Full of Hart

'The Excellence of Execution' looks back on a stellar career

By Rob Dannatt   Last updated: 27th April 2009  

Full of Hart

Bret Hart talks about his WWE career

Maybe I did take it all a bit too serious. But that's what made me special and hopefully makes people remember me as someone who was passionate about what I did.

Bret Hart
Quotes of the week

Also see

It was summer 1992. The Premiership had begun its inaugural season and 'Rhythm Is a Dancer' was No. 1 in the charts. Meanwhile, 80,000 fans were squeezed into the old Wembley Stadium to watch the lycra-clad, larger than life stars of the then World Wrestling Federation perform in the spectacle known as - SummerSlam.

This was the night where, despite competing against our country's own 'British Bulldog' Davey Boy Smith - the UK truly fell in love with Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

Bret was the model hero. Dressed in pink and black, with long jet black hair he used to come to the ring with a large smile and designer sunglasses. He fought for his fans and ensured inside and outside of the ring he appeared to be "The best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be," or so his trademark slogan went.

Bret flicked back his long - now grey hair - and took a nostalgic look to the sky as he remembered that night in Wembley. "The audience. The night itself. The match. The fact it didn't rain! I don't think it can get any better for anyone else," he said.

"They'll never have that time and period and the way wrestling was loved over here at that moment. It was just so special. I don't care what anyone says but I was more popular than Bulldog was at the time. I was really over with the people here I think more than anybody else. I could feel it and I knew that."

Owen's death

Now, 17 years on, Bret is still revelling in the popularity that began with that memorable match. His autobiography is receiving critical praise throughout the world and over 2,000 fans came out to get a glimpse of the Hall Of Famer at a selection of recent signings that took place throughout the UK and Ireland.

The signings have been equally memorable for the seven-time World champion, who was overwhelmed by the reception he received - despite having not wrestled for nearly 10 years. With a glint in his eye Bret explains: "I'm just amazed by how many people still consider me their hero. When you realise you had that impact on somebody it makes it very special. It makes you glad you took so much pride in what you did."

The book itself took nearly eight years to write and was aided by an audio diary Bret used to keep during his career. Bret had plenty of obstacles during that period, including the much publicised in-ring death of his brother Owen, the career ending injury he suffered at the hands of fellow wrestler Bill Goldberg and his subsequent stroke.

However he explained he never intended to rush the process: "In a lot of ways the writing was really cathartic for me. I tried to let it take its own course. I never rushed anything. I found myself putting a full day just into writing a whole page."

Family has always been at the forefront of Bret's life. He always had a special connection with his parents, especially his mother. He smiles broadly as he recalls a time when his mother was brought into his world as part of a heated storyline with Jerry Lawler.

"She was so happy and thought the whole thing was so funny," he said. "I remember it coming on TV and she was shushing my dad. And I realised she was really loving it. For my mum to be happy with anything to do with wrestling was great."

As we spoke more about families I asked whether his own sons would be following in their father's footsteps. Regretfully, Bret shook his head to indicate neither of his two boys would be likely to step in the ring.

Michaels apology

He said: "Both my boys are big enough. I know my dad would have loved to have trained them and even Vince I'm sure would have loved to have got his hands on them. I'm sure they could do it. They're both pretty athletic. But they seem to have no interest in wrestling at all."

No interview with Bret would be complete without mentioning the infamous Montreal incident, which saw Hart lose his title to Shawn Michaels despite not tapping out. "When I think of the potential of what we could have done business wise together. It makes me quite sad," explains Bret about his former advisor.

Shawn was a key orchestrator in the events surrounding Survivor Series 1997 and in Bret's eyes, Shawn has never apologised. Bret says: "For me I don't really have much issue with it anymore. If you asked me that up until probably about a year ago I'd have probably said something different. But I've cooled off a bit now. I don't want to carry it around anymore. If he wanted to apologise I would accept it. I'd move on but I wouldn't forget it."

So would Bret induct Shawn into the WWE's Hall of Fame, as indicated by a recent request made by Shawn in WWE magazine? Bret laughs and leans back as he quips: "Maybe if he wants to make himself feel better about it he should have the guts to pick up the phone and apologise. Then we'll see after that."

As my time with The Hitman drew to a close I asked what's next? "I'd like to write a fictional book about wrestlers in the '40s and '50s," he said. "Maybe even in England. I heard some awesome stories during my times here." However he also said he'd like to turn his own book into a film.

With Mickey Rourke's film, 'The Wrestler', garnering such global success, I wondered who would play The Hitman in his own biopic. Bret reveals: "Well I remember Brad Pitt's movie company requested a copy of the book when it first came out in Canada but I never heard back from them." Bret jokes how he'd quite enjoy the idea of being portrayed by Pitt. He adds: "They could beef him up a bit, apply a bit of make-up. Give him some nice hair."

He finished with some words for his UK fans: "I'm grateful that I've had such true fans over here. After 10 years since I wrestled anybody they still appreciate me and it really makes me appreciate everything I did. Sometimes the criticism of me is that I took wrestling too serious.

"Maybe I did take it all a bit too serious. But that's what made me special and hopefully makes people remember me as someone who was passionate about what I did and what I thought wrestling was really all about."

Sky Bet Odds:

Click Here for Your Free Bet

Comments (20)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Roy Padayachy says...

Bret Hart is a hero's hero ! I hope Bret will make a turn in South Africa again, August 1996 in Sun City was the start of the Bret vs Austin rivalry, I'm glad I saw Bret pin Austin with the roll-up off the turn-buckle like he done to Roddy Piper at WrestleMania 8. Thanks for all the memories Mr Hitman, you are still my hero ! Roy

Posted 14:56 14th August 2009

Becky Fox says...

Still watch the wrestling but its not quite the same without Bret Hitman Hart i believe he was the greatest wrestler of all time. Saw him once live. Would of liked 2 have gone 2 his book signings.

Posted 22:11 9th August 2009

Matt Hart says...

Bret Hart is a complete legend, he did everything that was ever asked of him and did it for the love of wrestling, he was taught old skool by his dad & the rest of the harts in stampede wrestling and took all the great things about wrestling to the WWF where it was dog eat dog! He shud be remember for his no non-sense style and love for the fans, with bret hart you always got 100% dint matter who he was in the ring with. People go on about the screwjob, i think you shud read the book and understand how it affected him. Bret Hart was as loyal as they came and gave his all and just wanted to leave with his head held high after all he gave to the WWF & wasnt able to do that becuase of a few simple minded people. As a matter of fact he never wanted to go WCW he wanted to stay with WWF! Bret Hart is a complete icon and a role model for all! If there were more bret harts in the world maybe it wud be a better place!

Posted 14:08 22nd July 2009

Mark A says...

Evan H you are a completely wrong about Bret, having read his book and been around when he was at the top of his game, Bret was pivitol in making the WWE what it is today, After Hogan Passed the torch to Ultimate Warrior who couldnt wrestle for toffee, warrior was expected to take WWE to the next step, however after he fluffed his career famously WWE needed someone who could carry matches with EVERYONE and make them look good and Hitman carried The WWE through its darkest times and he nearly single handedly beat off the competition from the WCW (who were threatening to bankrupt WWE) to keep WWE on top, and to top that he was liked by ALL wrestlers and had their respect when HHH and Shaun were screwing everyone else over and had lost their respect, it says a lot that the whole WWE dressing room threatened to strike after montreal, such was the impact of Bret, Who told them all to stay and think of their families!! The man will Always command more respect for wrestling because he is from a wrestling background and how you can call Michaels and Owen the best is crazy, Who taught Owen everything he knew about the business?? i suggest you Read his Book before making Idiotic statements which you have no evidence to back up!! Yes he talks about montreal and is still probably bitter, but thats understandable because he gave 14 years of his life in a business he loved to be faithful to the WWE only to see his dream die in a country he loved, thankfully us fans realise he is a true champion, but more than that he is a true gentleman which is more than i can say about those who screwed him! its a shame really coz he could still wrestle any 'rioded up freaks that there are today, a true Hero!

Posted 16:13 8th July 2009

Kent Bodhi says...

As regular wrestling fan for 20 years and saw him at stadium many times, what I remember about Bret are: excellent of execution, professionalism, ego, arrogant, and self-focus. Similar to Austin, his prime at WWE is too short to be the best. Anyhow, he is among top 10 of all time. Hogan, Flair, Undertaker, Sting, Shawn, and HHH are obviously greater than Bret.

Posted 08:46 7th July 2009

Ewan H says...

Owen is a bigger legend than Bret has ever been. Bret has been deluded ever since Montreal and was difficult to deal with professionally long before that incident. Could u imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and it had been Shawn getting screwed in San Antonio (it's not even imaginable), which shows that Shawn is much more of a man than Bret ever is. I respect Bret for what he achieved in the business and how he got over with the fans, and fair enough wrestling to him was his life, thats understandable considering his family's history but he wasn't as good as he could have been. If Bret had broken into the industry in today's era he wouldn't be any where near as "big" as he was in his era. He couldn't even give an entertaining interview and his wrestling style was limited, based around mat based and shoot wrestling. It's no surprise that his best matches were agianst the most athletically gifted, the best story tellers of a match and the one's who could sell themselves the best (Owen Hart & Shawn Michaels). Cheers for a good career Bret, shame it wasn't a great one

Posted 23:07 17th June 2009

Faraz Paracha says...

My Dad used to call me to his room and would ask me to imitate Bret Hart's entrance, when he used to come to the ring and take his jacket half off. I love those days and I loved him for being the wrestler he was and with his passion, wrestling seemed real to all of my family. I still remember my Dad used to buy a video cassette of the latest main event and all of my family used to watch it at dinner. Bret Hart forsure will always be 'The Best There Is, The Best There Was And The Best There Will Be'!

Posted 20:39 17th June 2009

Anthony Byers says...

u will always be the best there was the best there is and the best there ever will be u are a true legend

Posted 15:55 17th June 2009

Matthew Smith says...

I've read the book and it is one of the best biographies I've read period, let alone a wrestling biog. The great thing about the Hitman was that you were almost always guaranteed a great match whomever he was in there with, no matter the style or size of his opponent. This guys' career overlapped the golden years of the eighties and the Attitude era and he wrestled the greatest names in modern times: Flair, Hogan, Piper, Undertaker, Austin, Michaels, Savage, Sting...the list is long and illustrious, like Harts' career itself. My top three matches are versus Austin in the I Quit, versus Mr.Perfect for the IC title and 3 on 2 for the Tag Belts against Demolition...great memories from a fantastic ambassador for the sport. Respect due!

Posted 21:15 11th June 2009

Gareth Greenwood says...

The problem with Bret was he was to arrogant to drop the belt to Shawn, so Vince had to screw him, to stop him going to his biggest competitor with the belt. And Shawn did as his boss told him to do, like most people.

Posted 18:37 8th June 2009

Ronan Fitzpatrick says...

Bret is the man. simple as that. His honesty and professionalism got him screwed, but at least he can say that with out question, he was the best there ever will be. a real role modle, and a honest guy with good intentions. a legend, thats the hitman. he should start training and teavhing. would make alot of peoples dreams come true.

Posted 03:27 31st May 2009

Aksel k. Jensen says...

My favourite wrestler, and one of my favourite athletes, of all time. I feel blessed who got to watch WWF in it's prime when I was a kid in the early 90s. I enjoy it just as much now, watching those old matches on youtube.

Posted 20:27 22nd May 2009

David Ryan says...

bret you are still without doubt the best teqnical wrestler ever to step into the ring no one can take it away from you.the best there is the best there was and the best there ever will be.even the wreslters now are using your sharpshooter.

Posted 15:58 21st May 2009

Gari Jones says...

He is one of my all time favourite wreslters ever, back then wreslting was about wreslting not like today everyone thinking thier movietstars with absolutley no Identity to their character whatsoever. Bret Hart has more character in his little finger than most of todays starts put together, the motreal screwjob and the death of his brother and he is still as humble as ever. Bret Hart you are legend in the eyes of many including my self.

Posted 00:32 19th May 2009

Mike Watson says...

Bret was the best when WWE was at its best. all the best Bret

Posted 18:25 18th May 2009

Vijay Samuel says...

Bret Hart, without a doubt the best wrestler ever..

Posted 01:01 3rd May 2009

Danny Martin says...

Bret Hart an absolute legend the greatest wrestler of all time an the greatest champion of all time he deserved better from Vince Mcmahon an Shawn Michaels but his legacy will live on forever he is The best there is the best there was an the best there ever will be

Posted 15:40 29th April 2009

Martin Rusby says...

Great interview.I am in the middle of Bret's book at the moment and its a great read.Thanks for the memories Bret.

Posted 20:47 28th April 2009

Ronan Moran says...

Thanks for the interview with Bret, a true legend of the sport. I had the pleasure to meet him in liverpool and he's also a gentleman. Thanks for the memories Bret. Respect.

Posted 21:36 27th April 2009

Adam Robinson says...

Thank you Brett!

Posted 21:04 27th April 2009

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private