Bret Hart Categories Modern: Asuka, Okada, more

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had one of these, but I thought it was time to start back up on this series and get some opinions flowing on the wrestlers of today and yesteryear. We are starting off with a look at some of our contemporary competitors!

For those who have forgotten, the “Bret Hart Categories” are based on something The Hitman himself said once: there are three measurements for each professional wrestler to stand again – how they look, how they wrestle, and their inherent charisma.

So with that in mind, I take a look at three or four talents per article and decide what I would score them out of ten in each category and then give them a cumulative to see how they measure up all time.

Ready to get back to it? Let’s go!


SummerSlam: Asuka's journey to defend two titles at WWE show - Sports  Illustrated

ASUKA

STEW’S THOUGHTS

LOOK: 8/10

CHARISMA: 9/10

RINGWORK: 8/10

THOUGHTS: 25/30

I’m biased. Either Asuka or Sasha Banks is my favorite women’s wrestler of all time, and both float right around my top ten favorite wrestlers ever. So obviously, I think Asuka is the cat’s pajamas.

When it comes to look, I mean… Asuka is striking in pretty much any iteration. The hair, the face paint. And then you see her old evil clown stuff, and that’s legitimately nightmare-inducing. So Asuka hits hard in one of the biggest ways to break down look: she is HIGHLY memorable. You aren’t going to forget her after you’ve seen her. Her build is fine and relatively average for a female talent, but she scores damn near off the chart elsewhere, so… an 8. I’m fine with that.

She is as charismatic in America as someone with limited English could ever be. Remember the Performance Center era early in COVID before WWE started drowning us in pumped-in noise with The Thunderdome? Asuka was one of the MVPs of that timeframe because she was so damn bombastic. On commentary, hanging out with Kairi Sane, yelling relentlessly at her opponents during matches… she did it all to make the eerie quiet a bit more radiant. And she understands how to use her physicality to get reactions, too. Asuka is a master’s class in having charisma across language barriers.

Finally, an 8 in Skill is PERHAPS too high for Asuka, but there’s no denying she is, at worst, a very good pro wrestler. She’s had great matches in WWE against Bayley, Ember Moon, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte. When put in the ring with other stars, she can create masterworks. She’s not the best at elevating mediocre opposition, but she doesn’t sink against them, either. So I’m holding at an 8.


AEW: Sammy Guevara is finally coming into his own as a character

SAMMY GUEVARA

STEW’S THOUGHTS

LOOK: 3/10

CHARISMA: 6/10

RINGWORK: 8.5/10

THOUGHTS: 17.5/30

Score be damned, I’m actually a big fan of Sammy’s, partially because he seems like a guy who used to be a punk kid who said and did dumb punk kid shit (see: what he said about Sasha Banks), but has actually matured and shown heavy contrition for his past. I have a soft spot for people who appear to genuinely grow and not double down on their idiocy. It’s surprisingly hard to find.

That said, a 3 is almost GENEROUS for Sammy in look. He’s handsome, if a bit goofy looking, but he is an ITTY BITTY GUY. He looks like he’s seventeen years old! For as much as I dig Sammy now, when I started watching AEW, it took me a while to distinguish him from other guys. I’m admittedly VERY BAD at scoring Looks–so many folks seem to be a 9-10 or 5 or less–but it’s hard to imagine this Spanish God going much higher.

Charisma seems a bit hard to gauge for Sammy. He’s slightly above average (5/10) for me, but not really a star yet. He’s not stunted or uncomfortable on the mic, but he’s not a guy who tears a house down when he talks, either. Serviceable here and getting better.

The last category is where Guevara really excels. He’s freakishly athletic and not afraid to do anything. Is he a bit spot-heavy? Uhhh… more than a bit, actually. But his matches are entertaining as hell, and he can go against any type of foe, adjusting as he needs to. This is another area he’s always improving, and I could see him crossing into the 9+ territory by the time he’s at his peak.


Kazuchika Okada: NJPW is Far Superior to WWE | 411MANIA

KAZUCHIKA OKADA

STEW’S THOUGHTS

LOOK: 6.5/10

CHARISMA: 8/10

RINGWORK: 10/10

THOUGHTS: 24.5/30

Let’s get the Ringwork right out of the way here: I think Okada is the best in the world currently, and has been for probably five or six years. He makes everyone look fantastic. Are his matches a bit formulaic at a point? And does he have, like, the two worst finishers this side of The Judas Effect? Yes. Undoubtedly. But his ability to elevate opponents and create drama are unmatched. The guy is a star in the ring who just gets every aspect of what wrestling is.

Okay, that out of the way, you’ve got a guy who is somewhat striking looking, too. Awesome hair. Handsome. Good physique. He’s not a monster or anything, but he’s a bit better than The Average Wrestler in terms of appearance.

I’m not going to lie; Charisma for a guy who only wrestles in a foreign land is harder for me to judge. But he connects with the fans! And his physical charisma (facial expressions, movement) are high caliber. Okada might give the worst promos on Earth as far as I know, but… it seems unlikely.


And that’s it for our welcome back after a few months off on the BHC! As always, I’m looking for two things:

-What would YOU score Sammy, Asuka, and Kazuchika?

-And who do you want to see me do in the future?

So let me know in the comments!

And until next time… take care!

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