Saying that any match has to constrict itself to some narrow-minded view of a completely worked stipulation because that's how you would like the stipulation to be worked is totally ignoring the characters and context. That's just not how wrestling should be viewed because it's not how it is created or presented, especially in America but it is certainly like this in Japan as well. All those AJPW classics would be almost inconsequential if they weren't part of a larger story.
You're doing this all wrong, especially when it comes to a master like Bret Hart, whose entire career was to build nuance on top of his previous masterpiece. The submission stipulation here is so much more important than any mat work could ever be. Bret beat Austin by pinfall by countering Austin's submission finisher and Hart himself was known for the sharpshooter. Austin antagonized Hart for months and the two had a heated feud. They had no interest in seeing who the better mat wrestler was, that time had passed. The submission stip allowed for a situation where there were no disqualifications with a special referee a legit submission specialist. Austin couldn't lose by pinfall this time and there would be no excuses in Hart's mind and Shamrock wouldn't stop it until there was a winner. Austin, totally in character, didn't care and just wanted to beat Hart into submission. They had a helluva fight, which is exactly what needed to happen, and go home with the greatest finish in the history of the business.
WWE presents itself as a weekly episodic TV series and viewing it in any other context is just completely irrelevant. You're missing out. You're cherry-picking episodes of prestige TV when you should be binging the entire season.
There are a million Volk Han matches I love that almost no one will ever care about because there is nothing there beyond the work. And they're all amazing in the way a lot of world art house cinema is in terms of technique and delivery. But Austin-Hart is Pulp Fiction and it absolutely changed the game on every level. It's like calling Pulp Fiction a bad movie since it's not really a noir crime drama as much as it is a dark comedy. Who cares?