legend of professional wrestling
Steamboat VS Bret "Hitman" Hart
Legends of Wrestling Game - IGN
Hart may return to WWE, according to numerous
pro wrestling newsletters and media reports, negotiations
have occurred - October 2009
Sergeant Hart (born July 2, 1957) is a retired
Canadian professional wrestler and part of the
Hart wrestling family. In the course of his career,
he is best known by his ring name Bret "Hitman"
Hart. He also used the monikers "The Excellence
of Execution" (originally dubbed as such
by Gorilla Monsoon), "The Hart Foundation"
(primarily while teamed with Jim Neidhart) and
perhaps the most resounding, "The best there
is, the best there was, and the best there ever
will be" (derived from the 1984 film The
Natural, which starred Robert Redford). Hart justifies
this last moniker through three claims: He never
injured an opponent through any fault of his own;
through the entire course of his career he only
missed two shows (both as a result of traffic
and flight difficulties); and he rarely refused
to job (lose a scripted match). Hart was widely
regarded as one of the most popular and gifted
technical professional wrestlers of his generation.
was a seven-time world champion through his career
in World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling
Federation: a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion
and a five-time WWF Champion. Additionally in
WWF, he was the 1991 and 1993 King of the Ring,
and the 1994 Royal Rumble co-winner. Hart was
inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by
Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Hart was born in Calgary, Alberta, the eighth
child of wrestling patriarch and promoter Stu
Hart. His seven brothers were either wrestlers
or involved backstage with the wrestling business;
his four sisters all married professional wrestlers.
Three of his brothers-in-law, the Dynamite Kid,
Davey Boy Smith, and Jim Neidhart, had very successful
careers in the business. His youngest brother,
Owen Hart, became a decorated wrestler in his
own right before his death in 1999.
terms of in-ring ability, Hart is known for his
fluid technical skills and agility. Once labeled
"the greatest storyteller in the history
of the business" by Vince McMahon, he was
adept at creating tense and entertaining matches.
Mean Gene Okerlund has also placed him in the
top five best technical wrestlers of all time.
introduction to professional wrestling came at
an incredibly early age. As a child, he witnessed
his father training with future wrestling stars
like Billy Graham in the Dungeon, his household
basement which served as possibly the most notorious
training room in the world of wrestling. Before
school, Hart's father, also a wrestling promoter,
would have him hand out flyers to local wrestling
shows. At Ernest Manning High School, Hart would
gain experience in the amateur wrestling division.
Despite being "skin and bones," as Hart
refers to his teenage physique, he won significant
championships. This would later offer credibility
to his career in professional wrestling as being
legit. However, rather than directly following
his father's foot steps, Hart pursued a college
Stampede Wrestling (1976-1984)
enrolled in Mount Royal College with aspirations
of becoming a director. At the age of 19, however,
Hart began working for his father's Stampede Wrestling
promotion in Calgary, with his father serving
as his manager for a time. Hart first began helping
the promotion by refereeing matches, but at one
fateful event, a wrestler was unable to perform
his match. This forced Stu to request his son
stand in as a replacement, paving the way for
Hart's very first match in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Before long, he became a regular contender, eventually
partnering with brother Keith to win the Tag Team
Championship four times. Earlier on, however,
he was still unsure he wanted to make a career
of professional wrestling and continually contemplated
would gain some of his most prominent experience
with Japanese combatants Mr. Hito and Mr. Sakurada,
later praising them as his most significant trainers.
And before long, Hart was amazing crowds with
his high-impact matches against the Dynamite Kid.
In the midst of wrestling alongside his brothers
and even his aging father, Hart made a point not
to ride on the shoulders of his elder as other
sons of promoters have. Hart faithfully jobbed
as requested of him, taking pride in the believability
of his performances. As he said himself, "no
one could take a shit kicking like Bret Hart."
he dreaded doing interviews and speaking in front
of a crowd, Hart went on to win the promotion's
top titles including two British Commonwealth
Mid-Heavyweight Championships, five International
Tag Team Championships, and six North American
Heavyweight Championships. Hart also wrestled
the famous Tiger Mask in New Japan Pro Wrestling
and remained one of Stampede's most successful
performers until the promotion, along with several
wrestlers, was acquired by the World Wrestling
Federation in August 1984.
World Wrestling Federation (1984-1997)
Hart started out in the WWF with a cowboy gimmick
but soon requested that it be dropped. He made
his first televised WWF debut in August 1984,
in a tag team match where he teamed with his friend
the Dynamite Kid.
1985, he was eventually partnered up with Jim
Neidhart to build the promotion's tag team division.
The duo were originally a heel team managed by
"The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart
and actually wore blue and black, as opposed to
the more recognizable pink and black color scheme
which they adopted during 1986. The team was known
as The Hart Foundation due to the similar last
names of both team members and their manager.
Bret and Jim made their WrestleMania debut at
WrestleMania 2 where they participated in a 20-man
battle royal which was won by André the
Giant. Bret's agile, technical style created an
intriguing contrast with his partner Neidhart's
strength and brawling skills.
rose to fame in the WWF in the mid 1980s, and
the Hart Foundation won the WWF Tag Team Championship
twice. Eventually, they turned face and adopted
the nickname "The Pink and Black Attack."
Their most notable feuds were with the British
Bulldogs, The Fabulous Rougeaus, Strike Force,
The Rockers, and Demolition. Their first reign
started on the January 26, 1987 edition of Superstars
when they defeated the British Bulldogs to win
the titles. They went on to lose the titles to
Strike Force on the October 27 edition of Superstars.
SummerSlam 1990, the Hart Foundation began their
second reign by defeating Demolition members Crush
and Smash in a two out of three falls match with
some help from the Legion of Doom.On October 30,
the Hart Foundation lost the titles to The Rockers
(Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels) in a very
controversial match. A few days later, President
Jack Tunney returned the titles to the Hart Foundation
because the decision had been reversed due to
a rope coming off of the turnbuckle during the
match and the win was never acknowledged on television.
The Hart Foundation's reign lasted from August
27, 1990 to March 24, 1991.
a loss to The Nasty Boys at WrestleMania VII,
the Foundation split and Hart went on to pursue
a singles career which would become very successful.
He won his first WWF Intercontinental Championship
by defeating Mr. Perfect with the Sharpshooter
at SummerSlam 1991. Hart was then placed
in a feud with the Mountie. This feud came about
when the Mountie's manager, Jimmy Hart, threw
water on Hart. Then the Mountie proceeded to shock
Hart with a cattle prod.
Hart lost the WWF Intercontinental Championship
to The Mountie, he was supposedly suffering from
a fever; however, this was a work to protect his
character when he lost the title. In reality,
Hart was booked to lose the title because his
current contract was expiring. Following the loss,
Roddy Piper defeated Mountie with a sleeper hold
at the 1992 Royal Rumble, and Bret would later
pin "The Rowdy One" for his second Intercontinental
Championship at WrestleMania VIII later that same
July 1992, Hart defeated Shawn Michaels in what
was the first ever ladder match in the World Wrestling
Federation. While many remember Michaels as the
main innovator of the ladder match due to his
later success in those matches, it was actually
Hart who won the first match of this type.
dropping the Intercontinental Championship to
his brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, in a match
at SummerSlam 1992 held before over 80,000 fans
at Wembley Stadium, Hart was elevated to main-event
status. He won the WWF Championship from Ric
Flair at Saskatchewan Place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
on October 12 of that year at a television taping,
in a match never broadcast on WWF TV. The
match was only available on a Coliseum Video release.
Many believe that not airing this match hurt Hart's
early status with the fans, because up until this
win, he was not seen as a main event wrestler.
Hart dislocated one of the fingers on his right
hand during the match and popped it back in himself
so it would not affect the rest of the match.
Hart became the sixteenth man to win the WWF Championship,
the first Canadian, and the second WWE Triple
Crown winner (the first being Pedro Morales).
went on to defend the title against contenders
such as Papa Shango, Shawn Michaels, and
Razor Ramon before losing the title to Yokozuna
at WrestleMania IX after interference from Mr.
Fuji. Mr. Fuji then challenged Hulk Hogan, who
had come out to help Bret Hart, to compete for
the title; Hogan then won his fifth WWF Championship
from Yokozuna. Shortly after, however, Hart
won the first Pay-Per-View King of the Ring tournament
in 1993, defeating Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect, and
Bam Bam Bigelow (prior King of the Ring tournaments
were just house show events). After being crowned
as the King of the Ring, Hart was attacked by
announcer Jerry "The King" Lawler. Lawler
claimed he was the rightful King and began a barrage
against Hart and his family. The feud culminated
in a match between the two at SummerSlam 1993,
where Hart originally won the match by submission,
via the Sharpshooter. Hart, however, would not
let go of the hold and the decision was reversed
to a Lawler victory by disqualification.
noted by Hart himself, the original plan for SummerSlam
was to pit WWF Champion Hulk Hogan against Hart
in a colossal passing of the torch. Promotional
photos were even taken of the two playing tug
of war with the belt, but later on, anyone Hart
mentioned the plans to acted as though they did
not recall it. Instead, Hogan lost to Yokozuna
before leaving the WWF, with Hart reclaiming the
title much later.
was at this point that Bret Hart entered into
a feud with his younger brother, Owen Hart. For
the family-friendly WWF of the early 1990s, a
brother-versus-brother feud was edgy and the fans
responded well to it. The storyline involved Owen
becoming jealous of Bret. It began at Survivor
Series 1993, when the Harts (Bret, Owen, Bruce,
and Keith) took on Shawn Michaels (a last-minute
substitution for Lawler) and his knights. All
of the brothers survived the match except for
Owen, the only Hart family member eliminated.
Owen blamed Bret for his elimination and in the
weeks ahead, blamed Bret for holding him back.
Owen demanded a one-on-one match with Bret, which
Bret refused to do. In the storyline, Bret, along
with his parents, worked over the Christmas holidays
to reunite the family and to settle their rivalry.
Royal Rumble 1994, Bret and Owen took on The Quebecers
for the WWF Tag Team Championship. The referee
Tim White stopped the match after he considered
Bret unable to continue after he sustained a kayfabe
knee injury during the match. After the match,
Owen berated his brother for costing him a title
opportunity and attacked the injured knee, setting
the feud between the two. Later on, Hart managed
to participate and win the 1994 Royal Rumble match
but with controversy. Hart and Lex Luger were
the final two participants and the two were eliminated
over the top rope at the same time. Therefore,
both men were named co-winners of the 1994 Royal
Rumble match and received a title shot at WrestleMania
Bret had to also focus in his feud with Owen Hart.
Owen demanded a match against Bret which Bret
repeatedly refused. This situation was complicated
because of Bret co-winning the Royal Rumble. Jack
Tunney decided that both Hart and Luger would
get title shots at WrestleMania X, but were faced
with the possibility of wrestling two matches
at the event. Luger won a coin toss televised
on an edition of RAW and won the chance to face
Yokozuna first. If he had lost the toss, he
would have wrestled Crush before facing Yokozuna.
Under the rules set forth by Tunney, Bret was
required to wrestle Owen in the opening match
at WrestleMania. Owen won the match. Luger
would go on to face Bret if he had become the
champion, but he lost by disqualification,
and Yokozuna went on to fight Hart for the WWF
Championship in the main event. He defeated Yokozuna
for his second WWF Championship.
continued to feud with his brother Owen while
he also started feuding with Diesel. Bret's friend
and former tag team partner Jim Neidhart returned
to WWF and reunited with Bret. At King of the
Ring 1994, Bret defended the WWF Championship
against Diesel. When Bret was winning the match,
Shawn Michaels interfered on Diesel's behalf.
Diesel appeared close to victory after he delivered
a Jackknife Powerbomb yet before he could pin
Bret, Neidhart interfered. Diesel won by disqualification
but Hart retained his title. Neidhart turned on
Hart after leaving when Diesel and Michaels attacked
Hart following the match. At SummerSlam 1994,
Bret defended the WWF Championship against Owen
in a steel cage match. Bret successfully retained
eventually lost his WWF Championship at Survivor
Series 1994 in a submission match against Bob
Backlund where the manager of either competitor
(Davey Boy Smith for Bret, Owen Hart for Backlund)
would have to 'throw in the towel' for the wrestler
they were representing. When Bret was in Backlund's
Crossface Chickenwing and Davey Boy was (kayfabe)
knocked out, Owen persuaded his mother Helen to
throw in the towel for Bret, therefore giving
Backlund the championship victory. Bret's
feud with Backlund would continue at WrestleMania
XI where he would defeat Backlund in another submission
match when special guest referee 'Rowdy' Roddy
Piper would misconstrue Backlund's grunting while
Bret locked him in his own Crossface Chickenwing
as a submission victory for Hart.
would then go after Diesel's WWF Championship
in 1995. After their match at the Royal Rumble
was continually marred by outside interference,
Bret won his third WWF Championship at Survivor
Series in a No DQ match against Diesel.
After Hart's real-life rival Shawn Michaels won
the 1996 Royal Rumble, a 60 minute Iron Man
match was set up between the two at WrestleMania
XII. The wrestler with the most decisions during
the 60 minutes would win the match and the WWF
Championship. With less than a minute left on
the clock and the score still 0-0, Michaels jumped
from the middle rope; his legs were caught by
Hart, and Hart locked in his Sharpshooter. However,
Michaels did not submit in the last 30 seconds
so the match ended in a tie. President Gorilla
Monsoon ruled that the match would continue in
sudden death overtime. Michaels hit two superkicks
to achieve his boyhood dream and win the gold.
would take a break from wrestling during 1996.
Over the summer, Stone Cold Steve Austin, who
was fresh from winning the 1996 King of the Ring,
would continually taunt Bret and challenge him
to comeback and have a match. After an eight month
absence, Bret would face Austin at Survivor Series
1996. Hart would reverse Austin's Million Dollar
Dream submission into a roll-up for a victory.
This would be the first great match between the
two in a feud between the old-school 'baby face'
(Hart) and the new school anti-hero (Austin).
feud continued at the Royal Rumble, when Hart
tossed Austin out of the ring, only for Austin
(unbeknownst to the referees) to climb back into
the ring, and go on to win the Rumble. In
order to deal with this controversy, a Fatal Four-Way
between Austin and the participants he eliminated
after re-entering the ring was set up for the
February In Your House PPV, with the winner becoming
the number one contender. After current champion
Shawn Michaels relinquished the belt, though,
the match officially became for the WWF Championship.
defeated Austin, Vader, and the Undertaker in
the Fatal Four-Way to become a 4-time WWE champion
at In Your House: Final Four. However,
Austin made sure Hart's reign was short-lived,
costing him a match against Sycho Sid the next
night on Raw. The two would have a steel cage
match shortly before WrestleMania 13 (Hart's twelfth
consecutive and final WrestleMania), which saw
Austin actually attempt to help Hart win, in order
to make their match at WrestleMania 13 a title
match. Concurrently, The Undertaker, who had a
scheduled match with Sid at WrestleMania, attempted
to help Sid win. Sid ultimately retained, leading
to a pure grudge match for Hart and Austin.
WrestleMania 13, Hart and Austin had their rematch,
in what some consider the greatest match in WrestleMania
history (alongside Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
at WrestleMania III). This match, which was a
Submission Match, featured incredible brawling
and mat wrestling from two extremely skilled technical
wrestlers. In the end, Hart locked the Sharpshooter
on a bloody Austin, who refused to give up. In
fact, Austin never quit, but passed out from the
blood loss/pain. Ken Shamrock, the special guest
referee, awarded Hart the match, after which he
continued to assault Austin. This turned Austin
face, and Hart became a heel. This was Hart's
favorite match with Austin and as of 2007, is
Hart's last WrestleMania appearance. According
to Austin himself, this match helped Austin become
a main event star and a legend in his own right.
The original plan for WrestleMania 13 was a Hart
vs. Michaels championship rematch in which Michaels
was slated to drop the belt to Hart, a return
for Bret having lost to Michaels the year prior.
However, Michaels injured his knee two weeks after
the 1997 Royal Rumble. The injury resulted in
Shawn dropping the title with the infamous "Lost
My Smile" speech. Rumors immediately began
flying that Shawn did not want to drop the belt
to Bret. Hart actually came out during the main
event at WrestleMania 13 and challenged Michaels
to step in the ring and stated (in a shoot promo)
that Michaels had a "pussy foot injury".
McMahon, commentating at ringside alongside Michaels,
immediately got up from his seat and tried to
keep Michaels calm.
their on-camera differences, Hart and Austin always
got along, and continue to have respect for one
another, a fact illustrated when Austin inducted
Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame the evening prior
to WrestleMania 22.
the ensuing weeks, Hart denounced American fans,
because of their negative reaction to him in the
recent weeks in contrast to his continued popularity
through the rest of the world, and reunited with
brother Owen and brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith.
The trio formed the new Hart Foundation with Brian
Pillman and Jim Neidhart, an anti-American stable
which was popular within Canada and Europe. Hart
captured his fifth WWF Championship at SummerSlam
1997 after spitting in guest referee Shawn Michaels'
face; Michaels swung a steel chair in retaliation,
which accidentally struck the Undertaker and allowed
Hart to get the pin.
this time, Hart's on-air rivalry with "announcer"
Vince McMahon also escalated. A heated ringside
altercation between the two led many fans to dislike
McMahon, who at the time was being exposed as
owner of the WWF more and more frequently on-air.
Hart had signed a 20 year contract, Vince McMahon
had asked him to talk to WCW about possibly taking
a second look at their original offer to him,
as the WWF was in a rough financial position at
the time and could not afford the contract. Hart's
final match with the WWF would come in Montreal
at Survivor Series 1997. Hart did not want to
end his career with a loss to Shawn Michaels in
his home country; Vince agreed to Bret's idea
of forfeiting the championship the next night
on RAW or losing it a few weeks later. Although
Hart stated to Vince McMahon he would not take
the WWF Championship with him to WCW TV, McMahon
was still concerned; this led to him breaking
his word in what eventually came to be known as
the Montreal Screwjob, one of the most controversial
moments in recent wrestling history. Even though
he did not submit to the Sharpshooter, referee
Earl Hebner called for the bell as if he had,
on orders of Vince McMahon. This resulted in Hart
"losing" the WWF Championship to Shawn
Michaels. The night ended with Hart spitting
in Vince's face, destroying television equipment,
and punching Vince in the eye backstage.
also stated on a recent shoot interview that after
the Montreal incident, Vince Russo called Bret
Hart about Bret trying to get Owen out of his
contract with WWF and come join Bret in WCW. Bret
listened to Russo and explained that he was still
going to try to get Owen out of his contract to
come to WCW with him; a few minutes afterwards,
Vince McMahon called Bret and told him he would
sue him if he tried to get Owen out and continued
to talk to Owen about his contract. Hart believed
McMahon was on the phone the whole time with Russo/Bret
and Bret says Vince Russo denies that claim to
this day, and that it was just a coincidence that
McMahon called a couple minutes after.
World Championship Wrestling (1997-2000)
day after the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Eric
Bischoff, while in the nWo announced that Hart
was going to be coming to WCW, and joining the
a month after Survivor Series, Hart joined World
Championship Wrestling (WCW), the WWF's main competitor.
He made his debut on WCW Monday Nitro on December
15, 1997 when it was announced by WCW Chairman
of the Board J.J. Dillon that Bret would be the
special guest referee for the match between Eric
Bischoff and Larry Zbyszko at Starrcade 1997.
Bret was involved in the Sting versus Hulk Hogan
match at Starrcade 1997, stepping in toward its
conclusion as impromptu referee. He attacked referee
Nick Patrick, accusing him of making a fast count
and shouting he would not let "it happen
again" (a reference to the Montreal Screwjob).
Eric Bischoff's period in control of the company,
the goodwill towards Hart generated by the Montreal
Screwjob resulted in him being pushed as a face,
defeating Ric Flair in his first WCW match at
Souled Out 1998. However, this was short-lived,
and in early 1998, Hart turned heel in a Nitro
main event involving Randy Savage and Hogan, and
Bret unofficially joined the nWo. At Uncensored,
Hart defeated Curt Hennig in a match. Bret
defeated Randy Savage in singles action at Slamboree
and then in a tag team match with Hogan at The
Great American Bash in which Savage was partnered
with Roddy Piper. As part of the faction,
Hart was no longer pushed as a main event superstar,
instead becoming a mid-carder. At Bash at the
Beach, Hart faced Booker T in a match for Booker's
WCW World Television Championship in which Hart
got disqualified after hitting Booker with a steel
the July 20 edition of Nitro, Hart defeated Diamond
Dallas Page for the vacant WCW United States Heavyweight
Championship. A few days later, Hart lost
the United States Heavyweight Championship to
fellow WWF alumni Lex Luger. Hart regained
the title from Luger, the next night on Thunder.
At Fall Brawl, Hart and several other wrestlers
lost to Diamond Dallas Page in a WarGames match.
On the October 26 edition of Nitro, Hart lost
the United States Heavyweight Championship to
Diamond Dallas Page. The two had a rematch
at World War 3 for the title which Hart lost.
Hart regained the title from Page on the November
30 edition of Nitro in a No Disqualification match
with help from nWo member The Giant.
the February 8 edition of Nitro, Hart lost the
United States Heavyweight Championship to family
friend Roddy Piper. He remained in the upper
mid-card bracket until an incident on Nitro in
March 1999 when Bret lamented about "what
WCW had not done" to him. Hart, in street
clothes, then called out superstar Bill Goldberg
and verbally coerced Goldberg into tackling him.
Hart was wearing a metal breastplate under his
Toronto Maple Leafs sweater, which resulted in
Goldberg being knocked out. Hart then counted
his own pinfall over Goldberg's unconscious body,
although there was no match taking place, and
left. The incident caused Hart to leave WCW for
a short time. When Bret was about ready to return
to WCW, his brother Owen Hart died in an accident
during a WWF PPV. Bret was scheduled to wrestle
Kevin Nash on The Tonight Show on May 24, 1999,
and was on the plane to Los Angeles when Owen
was killed. Bret was told the news of his brother's
death by Eric Bischoff after he got off the plane
and immediately flew home to Calgary to be with
his family. His Tonight Show appearance was immediately
Hart returned to wrestling on the October 4, 1999
edition of Nitro in a tribute match for Owen against
Chris Benoit -- this match took place in Kemper
Arena in Kansas City, where Owen had died months
earlier. Around this same time, the WWF's
top writer Vince Russo "jumped ship"
to join WCW. Russo instigated an angle which involved
a controversy over a series of World Heavyweight
Championship matches between Sting, Hogan, and
Goldberg at Halloween Havoc, ultimately leading
to the title being declared vacant. A tournament
then took place over several episodes of Nitro.
The first round took place on the October 25 edition
in which Bret Hart defeated Goldberg to advance
to the second round and to also win Goldberg's
WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
the November 8 edition of Nitro, Hart lost the
United States Heavyweight Championship to Scott
Hall in a ladder match which also involved Sid
Vicious and Goldberg. Hart went on to win
this tournament by defeating Perry Saturn,
Billy Kidman, Sting, and Chris Benoit to win
the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
His tournament matches with Sting and Benoit occurred
at Mayhem held in Hart's native Canada.
later participated in an nWo reformation with
Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash, Scott
Hall, and Creative Control. On December 7, Hart
and Goldberg won the WCW World Tag Team Championship
from Creative Control but lost the titles to The
Outsiders on the December 13 edition of Nitro.
At Starrcade, Hart defended his WCW World Heavyweight
Championship against Goldberg. During the match,
Hart was struck with a mule kick to the head,
resulting in a severe concussion. Hart later speculated
that he may have suffered up to three additional
concussions within matches over the course of
that day along with the days immediately following
Starrcade, having been unaware of the severity
of his injuries. As a part of this, Hart placed
Goldberg on the post in a figure-four leg lock
which ended with Hart hitting his head on the
concrete floor. The sum total of those injuries
left Hart with post-concussion syndrome, and ultimately
forced his retirement from professional wrestling.
Hart wrote a Calgary Sun column in which he said
that Goldberg "had a tendency to injure everyone
he worked with". As part of his DVD documentary,
Hart expressed regret that "someone as good-hearted
as Bill Goldberg" was responsible for hurting
vacated the title on the December 20 edition of
Nitro as a result of the injury he sustained,
but later that same night, Hart defeated Goldberg
in a rematch for his second WCW World Heavyweight
Championship. Hart never lost either WCW
Heavyweight Championship he held, but forfeited
them instead. The second vacated title came about
in January 2000 when he was forced to withdraw
from the main event of WCW's Souled Out. He wrestled
his last matches in both the WWF and WCW as the
World Heavyweight Champion of each respective
October 2000, Hart was released from his contract
with WCW due to Hart's "ongoing incapacity".
He would officially declare his retirement shortly
Life after professional wrestling
June 23, 2002, Hart suffered a major stroke after
hitting his head in a bicycle accident. The Calgary
Herald reported that Hart hit a pothole, flew
over the handlebars of the bike, and landed on
the back of his head. Hart suffered total paralysis
on his left side, which required months of physical
therapy. Hart has since recovered much of his
mobility and is in good health, although he suffers
from an emotional imbalance and other lasting
effects common to stroke survivors. Hart wrote
in detail about his stroke in his biography, Hitman:
My Real Life In The Cartoon World of Wrestling.
The Bret Hart Story
relationship with Vince McMahon improved throughout
the early-2000s (Hart stated in an interview that
after he had the stroke, the first person to call
him in the hospital was McMahon), with Hart being
featured in WWE video games, including the WWE
Day of Reckoning 2 and Smackdown titles. In addition,
Hart stated on his website that he would have
liked to wrestle Kurt Angle, and had watched Chris
Benoit's World Heavyweight Championship title
win at WrestleMania XX.
mid-2005, WWE announced the release of a three
disc DVD originally named Screwed: The Bret Hart
Story, with the title a reference to the Montreal
Screwjob. After he was approached about appearing
in the DVD, Hart visited WWE Headquarters on August
3, 2005 and met with Vince McMahon.
said that a turning point for him in agreeing
to do the DVD was a bothersome encounter with
a small child in a dentist's office. The child
had a Bret Hart action figure, but he had no knowledge
of Hart's actual work and was only familiar with
WWE video games in which Hart was featured as
a "WWE Legend." Hart filmed over seven
hours of interview footage for the DVD, which
was renamed Bret "Hit Man" Hart: The
Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There
Ever Will Be. The DVD includes a compendium of
Hart's favorite matches, including a match against
his brother Owen held in White Plains, New York
and his first match with Ricky Steamboat. The
collection was released on November 15, 2005.
appeared on the November 16, 2005, WWE Byte This!
webcast, marking his first live WWE appearance
since November 9, 1997.
WWE Hall of Fame
the February 16, 2006, episode of RAW, it was
announced that Hart would be a 2006 inductee into
the WWE Hall of Fame. Hart had also been approached
by Vince McMahon for a potential match between
the two at WrestleMania 22, but "politely
declined" the offer. Coincidentally,
Hart's last WrestleMania appearance was also in
Chicago (WrestleMania 13).
April 1, 2006, Bret was inducted by his old in-ring
rival, Stone Cold Steve Austin. He thanked every
wrestler he worked with (even thanking Vince McMahon)
and said he's "in a good place in life."
He also told some humorous stories he had with
other wrestlers during his career in the WWF -
most notably with his late brother, Owen, and
brother in law Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart. He also
mentioned his favourite match with the late Davey
Boy Smith at Summerslam 92 at Wembley and thanked
all of his fans in England. Vince McMahon and
his son Shane did not attend the ceremony.
did not appear the next day at WrestleMania 22
with the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame Inductees at the
Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois saying that
he did not feel "comfortable with the situation".
Bret Hart accepts his induction into the George
Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of
Bret Hart accepts his induction into the George
Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of
July 15, 2006, Bret Hart was inducted into the
George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling
Hall of Fame, at the International Wrestling Institute
and Museum in Newton, Iowa. The induction took
place in an immensely crowded and humid display
room showcasing one of Hart's ring entrance jackets.
The honor is only awarded to those with both a
professional and amateur wrestling background,
making Hart one of the youngest inductees. During
his acceptance, Hart compared this induction to
his place in the WWE Hall of Fame, saying "This
is a much bigger honor for me."
June 16, 2006, Bret Hart made the Bret Hart VIP
Access in the Hotel San Juan in Puerto Rico where
he signed autographs, took pictures with the fans,
and spoke with the people about his wrestling
career, his 2002 stroke, and more.
May 9, 2007, it was announced that Bret Hart would
make his first appearance for a professional wrestling
event since he appeared at the 2006 WWE Hall of
Fame. Bret made an appearance and signed autographs
at "The Legends of Wrestling" show at
the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
On June 11, 2007, Bret made his first appearance
on RAW since October 27, 1997 when he appeared
in a pretaped interview voicing his opinions on
Vince McMahon as part of "Mr. McMahon Appreciation
June 24, 2007, Bret Hart made his first appearance
in Montreal, Quebec at Unison Bar & Billiard
since the infamous Montreal Screwjob, where he
signed autographs and spent the night with over
1000 fans. An emotional Bret Hart was clearly
overwhelmed with the crowds reaction as he also
mentioned that he would turn 50 in a few days;
the crowd then sang "Happy Birthday"
October 16, 2007, Hart's autobiography titled
Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling,
was released in Canada by Random House Canada.
It will also be released in the United States
and Europe in 2008. The book is an honest no holds
barred look into the world of wrestling. Hart
holds nothing back as he describes in detail the
chronic abuse of drugs and alcohol he witnessed
during his years on the road, as well as his own
infidelities, and personal struggles.
began writing the book in July 1999 with his long-time
friend and business associate, Marcy Engelstein.
They didn't complete the book until eight years
later, in September, 2007, due to Hart suffering
a major stroke in 2002, among numerous other tragedies
that occurred during the writing. On October 17,
2007, there was an invitation-only launch party
at McNally Robinson in Calgary, attended by family
and friends. An emotional Hart acknowledged the
completion of the book as one of the biggest milestones
of his life and lamented that his parents were
not alive to share the moment. He thanked Anne
Collins of Random House for editing and Marcy
Engelstein for her work on the entire project,
saying only he and she truly know the sacrifices
that were made to complete the book.
November 3, 2007 Hart's book reached number one
on the Globe & Mail bestseller list. Hart
did book signings across Canada from October through
has four children, Jade Michelle Hart (b. March
31, 1983), Dallas Jeffery Hart (b. August 11,
1984), Alexandra Sabina "Beans" Hart
(b. May 17, 1988), and Blade Colton Hart (b. June
5, 1990) with his ex-wife Julie Smadu-Hart (b.
March 25, 1960). The four hearts located on
the right thigh of his tights symbolize his four
children, as do the four dots following his signature.
On September 15, 2004, he married an Italian woman
named Cinzia, whom, according to his book,
he divorced before he finished writing his book
because she did not want to live with him in Calgary.
"Canada vs. America" storyline
Hart began the controversial "Canada versus
America" angle, he was criticized in public,
accused of being a racist and often told by angry
American fans to "go back where you came
from". Hart responded in an interview with
the Calgary Sun, stating that "[there is]
a difference between a show and reality".
In actuality, Hart holds dual citizenship with
Canada and the United States, as his mother is
originally from Long Island, New York in the United
Racial and homophobic remarks
was involved in a similar racial controversy during
an angle in which it appeared that the Hart Foundation
had vandalized the locker room of the African
American stable, the Nation of Domination (in
the storyline, DX framed the Hart Foundation).
During a promo with DX, Hart had called both Triple
H and Shawn Michaels "homos". After
leaving the WWF, Hart apologized for the angles
and said that he had been pressured into going
through with them. He said, "I am not in
any shape or form a racist. And I don't believe
it is anything to kid around about. I also want
to apologize for any remarks I made about gay
people. It was a stupid mistake on my part."
In popular culture
* From 1995 to 1996 Hart appeared in the Lonesome
Dove television series as Luther Root. He has
made numerous televised appearances since, including
a guest spot on The Simpsons in 1997 (as himself,
in "The Old Man and the Lisa") and a
stint playing The Genie in a theatrical production
of Aladdin in 2004, a role which he reprised in
the Canadian Touring production of Aladdin in
late 2006. Hart also played a part in a skit on
MADtv as himself where he beat up his friend's
family. It was heavily rumored at the time that
Hart was interested in pursuing acting on a full-time
basis and was willing to leave wrestling to do
so. Hart also appeared in episodes of the Honey
I Shrunk The Kids TV series (along with his brother),
The Adventures of Sinbad, and Big Sound.
* When Hart joined WCW, his entrance music was
written and performed by Craig Northey of Odds.
* When Bret Hart joined WCW, he became a special
referee for a match, accusing a ref of not being
fair. This was a direct comment to the Montreal
* Hart wrote a weekly column for the Calgary Sun
from June 1991 until October 2004.
* Hart co-wrote an illustrated autobiography with
Perry Lefko in 2000. The book, entitled "Hitman",
was somewhat concise, and focused primarily on
Hart's World Championship Wrestling tenure.
* In 2004, Hart was chosen as one of the Greatest
Canadians, coming in at number thirty-nine. He
was also the advocate for Don Cherry during the
televised portion of the competition. Hart was
ranked number #39 in Time Magazine's "Greatest
Canadians of All Time" article.
* The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League
took their name from Hart, who was a founder and
* Hart was sampled by the Canadian rap group Rascalz
in their song "Game Time/Sharpshooter,"
appearing in their music video.
* Bret can also be seen applying the Sharpshooter
to Chris Benoit in the opening credits of the
television show Malcolm in the Middle.
* He is a spokesperson for March of Dimes Canadian
Stroke Recovery program.
* Hart has recently been on many talk shows (Larry
King Live, Nancy Grace, Hannity & Colmes,
On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, etc.) discussing
the Chris Benoit tragedy.
* While in WCW, Hart was 3-0 against Bill Goldberg.
* Hart's last matches in both the WWF and WCW
have coincidentally happened to be World Championship
* In the course of his career, Hart amazingly
competed for twenty years without injuring any
of his opponents. He mentioned on many occasions
that he had always looked after his opponents
in the ring. (Credit:
Hart official website
Hall Of Fame Bret Hart