relevant in the Women’s Revolution era where so many of her contemporaries were objectively better wrestlers. Alexa is a natural heel, and her diminutive appearance gives her the feeling of an aggressively yapping dog who swears it can take down a doberman. Alexa’s promos have BITE to them, and she can honestly come across as this awful person who doesn’t recognize her own short-comings, but will blister everyone else with theirs. And when she had a slow burn babyface turn by teaming with Nikki Cross, she believably came across as rehabilitated and sweet.

A 4 in Ringwork might be a bit low for Alexa, but I wanted to keep her out of the 20’s overall because we seem to be flooding that range with characters. Bliss is O-K in the ring, but it’s clearly her weakest area. She sells well, but doesn’t wrestle to her size. She lacks the fluidity that others in modern women’s wrestling have.

So that puts Little Miss Bliss at a 19.5 out of 30, a highly respectable score for a woman who has, deservedly, anchored entire women’s divisions as the hateable heel who needs to get her comeuppance.

And that’s it for now; three modern talents since the first in this series looked at some retired greats. I’ll probably bounce back and forth between Classics and Moderns going forward, so… we’ll see how that goes.

Thanks for reading; I hope you appreciate this series!

Until next time… take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your mental health!