World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Bret Hart

Article Id: WHEBN0000303089
Reproduction Date:

Title: Bret Hart  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Edge (wrestler), Kevin Nash
Collection: 1957 Births, Canadian Columnists, Canadian Expatriate Professional Wrestling People in the United States, Canadian Male Professional Wrestlers, Canadian Male Stage Actors, Canadian Male Television Actors, Canadian People of American Descent, Canadian People of Greek Descent, Fictional Kings, Living People, Professional Wrestlers from Calgary, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, Professional Wrestling Trainers, Stampede Wrestling Alumni, Stroke Survivors, The Hart Foundation Members, The New World Order (Professional Wrestling) Members, Wwe Hall of Fame
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Bret Hart

Bret Hart
Hart in 2010
Birth name Bret Hart
Born (1957-07-02) July 2, 1957
Calgary, Alberta, Canada[1]
Spouse(s) Julie Smadu (m. 1982–2002)
Cinzia Rota (m. 2004–07)
Stephanie Washington (m. 2010)
Children 4
Family Hart
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Bret Hart[1]
Brett Hart[2]
Buddy Hart[1]
Billed height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[3]
Billed weight 235 lb (107 kg)[3]
Billed from Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Trained by Stu Hart[1]
Mr. Hito[1]
Kazuo Sakurada
Debut 1978[4]
Retired 2000[5]

Bret Hart (born July 2, 1957) is a Canadian American writer, actor and retired professional wrestler. A member of the Hart wrestling family and a second-generation wrestler, he has an amateur wrestling background, wrestling at Ernest Manning High School and Mount Royal College. Along with his nickname the "Hit Man", Hart was known by the monikers "The Excellence of Execution", "The Best There Is; The Best There Was; and The Best There Ever Will Be" and "The Pink and Black Attack". He is credited with revolutionizing the industry in the early 1990s by bringing high quality, athletic in-ring performance to the fore,[6] and has cultivated a legacy as one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. Hart enjoyed international popularity throughout the late 20th century; prominent industry historian Dave Meltzer called him Canada's "wrestling star", and "a major draw in the United States and probably more so in Europe."[7]

Hart joined his father Stu Hart's promotion Stampede Wrestling in 1976, and made his in-ring debut in 1978.[4] He gained championship success throughout the 1980s and 1990s in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), where he helmed The Hart Foundation faction. He left for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) following the controversial "Montreal Screwjob" in November 1997, where he remained until October 2000. Having been inactive from in-ring competition since January 2000, owing to a December 1999 concussion, he officially retired in October 2000, shortly after his departure from the company. He returned to sporadic in-ring competition in 2004 and 2006, and in 2010 with WWE, where he won his final championship, headlined that year's SummerSlam event, and served as the general manager of Raw. Throughout his career, Hart headlined WrestleManias IX, X, and XII, and participated in the main event of the 1997 and 1999 editions of WCW Starrcade – as a special enforcer in the former.

Hart has held championships in five decades from the 1970s to the 2010s, with a total of 32 held throughout his career, and 17 held between the WWF/WWE and WCW. He is a seven-time world champion, having held the WWF Championship five times and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice. He spent more time as WWF Champion than any other wrestler during the 1990s, with a total of 654 days as champion, and was the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion born outside the United States. He is also a five-time WCW/WWE United States Champion, a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, and a three time world tag team champion (two-time WWF Tag Team Champion and one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion), thus making him the second WWF Triple Crown Champion and fifth (with Goldberg) WCW Triple Crown Champion. He was the first man to win both the WWF and WCW Triple Crown Championships.

Hart is also the 1994 Royal Rumble winner (with Lex Luger), and the only two-time King of the Ring, winning the 1991 tournament and the first King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1993. Steve Austin, with whom Hart headlined multiple pay-per-view events as part of an acclaimed rivalry from 1996 to 1997, inducted him into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.


  • Early life 1
  • Amateur wrestling 2
  • Professional wrestling career 3
    • Stampede Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling (1976–1984) 3.1
    • World Wrestling Federation 3.2
      • The Hart Foundation (1984–1991) 3.2.1
      • Intercontinental Champion (1991–1992) 3.2.2
      • WWF Champion and hiatus (1992–1996) 3.2.3
      • The Hart Foundation reunion and the Montreal Screwjob (1996–1997) 3.2.4
    • World Championship Wrestling 3.3
      • Various feuds (1997–1999) 3.3.1
      • WCW World Heavyweight Champion and retirement (1999–2000) 3.3.2
    • Retirement appearances 3.4
      • World Wrestling All-Stars (2001–2003) 3.4.1
      • Theater and return to the ring (2004; 2006) 3.4.2
      • Return to WWE (2005–2006) 3.4.3
      • Independent circuit (2007–2009) 3.4.4
    • Second return to WWE 3.5
      • Feud with Mr. McMahon (2009–2010) 3.5.1
      • United States Champion and Raw general manager (2010) 3.5.2
      • Third return to the WWE (2011) 3.5.3
      • Sporadic appearances (2012–present) 3.5.4
  • Legacy 4
  • Outside the ring 5
    • Writing 5.1
    • Acting 5.2
    • Wrestling-related 5.3
  • Personal life 6
    • Family 6.1
    • Health problems 6.2
    • Feud with Ric Flair over drawing ability 6.3
  • In wrestling 7
  • Championships and accomplishments 8
    • Amateur 8.1
    • Professional wrestling 8.2
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Early life

The eighth child of wrestling patriarch Stu Hart, Bret Hart was born in his native Calgary, Alberta into the Hart wrestling family. He is of Greek descent through his maternal grandparents. His introduction to professional wrestling came at an early age. As a child, he witnessed his father training 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, had him hand out fliers to local wrestling shows. In the 1998 documentary Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows, Hart reflected on his father's discipline, describing how Stu inflicted excruciating submission holds while uttering morbid words to his teenage son. The suffering endured in these sessions even left broken blood vessels in his eyes. Hart also cited his father's otherwise pleasant demeanor and growing up in the professional wrestling atmosphere. Hart also repeated these statements in his 2007 autobiography.[8]

Amateur wrestling

Hart as a collegiate wrestler.

At Calgary Sun column by Hart, Canadian Olympic amateur wrestling gold medalist Daniel Igali told Hart that it means a lot to him to know how much that medal means to Hart.[12]

By 1977, Hart was collegiate champion at Mount Royal College, where he was studying filmmaking;[9][13] his coaches and other people around him felt that he had shown sufficient promise to compete at the following year's Commonwealth Games, and encouraged him to begin training for the event. Hart, however, was beginning to find amateur wrestling unrewarding amid injuries and fluctuating weight, and wanted to "get off this train".[9][14] Stu still believed that his son, whom he described as being able to "turn around in his own skin", was capable of making it to the Olympic or Commonwealth Games if he put forth the effort.[15] Hart felt that the only way to give up amateur wrestling without disappointing his father was to become a professional wrestler. His college grades became poorer as his interest in filmmaking waned; he dedicated himself to professional wrestling, and began training with his father's Stampede Wrestling promotion.[9] Hart has spoken of how helpful his amateur background was in his professional wrestling career, and also of what a positive effect amateur wrestling has on junior high school and high school-aged boys in terms of building self-confidence.[12]

Professional wrestling career

Stampede Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling (1976–1984)

In 1976, Hart began working for his father's Stampede Wrestling promotion in Calgary. Hart first began helping the promotion by refereeing matches, but at one fateful event, a wrestler was unable to perform his match.[4] This forced Stu to ask his son to 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 the idea.

Hart gained some of his most prominent experience with Japanese combatants and real-life trainers Mr. Hito and Mr. Sakurada, later praising them as his most significant teachers. 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 elders 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."[9] Although he dreaded partaking in 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, a promotion for whom he often wrestled during the early to mid-1980s. He 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

The Hart Foundation (1984–1991)

Hart (left) with Jim Neidhart behind him as The Hart Foundation.

Hart was asked to start out in the World Wrestling Federation as a singles wrestler with a cowboy gimmick but refused, citing that where he comes from "if you called yourself a cowboy, you'd better be one".[16] He instead requested to join Jimmy Hart's heel stable, The Hart Foundation, which included brother-in-law Jim Neidhart. He made his televised World Wrestling Federation debut on August 29, 1984, in a tag team match where he teamed with the Dynamite Kid.[17] On September 11, in Poughkeepsie, New York, Hart defeated Aldo Marino in his televised debut singles match, which aired on the September 29 edition of Superstars. By 1985, he was billed as Bret "Hit Man" Hart[18] and began to increasingly team with Neidhart in order to build the promotion's tag team division. The "Hart Foundation" name then became exclusive to Hart, Neidhart and manager Jimmy Hart, due to the similar family names of both team members and their manager.[19] Hart's agile, technical style—which earned him the moniker "The Excellence of Execution" (coined by Gorilla Monsoon)[18][20]—created an intriguing contrast with his partner Neidhart's strength and brawling skills. During this time, Hart began wearing his signature[21] mirrored sunglasses, initially to conceal his nervousness during promos.[9] Hart considers his microphone work throughout his career to have been a weakness in his repertoire: he instead relied on his in-ring performances to win over the fans.[22]

In 1986, Hart began his first singles program, with Ricky Steamboat. In a match originally planned for WrestleMania 2,[23] he lost to Steamboat at the Boston Garden on March 8, 1986, which would be included on Hart's 2005 DVD as one of his all-time favorite matches.[9] At WrestleMania 2, Hart would instead participate in a 20-man battle royal which was eventually won by André the Giant.[24] Hart was the last man to be eliminated by André, however.[25] He lost to Steamboat again on the July 28, 1986 edition of Prime Time Wrestling.[26] Hart headlined his first televised WWF card when he beat Ray Rougeau, of The Fabulous Rougeaus, in the main event of the November 3, 1986 edition of Prime Time Wrestling.[26] The Hart Foundation won their first of two WWF Tag Team Championships on the February 7, 1987 edition of Superstars when they defeated the British Bulldogs. They would then team with Danny Davis to face The British Bulldogs and Tito Santana at WrestleMania III. They would win the match when Davis pinned Davey Boy Smith after hitting him with Jimmy Hart's megaphone.[27][28]

The Hart Foundation would adopt the nickname, "The Pink and Black Attack", which would continue to be used by Bret after the team's disbandment. This was in reference to the team's ring attire, as well as Hart's signature mirrored sunglasses, which he would routinely give away to a young audience member before matches, following his face turn in 1988.[21][29][30] As Hart's WWF career progressed, he would also increasingly describe himself as "The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be" (derived from the 1984 film The Natural), which he would later justify through three claims: he never injured an opponent through any fault of his own, through the entire course of his career, he missed only one show (as a result of flight difficulties), and that he only once refused to lose a match—his final WWF match with long-time adversary Shawn Michaels at the Survivor Series event in 1997, which culminated in the now infamous Montreal Screwjob.[31]

For his entrances, Hart often wore a leather jacket with shoulder tassels (epaulets), Mylar wrap-around (originally silver, later pink) sunglasses and bright pink attire.

The Hart Foundation lost the WWF Tag Team Championship to Bad News Brown in eliminating the Junkyard Dog. He was then attacked by Bad News and eliminated last. However, Bret Hart reentered the ring and attacked Bad News Brown after the match.[34] Due to Hart's increasing popularity, Vince McMahon approached him with the idea of splitting up The Hart Foundation and turning him face, telling Hart that he received the most fan mail of any of his wrestlers.[35] Ultimately, McMahon decided that the Hart Foundation were too over to split up, but would turn the team face, and have them sack Jimmy Hart as their manager. This led to a feud with The Fabulous Rougeaus that lasted from the fall 1988 to early 1989, who had turned heel and taken Jimmy Hart as their manager. In storyline, Jimmy Hart still had a contract with The Hart Foundation and was giving his percentage of the Foundation's earnings to the Rougeau's as a bonus. They also challenged Demolition for the WWF Tag Team Championship at SummerSlam 1988. They lost the match by pinfall due to interference from Jimmy Hart. As a face, Hart enjoyed significant popularity in singles wrestling. In his first singles championship opportunity, he challenged The Honky Tonk Man for the WWF Intercontinental Championship in the main event of the July 18 edition of Prime Time Wrestling, with the match ending in a double count-out.[26] At Survivor Series 1988, The Hart Foundation participated in a Survivor Series elimination match on a team captained by The Powers of Pain against a team captained by Demolition. They were eliminated when Bret Hart was pinned by Tully Blanchard of The Brain Busters.

At Royal Rumble 1989, The Hart Foundation teamed with Jim Duggan to defeat The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers and Dino Bravo. They would also defeat Greg Valentine and The Honky Tonk Man, who were also managed by Jimmy Hart, at WrestleMania V. At an event in Milan on April 8, 1989, broadcast live on Tele+2, André the Giant requested to work a singles match with Hart. Hart lost the match, which was later released on his 2013 DVD set, The Dungeon Collection, but considered André's praise and encouragement after the match to be of key importance in his singles career.[36] He wrestled his first pay-per-view singles match on October 10, losing to Dino Bravo in the first British WWF pay-per-view, which was held at the London Arena and broadcast on Sky Television[37] (Hart was in fact booked to win the match, but incurred a broken sternum, causing an unplanned count-out loss[9]). Hart would score victories over the likes of Barry Horowitz (who had previously wrestled as "Brett Hart"[38]),[39] Steve Lombardi[27] (whom Hart had wrestled in his first WWF match[9]) and defecting Hart Foundation member "Dangerous" Danny Davis[27] throughout 1989. At SummerSlam 1989, The Hart Foundation lost a non-title match against the tag team champions The Brain Busters. In the first televised contest of a rivalry that would span Hart's WWF and WCW careers, he lost to Mr. Perfect on the November 6, 1989 edition of Prime Time Wrestling, when Perfect pulled Hart's tights during a roll-up.[40] In their first ever singles meeting, Shawn Michaels and Hart wrestled to a double count-out on the February 11, 1990 edition of the Wrestling Challenge.[41]

After participating at the 1990 Royal Rumble, The Hart Foundation defeated The Bolsheviks in 19 seconds at WrestleMania VI and began feuding with Demolition, who had just won the tag team titles against The Colossal Connection at WrestleMania VI. At SummerSlam in 1990, The Hart Foundation began their second, and final, WWF (World) Tag Team Championship reign by defeating Demolition members Crush and Smash in a two out of three falls match with some help from Legion of Doom.[42][43] On October 30, the Hart Foundation lost the title to The Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels), but a few days later, President Jack Tunney returned the title 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 would then team with Dusty Rhodes and Koko B. Ware as the Dream Team to take on The Million $ Team of Ted DiBiase, The Undertaker, and Rhythm & Blues. Bret Hart was the last person to be eliminated when he was pinned by DiBiase. Bret Hart was once again the first entrant in the Royal Rumble match at Royal Rumble 1991 and lasted over 20 minutes before being eliminated by Undertaker. The Hart Foundation's reign lasted until WrestleMania VII, where they lost to The Nasty Boys, after which the team split.[44]

Intercontinental Champion (1991–1992)

Hart won his first WWF Intercontinental Championship by defeating Mr. Perfect with the Sharpshooter at SummerSlam in 1991,[45][46] and subsequently won the 1991 King of the Ring tournament on September 7, 1991 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. At Survivor Series 1991, Bret Hart teamed with The British Bulldog, Virgil, and Roddy Piper against Ted DiBiase, The Mountie, Ric Flair, and The Warlord. Hart was counted out alongside with The Mountie, DiBiase, Piper, and Virgil to make Flair the sole survivor. Hart's first pay-per-view title defense occurred at This Tuesday in Texas, where he beat the undefeated Skinner.[47]

In January 1992, Hart was 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. On January 17, 1992, Bret Hart dropped the Intercontinental Championship to The Mountie. Following the loss, Roddy Piper defeated Mountie with a sleeper hold two days later at the 1992 Royal Rumble,[48] and Bret would later pin Piper for his second Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania VIII later that year,[49][50] making him the first, and one of few wrestlers to ever pin Piper's shoulders to the mat.[9] At a Wrestling Challenge taping on July 21, 1992, Hart defeated Shawn Michaels, with the Intercontinental Championship suspended above the ring, in the WWF's first ever ladder match, which would subsequently be made available on multiple Coliseum/WWE Home Video releases.[51] Hart dropped the Intercontinental Championship to his brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, in Hart's first WWF pay-per-view main event at SummerSlam 1992 held before over 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium.[52] Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers voted it the "Match of the Year";[53] WWE has named the match as the greatest in the history of SummerSlam.[54] Upon induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, Hart would cite the contest as his favorite match of his career.[55]

WWF Champion and hiatus (1992–1996)

Hart with his WWF Championship belt underneath his jacket.

Hart won the WWF Championship from Ric Flair at a Superstars taping at Saskatchewan Place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on October 12 of that year, in a match not originally broadcast on WWF television[56]—the match was instead made available on a series of Coliseum/WWE Home Video releases.[57] Hart dislocated one of the fingers on his left hand during the match and popped it back in himself so it would not affect the rest of the match.[9] He would headline his first pay-per-view as champion with a successful title defense against Shawn Michaels at the 1992 Survivor Series,[58] and defeated Razor Ramon at the 1993 Royal Rumble.[59] He would also defend the title against contenders such as Papa Shango[60] and former champion Ric Flair[18] before losing the title to Yokozuna in his first WrestleMania main event at WrestleMania IX, after interference from Mr. Fuji. Fuji then challenged Hulk Hogan, who had come out to help Hart, to compete for the title; Hogan then won his fifth WWF title from Yokozuna.[61] Shortly after, however, Hart won the first pay-per-view King of the Ring tournament in 1993 (prior King of the Ring tournaments were non-televised live events), defeating Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect, and Bam Bam Bigelow, thus becoming the only two-time King of the Ring.[62] After being crowned as the King of the Ring, Hart was attacked by Jerry "The King" Lawler. Lawler claimed he was the rightful King and began a barrage against Hart and his family. The two met at SummerSlam in 1993, to determine the "Undisputed King of the World Wrestling Federation",[63] 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[64] (according to Hart, he was scheduled to defeat WWF Champion Hulk Hogan at the event, but Hogan elected to drop the belt to Yokozuna instead in his last televised WWF appearance until 2002 at the 1993 King of the Ring).[65] Hart and his younger brother, Owen Hart, would also feud with Lawler during 1993 in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA), with Lawler notably defeating Owen for Owen's USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship.[66] Hart's feud with Lawler was named "Feud of the Year" by Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and voted "Feud of the Year" by readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[67]

After months of dealing with Lawler, Hart received a WrestleMania IX rematch with WWF Champion Yokozuna on the November 20 edition of WWF Superstars. When Bret appeared to have the match won, with Yokozuna locked in the sharpshooter, Owen came to ringside to congratulate his brother. The referee began questioning Owen's motives, which allowed Fuji to assault Bret. Owen then involved himself in the match, resulting in a victory for Yokozuna via disqualification. On the non-televised but now-canon November 22 edition of Monday Night Raw, Hart again challenged Yokozuna for the WWF Championship, and again failed to regain the championship due to similar involvement from Owen.[68] The brothers' disagreements set the wheels in motion for a family feud that would span the entirety of 1994.[69] At Survivor Series, the Harts (Bret, Owen, Bruce, and Keith) took on Shawn Michaels (a substitution for Lawler, who was facing legal troubles[70]) and his knights. The Harts won the match, with all of the brothers surviving except for Owen, the only Hart family member eliminated.[71] Bitter about his elimination, Owen blamed Bret for this and in the weeks ahead, blamed Bret for holding him back. Owen demanded a one-on-one match with Bret, which Bret refused to accept. In the storyline, Bret, along with his parents, worked over the Christmas holidays to reunite the family and to settle their rivalry. Bret was voted "WWF Superstar of the Year" 1993 by fans,[72] as well as the greatest wrestler of the year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers.[73]

Bret's rivalry with his brother Owen won them Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Feud of the Year award and featured a highly rated steel cage match at SummerSlam.

At the Royal Rumble in January, Bret and Owen took on The Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Championship. 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.[74] Later on, Hart managed to participate and win the 1994 Royal Rumble match amid 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 title shots at WrestleMania X.[75] Luger won the chance to face Yokozuna first, with Hart having to wrestle his brother Owen, before receiving his title shot. Hart lost his match against Owen[76] but went on to defeat Yokozuna for his second WWF Championship.[77][78]

Hart continued to feud with his brother Owen while he also started feuding with Diesel. Hart's friend and former tag team partner Jim Neidhart returned to the WWF and reunited with Hart. At King of the Ring, Hart defended the WWF Championship against Diesel. When Hart 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 Hart, Neidhart interfered, therefore Diesel won by disqualification, but Hart retained his title. Neidhart left when Diesel and Michaels attacked Hart following the match. Neidhart's motivation was made clear when he helped Owen win the tournament that night, so that he could receive a title shot against his brother.[79] At SummerSlam, Hart successfully retained the WWF Championship against Owen in a steel cage match.[80] This match received a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and the brothers' feud was voted "Feud of the Year" by readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[67]

Hart eventually lost his WWF Championship at Survivor Series in a submission match against Bob Backlund where the manager of either competitor (Davey Boy Smith for Hart, Owen for Backlund) would have to 'throw in the towel' for the wrestler they were representing. When Hart was in Backlund's Crossface Chickenwing and Davey Boy was kayfabe knocked out, Owen persuaded his mother Helen to throw in the towel for Hart, giving Backlund the championship victory.[81] Bret's feud with Backlund would continue into the following year. He was voted the greatest wrestler of 1994 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers, winning the vote for the second straight year.[82]

Hart in 1995.

Three days after Hart's title loss, Diesel defeated Backland in eight seconds with a jackknife powerbomb to become the new WWF Champion. By 1995, Hart was focusing on projects outwith the business, such as acting, and shifted to the number two face in the company, behind Diesel.[83] Hart challenged for Diesel's WWF Championship at the 1995 Royal Rumble, in a match that was continually marred by outside interference and ruled a draw. Both men embraced in a display of sportsmanship after the match. In a rematch from Survivor Series, Hart defeated Bob Backlund in an "I Quit" match at WrestleMania XI.[84] Hart would be the focal point of the first event in the In Your House pay-per-view series, competing in two matches at In Your House 1. He defeated Hakushi in the very first match of the in Your House series. Hart's acclaimed feud with Jerry Lawler was reignited at the event, losing to him in the penultimate match of the card due to Hakushi's (now Lawler's protégé) interference. Hart beat Lawler in a "Kiss My Foot" match at King of the Ring, and defeated his private dentist, the seven-foot, 320 pound Isaac Yankem, by disqualification at SummerSlam 1995. Their King of the Ring match would end with one of the most iconic images in WWF history, with Hart shoving his foot into Lawler's mouth, then forcing Lawler to kiss his own foot.[85] Although Hart was victorious in their in-ring feud, Lawler remained strongly opposed to Hart as a commentator, however, and would routinely encourage Hart's opponents during matches; it would not be until Over the Limit 2011, some sixteen years later, that both men would finally bury the hatchet. After disposing of Lawler, Hart shifted his focus back to the WWF Championship, defeating Diesel in a No Disqualification match at Survivor Series to commence his third reign.[86][87]

In a rematch from their SummerSlam 1992 encounter, Hart successfully defended his title against the now heel Davey Boy Smith at In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings. He lost to The Undertaker by disqualification at the 1996 Royal Rumble when Diesel interfered, ultimately retaining the WWF Championship, and defeated Undertaker by disqualification in a rematch on the February 5 edition of Raw, again due to Diesel's interference.[88] Hart retained his title once again against Diesel in a steel cage match at In Your House 6, and defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who was undefeated on Raw, on the March 4 edition of the show.[89] WWF Commissioner Roddy Piper ruled that Hart would face Shawn Michaels, who had earned a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania XII by winning the Royal Rumble,[90] in a 60-minute Iron Man match at the event. The wrestler with the most decisions during the 60 minutes would win the match and the WWF Championship.

At WrestleMania, 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. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon ruled that the match would continue in sudden death overtime. Michaels hit a superkick to win the championship.[91] Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers voted it the "Match of the Year";[53] in 2004, WWE fans voted the match as the greatest in the history of WrestleMania.[92] After WrestleMania, Hart took his hiatus from television. Towards the end of the year, he would consider offers of employment from both WCW and the WWF, but would ultimately re-sign with the WWF.[93] He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame Class of 1996.

The Hart Foundation reunion and the Montreal Screwjob (1996–1997)

Hart would pose for the crowd with his arms open.

Over the summer, Steve Austin, who was fresh from winning the 1996 King of the Ring,[94] continually taunted Hart and challenged him to come back and have a match. After an eight-month hiatus from television, Hart returned and defeated Austin at Survivor Series in a match for the number one contender spot to the WWF Championship.[95] Hart challenged champion Sycho Sid at the following month's In Your House 12: It's Time; Shawn Michaels, who was serving as a guest commentator at ringside, accidentally cost Hart the victory when he attempted to become involved in the match after being assaulted by Sid. The building tension between Hart and Michaels climaxed after the match, when Hart assaulted Michaels. Hart's feud with Austin escalated 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 win the Rumble.[96] Hart quit the WWF the next night on Raw in protest. In order to deal with this controversy, a Fatal Four-Way between Austin and the participants he eliminated after re-entering the ring (Vader, The Undertaker, and Hart) was set up for In Your House 13: Final Four, with the winner becoming the number one contender. After then champion Shawn Michaels relinquished the belt, though, the match officially became one for the WWF Championship. Hart defeated Austin, Vader, and The Undertaker in the Fatal Four-Way.[97][98] However, Austin made sure Hart's fourth reign was short-lived, costing him a title match against Sid the next night on Raw, and making it the only reign of Hart's to last less than three months.[99] Hart challenged for Sid's WWF Championship in a steel cage match shortly before WrestleMania 13 (Hart's twelfth consecutive and final WrestleMania until WrestleMania XXVI), which saw Austin actually attempt to help Hart win, in order to make their scheduled match at WrestleMania 13 a title match. Concurrently, The Undertaker, who had a scheduled title match with Sid at WrestleMania, attempted to help Sid win. Sid ultimately retained, leading to a pure grudge match for Hart and Austin.[100] Following his loss to Sid, Hart shoved "announcer" Vince McMahon to the ground when he attempted to conduct a post-match interview, and engaged in an worked shoot, expletive-laden rant against McMahon and WWF management. This incident has been cited as one which helped lay the foundations of the WWF's Attitude Era, as well as the starting point of McMahon's on-air character, the tyrannical WWF owner "Mr. McMahon".[101]

At WrestleMania 13, Hart and Austin had their rematch in a Submission match that would later get a 5-star rating from Dave Meltzer. 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 and pain. Ken Shamrock, the special guest referee, awarded Hart the match, after which he continued to assault Austin.[102] This turned Austin face, and Hart became a heel. It was named "Match of the Year" by Wrestling Observer Newsletter and voted "Match of the Year" by Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers.[53] Later that night, Hart would confront Psycho Sid and The Undertaker prior to their match for the WWF Championship; Hart insulted Undertaker and told Shawn Michaels (who was a guest commentator for the match) not to interfere. Sid would powerbomb Hart knocking him out, even though Sid was a heel, he was cheered for his actions against Hart due to the latter's post match attack on Austin earlier in the night. Undertaker would win his third WWF title, (which ended with Hart hotshotting Sid on the ropes, therefore costing him the title). The next night on Raw, Hart would criticize the American fans' for their support of Austin over him the night before, (this would be a trend that would last until Hart departure at the Survivor Series' 1997). Hart challenged The Rock for the WWF Intercontinental Championship in the main event of the March 31 edition of Raw. The Rock won by disqualification when Hart refused to release a figure-four leglock applied around the ringpost. He would face Austin again in the main event of In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker, to determine who would challenge the WWF Champion in a title match at the following month's In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell. Austin had Hart locked in his own finishing move, the Sharpshooter, in the middle of the ring when The British Bulldog interfered on Hart's behalf, resulting in disqualification and giving Austin the victory and title match. They would meet once again in a street fight on the April 21 edition of Raw, in which Austin injured the now-heel Hart's ankle with a steel chair. The match was ruled a no-contest and Austin afterward continued to beat Hart while on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance.

In 1997, Hart became a tweener: generally cheered for by Canadian and international fans, and booed by American fans, while remaining largely consistent in character.

Hart's feud with Austin saw Hart shift to the top heel in the company. In 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 brothers-in-law Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart. The family members formed a new Hart Foundation with Brian Pillman; this incarnation was an anti-American stable which was popular within Canada and Europe. As the leader of this stable, Hart would routinely carry a Canadian flag to the ring and engage in promos where he declared the superiority of his home nation; he became so despised by U.S. audiences that they would often throw debris during his ring entrances, interviews, and matches.[9] He would go on to be voted by Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers as the "Most Hated Wrestler of the Year" 1997.[103] At In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede, in Hart's home town of Calgary, the Hart Foundation would defeat the team of Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, and The Legion of Doom, representing the U.S., in a ten-man tag team match main event.[104] The Canada vs. U.S. rivalry escalated on the July 21 edition of Raw in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Bret, Owen, and Davey Boy Smith, representing Canada and the Hart Foundation, defeated the team of Dude Love, Austin, and The Undertaker, representing the U.S., in a Flag match.[105] The Hart Foundation's feud with Austin was named "Feud of the Year" by Wrestling Observer Newsletter and voted "Feud of the Year" by readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[67] Hart vowed that if he could not defeat The Undertaker for the WWF Championship at SummerSlam, he would never wrestle in the United States again. The Undertaker agreed to the match, and Hart won his fifth WWF Championship after spitting in guest referee Shawn Michaels' face; Michaels swung a steel chair in retaliation, which accidentally struck the Undertaker. Michaels, who, as part of another pre-match stipulation, would be banned from wrestling in the United States if he did not remain impartial as referee, had no option but to count the pinfall, giving his bitter rival Hart the victory and his fifth and last WWF title.[106][107]

After SummerSlam, Michaels was pushed as the top heel in the company and negative fan reactions towards Hart in the U.S. softened somewhat, as he declared, "I'm not so much anti-American as I am just very, very pro-Canadian".[9] In real life, Hart did not like the new Attitude Era, instead preferring traditional values. This was used as part of his character, as Hart would insult the U.S. fans because of the success of the Attitude Era.[108] Hart successfully defended his title against The Patriot, with whom Hart had become involved in a feud as part of the Canada vs. U.S. storyline, at Ground Zero: In Your House,[109] avenging a loss to him weeks earlier on Raw,[110] and the Canada vs. U.S. feud would conclude at Badd Blood: In Your House, where Hart and Davey Boy Smith, representing Canada and The Hart Foundation, defeated The Patriot and Vader, representing the U.S., in a Flag match.[111] Erstwhile, in a rematch from SummerSlam, The Undertaker challenged Hart for the WWF Championship at One Night Only; after reversing a Tombstone Piledriver attempt from Hart, The Undertaker dumped Hart on the apron when he would not let go of the ropes. As a result, Hart's neck was caught in the ropes, and The Undertaker was disqualified.[112] Hart would cite this as his favorite of all his matches with The Undertaker,[9] and his last great match in the WWF.[113] During the Hart Foundation's feud with the Shawn Michaels-led D-Generation X, DX framed the Hart Foundation in vandalizing the locker room of the African American stable, Nation of Domination with racist motifs. In retaliation, during a promo with D-Generation X, Hart called members Triple H (previously billed as "Hunter Hearst Helmsley") and Shawn Michaels "homos". Hart later apologized for his participation in the storyline and said that he had been pressured into it, saying, "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".[113] Hart successfully defended his title against Nation of Domination leader, Faarooq, on the October 20 edition of Raw,[114] and, in his penultimate WWF Championship match, wrestled Ken Shamrock to a no-contest on the October 27 edition of Raw, which saw the referee being knocked out, after which Shamrock had Hart locked in Shamrock's finishing move the ankle lock and Hart tapped out. Suddenly Shamrock was attacked by members of the Hart Foundation until Shawn Michaels made the save for Shamrock and attacked Hart.[115]

Hart (along with Hulk Hogan) held the record for most WWF Championship reigns until The Rock's sixth reign in 2001.

Around this time, Hart's on-air rivalry with 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. Although Hart was signed to a 20-year contract back in 1996, the WWF was in a rough financial position by late 1997 and could not afford the contract. Although Hart was arguably the biggest wrestler in the world during the mid-1990s,[116] McMahon also felt that the value of his character was beginning to wane,[117] and he strongly encouraged Hart to approach the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) about a contract, hopefully one similar to their original offer. This was despite Hart's reluctance to leave the WWF and willingness to re-negotiate.[118][119] Hart subsequently signed a three-year contract with WCW. His final match with the WWF would be a title match against his real life rival Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series in Montreal. Hart did not want to end his WWF career with a loss to Michaels in his home country particularly with the context of their nationality-fuelled feud; and offered to lose, forfeit or otherwise give over the belt to Michaels in any other way that McMahon wanted. McMahon agreed to Hart's idea of forfeiting the championship the next night on Raw or losing it a few weeks later.

Although Hart stated to McMahon he would not take the WWF Championship with him to WCW TV (and despite insistence from then-WCW President Eric Bischoff, according to Hart's DVD biography,[119] that Hart would join WCW with a "clean slate"), McMahon was still concerned; this led to him breaking his word in what eventually came to be known as the Montreal Screwjob. Even though Hart did not submit to the Sharpshooter, referee Earl Hebner called for the bell as if he had, on McMahon's orders. This resulted in Hart "losing" the title to Michaels.[120] The night ended with an irate Hart spitting in McMahon's face, destroying television equipment, and punching McMahon backstage in front of Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, and McMahon's son Shane. Hart also confronted Michaels backstage about the match finish. Many behind-the-scenes events leading up to the Montreal Screwjob were filmed for the documentary Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows, released in 1998. WWE has described the Montreal Screwjob as "arguably the most controversial, most jarring moment in the annals of sports entertainment".[121]

World Championship Wrestling

Various feuds (1997–1999)

Hart signed a three-year contract with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in November 1997, the perks of which included a salary of $2.5 million per year (a $1 million increase from his WWF contract) as well as a reduced live schedule and creative control over his television character.[122] A day after the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Eric Bischoff, while with the New World Order (nWo), announced that Hart was going to be coming to WCW, and joining the nWo. Hart made his debut on WCW Monday Nitro on December 15, 1997,[123] and was heavily involved in that month's Starrcade pay-per-view. Due to a 60-day no-compete clause from the WWF, he served as the special guest referee for the match between Bischoff and Larry Zbyszko; during the Sting versus Hulk Hogan main event for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, he used his referee's license to step in toward the conclusion of the match 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), and declaring Sting the winner and new champion by submission.[124] During Bischoff's period in control of the company, the goodwill towards Hart generated by the Montreal Screwjob resulted in his being pushed as a face. In January, his no-compete clause expired, and his first feud in WCW was against Ric Flair: both Flair and Hart considered themselves the greatest professional wrestler of all time. Hart defeated Flair at Souled Out in his first WCW match.[125] After this, Hart would elect to defend the honor of WCW against the nWo, defeating members Brian Adams in his debut Nitro match on March 2, and old WWF rival Curt Hennig (formerly known as "Mr. Perfect") at Uncensored.[126]

In April 1998, Hart turned heel by interfering in a Nitro main event between Hogan and Randy Savage, helping Hogan recapture the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. He became an associate of the nWo, but did not officially join the group. Hart defeated Savage in singles action at Slamboree, thanks to assistance from Hogan. The following night on Nitro, however, guest referee Roddy Piper changed his decision and declared Savage as the winner by disqualification.[127] In a tag team match at The Great American Bash, Hart and Hogan defeated Savage and Piper.[128]

Hart held the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship four times from 1998–1999 (a record within WCW). He was seen to raise its prestige, as many WCW events were headlined by a match for that title during the time period in which Hart was associated with it.[129]

Hart competed in his second Nitro match on June 22, defeating Sting came to Hart's aid and initiated a match with Hogan. Hart's rift with Hogan had been a swerve: he turned on Sting, delivering a DDT, and this bout was also ruled a no-contest. Sting, a member of the rival nWo Wolfpac, was assaulted after the match; this betrayal began an intense feud between Hart and Sting. On the October 12 edition of Nitro, Sting and The Warrior beat Hart and Hogan by disqualification. Hart's feud with Sting ended at Halloween Havoc with Hart controversially defending the United States Heavyweight Championship and (kayfabe) injuring Sting. On the October 26 edition of Nitro, Hart lost the title to Diamond Dallas Page.[136] The two would headline the following month's World War 3 pay-per-view in a title match which Hart lost.[137] Hart regained the title from Page on the November 30 edition of Nitro in a No Disqualification match with help from The Giant.[138]

On the February 8, 1999 edition of Nitro, Hart lost the United States Heavyweight Championship to family friend Roddy Piper.[139] On the March 29 edition of Nitro held at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, Hart appeared in street clothes and derided WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, as well as Hogan, for avoiding a match with him. Finally, he called out "franchise player" Bill Goldberg, claiming he could beat him in five minutes and verbally coercing 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, and announced over the mic: "Hey Bischoff, and the WCW, I quit!". This arose speculation about whether Hart was actually leaving the company; in reality he had suffered a groin injury at the hands of Dean Malenko in November, and needed time off for surgery.[140] On May 23, 1999, the night before Hart was scheduled to make an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to hype his imminent WCW return, his brother Owen Hart died in an accident during a WWF pay-per-view. Hart took a further four months off from WCW to be with his family.

WCW World Heavyweight Champion and retirement (1999–2000)

Hart returned to wrestling as a face on the September 13, 1999 edition of Nitro in a match with

  • Official website
  • WWE Hall of Fame profile

External links

  • Paul Jay (Director); Bret Hart; Owen Hart; Vince McMahon (1998).  
  • Hart, Bret (2007). Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. ISBN 978-0-307-35567-6 (Canada) ISBN 978-0-446-53972-2 (US)  
  • Hart, Bret; Lefko, Perry (March 2000). Bret "Hitman" Hart: The Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be. Balmur/Stoddart.  

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Bret Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  2. ^ January 1986 match against Don Driggers
  3. ^ a b "WWE Hall of Fame: Bret Hart". Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c (Hart 2007, pp. 35–41)
  5. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 526)
  6. ^ "Top 50 Wrestlers of All Time". Retrieved 2014-12-07. 
  7. ^ a b Meltzer, Dave. Wrestling Observer. November 17, 1997. Archived April 6, 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 4)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Bret "Hit Man" Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be (aka "The Bret Hart Story"), WWE Home Video (2005)
  10. ^ "Championship History" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 6, 2011). Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Wayback Machine. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  11. ^ a b (Hart 2007, p. 32)
  12. ^ a b Hart, Bret. "Special Memories". Calgary Sun. 2001-01-27. Retrieved 2010-08-07. Archived at SLAM! Sports.
  13. ^ a b (Hart 2007, p. 36)
  14. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 33)
  15. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 38)
  16. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 170)
  17. ^ "WWF @ Brantford, Ontario – August 29, 1984". The History of WWE. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "biography".  
  19. ^ "Hart Foundation Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  20. ^ WWE Byte This interview (2005)
  21. ^ a b Zeigler, Zack. "Hats off to Trevor Murdoch". WWE. August 21, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2011
  22. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 3)
  23. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 191)
  24. ^ "WrestleMania 2 Official Results". WWE. Archived from the original on December 10, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  25. ^ "WrestleMania 2 review". pWwew – Everything Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  26. ^ a b c d results"WWF Prime Time Wrestling". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  27. ^ a b c d results archives"WWF Superstars". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on May 12, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  28. ^ "History of the World Tag Team Championship – Hart Foundation(1)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  29. ^ Adkins, Greg. results, December 28, 2009"Raw".  
  30. ^ : A special look at Bret Hart's WWE history"Raw". WWE. 0:25 minutes in. Vince McMahon: "The Pink and Black Attack, here it comes".
  31. ^ a b Hart, B. "When I boast about being the best there is, it is because of three reasons...", Bret Hart Calgary Sun column.
  32. ^ The Best of Saturday Night's Main Event. WWE Home Video. 2009.
  33. ^ Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1987". Retrieved April 7, 2007. Roma & Jim Powers defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart (w/ Jimmy Hart) via disqualification when the champions illegally double teamed the challengers 
  34. ^ "WrestleMania IV official results". WWE. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  35. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 223)
  36. ^ (Hart 2007, pp. 232–233)
  37. ^ WWF UK PPV (London Arena). Retrieved June 18, 2011.
  38. ^ "Barry Horowitz". Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  39. ^ results"WWF Wrestling Challenge". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  40. ^ Prime Time Wrestling. USA Network. November 6, 1989. At Survivor Series 1989, Bret Hart teamed with Jim Duggan, Hercules, and Ronnie Garvin as The 4x4s to take on The King's Court ("Macho King" Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine, and Canadian Earthquake. Bret Hart was eliminated by Randy Savage as The 4x4s lost the match.
  41. ^ "Bret Hart". WWE Classics. WWE. Archived from the original on February 8, 2010. 
  42. ^ "SummerSlam 1990 official results". WWE. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  43. ^ "History of the World Tag Team Championship – Hart Foundation(2)". WWE. December 30, 2007. 
  44. ^ a b "WWE World Tag Team Championship history". 
  45. ^ "SummerSlam 1991 official results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  46. ^ "History of the Intercontinental Championship(1)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  47. ^ "WWF This Tuesday in Texas results/info". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  48. ^ "Official 1992 Royal Rumble results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  49. ^ "WrestleMania VIII official results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  50. ^ "History of the Intercontinental Championship – Bret Hart(2)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  51. ^ WWF @ Portland, ME – Civic Center – July 21, 1992. The History of WWE. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  52. ^ "SummerSlam 1992 results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  53. ^ a b c d e f "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Match of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  54. ^ Dee, Louie (September 1, 2007). "Brother, can you spare some gold?". WWE. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  55. ^ Bret Hart's induction speech. WWE Hall of Fame. 2006. "That was my favorite match that I ever had, and I'm happy to tell you that".
  56. ^ "History of the WWE Championship: Bret Hart(1)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  57. ^ WWF @ Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Center – October 12, 1992. The History of WWE. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  58. ^ "Survivor Series 1992 main event". WWE. 
  59. ^ "Royal Rumble 1993 official results". WWE. 
  60. ^ "Saturday Night's Main Event XXXI official results". WWE. 
  61. ^ "WrestleMania 9 results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  62. ^ "Bret Hart's Title History". WWE. 
  63. ^ SummerSlam 1993 (VHS).  
  64. ^ "SummerSlam 1993 official results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  65. ^ "Off The Record". Off the Record. 2003.  
  66. ^ "Online World of Wrestling". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  67. ^ a b c d e "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Feud of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  68. ^ The Lost Episode of Raw: November 22, 1993. WWE. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  69. ^ WWF Superstars. USA Network. November 20, 1993.
  70. ^ "SLAM Bio: Jerry Lawler". SLAM! Sports. February 5, 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  71. ^ "Survivor Series 1993 official results". WWE. 
  72. ^ a b c " 
  73. ^ a b c "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 – 1993". Wrestling Information. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  74. ^ "Royal Rumble 1994 results". 
  75. ^ "Royal Rumble 1994 main event". WWE. 
  76. ^ "Most Rugged Roads To WrestleMania (1994)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  77. ^ "WrestleMania X results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  78. ^ "History of the WWE Championship: Bret Hart(2)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  79. ^ "King of the Ring 1994 results". 
  80. ^ "SummerSlam 1994 results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  81. ^ "History of the WWE Championship – Bob Backlund(2)". WWE. 
  82. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 – 1994". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  83. ^ Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart. WWE Home Video. 2011.
  84. ^ "WrestleMania XI results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  85. ^ King of the Ring 1995. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  86. ^ "Survivor Series 1995 main event". WWE. 
  87. ^ "History of the WWE Championship – Bret Hart(3)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  88. ^ results: February 5, 1996.Raw. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  89. ^ results: March 4, 1996.Raw. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  90. ^ "1996 Royal Rumble match". WWE. 
  91. ^ "WrestleMania XII main event". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  92. ^  
  93. ^ Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows (1998)
  94. ^ "King of the Ring 1996". 
  95. ^ "Survivor Series 1996 official results". WWE. 
  96. ^ "1997 Royal Rumble results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  97. ^ "In Your House XIII". 
  98. ^ "History of the WWE Championship – Bret Hart(4)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  99. ^ "WWF Raw: February 17, 1997". The Other Arena. February 17, 1997. Archived from the original on June 1, 2008. 
  100. ^ "WWF Raw: March 17, 1997". The Other Arena. March 17, 1997. Archived from the original on June 1, 2008. 
  101. ^ McMahon (DVD). WWE. 2006. 
  102. ^ "WrestleMania 13 official results". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  103. ^ a b "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Most Hated Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  104. ^ """WWF in Your House 16: "Canadian Stampede. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  105. ^ results: July 21, 1997Raw. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  106. ^ "SummerSlam 1997 main event". WWE. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  107. ^ "History of the WWE Championship: Bret Hart(5)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  108. ^ a b Monday Night War S01 E06: The Hart of War. WWE. 
  109. ^ "WWF Ground Zero: In Your House info/results". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  110. ^ results: July 28, 1997Raw. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  111. ^ WWF Badd Blood Results. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  112. ^ "One Night Only". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  113. ^ a b "SLAM! Wrestling: The Bret Hart Interview". SLAM! Sports. 
  114. ^ results: October 20, 1997.Raw. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  115. ^ results: October 27, 1997.Raw. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  116. ^ a b Vermillion, James. "Their Dark Days: How can you be so Hart-less?".  
  117. ^ Off The Record with Vince McMahon, TSN, 2–24–98: "...his value was beginning to wane..." (archived video at at the Wayback Machine (archived November 2, 2009))
  118. ^ Jay 1998, Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows
  119. ^ a b c "Bret "Hitman" Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Every Will Be". 
  120. ^ "Survivor Series 1997 main event (Montreal Screwjob)". WWE. 
  121. ^ Tello, Craig. The Hit Man: Ten years later – Part One. WWE. November 8, 2007. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  122. ^ Off The Record. TSN. December 3, 1997.
  123. ^ "WCW Nitro: December 15, 1997". The Other Arena. December 15, 1997. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  124. ^ "Starrcade 1997 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  125. ^ "Souled Out 1998 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  126. ^ "Uncensored 1998 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  127. ^ "Slamboree 1998 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  128. ^ "The Great American Bash 1998 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  129. ^ The 50 Greatest Stars in WCW History: Bret Hart. WWE. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
  130. ^ results: June 22, 1998Nitro. OWOW. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
  131. ^ "Bash at the Beach 1998 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  132. ^ "History of the United States Championship – Bret Hart(1)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  133. ^ "Monday Nitro – August 10, 1998". The Other Arena. August 10, 1998. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  134. ^ "History of the United States Championship – Bret Hart(2)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  135. ^ "Online World of Wrestling". Online World of Wrestling. September 13, 1998. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  136. ^ "Monday Nitro – October 26, 1998". The Other Arena. October 26, 1998. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  137. ^ "World War 3 1998 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  138. ^ "History of the United States Championship: Bret Hart(3)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  139. ^ "Monday Nitro – February 8, 1999". The Other Arena. February 8, 1999. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  140. ^ (Hart 2007, pp. 478–479)
  141. ^ "Monday Nitro – October 4, 1999". Other Arena. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  142. ^ results: October 18, 1999.Nitro. Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  143. ^ "History of the United States Championship – Bret Hart(4)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  144. ^ a b c "WWE United States Championship history". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  145. ^ a b "Monday Nitro – November 8, 1999". The Other Arena. November 8, 1999. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  146. ^ "Monday Nitro – November 15, 1999". The Other Arena. November 15, 1999. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  147. ^ "Monday Nitro – December 13, 1999". The Other Arena. December 13, 1999. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  148. ^ "Starrcade 1999 results". Pro Wrestling History. 
  149. ^ "WCW Starrcade Sunday, December 19, 1999". DDTDigest. December 19, 1999. 
  150. ^ "Story about Goldberg & Jericho". May 9, 2003. 
  151. ^ Powell, John (December 20, 1999). "Goldberg screwed at Starrcade". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 2008-06-14. 
  152. ^ "WCW Monday Nitro 1999". The History of WWE. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  153. ^ "Monday Nitro – December 20, 1999". The Other Arena. December 20, 1999. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. 
  154. ^ "History of the WCW Championship: Bret Hart(2)". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  155. ^ "Matches featuring both Bret Hart and Bill Goldberg". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  156. ^ Bischoff, Eric: Controversy Creates Cash, WWE Books, 2006 (p.265)
  157. ^ Gray, Richard. Bret Hart Says He's Careful About What He Does, Says Vince Is Focused As Ever & Wants To Remain King, More. Wrestling News World. February 10, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  158. ^ "Bret Hart's stroke and his battle to survive". The Sports Network. December 6, 2004.
  159. ^ "Bret Hart returns to Pro Wrestling". 
  160. ^ Tello, Craig (December 28, 2009). "TV Shows > Raw > Special Guest Stars > Pink and black is back". WWE. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  161. ^ a b McCoy, Heath. "Back in the Ring: Hart seeks closure in comeback".  
  162. ^ Eck, Kevin. "Q&A with Shawn Michaels".  
  163. ^ Caldwell, James (February 8, 2010). "Caldwell's WWE RAW Report 2/8: Complete coverage of Unified tag title match, WWE champ vs. ECW champ, Hart-McMahon". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  164. ^ Adkins, Greg (March 1, 2010). "A long, strange trip to WrestleMania".  
  165. ^ "Bret Hart def. Mr. McMahon in a No Holds Barred Match".  
  166. ^ Adkins, Greg (May 17, 2010). "Without limits". Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  167. ^ Martin, Adam (May 24, 2010). "Raw Results – May 24, 2010". WrestleView. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  168. ^ Martin, Adam (May 31, 2010). "Raw Results – May 31, 2010". WrestleView. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  169. ^ Stephens, David (June 14, 2010). "Raw Results – June 14, 2010". WrestleView. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  170. ^ Keller, Wade (June 21, 2010). "WWE Raw results 6/21: Keller's report on the fallout from the Fatal 4-Way PPV event, Jericho puts his career on the line". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  171. ^ "WWE suffer Hart problems". McNichol, Rob. The Sun. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  172. ^ "Bret Hart Done With WWE?". Headline Planet. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  173. ^ Stephens, David (July 19, 2010). "Raw Results – July 19, 2010". WrestleView. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  174. ^ Plummer, Dale (August 10, 2010). "RAW: Team WWE makes a stand". Slam! Sports.  
  175. ^ Plummer, Dale; Tylwalk, Nick (August 15, 2010). "Rumored return helps Team WWE fend off Nexus at SummerSlam". Slam! Sports.  
  176. ^ Stephens, David (August 16, 2010). "Raw Results – August 16, 2010". WrestleView. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  177. ^ Caldwell, James (August 30, 2010). "Caldwell's WWE Raw results 8/30: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live Raw No. 900 – Nexus vs. Team WWE". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  178. ^ Omansky, Mike (September 26, 2010). "9/25 WWE results in New York City at MSG: Bret Hart tribute night, Nexus vs. Harts – Raw announcer special referee, Street Fight main event". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  179. ^ Clevett, Jason (October 19, 2010). "Hart-felt return makes lackluster RAW memorable". Slam! Sports.  
  180. ^ Middleton, Mark Bret Hart’s WWE Status, Survivor Series DVD News, More November 26, 2010.
  181. ^ Update On Bret Hart’s WWE Contract Status & Future. November 25, 2010.
  182. ^ Windham, Jack. Bret Hart Should Come Back to WWE and Help His Relatives Out. Bleacher Report. November 24, 2010.
  183. ^ Tonight On WWE Tough Enough – Bret Hart Visits The Contestants
  184. ^ "Detailed 9/12 Raw Super show". 
  185. ^ a b "WWE World Heavyweight Championship history". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  186. ^ History of the Intercontinental Championship: "The Mountie". WWE. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  187. ^ a b WCW: The Ultimate Guide. DK Books. 2000. (p.104-105)
  188. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Vince McMahon: "His technical skills and knack for storytelling are basically unparalleled... [an] extraordinary star who you know is going to give you the best match of the night every time he goes out there".
  189. ^ When asked about Hart, Race said: "A young Bret Hart was as good as they got ... To me Bret was a wrestler's wrestler. He came by that naturally because of his father. I have nothing but admiration for the whole Hart family." Cf:
  190. ^ When asked about who he admired as the "ideal champion" and what the Intercontinental Championship means to him, he said: "I traditionally think of Bret Hart and I don’t know why that is… I think of Bret Hart as somebody who held the Intercontinental championship like it was the World Heavyweight championship. Every title match he was in felt important like it was the most important thing on the show. The way he carried himself and the matches he had, it was just everything I thought a champion should be."
  191. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Stone Cold Steve Austin: (On their WrestleMania 13 submission match): "Anyone who's been in the ring with Bret knows how talented he is"... "that was the match of the year, that was awesome".
  192. ^ The Undertaker interview. The Score. 2003. "Some of my favorite matches are with [Bret Hart]... to this day I think my matches with Bret were some of the best."
  193. ^ On Bret's technical skill: "He was a shooter with so many submission moves." Cf.
  194. ^ "Off The Record". Off the Record. 2003. 20 minutes in.   Shawn Michaels discussing his matches at WrestleMania. The hour with Bret, is that number one? "If it's not number one it's one and a half for sure"... "I loved wrestling him, I really did. You could go out there and just have a wrestling match with him – it was a sheer joy to be in the ring with him." You used to watch him backstage and think, 'that guy is unbelievable', didn't you? "I did, yeah. I used to think: 'I'd like to be out there with him'."
  195. ^ On Bret Hart's wrestling style: "You cannot watch a Bret Hart match and find any holes in it. The Excellence of Execution - that was no joke. In a Bret Hart match, every move meant something." Cf. Hart and Desire documentary on the WWE Network chronicling the on-screen rivalry of Bret Hart and Owen Hart.
  196. ^ On Bret Hart's wrestling style: "Bret’s matches were always, just that, wrestling matches. I think that’s what I liked about them. His matches were always believable and credible he always went the extra mile to make it so. There was never any wasted motion, no spots for the sake of spots, the matches always seemed more important than the individuals involved in them, and that’s what made him great. Bret managed to dominate this sport ... by wrestling, which is no easy task, and is to his credit." Cf.
  197. ^ On his 1988 Boston Garden match with Bret Hart: "Then there was a very scientific match for the WWF with Bret Hart. You know, the Hitman - people would come to me and say, "Oh yeah, you had that match with Bret Hart, what a match ... yeah that was at the Boston Garden." When asked about any guys younger than him who had psychology, Steamboat said: "I'm sure that Bret Hart could still do a one hour "broadway" you know but I don't know about the newer guys into the business - I don't know if they have enough ring psychology to carry a match for an hour." Cf.
  198. ^ Triple H interview on Stone Cold's podcast. 2015. When asked about Bret Hart, he responded by saying: "Bret Hart. Unbelievable technician ... Absolutely. In the ring, unbelievable."
  199. ^ Ric Flair discussing his dream matches at WrestleMania: "I think the world of Bret Hart and would have loved to wrestle him at a WrestleMania. He and I have had our differences, but everybody has differences in a competitive business. I have a lot of respect for him, and I’m comfortable he does with me ... When Bret came to WCW, we had a phenomenal match in Dayton, Ohio. It was so good, WCW cut it off. In WWE, if your match is good, they’ll continue with you. But in WCW, Bret and I stole it and everyone was mad that we did." Cf.
  200. ^ Bruno Sammartino distinguishing between Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan: "Bret Hart is a guy who appreciated wrestling. He was taught and trained by his father, Stu Hart, and understood the wrestling of different eras. He himself trained very hard and became a big headliner, but he didn’t come up the easy way and he never lost that appreciation of the wrestlers from past eras." Cf.
  201. ^ On Pro Wrestling Radio, Curt Hennig discussing his best in-ring moments. In your career, what are some of your more memorable matches that stand out to you?" I'll definitely have to say Bret Hart ... Bret Hart is probably the standout ... Out of all the matches I had, probably the best match I ever had would be with Bret Hart ... I have a good thing with Bret forever. Cf. Video on YouTube
  202. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Chris Benoit: "The times that I was in the ring with Bret, those matches are up on a pedestal".
  203. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Roddy Piper: (On their WrestleMania VIII match) "One of the few guys who has a 'total package'"... "I think he's one great man".
  204. ^ Bam Bam Bigelow shoot interview. RF Video. 1998. On his 1993 King of the Ring final match with Hart: "One of the best matches in my career... Bret's just such a talent."
  205. ^ Top 50 Superstars of All Time (2010). Arn Anderson: "Bret Hart is the vehicle that you've always dreamed of and it turned out you put 300,000 miles on it, and it cranked every single day."..."He was very consistent during periods of time when there wasn't a lot of consistency."
  206. ^ Top 50 Superstars of All Time (2010). Kofi Kingston: "The Excellence of Execution, he would never miss a beat ... he was so crisp in the ring."
  207. ^ Top 50 Superstars of All Time (2010). John Cena: "Bret Hart really used his technical ability to become a champion."
  208. ^ On his biggest influence: "If I had to say anybody, I’d probably say … probably Bret Hart would have been one of the first guys because I was never a Hulkamaniac. I kind of missed that. When I first started watching wrestling, I don’t know how old I was, maybe seven years old because Bret Hart would have been there at the time. I remember the first times watching WWF, Bret Hart was kind of the man, winning King of the Ring, technical master and he could go for an hour. He had a million different moves he could beat anyone with. Just rugged, dynamic champion. He was so cool. He was the opposite of (Hulk) Hogan really looking back now who was one of the indestructible hero from comic books. He was the realistic, relatable guy and these giant litany of bullies, Bam Bam Bigelow and whoever else, Razor Ramon, Diesel, Yokozuna. And he’s always find a way to outsmart them, out trick them, outlast them. He was one of the first guys who resonated with me as a kid. So I say Bret Hart if I had to answer. Not that there’s a specific moment or anything I really remember. I just remember really being into Bret Hart as a kid" Cf.
  209. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Road Warrior Animal: (speaking on in-ring opponents): "I put Bret number two or three best of all time, technician-wise".
  210. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Steve Lombardi: "One of the soundest"... "I've ever worked with in the ring".
  211. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Gene Okerlund: "Got to be in anyone's book... as one of the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time".
  212. ^ Top 50 Superstars of All Time (2010). Bruce Prichard: "To watch Bret a lot of times was like watching a wrestling clinic."
  213. ^ Top 50 Superstars of All Time (2010). Matt Striker: "Everyone knows that the Excellence of Execution belongs to Bret "The Hitman" Hart."
  214. ^ Bret Hart Story (2005). Jim Ross: "You always, always knew what you were going to get from Bret Hart, and that was quality, and you were going to get a story told."
  215. ^ Orlando Quinones Interviews Kurt Angle Part 2 on YouTube
  216. ^
  217. ^ Cf.
  218. ^ a b "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Inspirational Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  219. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  220. ^ Countdown: Top 10 Submission Specialists. WWE. December 22, 2010.
  221. ^ "The Top 25 Most Devastating Submission Maneuvers". WWE. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  222. ^ "McMahons 2, Michaels 0". WWE. March 6, 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-16. Stone Cold will induct Bret "Hit Man" Hart 
  223. ^ "McMahon-Hart". Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  224. ^ Oliver, Greg (April 2, 2006). "Hall of Fame inductions sincere and entertaining". Slam! Wrestling.  
  225. ^ Droste, Ryan. "Complete report from Hall of Fame ceremonies July 15 in IA". WrestleView. 
  226. ^ Eck, Kevin. "Ring Posts: Transcript of Bret Hart's Hall of Fame speech". Baltimore Sun. 
  227. ^ "The Calgary Hitmen Hockey Team Has Come a Long Way in a Short Time". Calgary for May 7, 1999. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  228. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 224,255)
  229. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 255)
  230. ^ (Hart 2007, p. 254)
  231. ^ a b Hitman: My life in the cartoon world of wrestling
  232. ^ "Bret Hart Marries Over The Weekend". SEScoops. July 26, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  233. ^ Andrews, Kenai (January 13, 2012). "MMA Crossfire Friday File – Jade Hart wrestles with the art of the kimono".  
  234. ^
  235. ^ Robinson, J. "Bret Hart: The Hitman Returns". IGN. 
  236. ^ "The Bret Hart Story".  
  237. ^ Mike Mooneyham (July 4, 2004). "Flair Pulls No Punches in Book". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  238. ^ a b Bret Hart on Ric Flair. Calgary Sun. July 13, 2004. Archived at
  239. ^ "Wwf Aims Low, Shoots High Wrestling Comes to the Garden on a Roll". December 27, 1998. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  240. ^ "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. – Company History". Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  241. ^ Martin, Fin. The 10 Best U.S.-Style All-Rounders; 7. Bret Hart. Power Slam. Issue 226/July 2013. p.26. "A wrestler who can work, draw money and talk is a U.S.-style all-rounder by the definition of this article."
  242. ^ a b c "Souled Out report on January 24, 1998". 
  243. ^ a b c d "Slamboree report on May 17, 1998". 
  244. ^ a b c d e f World Championship Wrestling (1998-10-25). "Sting Vs. Bret Hart". WCW Halloween Havoc. 
  245. ^ "Hart Foundation Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  246. ^ "Bret Hart". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  247. ^ a b Bruce Hart (January 14, 2011). Straight from the Hart. ECW Press. pp. 243–.  
  248. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Comeback of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  249. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Editor's Award". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  250. ^ "Stampede International Tag Team Championship history". 
  251. ^ "Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship history". 
  252. ^ "Stampede Wrestling North American Heavyweight Championship history". 
  253. ^ "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948–1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  254. ^ "WCW World Heavyweight Championship title history". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  255. ^ "WCW World Tag Team Championship history". 
  256. ^ a b "Bret Hart's title history at". 
  257. ^ "Triple Crown Club". WWE. October 18, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  258. ^ "WWC Caribbean Tag Team Championship history". 
  259. ^ "WWE Intercontinental Championship history". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  260. ^ "Middle East Cup Tournament". ProWrestlingHistory. Retrieved 2014-11-30. 
  261. ^ a b c d "And the winner is". WWE. February 23, 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 


See also

2 Hart and Lex Luger are recognized as co-winners after both simultaneously eliminated each other.

1 Hart and Goldberg both became Triple Crown Champions upon winning the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

Professional wrestling


Championships and accomplishments

In wrestling

In 2004, Hart engaged in an off-screen rivalry with Ric Flair. In his autobiography, Flair criticizes Hart for exploiting the death of his brother, Owen Hart, and the controversy surrounding the Montreal Screwjob.[237] Flair also claimed in his autobiography that, despite Hart's popularity in Canada, he was not a formidable money-making draw in the United States, a claim which Hart dismissed as "plain ridiculous" in a column written for the Calgary Sun.[238] Hart claimed that he drew greater revenue than Flair, citing his headlining performances on consistently sold-out tours throughout his WWF career, while Flair wrestled to allegedly near-empty arenas. He also criticized Flair on what he perceived as insults to fellow wrestlers Mick Foley and Randy Savage. Hart did acknowledge a decline in the WWF's popularity during the mid-1990s, but he, and others, felt that this was largely attributed to the WWF's well-publicised sex and steroid scandals, as well as WCW's acquisition of former top WWE stars.[238][239][240] In contrast to Flair's claims, prominent industry historian Dave Meltzer said there was "no denying" Hart's major drawing power in the US.[7] WWE owner Vince McMahon asserted that whichever company hired Hart could "have built the entire franchise around [him]," and described him as an "extraordinary star." McMahon added that it was "fortunate for me, in terms of my company," that his chief competitor, WCW, did not utilize Hart to his full potential.[9] WCW described Hart as "an incredible international draw, attracting standing room only crowds in every corner of the globe."[187] Professional wrestling magazine Power Slam has spoken to Hart's drawing power, placing him number 7 in "The 10 Best U.S.-Style All-Rounders", a list that considered drawing ability, along with workrate and promo skills.[241]

Feud with Ric Flair over drawing ability

On June 24, 2002, Bret Hart suffered a 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 autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life In The Cartoon World of Wrestling.[235] Hart later became a spokesperson for March of Dimes Canada's Stroke Recovery Canada program.[236]

Health problems

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 successful careers in the business. His youngest brother Owen Hart had become a decorated wrestler in his own right before his death in 1999, caused in a real-life accident at the WWF pay-per-view Over the Edge. Hart's daughter Alexandra "Beans" Hart is currently training to become a wrestler, hoping to eventually join her cousin and Hart's niece Natalya as a WWE Diva.[234]

Hart married Julie Smadu (born March 25, 1960) on July 8, 1982. Bret and Julie have four children:[228] Jade Michelle Hart (born March 31, 1983); Dallas Jeffery Hart (born August 11, 1984); Alexandra Sabina Hart (born May 17, 1988), nicknamed "Beans"; and Blade Colton Hart (born June 5, 1990).[229] The four hearts located on the right thigh of his tights symbolize his children, as do the four dots following his signature.[230] Bret and Julie separated in May 1998 and they eventually divorced on June 24, 2002 just hours before Bret suffered his stroke.[231] Hart married an Italian woman named Cinzia Rota in 2004, but they divorced in 2007 after failing to agree on where they should live.[231] He married Stephanie Washington in 2010.[232] Through his daughters Jade and Alexandra, Hart has a granddaughter, Kyra Beans (born June 2010) and a grandson, Grayson Knight Cassidy (born June 20, 2015 at 1:25 am).[233]


Hart lent his nickname to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League; he was a founder and part-owner.[227]

Personal life

In 2010, tweets from Jim Ross, Shawn Michaels and Hart announced that the three were working on a DVD chronicling the careers of Hart and Michaels that the WWE was planning to release in October 2011. The subject of the DVD would be their on-screen rivalry and real-life conflicts, with a particular focus on the Montreal screwjob. In his tweet, Hart described working on the DVD as a "cathartic" experience, and Ross asserted that both Hart and Michaels had been very honest and emotional in their interviews. The DVD, Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart: WWE's Greatest Rivalries, was released in November 2011.

Hart appeared on many talk shows (Larry King Live, Nancy Grace, Hannity & Colmes, On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, etc.) discussing the Chris Benoit double murder and suicide. Hart was a long time friend of Benoit and wrestled him many times. A clip of Hart applying the Sharpshooter to Benoit at WCW Mayhem 1999 is featured in the opening credits of Malcolm in the Middle.

On April 6, 2010, WWE released Hart & Soul: The Hart Family Anthology, which is a 3 DVD set featuring a documentary on the Hart wrestling family as well as 12 matches. It is unique in that it also features previously unseen home movies from the Harts as well as candid interviews from surviving family members.

In 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. 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. Before the DVD's release, WWE released a special magazine covering Hart's career. The collection was released on November 15, 2005.

Hart was the subject of 1998 documentary, Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows, which chronicles the events leading up to his transition from WWF to WCW.


Hart had 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 guest starred on the sketch comedy series MADtv in 1997 where he acted as enforcer at a fan's house, appearing with his WWF Championship belt. Hart later appeared again on MADtv in 1999 and 2000 in an angle with actor Will Sasso in which the two feuded on the set of MADtv and in World Championship Wrestling; this culminated in a grudge match on WCW Monday Nitro, where Hart decisively defeated Sasso.

From 1994 to 1995 Hart appeared in the Lonesome Dove television series playing "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 episodes of the Honey I Shrunk The Kids TV series (along with his brother Owen), The Adventures of Sinbad, Big Sound, and The Immortal. Hart provides the voice of pro wrestler character "The Hooded Fang" in Jacob Two-Two.

In 1994, Hart played a prison inmate in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers; however, the scene he appeared in was deleted.


On 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, and released in fall 2008 in the United States by Grand Central Publishing, with a U.S. book signing tour. Hart began writing the book in July 1999 with Marcy Engelstein, his longtime close friend and business associate. They did not complete the book until eight years later in September 2007 due to Hart suffering his stroke in 2002, among numerous other tragedies that occurred during the writing. Hart's chronicle is based on an audio diary that he kept for all of his years on the road in professional wrestling.

Hart wrote a weekly column for the Calgary Sun from June 1991 until October 2004.


Outside the ring

In December 2010, WWE released the "50 Greatest Superstars of All-Time" DVD in which Bret was ranked No. 4 behind Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and Steve Austin. One point after he retired from wrestling, Hart made an offhand comment about his ring attire; "I am perhaps one of a small handful of professional wrestlers that wore pink into the ring, and never got my ass kicked for it".

On October 16, 2010, Bret Hart was honored at MainStream Wrestling Entertainment's Maritime Wrestling Expo event in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Mayor of Halifax, Peter Kelly, declared the date as Bret "Hit Man" Hart Day and delivered a proclamation in honor of Bret's lifetime contributions to wrestling and for naming the City of Halifax as a favorite place in which to perform. Bret was also given a special custom-made plaque by MainStream Wrestling Entertainment, which was designed by Custom Design Cycle in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

In June 2008, Hart returned to the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony, this time to induct his father Stu Hart. At the induction ceremony in Waterloo, Iowa, he ridiculed Slam Wrestling editor Greg Oliver, calling him a "charlatan" and his books on wrestling "fiction" to the standing ovation of some wrestlers in attendance. At the end of the speech, Hart said "Either you go or I go." After Oliver refused to leave, Hart walked out of the ceremony with other wrestlers to scattered applause.[226]

On 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."[225]

On the February 16, 2006 episode of Raw, it was announced that Hart would be a 2006 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.[222] Hart had also been approached by Vince McMahon for a potential match between the two at WrestleMania 22 but declined the offer.[223] On April 1, 2006, Hart was inducted by "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."[224] Despite Hart's claims around the time of WrestleMania 22, the idea of a match between Hart and McMahon was revived in 2010 following Bret's guest appearance on the January 4 edition of Raw. On March 1, 2010, it was confirmed that Hart and McMahon would have their match at WrestleMania XXVI.

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 said he would be done with professional wrestling following his U.S. book tour. He believed his wrestling career would be complete after saying good-bye to his American fans on various book signing tours to promote its release in the States. Hart was content saying good-bye to wrestling through his book and not working for a promotion after spending seven years on the project. "I'd be happy being remembered for really brilliant storytelling in my matches, not for some last chance to snap up some money," Hart said. "I respectfully understand my light in wrestling is fading. I can live with that." Hart said he nearly gave up on the project while trying to fight with the illnesses he faced after suffering a stroke in 2002. However, Hart wanted to bring closure on his wrestling career. "A lot of times, I thought about giving up because it was hard reliving some of these events. But I couldn't say goodbye to my wrestling character until I finished."

[221] Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) readers voted Hart the greatest wrestler of 1993 and 1994 in the "

Numerous more recent wrestlers have named Hart as their "dream opponent". When Tazz was asked about which wrestler, past or present, he would have wanted to wrestle in a dream match, he responded: "Bret Hart. I was a big fan of his work. I feel him and I would have had a very good chemistry to gel and have a strong program." Likewise, William Regal has said: “I would’ve loved to wrestle Bret Hart, but I never got the chance".[217] Similarly, Edge, Chris Jericho, Lance Storm, 2 Cold Scorpio, Kurt Angle, and Tyson Kidd have described Hart as a "dream opponent" or a "dream match".

Veteran commentator and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has said: "Bret was one of the best in-ring performers I ever saw and could maximize the presentation of a match with any talent with whom he was booked ... Just loved his skill set and his ability to get a good to great match out of virtually everyone that he worked with. I can't remember calling any 'bad matches' with Bret involved. Can't say that about many people. The business today would be better off with more Bret Harts in it. Class act. Tough guy. Great friend."[216]

Hart has been credited by WWE and prominent industry figures as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.[9][18] WWE has also described him as one of the biggest names in the history of the business,[185][186] and said of his popularity, "In the mid '90s, there were very few, if any, Superstars as popular as Bret "Hit Man" Hart."[116] WCW said, "Bret "Hit Man" Hart [is] perhaps the greatest pure wrestler ever to lace up a pair of boots. Universally respected by other wrestlers, Hart is almost as controversial as he is technically adept." The organization also called Hart "an incredible international draw, attracting standing room only crowds in every corner of the globe."[187] Since Hart's retirement, WWE chairman Vince McMahon has described him as the greatest technical wrestler and storyteller in the history of the business, and as having given the best match of the night every time he wrestled.[188] Harley Race,[189] Daniel Bryan,[190] Stone Cold Steve Austin,[191] The Undertaker,[192] Ken Shamrock[193] Shawn Michaels,[194] Chris Jericho,[195] Lance Storm,[196] Ricky Steamboat,[197] Triple H,[198] Ric Flair,[199] Bruno Sammartino,[200] Curt Hennig,[201] Chris Benoit,[202] Roddy Piper,[203] Bam Bam Bigelow,[204] Arn Anderson,[205] Kofi Kingston,[206] John Cena,[207] Dean Ambrose,[208]and other wrestlers[209][210] have named Hart as one of the great in-ring performers. Veteran AWA, WWF/E and WCW announcer Gene Okerlund has asserted that Hart should appear in anyone's list of the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time.[211] WWE officials including Bruce Prichard,[212] Matt Striker,[213] and Jim Ross,[214] have all praised Hart's wrestling ability and dedication to the business. Olympic wrestling gold medalist and six-time WWE world champion Kurt Angle said of Hart: "I consider him one of the absolute best ever. He earned my respect. I used to watch matches of him so that I could learn the psychology of wrestling... in that ring, as a technician, there wasn't anybody better."[215]

Bret Hart accepts his induction into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, July 15, 2006.


Hart was present backstage at WrestleMania 31 on March 30, 2015, congratulating Daniel Bryan on his Intercontinental Championship win in a ladder match, along with fellow legends Ricky Steamboat, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ric Flair and Ron Simmons. On the May 4, 2015 episode of Raw, Hart appeared to introduce Sami Zayn as a surprise challenger for John Cena's United States Championship.

Hart was on the pre-show of the first ever NXT special event, Arrival, as part of an expert panel including Kevin Nash and Paul Heyman. On the March 27, 2014 episode of NXT, Hart was ringside in the corner of his niece Natalya. He was also in her corner at the NXT TakeOver event. Later in 2014, Hart appeared on the July 7 episode of Raw in a segment with Damien Sandow, as well as making an appearance on Main Event the following day.

On the post-show of Raw on May 27, 2013, Hart was honored by the city of Calgary and the WWE with a "Bret Hart Appreciation Night", a celebration of the work he had done in his career. Also present in the ring for this celebration were Pat Patterson, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon, who each paid their own tributes to Hart.

Hart appeared on Raw 1000 on July 23, 2012 as the guest ring announcer for the Intercontinental Championship match between reigning champion Christian and The Miz. On the September 10, 2012 episode of Raw, Hart interviewed John Cena during which CM Punk interrupted. When Punk tried to punch him, Hart countered the attack and punched him right in the face, forcing him to roll out of the ring. Hart closed the show celebrating with Cena. Hart then made an appearance at the 2013 Royal Rumble, in a segment with Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. Later in the year, Hart appeared on the March 25 epidode of Raw alongside other legends, as they interviewed The Rock and John Cena. The following week, Hart encouraged Daniel Bryan to be tough, but Team Hell No (Bryan and Kane) would nonetheless lose to The Shield.

Sporadic appearances (2012–present)

Hart appeared on's Legends of Wrestling: Rivalries on March 23, 2011, discussing the greatest professional wrestling rivalries of all time with other prominent industry figures. On the April 25, 2011 edition of Tough Enough, the contestants focused on developing their agility. Hart, who was described in his introduction by host Steve Austin as the personification of "courage, technique and agility", motivated the contestants by giving a talk on the attributes required to be successful in WWE.[183] On May 22 at Over the Limit, Hart's long-running 1990s rival, Jerry Lawler, defeated Michael Cole in a Kiss My Foot match. Harking back to Hart's victory over Lawler in a Kiss My Foot Match at the 1995 King of the Ring, Hart came to the ring after the match and, along with Jim Ross and Eve Torres, forced Michael Cole back into the ring so he could kiss Lawler's foot, as agreed in the pre-match stipulation; Hart placed Cole in the Sharpshooter to accomplish this. Hart and Lawler then embraced, laying past animosities to rest. The following night on Raw, Hart refereed the main event, which saw John Cena and Rey Mysterio defeat R-Truth and CM Punk with Hart's assistance. On the August 23, 2011 tapings of the August 26, 2011 edition of SmackDown, Hart served as guest general manager. Hart announced that Mark Henry would get a shot at Randy Orton's World Heavyweight Championship the following week, but he was forced to give Christian a title shot instead, after Christian invoked his rematch clause. Hart, however, used his authority to add a steel cage stipulation to the match. Hart also guest refereed a Street Fight between Randy Orton and Christian in a Dark Match. After the match, Christian squared off with Bret, who applied the sharpshooter on Christian. On September 12, 2011 Hart appeared on Raw and was placed in a tag team match with John Cena against Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez which he won after putting Rodriguez into a sharpshooter.[184] Later that week on SmackDown, which was filmed in Toronto, he took part in a post-show tribute for one of his biggest fans (who also was forced to retire early, due to injuries), Edge.

Third return to the WWE (2011)

On the Raw episode after WrestleMania, Hart was about to announce his farewell from WWE until Unified WWE Tag Team Champions ShoMiz taunted Hart. This led Hart to request a match between the champions and The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd), a stable stemmed from the Hart family. Ultimately, the Dynasty would win a championship match that culminated in them winning the championship on April 26. Hart would manage in the Dynasty's corners while they battled with the Miz and Show in various matches, which eventually led to The Miz losing a match that guaranteed a WWE United States Championship match to a Hart family member against him. Instead of choosing a member of the Dynasty, The Miz chose Bret; with the help of the Dynasty, Hart would defeat The Miz to win his record-tying fifth United States Championship on May 17 in Toronto, Canada.[166] On the May 24, 2010 edition of Raw, Hart was named the new general manager of Raw. He set up qualifying matches for Fatal 4-Way Pay-per-view, but one of which involving the injured Batista and Randy Orton. Batista refused to take part and quit the WWE. He vacated the United States title, which was later won by R-Truth, and once again retired from the ring to fulfill his duties as general manager.[167] The next week, he was confronted by Vince McMahon who congratulated Hart on becoming general manager but warned him that he would have to make tough decisions in the future. Hart retaliated by declaring a Viewer's Choice episode of Raw.[168] The week after the Viewer's Choice episode, he confronted the NXT rookies who demanded WWE contracts. Hart denied their requests and fired NXT Season 1 winner Wade Barrett. At the end of the night, the NXT rookies attacked Hart and demanded for contracts giving Hart until the Fatal 4-Way pay per view for his answer.[169] Hart legitimately did not appear at the pay-per-view or the following night's Raw as advertised. On the June 21, 2010 edition of Raw, McMahon scolded Hart for failing to appear at the pay-per-view and to hire extra security to prevent the "chaos" caused by the NXT rookies, relieving him of his duties as general manager.[170] Hart's profile was subsequently removed from the Raw roster on Some speculated that Hart had left the company, with the most commonly reported explanation being that Lloyd's of London, with whom he has an insurance settlement following his career-ending injury in WCW, were unhappy with the level of physicality involved in his WWE appearances.[171][172] After a five-week absence from WWE programming, Hart returned to Raw on July 19, 2010, where it was announced by John Cena that he, The Great Khali, R-Truth, Edge, Chris Jericho, John Morrison and Hart would face the NXT rookies, now known as The Nexus, at SummerSlam.[173] The following week, Hart teamed with John Cena to wrestle SummerSlam teammates Edge and Chris Jericho to a no contest.[174] In the SummerSlam main event, Hart's first pay-per-view headlining match since Starrcade 1999, he was disqualified for using a steel chair on Skip Sheffield. However, his team still went on to win the match when Cena defeated Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett by pinfall and submission, respectively.[175] On the August 16, 2010 edition of Raw, Hart introduced the new tag team title belts to the champions, The Hart Dynasty. Later on in the night during The Nexus vs. Raw challenge, Hart was scheduled to face Justin Gabriel, but was unable to compete after the Anonymous Raw General Manager, citing his disdain for Hart, removed him from the match and replaced him with Randy Orton.[176] On August 30, 2010, Hart appeared on the 900th episode of Raw and was booked in a match against The Undertaker by the anonymous general manager. The match, however, would never take place as The Undertaker was assaulted by The Nexus and Kane.[177] On September 25, 2010, WWE hosted a tribute event to Hart in Madison Square Garden, where he and the Hart Dynasty defeated Nexus members Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel and Michael Tarver in a six-man tag team match, when Gabriel submitted to Hart's Sharpshooter.[178] On the October 18, 2010 edition of Raw, Hart made an appearance in his hometown of Calgary, working as the special enforcer in the main event dark match between Randy Orton, Sheamus and Wade Barrett and, after the match, saved Orton from a Nexus beatdown and locked Heath Slater in a Sharpshooter.[179] In November 2010, Hart's WWE contract had expired.[180][181][182]

Hart with WWE in 2010.

United States Champion and Raw general manager (2010)

During different encounters the following month, Hart and McMahon would reproduce similar events that occurred in the Montreal Screwjob: McMahon spitting in Hart's face (as Hart did to McMahon), and Hart destroying parts of the technical equipment that goes into producing Raw (as he did to the Survivor Series equipment).[163] On the February 15 Raw, Hart made a farewell from WWE, but as he left to go inside his limousine, another vehicle reversed into the door of his limo and injured his left leg. On the March 1 Raw, Mr. McMahon, who would take advantage of Hart's condition, challenged Hart to a match at WrestleMania XXVI; Hart accepted.[164] The match was later changed to a No Holds Barred Match as Hart revealed (with help from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the special guest host that night) the staging of his injury. Hart, along with his family, inducted his father Stu Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame, a controversial decision that aggravated Hart and McMahon's rivalry in 2010. At WrestleMania, McMahon attempted to buy Hart's family into turning against him; however, they turned against McMahon instead and helped Hart defeat McMahon.[165]

Hart re-signed with WWE in late December 2009. On December 28, after weeks of controversy surrounding Hart and his presence in World Wrestling Entertainment, Chairman Vince McMahon announced that Hart would be special guest host on the January 4 Raw.[160] Hart made his first live appearance on Raw in over 12 years by hosting the program. There, he thanked the fans for their continued support, jokingly teased announcer Jerry Lawler about their long running 1990s feud, and confronted Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon regarding the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series in 1997. Hart and Michaels were able to agree on a truce, shaking hands and hugging. While many cast doubts on the sincerity of their reconciliation, both men have confirmed that it was indeed genuine and not part of storyline.[161][162] It also appeared that he had buried the hatchet with Vince later in the night, until Vince subsequently kicked Bret in the crotch (this was in fact part of a storyline, as Bret and Vince have been on speaking terms since 2005).[161]

Hart confronts Michaels on January 4, 2010.

Feud with Mr. McMahon (2009–2010)

Second return to WWE

On May 9, 2007, it was announced that Hart would make his first appearance for a professional wrestling event since the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame. Hart signed autographs at "The Legends of Wrestling" show at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.[159] On June 11, 2007, Hart made his first appearance on Raw since October 27, 1997 when he appeared in a pre-taped interview voicing his opinions on Vince McMahon as part of "Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night." During the months of October and November 2008, Hart went on tour with American Wrestling Rampage promotions, touring many places throughout the UK and Ireland, posing for photographs and signing autographs before the show. On the weekend of July 11, 2009, he made an appearance at One Pro Wrestling in Doncaster, England, where he held a Q&A, and then entered the ring to address the fans at the show. On September 27, 2009, Hart appeared in New York City's Manhattan Center to sign autographs during a Ring of Honor event. He spoke to the crowd, reminiscing about some of his more memorable matches in New York.

Independent circuit (2007–2009)

In mid-2005, Hart worked with the renamed World Wrestling Entertainment for the first time since 1997, contributing hours of interview footage and selecting matches for his WWE Home Video release, Bret "Hit Man" Hart: The Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be. He was interviewed by Todd Grisham on the November 16, 2005 edition of Byte This!, marking his first live appearance on WWE programming since his departure. On April 1, 2006, Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by former on-screen rival, Stone Cold Steve Austin. He neglected to appear alongside his fellow inductees at WrestleMania 22 the following night.

Return to WWE (2005–2006)

Hart donned his famed "Hit Man" singlet, along with additional costume, and wrestled in-ring matches against jobbers (playing minor villain characters) as part of his performance as the Genie in a 2004 stage production of Aladdin, which capitalized on his past as a professional wrestler.[158] He reprised the role in 2006.

Theater and return to the ring (2004; 2006)

In 2001, Hart became the on-screen commissioner of World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA), a role that ended prematurely due to a 2002 stroke, which temporarily rendered him a wheelchair user.[157] In his first major appearance since recovering, Hart traveled to Australia to appear at another WWA event in May 2003.

World Wrestling All-Stars (2001–2003)

Retirement appearances

Hart and several critics considered his storylines during his tenure to be lacklustre.[9][156] Former WCW wrestler Chris Jericho attributed this to backstage politics and creative mayhem.[108] Hart cited his "steel plate" segment with Goldberg and his tribute match to Owen, against Chris Benoit, as his two shining moments with the company. He said he was "proud" to have been WCW World Heavyweight Champion for a short time prior to his injury.[9]

Out of respect for Goldberg, Hart vacated the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on the December 20 edition of Nitro and suggested that he, without the championship advantage, face Goldberg that night to determine the true champion. During the match, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash came to the ring looking to attack Goldberg with baseball bats. Hart convinced them to stop, then in a swerve hit Goldberg with one of the bats. The three continued to beat down Goldberg and were eventually joined by Jeff Jarrett.[152] Hart regained the championship, even though it was Roddy Piper who was covering Goldberg (to try and protect him) when the three count was made. The nWo was reformed (now billed as "nWo 2000"), and Hart turned heel once again.[153][154] He holds an undefeated record against Goldberg in both singles and tag team competition.[155] Hart wrestled Terry Funk to a no-contest in a non-title, hardcore rules match on the January 6 edition of Thunder. In his final match in WCW, he defended the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Kevin Nash on the January 10 edition of Nitro, which also ended in a no-contest. Hart vacated the title in late January 2000 when he was forced to withdraw from the main event of WCW's Souled Out due to his injuries. Hart continued to make appearances on WCW television, generally cutting promos. He was an unofficial participant in a battle royal on the May 3, 2000 edition of Thunder to determine the number one contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: the extent of his involvement in the match—ultimately won by Ric Flair—was to hit Hulk Hogan with a chair. His final WCW appearance occurred on the September 6, 2000 edition of Thunder, in a promo where he confronted Bill Goldberg on the injury he sustained nine months prior. WCW terminated Hart's contract via FedEx letter on October 20, 2000, due to his ongoing incapacity, and he announced his retirement from professional wrestling soon afterward.

Hart and Goldberg would lose the tag team titles to The Outsiders on the December 13 edition of Nitro.[147] At Starrcade, Hart defended his WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Goldberg. During the match, Hart was struck with a thrust 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.[148] 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 when Goldberg failed to receive the move correctly.[149] 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."[150] As part of his DVD documentary, Hart expressed regret that "someone as good-hearted as Bill Goldberg" was responsible for hurting him.[119] As with the Montreal Screwjob, referee Roddy Piper rung the bell when Hart held Goldberg in the Sharpshooter, although Goldberg did not submit. Piper simply walked away, leaving both Goldberg and Hart bewildered.[151] This would be Hart's last WCW pay-per-view.

On December 7, Hart and Goldberg won the WCW World Tag Team Championship from Creative Control, thus not only making Hart a double champion (as he was still WCW World Heavyweight Champion at that point) but also the first wrestler to win both the WWF and WCW version of the Triple Crown Championship. Also, he and Goldberg completed the WCW Triple Crown at exactly the same time, as both had been United States and WCW World Heavyweight Champion leading to this win.

On 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.[145] Hart went on to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship tournament by defeating Perry Saturn,[145] Billy Kidman,[146] Sting, and Chris Benoit at Mayhem, held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, giving him his first of two reigns in WCW and his sixth world title overall.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.