Bret Hart Interview

Hey Scott – have you had the chance to digest this yet?  Some pretty stiff blows landed by the Hitman here when it comes to Joe and Bryan…
​Yeah, I don't know what his beef with Joe is.  Shit happens, unfortunately.  Even more sad is Tyson Kidd being out for the next 14 months and frankly he'll probably be done at the level he was at before.  ​

Bret the midcarder

Hi Scott,
Hope all is well.

I'm running through a lot of 1997 stuff on the network and WWE's stubborn refusal to just put the damn Raw episodes up is leaving me confused about what's going on with Bret and the Hart Foundation around this time. I noticed in your PPV countdown post for the Badd Blood IYH that you suspected some kind of conspiracy was at play to make Bret look like a midcarder, having tag team flag matches against Patriot and Vader, next to Shawn. I assume you were kidding, but it does seem odd that the WWF Champion was given such lame booking just a couple short months after he was the center of the hottest angle in wrestling. Was Bret's heat waning?

Had DX gotten so hot so fast to really steal Bret and the Foundation's heat, and Vince was being lazy with his now #2 heel? 

I know Bret has complained about what happened to his creative direction after Shawn turned heel, and while that should be taken with a grain of salt it wouldn't be the first time Bret floundered in nothing feuds while Shawn and/or other burgeoning top guys were given better spots. I mean even if they'd just gotten lazy with the #2 feud because Shawn and Taker were so hot, it would seem like a no-brainer to book Bret in a title match with Vader, given they were working each other anyway and Vader had just beaten Owen at One Night Only and Davey on Raw.

​There's no doubt in my mind that Vince deliberately sabotaged Bret's run at the end there.  DX was really, really hot as well so there's some justification you can do after the fact, but it was a really weird deal.  To this day I'm still confused about why he even put the World title back on him in the first place given how much we know now.  ​

Bret Hart singles push


Do you think the Bret Hart push should have started sooner?  They clearly always had plans of pushing him solo, even when he and Anvil were competing for the tag titles.  I feel like they should have just had Demolition retain at SummerSlam and built up to them dropping the titles to newly-arrived LOD.  Bret could have started his push right after SummerSlam '90.    Maybe do Perfect-Bret for the IC title at Mania 7 (with someone else insulting Boss Man's mama and such) AND a re-match at SummerSlam '91.  

That was absolutely the original goal.  The whole point of the phantom title switch was that they fired Neidhart for cost-cutting reasons and were 100% ready to proceed with the Bret push.  But then they changed their mind and un-fired Neidhart.  As you note, they probably shouldn't have bothered.  Building to Demos v. LOD at WM would have been pretty awesome, whether or not Eadie was involved.  

Patriot vs Bret

I just re-watched the match from Ground Zero. The promo beforehand highlights The Patriot's achievements in Japan, and throughout the match McMahon refers to him as Del Wilkes. Were there bigger plans for The Patriot beyond this match in 1997? Or was he lost to the cause after Montreal?

​They liked him just fine, but Wilkes tore the shit out of his triceps muscle and he was basically done after Montreal.  He was a good worker and probably could have stuck around for a long time afterwards in the Duggan role.  ​

Bret in WCW

Scott – just watched the Bret Hart documentary on the network and it left me with a couple of questions

1.  Obviously WCW dropped the ball with Bret.  What should they have done with Bret???  Could he have been as big of an impact player in WCW as he was in WWE?

2.  Is there a better example of someone "cooling off" as quick as Bret did once he came to WCW?  All year long on 1997 Bret was a red hot main eventer in WWE, and in a short time he meant almost nothing in WCW.  Am I missing someone or does Bret win the prize???

​1.  The logical thing would have been to bring him in and have Bret be all "Yo, I'm the rightful WWF champion who was never really beat" and Hogan be all "Yo, I'm the WCW champion, brother, and this is the real World title" and then Bret could be all "You stole the title from me in 1993!" and Hulk could be "Fuck you, dude" and then they'd fight and probably draw millions.  
2.  CM Punk in 2011 is close.  Punk was in a position to be a real money-drawing babyface star and they shunted him down beneath John Cena pretty much immediately after Summerslam.  I mean, he was still World champion for months afterwards and a top star, but everything from the pipe bomb to his week off after MITB was turning him into a legit mainstream breakthrough tippy top guy and a month later it was done.  ​

Sting vs. Bret Hart and Edge HOF

Hey Scott,

Read your review of Sting as WON HOF Contender and the unspoken name that kept coming up for me was Bret Hart. Basically, everything you could say for drawing Sting's power, it seems, would apply for Bret, plus, he only had, what, 8 years, tops, as a main event wrestler, versus Sting's bazillion years (Even if they were low-drawing). Yet Bret was in the HOF by '96, after just 4 sub-par (from a drawing standard) years as a main eventer, IMO.

Sure, Bret was probably a much better worker. But does that really justify him being (I assume) a first-ballot WON HOF'er while Sting can't even get past CM Punk or Lesnar.

And Edge? No offense, but WTF? How could Edge beat Sting?

​Edge isn't in either, but he's arguably a better worker and certainly drew better as champion than Sting did.  Edge is basically handicapped by being in the "WWE brand first, superstars second" era of the business, though, where the only one to escape the pack of 50/50 midcarders was John Cena.  
And yes, Bret being not just a better worker, but an elite-level worker more than justifies his inclusion on its own.  Even if he hadn't been in, Montreal alone would have made him a slam dunk inclusion for historical reasons alone.  ​

RF Video Shoot Interview with Bret Hart, Volume 1

This interview was filmed in 2000 at Bret’s home in Calgary.

It was conducted by Rob Feinstein

The interview runs at one hour and fifty-seven minutes long

Bret is first asked about his first memories of wrestling. He said that he always watched wrestling but when he got older he became interested in amateur wrestling. While in college but said he was not dedicated enough to make it far, even though he said he was good enough, and decided that he did not want to stick with it and become a “gym teacher” or whatever else amateur wrestlers become once they are finished.

He then said he started in professional wrestling in the Summer as a referee and got “smartened up” during the van rides to the shows but Bret said it was all stuff he already knew. Bret then talks about being a referee and how it was not that hard to do as it was just like being an amateur wrestling referee.
While a referee, Bret said that other wrestlers would frequently talk about wanting to break him into wrestling but Bret said they would never stop by like they said, which he was cool with because he would rather sleep. However, Bret said that two Japanese wrestlers who is father brought in after their working papers in the U.S. had expired and gave them jobs when they were going to get the boot.
Rob asks Bret if he ever trained with Dory Funk in Amarillo. Bret talks about spending every Summer down there when he was in high school and got to become close to the Funk family. Bret said that he wrestled as a jobber a few times and one of those matches was against Dennis Stamp, who Bret praises for taking care of him in the ring and calling him a good worker for his era. Bret said at the time he didn’t even know how to lockup. He said that Mr. Pogo really took liberties with him in the ring and beat the fuck out of him.
Back to training, Bret said that he spent four months training and just about all of that was learning how to fall. Bret then talks about being able to walk away from wrestling with all of his body parts intact and credits that for being taught to fall in a way that protected his body. He did mention his concussion briefly.
Bret talks about his brothers for a bit. He said that Keith was a good worker as Bruce was just “so-so.” In 1978, Bret said that his brother Bruce balked at going to Puerto Rico at the last minute so he went instead. Before that, Bret only had a few weeks worth of matches in Calgary under his belt. Bret said that he wrestled against older guys mostly but had one match against the Dynamite Kid, who potatoed him and gave him a lot of attitude as well. He jokes that he dropped about 100lbs there due to the terrible conditions and left around his 20th birthday. After that, he wrestled a bit in Amarillo and that Summer went back to Calgary and has been wrestling ever since.
Rob asks him about wrestling in Japan. Bret said that he remembers Tiger Mask hitting him with a missile dropkick that almost killed him. Bret said that he was trying to remember all of the times that he might have had concussions from wrestling. Bret said it was tough for him to adjust as he was too much of a “worker” and that in Japan, if you were on the bottom of the pecking order, the top guys on that tour would not even sell for you. Bret talks about literally having to fight through some matches and how they would do anything they could to take advantage of you. He did say that the great workers like Inoki, Tiger Mask, and Riki Chiosu would work with you to have a match. He said that the first half of his tour was “hand-to-hand combat” while the second half he had good matches.
He then talks about having unbelievable matches with the Dynamite Kid and says that he brought out a lot with him and said he got more out of Dynamite than anyone else. He talks about having the most unbelievable ladder match of all-time then mentions how the idea of the ladder match was stolen from him in the WWF. He said that Adrian Street told him it was the most unbelievable match he has ever seen.
Bret said that he never thought his matches with Bad News Allen were any good and blames that on Allen’s psychology, stating that he had a though time believing that wrestling was a work. He said that he never sold anything.
When asked about how his brother Owen got started in wrestling, Bret said that he encouraged him as at the time, he was making decent money in the WWF while in the Hart Foundation and told Owen, who was hesitant, that he could put school on hold and go back to it afterwards. A week or two later, Owen started in Stampede Wrestling. Bret talks about how wrestling opened up a lot of doors for them, despite what happened to him.
In 1984, Stu Hart sold Stampede Wrestling to Vince. Bret said that he never got any guaranteed deal with the WWF from that sale. He then said that at the All-Star Wrestling tapings in Hamilton, Dynamite Kid quit after getting just $75 as a payoff. Bret said that he stayed as he did not have the options like Dynamite did to go to Japan and become successful. He said that George Scott told him that the company had big plans for him. A minute later he joked how those big plans included him jobbing to Rene Goulet but decided to suffer through it when he saw his first check.
Bret recalls meeting with Vince, shortly after knee surgery, and how Vince stressed to him that he likes his wrestlers to work out. He said his first audition went horribly as he was hurt and at that time, they decided that he was not someone who was worthy of a push. He said that the WWF loved Dynamite and knew enough about Davey Boy that they liked him too but when they went to Japan, Bret was all by himself.
Bret then tells the story of George Scott telling him how they had a great gimmick for him as a cowboy, complete with an electric hat and an actual horse. Bret bought it at first as he was told all of the plans and they were going to make action figures. Bret then went to Scott and told him that he could not be a cowboy as he hated country music and could not ride a horse. They told him that they would have to give the gimmick to someone else, which Bret was fine with. Bret then suggested that he team with Jim Neidhart, managed by Jimmy Hart, and be called the Hart Foundation but that was shot down as Bret was told that he did not have the face to become a heel. Just a few weeks prior to the first WrestleMania, Bret called to quit. He said that he was going to regroup and hopefully return once the company had something for him then was told that he was going to be turned heel and team with Neidhart.
As a heel, Bret said that he patterned a lot of his antics after the Dynamite Kid. He said they stopped pairing him up with shitty workers like The Spoiler, Tiger Chung Lee, Terry Gibbs and Rene Goulet, who refused to even take a dropkick from Bret. Bret said that one night backstage after one of his last matches as a face against Terry Gibbs, Gibbs slammed his boots against the wall and told Bret that he never learned how to work. At that point, Bret said that he was determined to show everyone and worked hard to become a great heel.
Bret talks about having intense and bloody matches against the Bulldogs, comparing it to a cinematic masterpiece like the “Taxi Driver” then talks about how Paul Orndorff and JYD would wrestle the main event and barely do anything in the ring yet make all of the money. Bret said that he felt shafted when that happened.
Bret said that he mostly hung around with Don Muraco, Roddy Piper, and Bob Orton. He said that everyone liked Hogan, who was good to everyone in the dressing room and drew a ton of money. Bret said that everyone was happy and making money and a ton of girls were there too.
When asked about working against Ricky Steamboat, he said that he worked with him twice, once at the Boston Garden and another time in Washington. Bret said that he was pissed when Hercules wrestled Steamboat at WrestleMania II instead of himself. However, when they wrestled in Washington, Bret said that Steamboat went all out to make him look great. Bret calls him one of the easiest guys to work with and how he had a great psychology.
Bret confirms the rumor that the Dynamite Kid refused to drop the Tag Team Titles to the Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff and only wanted to drop them to the Hart Foundation. Dynamite told the office that only one team deserved the belts, which was them. Bret also said that just before that, Vince saw Bret in the pink tights in the cafeteria and he loved it, telling them that was their look. Bret talks about Dynamite working through the injury to put them over and feels grateful.

Rob asks him what led to his singles push around WrestleMania IV, Bret said was the first big lie that the WWF told him. He said that Vince called him right before the show and he sensed that something was up. Vince told Bret that they had more fan mail than any other wrestler in the company. Bret said that he did not believe he had more than Hogan but is just going by what Vince told him. Vince told Bret that would lead into a face push and Bret bought into all of the merchandising that went along with it but he just ended up jobbing to Bad News Brown then went back to tagging against Demolition then Rhythm & Blues as a face team. Bret puts over Demolition, especially Bill Eadie, for being great workers.

He now talks about the match in which they dropped the belts to the Rockers but the match never made it to air. Bret said that after they got the belts from Demolition, they did a t-shirt shoot for the magazine. Vince then called them in his office and said he would tell them one at a time about the news he had for them. Neidhart came out first and Bret sensed something was up but unable to tell if it was good or bad news. So, Bret came in and Vince told him he was going to drop the belts to the Rockers and Bret would given a singles push. Bret asked about Jim and Vince said he was not sure and they were considering having him be an announcer. Bret said that he felt bad as Jim was a great partner but a good break for him. Bret then talks about the match against the Rockers and said how it was pathetic  as the rope broke and Bret thinks that Jim might have done it on purpose as he was not happy about the direction the company had for him. Bret then talks about the referee being terrible and how he was basically trying as Bret told him the show was taped and he could fix the rope as he had Shawn in a chinlock. Bret said they were all crushed as they had a crap match and knew they could do better. A few weeks later, after Bret pleading with the office to let them have another match as the first one was embarrassing, Jim told him at a taping in Milwaukee that they were not splitting up the team and keeping the belts. Bret said that Vince told him after that his push would happen. He then talks about how Vince would give him report cards at the time and how he was steadily improving.

Bret had no problem at all dropping the belts to the Nasty Boys at WrestleMania VII. He said the match was good and rememvers Macaulay Culkin sitting in the front row and how he looked upset after they lost. After that, they told Bret that they were going to put him in a program with Curt but Bret said he was not going to do it as he knew he was going to lose. Curt worked a program with Davey Boy, who returned to the company, then after that, Curt put over Bret at SummerSlam 1991. He said that Curt put him over out of a sign of respect and that Curt was really hurting bad at the time. Bret said that the match was not as good as it could have been because of his injury but Curt toughed it out. Bret said they were having great matches at house shows prior at the time.

When asked about working with Jacques Rougeau, Bret said that he was critical of him for working light in the ring, like the Honky Tonk Man, but looking back said it was a night off in the ring with him and he had heat with the fans. Bret then talks about working a six-man teaming with the Bushwhackers and they tore the house down doing a goofy style and the fans dug him swinging his arms like the Bushwhackers did coming down the aisle.

Bret said that he found out he was losing the Intercontinental Title to Piper suddenly then tells the story of how they went to the restaurant and how Piper laid out the match they way he wanted do. Bret said it was a gamble to blade at the time.

He then talks about how Vince wanted him to drop the belt at SummerSlam. Bret said he would drop it to either Shawn or Davey. Bret told Vince about the ladder match and how he wanted Shawn and Bret to try it out before they went with it and Bret told Vince to promise him he would not allow anyone else to do the match. When it was decided that the show was going to be held in England, Bret told Vince that he would get a great match out of Davey and they went with that. Despite the fact that Davey was partying all Summer and out of shape, Bret said that he worked hard enough for the both of them and said it was one of the only times you catch him talking in the ring, which Bret said is a sign of a bad worker. Bret then said this match put him on the map and puts over how Ric Flair and Randy Savage watched the match at the hotel then knocked on Bret’s door afterwards and shook his hand, telling him that it was the greatest match that they have ever seen.

Bret then talks about how he was told that there was four names on a sheet of paper of people they were going to put the World Heavyweight Championship on and he was one of them. Bob Backlund and Randy Savage were two other names on the list. Bret did not think it would happen though. After wrestling Flair while in Europe, he was at a TV taping in Saskatoon and told that night he was going to win the belt. He understood that Flair was fine with dropping the belt and talked about how they had differences in the ring, citing that Flair came from a different era. Bret puts over Ric for being fit and joked that he called him “30 minutes of non-stop psychology.”

He talks about how Razor Ramon was still green and how it was not easy to work with him back then but thinks he is a better worker now. He feels conflicted about him as a person as he can be nice but also feeds off of others and can be nasty. Bret hopes he can straighten himself out.

When asked about working with Jerry Lawler, Bret first said how he was supposed to work against Hogan but thinks that the office was playing them against each other. Bret talks about how the WWF tried to destroy Hogan at the end of his run but Hogan would not let them do that. Bret was pissed that Yokozuna was getting the belt and the money that went along with that. Bret said he was disappointed originally that he feuded with Lawler as a result but said they had good matches. Bret said that Lawler “stiffed the shit” out of him with his scepter at the King of the Ring 1993 and Bret wanted to kill him afterwards. However, Bret said that he got his revenge as he punched him a few times then put him in the Sharpshooter for five minutes. Bret said he eased him into the move at first so Lawler would not resist it then he cranked it on as hard as he could. In the locker room afterwards, Bret claimed that Lawler was crawling around on the ground. Overall, Bret said that Jerry was fun to work with and a night off in the ring.

Bret then talks about getting the rights to his name and how he asked help from veterans like Piper in order to do that.

He then talks about how they wanted him to do a program with Bruce but Bret said that he was not a good worker. Owen was going to quit at the time to become a fireman and originally going to be used as fodder to Bruce but he said if he did the feud involving his family, it would be against Owen. Bret said there first few matches were crappy as they worked out a bunch of different ways to do their match at WrestleMania X and worked it out just five days before the show. He said the match was awesome and calls Owen fun to work with in the ring. Bret hoped that they would feud for a long time then reunite several years later.

Originally, Bret thought the office was joking when they wanted him to drop the belt to Bob Backlund and thought it was a dumb idea but after they explained to him how Bob lost the belt, he thought it was a shitty way to drop the belt and completely changed his mind and agreed to drop the belt. He then said that he wished Shawn Michaels could have learned from that. Bret puts over Bob for being a great guy who would give you birthday cards and bought cases of beer for the young guys.

Bret talks about Diesel winning the belt and how he thought it was premature at the time. He then talks about how he taught him a lot about psychology and credits himself for Diesel’s improvement in the ring. Bret said he liked Diesel a lot and wanted him to get over. Bret then talks about Shawn and how he turned himself face in order to protect himself as the champ.

On working with some of the lower card guys like Jean-Pierre Lafitte and Hakushi, Bret puts them over as being good in the ring. He then talks about how he still wanted to get Diesel over and pitched an idea to Vince about working a match with Diesel and go through a table and winning the title in a fluke but later give the title back to Diesel. Vince then told him a few days later that he was going to do the match but instead of Bret dropping the title back to Diesel, he was going to drop it to Shawn. Bret said he did not have a problem putting over Shawn then and considered him being a friend. He does mention the Kliq having influence and thinks they orchestrated the title changes that happened. Bret then says the problem he had with Shawn was that he wanted to be treated with a little respect and did not feel he was the guy to drop it to Shawn to begin with.

Bret then said that the Iron Man Match he had with Shawn was specifically designed to blow him up and make Shawn look good. Bret then talks about Shawn’s ego and how out of control it was at the time and how Shawn said he could draw with HHH, Sean Waltman, Nash, and Hall as the champion, which Bret said sets a bad example for the business and thinks that wrestling is the way it is today due to that type of thinking. Bret said that Shawn was too insecure about his ability and had to backstab and play politics to stay ahead. Bret said that Shawn had the ability. Bret also said that you could watch the match and Shawn sandbagged him and also potatoed him a few times. He said the match was more of a contest and a classic Japanese match. Bret said that the match was great and says that Shawn saying he was ducking his calls to put together the match was not true at all. Bret said that three weeks after Shawn won the belt, ratings went down and they were losing to WCW.

After that, Bret took time off and did some acting. He was then asked about WCW offering him a contract. Bret said that he met with Eric Bischoff and gave him an outrageous number because he wanted to stay with the WWF. Bret then said that Bischoff said they could work with that number but Bret said that control over his character was more important than the money and that was what he had with Vince and the WWF.

Bret talks about how Steve Austin came to his house and said that he needed to come back as Shawn was bad for business. Bret said that when he came back to wrestle Austin at the 1996 Survivor Series, Jim Ross and Vince buried him on commentary and Bret then told Vince to break-off their deal if he was unhappy but Vince told Bret that he would not have made the deal if he was unhappy with it.

Bret then confirms that he was supposed to win the belt at WrestleMania 13. He then talks about how he pitched an idea to Shawn that Summer about him coming back and catching his foot on a super kick attempt then snapping his ankle, complete with a sound effect, and make Shawn tap out then head back to the locker room with the belt and refusing to shake his hand, playing off of the Iron Man Match. This would lead to Shawn coming back afterwards, giving Shawn his time off too, and kicking Bret’s ass for the belt. Bret then said that Shawn told him he liked the idea but in reality he hated it and did not want to lose the belt at all. He then talks about how Vince was playing them against each other and that Shawn bought into all of it and denies ever saying anything about his family, something Shawn accuses him of doing. Bret admits talking about the Playgirl magazine shoot and apologized to Shawn afterwards then was given approval from Shawn to continue making cracks about that.

He then talks about Shawn’s injury and said at first he gave him the benefit of the doubt and would see if he was hurt when he came back but when Shawn came back and looked fine and the locker room speculated he was full of shit, that is how the bad blood between the two started. Bret then said later on after that, Shawn told him with tears almost in his eyes that the injury was legit and Bret thought they buried the hatchet after that but when Shawn made the “Sunny Days” comment, everyone go pissed at Shawn. Bret then points out how there is more evidence that a homosexual relationship between Vince and Shawn took place than a sexual relationship between himself and Sunny. He even said how the comment went over his head at first but his family was really pissed about that as were some of the older wrestlers.

Bret touches upon Shawn’s battles with substance abuse and how he was flirting with death at the time. He said he was in the same class as Hall, Waltman, Davey, and Louis Spicolli at the time. Bret also said that Shawn was a huge basket case at this time and claims that he never hurt Shawn in the ring or anyone else for that matter.

About his locker room fight with Shawn, Bret said that they were supposed to face off at King of the Ring but he had a hurt knee and with Shawn being all doped up, he did not trust that he could protect him in the match. This then led to a fight that Bret said was more of a school-fight as he had a bad knee. Bret then talks about Vince taking his side but later on felt it was all just part to set him up for the incident in Montreal.

On the 1997 Survivor Series, Bret said that Shawn and HHH were in on what happened. He said that he knew HHH ws part of it when he was not at the Gorilla position when he came back from the match. This leads to Bret talking about Shawn being insecure and backstabbing to hold on to the title and how he had the talent to succeed at being the champ without doing any of that. When asked if he would do the same thing to Vince (hitting him), Bret said yes and he wished he laid in a few more shots.

Bret talks about WCW and how he never understood what they were doing with him. He also said they hired the wrong guys and never thought what he was doing made any sense as he would have a partner one week then feud with him the next and overall, there was never any rhyme or reason to what they did. Bret said Vince surrounded himself with smart guys who knew the business

He liked Vince Russo and what he was trying to do for him but also said that he didnt know the business enough to succeed in the role that he had in WCW.

Next, Bret talks about the idea he proposed for a feud against Goldberg. He was going to start a winning streak so he could lead up to a feud against Goldberg. He would call him out in Toronto and that would start a program and Bret talked about how he could teach Goldberg to become a better worker too. Goldberg agreed as did Bischoff but after that, Bret was teaming up in tags and they did not stick to the original plan. When they finally got to Toronto, with Bret putting over other guys in the process, Bischoff wanted him to turn heel on Canada. Bret told him that the fans were chanting his name and that it was a stupid idea. Bischoff then proposed that Hogan come out and slap hands with Bret then turn on him, which Bret thought was stupid as Hogan was not going to be working with him or Goldberg so it made little sense. He then said he was told that Hogan had to shoot down the idea in order for him not to do it so Bret went up to Hogan and explained it to him and Hogan told Bret that he agreed with him. After that, Goldberg was pissed .The tape finishes after that.

Final Thoughts: Although it is almost fifteen years old, this is still a good interview. Bret does have a great memory, which makes it good to listen to him discuss wrestling. He is still completely full of himself though. That will never change. Bret did seem in good spirits for this interview at least and happy about his career.

There was some audio problems in the video that made it hard to hear at times but it is still watchable. Overall, I recommend this interview. Even though Bret has said a lot of what he did here in other interviews and his book, this is still a solid listen. Bret also filmed a second shoot, as well as one with Neidhart and another as part of the “Behind Closed Doors” series.

Purchase the shoot for $15.00 here

You can also rent it for 14 days here for $9.99

Or Purchase a digital copy for $7.99 here

Here is my schedule for the next several days

Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/13/86
Saturday: RoH Glory by Honor 10/5/02
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/14/86
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/20/86
Thursday: Shoot interview TBD

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Bret Hart: The Best There Is DVD Review (Disc 3)

Bret Hart: The Best There Is, the Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be (Disc Three)

Unfortunately, the disc I was lended didn’t want to play any of the extra features. It kept freezing, and I couldn’t locate the disc anywhere online either. So I guess we’re just going to have to do without it. Click here if you missed part one. Also, after I was done previewing this review, it for whatever reason erased the scheduled time and decided to post itself. So, if you read it for the small amount of time it was up, I guess you got a sneak-peak before anyone else did.

WWF Heavyweight Title: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (9/29/94).

This was from the very first “WWF Action Zone, and it was just after their cage match at SummerSlam ’94. Bret throws Owen into the buckle for two. Owen complains about a hair pull, so Jim Neidhart comes down to find out what’s wrong. Owen screams, “He’s cheating!” Back in, Bret slaps Owen and schoolboys him for two. Bret gets a two off a Crucifix. Neidhart trips up Bret from the outside. Out comes Davey Boy to even things up. Owen starts pulling Bret’s hair. Bret fights back, but he runs into a belly-to-belly suplex. Bret counters with a sunset flip that gets two. Owen attacks him, but Bret kicks him in the gut. Owen reverses a corner whip, sending Bret chest-first into the turnbuckle. Anvil attacks Bret’s leg behind the ref’s back. Owen tries to lock in a side leglock, but Bret fights out. Bret picks up a two off the Hart Attack Clothesline and a small package gets two as well. Bret hits the backbreaker and then the second-rope elbow. Neidhart puts Owen’s foot on the ropes to break up the pin. Bret yells at Neidhart, allowing Owen to roll him up from behind. Bret rolls through for a two count. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Owen counters it with a thumb to the eye. He hits a leg lariat for two. Bret places Owen up on the top for a superplex, but Neidhart holds on to Owen’s leg. Bret falls back into the ring. The ref checks on him, so Davey Boy crotches Owen on the top rope. Bret drags Owen to the center and pins at 14:48.

Analysis: Weak finish aside, this was a very good effort. I could watch these two wrestle every day. Their fluidity, smoothness, and crispness together were on a nonpareil level, to the point where it was like watching poetry in motion. The entire feud was so effective because of how relatable was. There were so many people that could sympathize with Bret for having to deal with an overly jealous brother, and there were others that actually could sympathize with Owen for having to always take a backseat to his older brother. (although it was easier to dislike Owen, because he was so exceptional at being a self-righteous and contemptible heel). Quite frankly, there is nothing better than a feud that possesses well-defined characters who behave in an entirely understandable manner. *** ½

Bret Hart vs. Hakushi (w/Shinja) (5/14/95)
Hakushi goes for a headlock, but Bret pushes it off. Hakushi pulls Bret down by his hair and holds on to a wristlock. Bret fights out and armdrags Hakushi. Hakushi fights back and sends Bret chest-first into the corner. Hakushi hits Vader bomb that gets two. Hakushi chokes Bret in the corner and hits a Bronco Buster. Hakushi hits Bret with the Handspring Elbow Smash and then a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that gets two. He goes for a springboard splash, but he misses. Bret hits all his five movez of doom and tries to lock in the Sharpshooter. Shinja jumps on the apron to distract Bret. Hakushi tries to take advantage, but Bret picks him up for an inverted atomic drop and then hits a clothesline. Bret’s has enough of Shinja and lays him out with a suicide dive. Back in, Hakushi’s hits Bret with a dropkick for two. They both suplex each other to the floor. Back in, Bret flips out of a suplex. Hakushi fights back, but Bret blocks a German suplex into a rollup for the win @ 14:50 

Analysis: Good match, though it doesn’t hold up well. Even when this DVD came out, American fans were becoming more accustomed to a puroresu-esque style (that was because a lot of people, like John Laurinaitis, brought the style over to America). Them being on different wavelengths at times marred this as well. Hakushi was more focused on shoehorning in his trademark spots in, whereas Bret was more focused on trying to narrate a cohesive story. *** 1/4

WWF Heavyweight Title: Big Daddy Cool Diesel (c) vs. Bret Hart (Survivor Series 1995)
This is part three of the Bret vs. Diesel feud. At King of the Ring ’94, Diesel defeated Bret by DQ. At the Royal Rumble, the referee threw out the match because of interference. This time, there must be a winner! Both wrestlers unfasten a top turnbuckle. Bret goes after the leg, but Diesel throws him off and starts pounding on him. Bret takes a break by going to the floor. Diesel comes out and drops Bret throat-first onto the guardrail. Back in, Bret goes after the knee, but Diesel fights back with forearms. Back outside, Diesel tosses Bret into the steps and slams Bret’s back into the ringpost. Diesel picks up a chair and smashes Bret with it. Back in, Diesel tosses Bret from one corner to the other. Diesel tries to go for the Jacknife, but Bret hooks Diesel’s leg. He then proceeds to bite his way out of danger. He figures a way to take Diesel off his feet and goes to work on the knee. Bret locks in the Figure-Four.

Diesel makes the ropes, but uh-oh, there’s no DQ. Bret releases the hold to go for the Sharpshooter. Diesel claws Bret’s face to avoid it. Bret goes for it again, but Diesel kicks him into the exposed turnbuckle. Bret remains in control. He rolls out and puts Diesel’s knee near the turnbuckle. Bret finds a cord and ties Diesel’s ankle up to the post. Bret runs at Diesel with the chair, but Diesel kicks him back. Diesel tries to get the chair, but Bret steps on his hand and picks it up. Bret slams the chair across Diesel’s back and then jabs the chair onto his knees. Even win Diesel’s ankle still tied up, Bret manages to give him a backbreaker. He tries to come off the top with the chair in hand, but Diesel Bret down. It buys himself enough time to release his ankle. Diesel is in a lot of pain, but he still manages to hit a Side Slam. Diesel throws Bret into the exposed corner chest-first. Diesel cannot run, so he limps over to deliver the Bossman Straddle. He goes for Snake Eyes, but Bret shoves Diesel into the exposed turnbuckle. Bret pounds away and then takes the big man down with a huge clothesline for two. Bret hits a flying bulldog that gets two. The Russian Legsweep gets two. He takes Diesel to the floor with a clothesline. He goes for his pescado, but Diesel moves out of the way. As Bret makes it up to the apron, Diesel runs him off the apron through the Spanish Announce Table. One of my favorite spots of all time. Diesel calls for the Jackknife, but Bret slumps back down on the mat like he’s out cold. Nash picks Bret up off the mat again, but Bret sneaks an inside cradle on him for a pin. @ 22:23.Nash screams into the camera some naughty words. Out of discretion, he gives Hart two Jackknife Powerbombs.

Analysis: This started off rather tedious, but it slowly escalated all the way to an intensified culmination. The main story was about Diesel simply being too gigantic and powerful for Bret to handle, which caused Hart to use “No DQ” stipulation to his benefit by restoring to underhanded tactics. From the way the story was narrated, the fans could fathom why Hart had to use those sorts of tactics, though. His character portrayed a protagonist that was desperate to not only discover a way to weaken the uber-antagonist, but also to protect himself from being seriously injured. They walked a very thin line here between desperation and heel turn with Bret, but they ended up delineating the story in an appropriate and efficacious manner.

Hart could seriously adapt to just about anyone he worked with and refashions his style in order for the psychology and story to become more believable. This was not a carry-job, though. Nash was effectual in his role, as he sold the knee impeccably, exhibited great in-ring characterizations, and wrestled precisely how an uber-big man should. **** 1/4

WWF Heavyweight Title: Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith (In Your House V) 
Leading up to this, Davey Boy Smith kept bringing up his victory at SummerSlam 1992 to play mind games with Bret. Bret takes Davey down with an armbar. Davey tries to maneuver his way out, but he cannot break out of the hold. Davey is able to break out and hits Bret with the kitchen sink. He hangs him up in the tree of woe and then gives him a mudhole stomping. Davey locks in a chinlock. Bret fights out, but Davey whips him in the corner chest-first. Davey goes back to the chinlock. Bret breaks out of it and sends Davey flying with a monkey flip. Bret delivers an inverted atomic drop and then a running bulldog for two. Bret delivers a piledriver for another two. He hits the Russian legsweep and then the vertical flying elbow drop for two again. Hart goes for a superplex, but Davey blocks it. He crotches Bret on the top rope and sends him to the floor. Bret hits the stairs and starts bleeding from the forehead. Davey slams Bret’s back into the ringpost and throws him back inside. Davey hits a Piledriver for two. He hits a suplex for another two. He even hits the Press Slam, but that can only get a two. Davey delivers a flying headbutt to Bret’s lower back. Bret fights back and goes for the Sharpshooter, but Davey wiggles out of it. Davey knocks Bret out to the floor and beats him up on the apron. Bret reverses a suplex and hits a bridging German suplex for two. Bret backdrops Davey all the way to the floor. Bret hits the pescado. Davey Boy fights back and hits the Running Powerslam on the floor. He goes for a suplex, but Bret counters and drops him crotch-first on the guardrail. Back in, Bret nails a backbreaker and superplex for both two Bret rolls through Davey’s O’Connor roll attempt for two. Davey Boy runs into a boot in the corner, and Bret cradles him for the win @ 21:20.

Analysis: This was hard-hitting, physical and heated. Bulldog bumped around like a fish out of water. This was just as good as their Summerslam contest. The only differences were it didn’t quite have the amount of importance or the breathtaking atmosphere. ****

Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (Wrestlemania XIII)
These two were both incredibly gifted wrestlers who clicked with each other. On an otherwise uninspiring WrestleMania card, both of these ring magicians defined the suspension of disbelief. This had nuclear heat, giving off a notion that they sincerely wanted to annihilate each other. Right off the bat, this turns into a vehement brawl. Bret hits Austin with a swinging neckbreaker. Bret tries to lock in the Sharpshooter, but Austin fights it off and gets back on his feet. Austin hits Bret with a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin cannot capitalize, though, so Bret kicks him in the leg and then debuts the Ringpost Figure-Four Lock. Bret goes to work on Austin’s leg, although Austin fights back and crushes Bret with a chair shot. Austin hits a suplex and then hits the Vertical Flying Elbow. Austin hits a Russian legsweep and then locks in the Koji Clutch. Bret tries to fight out, causing Austin to lock in a Boston Crab instead. Bret makes it to the ropes, though. Austin tries to lock in the Sharpshooter, but Bret rakes his eyes. Bret tries to mount a comeback, but Austin tosses him to the outside.

Outside, Bret reverses an Irish whip and it sends Austin over the timekeeper’s table. Austin is bleeding from hitting his head on the guardrail. Bret smashes his face off everything around ringside, causing Austin to bleed like a stuck pig. Back inside, Bret hits a backbreaker and then the Vertical Elbow drop. He grabs a chair and goes to work on Austin’s knee. Hart tries to lock in the Sharpshooter, but Austin kicks him in the nuts. Austin starts stomping a mudhole into Hart. He hits a superplex and then goes outside to grab an extension cord from ringside. He tries to lynch Bret on the apron, but Bret knocks Austin in the face with the ringbell. Awesome, stiff spot that came out of nowhere. Bret locks in the Sharpshooter. Austin will not quit, though, but he ends up passing out because of the pain @ 22:05. Afterwards, Hart keeps attacking Austin, causing Shamrock to pick Bret up and slam him to get him to stop. 

Analysis: This had everything you could want in a brawl: intensity, abhorrence, psychology, storytelling, lots of color, conceivable selling, facial expressions that helped articulate the narrative, an incredible atmosphere, and some truly elegant booking. They pulled off exactly what McMahon wanted them to do: a double-turn. Hart turned into a narcissist heel that only was concerned about winning, and Austin turned into a venerated babyface.

Even though Austin wasn’t a conventional babyface, this ended up revealing some of his inner face-like qualities, like his resiliency and perseverance. The finish exemplified those two exact things, since he refused to tap out to the Sharpshooter, causing him to pass out from the pain. This was significant, historical, and just flat-out tremendous. I cannot think of a match that was better than this one in WWE’s history. *****

World Heavyweight Title: Bret Hart (c) vs. Undertaker (One Night Only ’97)

After their controversial Summerslam match, these two locked up again in the United Kingdom. Bret immediately tears off a turnbuckle pad, but this one doesn’t stay in the ring too long. Outside, Taker smashes Bret into the ringpost. They brawl up the aisle and then back into the ring. Bret delivers a DDT. He tries to whip Taker into the exposed corner, but Taker sends Bret in chest-first into the turnbuckle. Taker works over the chest. Taker pulls back on the arms to get a quick pinfall on Bret. Bret fights back and kicks at the knee to get out of the corner, but Taker throat punches him down and goes to work on Bret’s back. Taker charges the corner, but Bret ducks and Taker hits his knee on the top turnbuckle. Bret goes to work on the knee. Bret locks in the ringpost Figure-Four and then applies the Figure-Four in the center of the ring. Taker fights out, but his knee is still hurting him. Bret kicks and attacks at the knee, then delivers a Russian Legsweep for two. Bret delivers a snappy suplex that gets two. Bret delivers the backbreaker and goes up for the flying elbow, but Taker gets a boot up. Taker hits Bret with a couple legdrops between the legs, but Bret catches one of the legdrops and turns him over into the Sharpshooter.

Taker manages to break out and punches Bret when he tries to lock in the Sharpshooter again. Taker goes for the Chokeslam, but Bret attacks the bad knee. On his knees, Taker lands the some quick body punches. Taker hits a big boot and the legdrop that picks up a two. Bret brings the ring bell into the ring. Taker takes it away from him, but the referee takes it away from Taker. Off the distraction, Bret clips his leg from behind. Outside, Taker throws Bret into the steps. Back inside, Taker goes for Old School, but Bret yanks him off the ropes. Taker fights back and goes for the Tombstone, but Bret O’Connor rolls him for two. Bret goes for the Tombstone, but Taker reverses it. Bret holds onto the ropes, but he ends up landing on the apron with his head caught in between the ropes. Since Taker is pounding on a defenseless Bret, the referee calls for the bell for the DQ @ 28:30. Taker gives the referee a Chokeslam. Both Gerald Brisco and Owen Hart come out to help Bret get out of the ropes. Taker chokeslams Brisco, as Bret and Owen run away.

Analysis: Bret attempted to trade strikes against the Undertaker until he quickly realized that it was an asinine idea to trade blows with the “Best Pure Striker in the WWE” (thank you, Cole). He then started to be more opportunistic,  which triggered Taker into a mistake that ended up making his knee a vulnerable target.

Hart exhibited some of the most intense and calculating limb work I’ve ever seen, although one of the main reasons it was so excellent was because of the Undertaker’s consistent and believable selling. He moved around like he could hardly put any pressure on his leg, he adjusted to the injury by avoiding doing moves that put a lot of duress on it, and he displayed some immensely agonized-looking facial expressions. Just some awesome, awesome limb psychology.

They paced this in a way wherein every moment felt important and maximized the significance of each spot by executing moves with force behind them and selling them in a spectacular manner.  Everything was very fundamentally sound, as just about every spot was tremendously crisp and polished. This also told a handful of compelling stories and had transitions that smoothly shifted one story to the other.

So, what is this missing from receiving the full monty? A smartly booked non-finish. I understood why they protected Undertaker here. He was involved in a heated feud with Shawn Michaels and the pay-off was the first ever Hell in the Cell match, so they had to make him look as strong as possible heading towards it. Be that as it may, they could have still done a better non-finish. I am a fan of finishes where a heel does some thing so degrading that sends the monster heel over the edge and causes him to get DQ. For that reason, I think a finish like that would have been perfect for this. I obviously still vehemently recommend this match, particularly to those who prefer substance over style. **** 1/2

Owen Tribute: Chris Benoit vs. Bret Hart (10/04/99)
This was one of the greatest moments in Nitro history. Bret counters an armbar into a Russian legsweep. Bret hits him with a knee lift. Bret nails Benoit with some forearms in the corner. Bret goes for a kneelift, but Benoit reverses it with a schoolboy. Bret locks in a Boston Crab, but Benoit makes it to the ropes. Benoit misses an elbow, so Bret delivers a headbutt to the gut. Bret hits a vertical suplex for two and then a backbreaker. They go outside and brawl for a bit. Bret tries for another backbreaker inside, but Benoit counters into a Tombstone Piledriver. Benoit hits Northern Light suplex with a bridge for two. Benoit delivers a knee to the gut and lights Bret up with a chop. Hart dodges a dropkick and elbows Benoit in the face. Hart hits backdrop suplex for two. Benoit ducks out of the way, causing Bret to clothesline himself on the ropes. Benoit jumps on him with a tope. Bret tries to suplex him in, but Benoit counters with a reverse rollup. Benoit hits a forearm uppercut for two. Bret goes for a vertical suplex, but Benoit counters with a small package for two. Bret hits a big superplex. He goes for the Sharpshooter, but it’s countered to a Crippler Crossface. Bret makes it to the ropes. Benoit delivers the Triple Verticals. He comes off and delivers the flying headbutt for two. Bret fights back and hits a back elbow off an Irish Whip. Bret nails a piledriver, but Benoit is too close to the ropes. Benoit attacks Bret, but Bret gets a boot up to counter. Benoit ducks under a haymaker and then delivers Rolling German suplexes. Benoit goes up for a Northern Light suplex, but Bret counters by pounding the lower back. Benoit reverses a suplex to the Crippler Crossface, but Bret counters it into the Sharpshooter. Benoit submits at 23:05.

Analysis: This was proof that the little psychology things can all add up to one big thing. In fact, those little things can actually make a vast difference between something that is good or bad or something that looks real or fake. Both wrestlers made this look a real as possible by augmenting in little psychology things, such as the way they put a ton of snap behind their punches, the way they moved their head when selling a punch, the way they fought for a submission hold because their opponent was trying to stop it, and the way how a move or counter realistically and naturally fitted into each part of the match.

These two also never got away from what a wrestler’s ultimate (kayfabe) purpose was supposed to be: trying to find a way or ways to win, and that is how fans rally behind wrestlers and become emotionally invested into what they do in the ring. Surely, back-and-forth match with a fast pace and tons of crazy high spots can be some good popcorn entertainment and can receive some “This is Awesome” chants. When winning, however, is not the essential reason behind the match, the high spots and sheer craziness are likely what is getting over with the crowd. Not the wrestlers themselves.

This was almost purely unadulterated, as the only real thing that marred it were the commercial breaks. It just had superb psychology, crisp moves, ultra-realistic chain/mat-wrestling and incomparable emotion. This was definitely the greatest Nitro match ever. **** 1/2

Final Verdict: Disc 3 picks up right where Disc 2 left off. There are so many important, historical, and flat-out awesome matches on both discs. There is no doubt about it: Bret Hart was one of the finest in-ring workers of all time. If I were going to wrestle someone in their prime, Bret would be on the very top of that list. He never injured anyone in his career, yet he could make everything look extremely real. He was a firm believer in the philosophy of give-and-take. Meaning: he always wanted to make someone else look credible, even if they were booked to lose. He was someone who always could adjust to the wrestler’s style he was working with by changing up his, and he was one of those wrestlers who could envision things in his mind that would work and then execute them exactly how he schemed it out. There weren’t many – if any – wrestlers better than Hart at telling a compelling story in the ring, either. Concisely, Hart’s in-ring career was an elegant representation of art. From all the DVDs I’ve seen, this had the greatest collection of matches up to this point.

Thumbs Way Up

July Classics: Bret Hart vs. The 1-2-3 Kid – RAW 7/11/94

Up to this point in the show’s brief history, this was the greatest match presented on the show. It’s also a reminder of how much potential Sean Waltman had before injuries and apathy kicked in. If you’re checking out the Network free trial, click the link and watch a classic unfold. If you’ve seen it before, watch it again. NOTE: It’s the opening match on the show, but the Network does not provide a milestone marker for anything on this episode.

Bret Hart


What do you think of Bret Hart's criticisms of HHH and the rest of the wrestling business? He's always really outspoken about what he likes and doesn't like. Is he respected in WWE anymore?

He certainly still seems to be, although clearly he's a guy who's out of touch with the current business, but then it's not like he's out there angling for a job as a booker or anything.  I'd give him a 4/10.

Bret Hart vs Daniel Bryan as a draw

Hey Scott,
I was just wondering if you could chime in on a debate that's been going on today on the blog. People have been debating whether or not Bryan is more popular now than Bret and Shawn ever were and that led into a discussion about whether or not Bret was a draw and if the actual down turn in WWF business was his fault for not drawing.
So 1) do you think Bryan is more popular than Shawn or Bret in the 90's
2) Do you consider those guys "draws" for keeping the WWF alive and enjoyable in the mid 90's or are there short comings (and not the growth of wcw/steriod scandals/loss of hogan and savage) to be at blame for the down swing in business.
I don't think Bryan is more popular because house show business hasn't gone up with him on top, whereas Bret won the title from Diesel in 95 and immediately the numbers went up noticeably.  Plus Bret was a legitimate mainstream sports star worldwide.  It's hard to do any other kind of comparison, though, because the business is completely different now and operates on a different model.  It doesn't matter who's a draw on top because people are only there to be part of the show or see John Cena.  You could argue that hijacking the show on behalf of Bryan has become as much of a part of the show as watching him wrestle, but that would send the debate too far down the rabbit hole even for me.  
So my stance:  No, Bryan is not more popular.  

Bret Hart Question

> Hi Scott,


> Quick question. Did Vince want Bret to leave in 97? I know he signed him to that deal and then told him he couldn't afford to pay him. So did he want Bret to leave? I don't understand that part.

Vince was very clear about wanting Bret to leave for WCW instead of paying him that money. The whole thing came across to me as a passive aggressive way to move Bret out.

Virgil vs Bret – My favorite match


> Long before he became a meme, Virgil was part of my favorite match from my childhood.I had watched his story progress (via renting old PPVs at Video Castle) and because of Roddy Piper's commentary, was a big fan of his. Every Monday after school my mother babysat a few of my classmates and we would watch "Superstars" on tape from the night before. We were so pumped to see a match between two… uh, WWF Superstars on tv that we actually made wagers on the match. I don't remember what I put up, but I know that I won the bet and won a Galoob Ric Flair figure from one of my pals. To this day my friend and I still get a laugh at his reasoning for betting on Virgil – Virgil's Russian Leg Sweep defeated opponents while Bret's didn't!

> Anyways, I don't have a link to the match or anything, my reason for emailing you was to ask if you (and the 'Doomers) had any matches like this i.e. matches that you loved from a pure mark standpoint.


> Long time, first time,

> Stipe

Of course. Roddy Piper v Adrian Adonis, Warrior crushing Honky Tonk Man, most of Lex Luger's output in the 80s and Steiner beating Rotundo for the TV title are all examples of matches with little redeeming value that I loved regardless.