This was released on July 31st, 2014
The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs at two hours and fifteen minutes long
The first question asked to Bret is about the “Inside Edition” piece that aired on January 3rd on steroids and wrestling that primarily focused on Hulk Hogan’s apparent lying about his steroid use on the Arsenio Hall Show. Bret said that he recalled that a lot of guys in the locker room felt that if he just answered the question honestly, the whole issue would have gone away but when he lied, Bret said that it brought on a whole tidal wave of criticism and business went down significantly by the end of the year.
On January 5th, the first match between Hogan and Ric Flair at the Omni in Atlanta only drew 4,500 fans. Bret is asked why didnt the feud between Hogan and Flair work. Bret said it was due to ego problems as each guy were set in their own ways and had doing their same matches for years. When asked if someone tried to step in and tell these guys to go out their and deliver, Bret said he believes that Vince would have done that then talks about his own problems with Flair. He said that they were having really good matches at the beginning of the year but once Bret won the belt, the matches started to get sloppy. Bret said that Flair told him that he was having problems at home thus was distracted. He said that very well could have been the case but Bret also said that he went up to Vince and told him that he believed Flair was intentionally sabotaging their matches as the finishes would constantly get screwed up. He said that they had meetings with Vince and Pat Patterson to work things out as well. When Flair left, Vince came up to Bret a few weeks later and told him that he believes that Flair can only work his style of match and was not doing anything to purposely screw things up. Bret talks about how Flair called it in the ring and tried to be like Dory Funk and Harley Race were in the 1970’s and he came from a different era and they had a bit of a styles clash.
When asked about Shawn Michaels turning on Marty Jannetty and sending him through the “Barber Shop” window, Bret said that he believes they were split up as he believes that Shawn was tired of babysitting Marty, in the same way that he was tired of doing the same to Jim Neidhart. Bret also said that he did not travel on the road with the Rockers so he cannot say for sure. Bret then talks about Neidhart and how his night did not begin until 2am and that he had to stay with him to make sure he would make the flight the next day and how that got old after a while. When asked out of the Rockers which one he would have picked for a singles push, Bret puts over both guys for being exceptional workers but says that it was clear that Shawn was the better athlete of the two and picks him. Bret then says that Shawn and Curt Hennig were the two best athletes he has ever wrestled against. Bret then talks a bit more about Shawn and how he thought he was a better character and worker when they feuded against each other in 1997.
On Jaunary 17th, Bret dropped the Intercontinental Title to Jacques Rougeau. When asked if he was okay with that, Bret said that he was fine with dropping the belt to Jacques but upset in the fact that he was unsure which direction the company was going with him and thought he was doing a good job as the IC champion. He felt that he was going to get discarded but then Vince told him what was going to happen and he was not sure that it was going to happen as he had been promised many things in the past that did not happen. Bret also added that he was sure that the WWF knew what they were doing too. Sean then asked how far in advanced was Bret told that he was winning the World Heavyweight Title and he said that he was told that around Christmas time in 1991. Sean then asked Bret if it was true that he was talking to WCW and Bret confirmed, even saying that he had a few deals in place with the company. He then said that at the time, Brian Pillman called him and said that he was making more money in WCW than Bret was in the WWF. Bret said he called WCW and spoke with Jim Barnett, who told Bret that they could not pay him what he had been told by Pillman and was better off staying in the WWF. Bret said he wondered if they just did not see a lot in him or if they were doing him a huge favor. Bret said that it bothered him that all of the news about his negotiations were all over the “shit sheets” and the Observer and that pissed him off.
Now, Bret is asked about the 1992 Royal Rumble Match that Ric Flair won and became the WWF Champion. Sean asks Bret if Flair made a good champion for the WWF and their identity at the time. Bret then talks about how he is baffled when people tell him that Flair was the greatest wrestler of all-time, even saying that he is a fan of his and puts over his work ethic. When asked why do people consider Flair the greatest of all-time, Bret said he was flamboyant and had one of the greatest characters but as far as a worker, Bret said that he had an older mindset when it came to in-ring work and could not break out of the 1970’s style and do stuff in the ring that his generation was doing. Bret then talks about the three things that make you a great wrestler, your look/presence, workrate, and promo ability and how you would rate them in each category out of ten. He said that Hogan was 9/10 in presence and promo but 1/10 as a worker. He then said that the Dynamite Kid was a 0/10 promo, 9/10 wrestler and a 7/10 presence. Bret said that his biggest weakness were his promos and could do something good if he had an issue, like he did in 1997. Bret said he was either a 7 or 8 in presence, on his best day 7 or 8 in promos and close to a 10/10 as a worker. Bret said that he was impressed by good bodies but as a fan, he was impressed with who could work and wanted them to look and sell themselves as athletes. He then goes into how business tapered off in 1992 due to the steroid scandal.
Bret then skips ahead and talks about a match at a “Saturday Night Main Event” taping between Flair and Randy Savage. After they came through the curtain, Vince yelled at them to go back out and do it all over again, this time the way he wanted them too and they went back and did the same match and when they came back through the second time, Vince just yelled and told them to get the fuck out the way. Bret also said that those two were having meetings behind closed doors about their matches and when they failed, Bret believes that was the nail in the coffin for Flair as he could not wrestle the way they wanted him too.
Bret is asked about Kerry Von Erich, who was arrested for prescription fraud, and if his drug problem was known throughout the locker room. He said that it was known before he arrived to the WWF that Kerry had a severe drug addiction but does not recall seeing him that out of it while in the WWF. Bret then talks about how Kerry was a hard guy not to like and that everyone had some sympathy for him due to everything that happened in his life. Bret said he was one of the sweetest, kind-hearted wrestlers he has ever seen.
Jim Neidhart was fired on February 16th for “unprofessional conduct.” When asked how he got fired, Bret recalls that he stalled the company for drug testing him and that he somehow snuck out of the building and never got tested the night before. The next night, Neidhart got pissed and shot-putted a TV monitor that ended up hitting a WWF TV executive and breaking his ankle and that was what got him fired. Sean was asked if there were any discussions for him to team with Owen at that time and he said there was not and that was not the time to do it as he was getting a singles push.
When asked if it was the right time to turn the Undertaker face, Bret said he thinks so and puts over the Undertaker for constantly evolving and talking about how the gimmick was not easy to pull off. Bret then said that the Undertaker came up to him and said that he was happy to work together as he wanted to show what he could do in the ring. Bret puts over the Undertaker for being the only person to pull off that gimmick and said that he was smooth in the ring.
Bret is asked about Terry Garvin and Pat Patterson resigning on March 2nd due to allegations of sexual harassment and how the locker room reacted. He said that at the time, with this coming right after Hogan lying about his steroid use, a lot of them were worried about the state of the business. Bret said that about the allegations of harassment, he said he never witnessed anything personally but does not doubt that some shenanigans took place.
On April 2nd, former WWF referee Rita Chatterton went on Geraldo Rivera’s talk show and claimed that Vince McMahon forced sexual intercourse upon her. Bret said he had no idea if this took place but said that he had trouble buying that Vince would jeopardize everything he had to do that to her. Bret also hints that it is ridiculous to believe due to Rita’s looks then talks about how the lady Arnold Schwarzenegger cheated with was a 2/10 and Tiger Woods’ girls that he was with were “3/10 skanks.” When asked if Vince was showing any strain during this time and Bret said that he never saw any of it but also heard from the office that he was preparing for the worse and heard a rumor that Vince would be doing the booking from jail if he was convicted.
The “WBF Body Stars” made its debut on April 4th. Bret said that the wrestling business was changing and talks about how less people were watching and advertisers would no longer air commercials for their toys and calls it a real dark time in the company. He then talks about how bodybuilding is a waste of life and how he does not see any ability or skill in bodybuilding, even comparing them to fashion models. He then talks about how the WBF guys were making more than the top wrestlers and got paid their full contracts when they folded. Bret then said that the WBF guys got to fly in first class ahead of the wrestlers on the same plane, which he did not feel was right. Sean questions why they decided to launch this after the steroid scandal came about and Bret said it was doomed from day one then talks about Lex Luger and how he was totally clean at that time (from steroids), as were most wrestlers he said in the 1990’s due to steroid testing, but that even less people would care when the bodybuilders were not doing steroids. Finally, Sean asks Bret about IcoPro as Bret said it tasted horrible and had no benefits then said that they sent crates of it to his house which he gave to his neighbors (With Bret joking that they would return it by leaving it on his step the next day) and stacked in his garage. Bret said that the rest of the wrestlers would buy their own supplements despite the fact they could have gotten IcoPro for free.
At WrestleMania VIII, Bret defeated Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Title. Roddy helped Bret to his feet then put the belt around his waist. Sean asks Bret if it meant anything for Piper to put him over and Bret said that it did and in his own way, Roddy passed the torch to him. Bret said Roddy would have only done that for a few people. Bret said that he was worried about not being able to get the belt but said that as the Intercontinental Champion, he got a bit of a push and had good people to work against, unlike when he was a Tag Team Champion. When asked about bleeding heavily and the WWF having a no blading policy at the time, Bret said that it was a gut call on his part and recalls a time in Moncton, New Brunswick with Piper before WrestleMania. They had not seen each other much and talked about the match. Bret first talks about how hard it can be to discuss a match you will have with someone you look up to as you have too much respect and sometimes are not true to yourself as a result. They went to a restaurant and Piper laid out the match and Bret said that what Piper laid out was exactly what he wanted to do himself. Roddy then told Bret that if he got some color that it would enhance the match. Bret said it wasnt a question of whether he could do it but if he could get away with that. Bret said that Flair and Savage planned on getting color in their match and did that and got fined but Bret did not when he did. Bret then talks about how Flair did it openly and mocks a little kid saying “daddy why he is cutting himself: but Bret said that no one even knew that he bladed and they passed it off as hardway. Bret also said how he and Piper did a pull-apart in the locker room that Strongbow broke up and the rest of the office was unsure whether or not Bret cut so he did not get cut.
When asked about Jake Roberts quitting before WrestleMania VIII and only going out for the match if Vince gave him his release, Bret said that it was his understanding that he would be working with Jake Roberts at SummerSlam after Patterson told him that he was going to put him over Jake at the show.
Bret is asked about Savage defeating Flair for the belt at WrestleMania. He talks about how they were looking for someway to replace Hogan at the time then talks about how they tried that with the Ultimate Warrior and he tried about as well as anyone could have in that position. Bret said all of the boys in the locker room respected Savage for his work and how he was a steady and reliable guy for the belt.
Sean asks Bret about Hogan and if they really thought he was retiring after his match against Sid. Bret said that he made a giant cartoon drawing of all the wrestlers, who signed it as well, to give to Hogan as he thought he was done and leaving for Hollywood. Sean then asks why wasn’t Hogan vs. Flair at WrestleMania as Bret speculates that they might not have had an ending.
Sid Justice quit on April 26th, after losing to the Ultimate Warrior in the Boston Garden. Sid allegedly falsified a drug test prior to WrestleMania. Sean tells Bret that he heard a humor that Sid had Harvey Whippleman’s urine in a Visine bottle so he could pass the test. Bret said he was not privy to any of that. Sean then asks Bret if Sid took wrestling seriously. Bret said that Sid was naive and how you could easily rile him up then talks about how Owen would have had a field day with a guy like him. Bret said that Sid could destruct if you encouraged him then tells a story about how in Canada, they had a match in which CFL players were lumberjacks and how he was flipping out about football players touching him but Bret explained how they were just going to roll him back into the ring and says that he sensed if could have gone badly if he riled him up. Bret then talks about how he seemed easy to manipulate.
High Energy (Owen Hart & Koko B Ware) made their debut on May 2nd. Bret is asked how Owen felt about his ring outfit and being paired with Koko. Bret laughs and said how Owen hated his ring attire then talks about Owen teaming with Neidhart and how Owen actually embraced the babysitter role he had with Neidhart as Bret said the day Neidhart actually got fired was when Owen was not there to look after him. Bret said that Owen felt the whole thing was a rib. Bret also said that they did what they could do make it work.
Now, Bret is asked about Papa Shango putting a curse on the Ultimate Warrior. Bret said it was the second worst idea they had, with the Gobbledy Gooker being the absolute worst. Bret said that “only a Bret Hart” could clean up that mess then said that even Vince knew it was horrible after it happened. Bret then puts over the Papa Shango character and said that adding a mouthpiece to the character could have helped him out. He believes that Pat Patterson hated Papa Shango, both the gimmick and as a wrestler, and killed the gimmick.
Bret said that he thought Nailz was a good gimmick and that he did look like a bad-ass prisoner. He then said that a better worker could have made it worked. Bret said that he had a legit reputation as a tough guy and how he was typically quiet and a good guy but no one messed with him.
On June 13th, the second and Final WBF PPV aired. Bret said that a lot of the locker room was resentful over the fact that the bodybuilders got all of that money instead of it going down to them. Bret then said that 1992 was the hardest year for him in wrestling regarding the travel.
When asked about Rocco: The Wrestling Dummy, Bret said that it totally messed up Hawk and how he cracked at SummerSlam that year because he hated the gimmick. Bret said that Vince wanted to make the Legion of Doom appear more “fun.” Sean then mentions how Bruce Prichard defended the Red Rooster gimmick with a passion during his “Guest Booker” shoot and Bret said that is why Bruce is where he is today. Bret said that Paul Ellering was a cool guy and thinks that he might have been brought in to help Hawk, who was battling drug addiction.
Bob Backlund made his return on July 1st and defeated Skinner. Sean asks Bret if Bob is relevant in 1992. Bret said that in the Northeast he was and if you remember him from his era too. Bret then talks about how cool it was when both Backlund and Flair locked up in a battle royal.
On July 21st, Bret Hart defeated Shawn Michaels in the first ever ladder match that took place in the WWF. Bret talks about how he kept explaining the concept of the match to Vince and it happened for eight years until it finally happened. Bret talks about the first ladder match that they had at a house show. He then talks about how Curt Hennig and Jim Duggan came up to him and said that SummerSlam was either going to take place in England or in Washington D.C. at the Cap Centre. Bret thought about it and said that he was probably gonig to lose the belt and said if it was in England, then he would drop it to Davey and how it would make sense. If it was in Washington D.C, he was hearing that it would be against Shawn and if that was the case, he wanted to try to get Vince to let them do a ladder match. Bret then talks about telling Vince these two ideas and at that time, Vince told Bret to show him the idea for the ladder match and to pick someone for it and suggested Shawn. Bret told Shawn the idea and how he was confused about the concept. They then went out and had the match as it was just a demonstration then Bret said he was pissed about Shawn and “them” stealing his idea ldown the road. Bret said that Vince initially promised that he would not do the ladder match without him being involved but that was not the case.
Bret is asked about Scott Hall, who made his debut as Razor Ramon. Bret said that Razor did well when he first came in and was always a good guy who was focused and fun to be around back then. Bret talks about how Hall did a great job with the gimmick then talks about how he was going to “Cowboy” Bret Hart in 1985 and at the last minute, realized that he could not do the character and make it work.
Bret talks about Jerry Lawler and said how he was one of the best heels he worked against. He said that he had a basic moveset and could still get more heat than anyone in the company with a move like a thumb to the throat.
They now discuss Bret’s SummerSlam match against Davey Boy Smith. Bret said that Davey went home in July due to a staph infection. Bret said that Davey’s drug problems were out of control then too. He also said that he had a match against Davey just prior to SummerSlam and it was terrible and backstage, Vince told Bret that he hoped it would be better at SummerSlam and that he planned on having them go on last. Bret also talks about how that match took place at a TV taping and how those are usually long days and it is not the best way to judge someone. Bret thought if Davey followed him they could have one of the best matches ever and put themselves on the map. Bret said he kept on thinking about the match and would think about it the whole month of August. He tried to call Davey but he was never available as his drug problem was out of control. He even recalls when he got to London for SummerSlam, he saw Davey and took him aside to ask why he had not returned his calls. Davey told him that he was on a two-day long cocaine binge and had not slept in 48 hours. Bret talks about how Davey was out of shape and not going to the gym during this time and was a total wreck. Davey told him that he was going to stink out in the ring and Bret laid out the match for him and they went over it for two days but after the first move in the actual match, Davey told Bret that he was fucked as he forgot the match then says how it is the only match you can hear him talk (Bret spoke in the third person here) and that he had to call it, which he hates and sees as an automatic fail. Bret said that he was furious at Davey for being in the condition that he was as he wanted to see him rise to the occasion. Bret then puts over Davey for sucking it up and performing in the ring as Bret calls it his greatest match for carrying Davey. Sean asks Bret if him dropping the IC title to Davey was to free him up for the Heavyweight Title, Bret said no then talks about how it was like being a Beatle when he went overseas, getting mobbed and grabbed by female fans and said that after a match in which he wrestled the opener, he was mobbed by females and came through the curtain to prove to Strongbow that he was over here, he went on last during matches overseas afterwards.
Bret is asked how he felt the WWF was marketing him at that point. He said the company was slowly pushing him at first and talks about how when you get the push through merchandise, you have power in the company because when you talk about leaving, they try to get you to stay because you are selling merchandise and that is how you can make yourself more money.
Bret is asked about Sgt. Slaughter appearing on television in a suit, stating that he was acting as the enforcer of the WWF and going to instill law and order, and if he was an agent at this point. Bret said he thinks he was just an on-air talent and not an agent at that point. Sean then asks Bret about the transition from wrestler to agent and Bret said not just anyone could fill that role and that you need the right guys to do the job. He said that Rene Goulet was great at it as he understood the travel and business. Bret said that he thought Tony Garea was good as he did not have an ax to grind but calls George Steele one of the worst. Bret said he remembered Steele partying and blowing coke one week then the next he was an agent and Bret likened it to an inmate turning into a prison guard and said he was basically an asshole after that. He then tells a story about Steele getting his Haliburton stolen. One day he arrived to the building two minutes late, with Owen and The Berzerker, and was fined $500 by Steele. Bret said that no other agent would do that. Bret then said Owen and Savage took Steele’s Haliburton, containing all of Steele’s stuff, and they snuck it out of the building and Owen ended up tossing it out of the car and into the Manhattan River. Bret then said that Steele was not a good guy and called him a snitch.
On October 12th, Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair at the Superstars taping to become the WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Sean then asks Bret to talk about who laid out the plans for him to win and when he was told. Bret first talks about how a memo went out that if you changed your plane ticket, you would be fined $2,000. Bret had just changed his ticket to go to Italy with a girl he barely knew then went up to Vince to say that he already changed it but told him it was to go see a friend. Vince told him that he would not have to worry about that. A few days after Bret got back from Italy he was on the road and was told that he had to fly to Saskatoon Monday morning and could not change his ticket and that he had to see Vince. Bret thought that he was going to be in trouble and said that he probably should have realized that he was going to get the belt as a few days prior, Strongbow told him that there was a list of five guys to be a champ and Bret was on the list and Strongbow told Bret that he and a few others put a good word in for him and not to fuck anything up along the way. Bret got there and saw Flair leave Vince’s office and shake his hand then saw Vince wave him over and made it sound like he was going to fire him and Bret thought that he might actually would fire him, even despite the fact that they were flying him his dad to be in his corner, but after everything, Vince told him that he was going to be the champ and Bret said he felt like jumping for joy but did not give a reaction. Sean then asks Bret why the match was only made to be available on Coliseum Home Video and Bret said that he never understood why that was the case. Bret then speaks about when he became the champion, Vince wanted to be called every day and when asked why by Bret, Vince said that he always wants to talk with his champion. Bret said he would call him and wondered if Vince wanted him to “stooge off” guys to him but never did that and he was cool with what they were doing. He then says that the reason he went back to work for Vince is because he took a chance on him and gave him his first break. He also believes that Vince loved his work and would tell Bret not to tell him the finish of his matches and wanted Bret to just go out and show him in the ring.
Yokozuna made his debut on October 26th. Sean asks Bret if anyone had pegged him as a champion. Bret puts over Yoko for being a great athlete and a pro in the ring. He then talks about how Vader was stiff and terrible to work with, unlike Yoko and Bam Bam who would take care of you in the ring. Bret also talks about Kamala and said that he would never have a problem giving offense to a smaller guy and said working with him was like a night off and always fun to work with.
Doink the Clown made his debut on October 31st. Bret puts over Matt Borne for being the best at the Doink gimmick, which he loved. Bret recalls how Davey had a problem working with Doink though. Bret then talks about how Balls Mahoney and said his Xanta Klaus gimmick was great too.
Bret is asked about the cancellation of “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” He said that between all of the scandals and the guys on steroids going away, the casual fans disappeared and the wrestling fans wanted wrestling matches instead of the cartoon stuff. He also said that the direction the company went with his face-to-face interviews with Yokozuna and making it seem like a shoot was the way he thought the business should be like, along with having more athletic matches. Bret then talks about how he heard the guys down in NXT were recently watching his 1993 Royal Rumble match against Razor Ramon.
The Ultimate Warrior got fired on November 21st and Sean throws out rumors of him holding out for more money and having to work with Nailz as the reasons but Bret shakes his head and said he knows what happened. Bret said that he got a call from Vince, who told him that he was going to have to fire Davey. He then told Bret that he had to fire the Warrior as well. Bret says that he was originally supposed to work against Warrior at the Rumble in 1993 and beat him with the Sharpshooter. Vince told Bret that Davey and Warrior were buying either steroids or HGH from a guy in Europe and having them shipped over to the States. Well, that guy got busted and Warrior panicked when that happened and called Vince, without telling Davey, that the guy they were getting the stuff from got busted and their names were on the list and this was when the trial was going on so Vince told him that they were toxic and that is how they got fired.
Bret talks about his match with Shawn at the Survivor Series. He said they had wrestled together all throughout the year on house shows and didnt feel like it was fresh when they went out. He did they had great matches and thought this match holds up today but they could have done more. When asked if the competitiveness between each other was going on at this time, Bret said no and that even Shawn felt they could have done a better job if there was more build on TV.
Jerry Lawler made his debut as a commentator on the December 12th edition of Superstars. Bret talks about how Jerry pissed off the locker room as he would constantly play tapes of the current WWF guys who jobbed to him in Memphis. Bret said that Curt Hennig was especially pissed off at Lawler, which also had to due with poor payoffs while he wrestled for Lawler in Memphis. Sean asks Bret about Lawler’s crown and if he knew who shit in it as Bret laughs and said that it happened at a TV taping in Sacramento. Bret saw the crown in the shower and saw that multiple people had shit inside of it but did not know exactly who they were. He then said that Lawler was in a panic looking all over for the crown but Bret, when asked, said that he had no idea where it was.
He is asked about Nailz getting fired for attacking Vince McMahon. Bret said that he did not see it happen but that he was right outside of the door when it went down and could hear it all happen. He recalls Nailz shrieking in anger that he had been lied to and had enough of Vince’s bullshit. He then heard a bang and a gurgling sound and didn’t know what to do and recalled how Vince had a lot of heat with guys over a period of time. He remembers that Blackajck Lanza was the first guy there and waved Bret to come over as a few other agents broke it up. He then remembers the police arriving and Nailz saying that Vince tried to molest him.
Final Thoughts: A great installment in the Timeline series. Sure, Bret is in love with himself but Sean Oliver did a fantastic job with the interview and kept him on the topic at hand more often than not. He deserves credit for that. Despite all of that, Bret gave a lot of great insight and did hold not back at all, making this a must-see interview.
As far as where this ranks among the other WWE Timelines, I would say that the Nash and Cornette are the only ones that are better than this and you could make a case for Sammartino’s as well. They ran through a lot of subjects and hit on all of the important topics of the year.
I highly recommend this interview and encourage all of you to watch this for yourselves.
You can purchase the interview On Demand for $15.99 (It stays in your queue forever) and the DVD for $20. If you get it On Demand, you can watch it from just about everywhere, including Roku. Click on the link below to see how to get the DVD
No poll for next week as our contest winner selected another Bret Hart shoot, his RF Video Voulme #1 edition.
Here is my schedule for the next week:
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/30/86 (Final Episode)
Saturday: RoH Unscripted 9/21/02
Sunday: WWF Superstars 9/6/86 (Debut Episode)
Tuesday: WWF Challenge 9/7/86 (Debut Episode)
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Bret Hart, Volume 1