When you mixed electric pink with professional wrestling you ended up with the greatest technical wrestler in the history of the industry, Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
Hart was born Bret Sergeant Hart on July 2, 1957 in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Hart is the eight child to wrestling promoter Stu Hart. Hart was exposed to professional wrestling at a very young age. As a child, he saw his father train wrestlers in the infamous “dungeon” which was the Hart’s household basement. Before school, Hart’s father made him hand out fliers to local wrestling shows. Hart attended Ernest Manning High School where he gained his experience in amateur wrestling. He won championships throughout Canada.
Bret Hart – Professional Wrestling career: Stampede Wrestling 1976 – 1984
At age 19, Hart began working for his father’s Calgary Promotion, Stampede Wrestling. Hart began assisting in the promotion by acting as a referee. After an unfortunate event when a wrestler could not perform for his match, Stu asked his son to be the replacement. This paved the way for Hart to become an active wrestler on the roster, eventually forming a tag team with his brother Keith to win the Tag Team Titles on four separate occasions. Hart gained some of his greatest experience in professional wrestling under his real life trainers and in ring rivals, Mr. Hito and Mr. Sakurada.
Hart began amazing the fans with high-impact matches against the Dynamite Kid. Hart won Stampede Wrestling top titles, including two British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championships, five International Tag Team Titles, and six North American Heavyweight Championships. Bret was one of the most successful wrestlers in his father’s promotion until it was sold to Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation in 1984.
Bret Hart – WWF 1984-1997 & The Hart Foundation 1985-1991
Hart’s first gimmick in the WWF was supposed to be a cowboy. Hart refused the idea. He instead asked that he be teamed up with his brother-in-law Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart who was managed by Jimmy Hart at the time, thus planting a seed for the birth of the one of greatest tag teams in the mid 1980’s, the Hart Foundation .
Hart made his first WWF television debut in August 1984 in a tag team match in which his partner was his brother-in-law, The Dynamite Kid. In 1985 he team up with Jim Neidhart to official form the heel tag team (Hart Foundation). Hart rose to fame in the mid 1980’s as the Hart Foundation won the WWF Tag Team Titles on January 26, 1987 on Superstars against the British Bulldogs, but lost the titles in October of that year to Strike Force, in which they turned face and adopted the name of the “Pink and Black Attack.”
At Summer Slam 1989, the Hart Foundation began their second reign as tag team champions after defeating Demolition with some assistance from the Legion of Doom. October 30 of that same year, the Hart Foundation lost the titles to The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty), but just a few days later, then President Jack Tunney returned the titles to the Hart Foundation due to a ring rope coming off of the turn buckle during the match. The Hart Foundation’s title run lasted from August 27, 1990 to March 24, 1991.
Bret Hart – Singles career begins 1991
Following a loss to the Nasty Boys at WrestleMania VII, the Hart Foundation split and Bret Hart went forward to pursue a singles career. He won his first WWF title, the Intercontinental Championship by defeating “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning at Summer Slam 1991. Hart then began a feud with the Mountie. Supposedly suffering from a fever, Hart lost the title. This was part of the storyline to protect his character for losing the title. Bret would defeat Roddy Piper for his second Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania VIII in 1992. Later that same year, Hart would defeat Shawn Michaels in very first ladder match.
Bret Hart – Main Event Status 1992 – 1993
SummerSlam 1992, Hart would drop the title to his brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. In October of that same year in a non-televised match, Hart would defeat Ric Flair to win the WWF World Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. During the match, Hart dislocated his fingers on his right hand, and popped them back into place on his own, thus not affected the match.
Hart would go on to successfully defend the title against Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon (Scott Hall), before dropping the title to Yokozuna at WrestleMaina IX. In 1993, Hart would win the first ever King of the Ring Pay-Per View event, defeating Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect and Bam Bam Bigelow.
Bret Hart stated the original plan for SummerSlam 1993, was for then WWF Champion Hulk Hogan to pass the torch to Bret. Those plans were scrapped, thus the new change was Hogan losing the title to Yokozuna before departing the company. Hart re-won the title at WrestleMania X, the following year.
Bret Hart Feuds with his Brother Owen 1993-1994
In 1993, Hart began a rivalry with his younger brother, Owen. The storyline consisted of Owen becoming jealous of his older brother success. The feud began at the 1993 Survivor Series in which the Hart brothers (Bret, Owen, Bruce and Keith) took on Shawn Michaels and his group. All the brothers survived the match, except for Owen. Thus Owen blaming Bret for holding him back. The storyline had Bret, along with his parents working over Christmas to reunite the family and settle the dispute.
At the 1994 Royal Rumble, Bret and Owen wrestled The Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Titles. Referee Tim White stopped the match after he considered Bret unable to continue after Bret sustained a “knee injury” during the match. Following the match, Owen yelled at Bret for cost him a title opportunity and began attacking the “injured” knee, setting up the feud between the two.
Bret continued a feud with Owen, while also beginning a new feud with Diesel (Kevin Nash). At the 1994 King of the Ring, Hart the current WWF Champion, successfully defending the title against Diesel and also retained the title at SummerSlam against Owen in a steel cage match, which was given a 5-star rating by the Wrestling Observer. At the Survivor Series that same year, Hart lost the belt to Bob Backlund in a submission match. Hart did not actually submit. Brother Owen threw in the towel, thus making Backlund the new WWF Champion. Bret continued to feud with Backland and eventually regain the title at WrestleMania XI in a submission rematch.
Bret Hart leaves the WWF and returns
In March 1996, Hart left the WWF. He considered an offer from WCW and a new offer from WWF. He decided to re-sign with the WWF.
Steve Austin taunted Bret and challenged him to come back and wrestle him. After being gone for eight months, Hart returned and defeated Austin at the 1996 Survivor Series.
At WrestleMania 13, Hart and Austin had a Submission Match. Hart locked Austin in the Sharpshooter eventually caused the determined Steve Austin to pass out from the blood loss and pain. Hart won the match, but continued his assault on Austin, thus turning Bret heel and Austin into a babyface.
Hart Foundation reunites and Bret Hart “Screwjob” in Montreal – 1997
Bret Hart would begin denouncing American fans due to the negative reaction he would receive. He reunited with his brother Owen, brothers-in law, Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart, thus forming the new Hart Foundation with an anti-American theme that became popular in Canada and Europe. Hart later apologized and stated he did was forced into the storyline.
Hart captured his fifth WWF Championship at SummerSlam after spitting in guest referee Shawn Michael’s face. In retaliation, Michaels swung a steel chair at Hart, missing, and accidently hitting the Undertaker, thus allowing Hart to get the pin. At this same time, Hart began on air feud with Vince McMahon. A ringside altercation led many fans to begin to dislike McMahon. Bret Hart signed a 20-year contract with the WWF, but McMahon requested Bret to also consider rival company World Championship Wrestling as the WWF was in a tough financial position and could not afford the new contract.
Hart’s final match with the WWF would be in Montreal at the 1997 Survivor Series. Hart did not want to end his WWF career with a loss in his home country. McMahon had agreed to Hart’s storyline of forfeiting the title the next night on RAW or losing it a few weeks later. According to Hart’s DVD biography, Hart stated to McMahon he would not take the WWF Championship with him to WCW TV, despite the insistence from then WCW President Eric Bischoff. Hart wanted to join WCW with a clean slate. McMahon still somewhat concerned led him to breaking his word, by coming to ringside with Bret in the sharpshooter by Shawn Michaels, calling for the bell, thus Bret would lose the title to Michaels. Hart was furious, which resulted in him spitting in McMahon’s face, destroying television equipment and punching McMahon in the face backstage. Hart also confronted Michaels backstage as well.
Bret Hart goes to World Championship Wrestling 1997 – 2000
The very next day following the Survivor Series, Eric Bischoff announced on Monday Nitro that Bret Hart was coming to World Championship Wrestling. On December 15, 1997, Bret Hart made his WCW debut on Nitro. Hart defeated Ric Flair to win his first WCW match at the Souled Out Pay-Per View in 1998. Hart’s contract was believed to be $3 million a year.
Bret Hart turns heal 1998-1999
Hart’s face run in WCW was short. In April 1998, in the Nitro main event, Hart joined the nWo With many of the talent in WCW having creative control over their character, WCW management booked Hart to win the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. On the July 20 edition of Nitro, Hart beat Diamond Dallas Page for the vacant U.S. Title, his first championship in WCW. Hart held the belt on four separate occasions.
Bret Hart WCW World Champion 1999 – 2000
After a brief hiatus from WCW after the tragic death of his brother Owen, Hart returned to Nitro September 13, 1999. November 8, 1999 on Nitro, Hart would win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. At Starrcade that same year, Hart defended the title against Bill Goldberg. During the match, Goldberg accidently connected with a mule kick to Hart’s head, resulting in a concussion. Hart later speculated he may have been unaware of his injuries following Starrcade. Hart placed Goldberg on the ring post in a figure four leg lock, but due to Goldberg not receiving the move correctly, caused Hart to hit his head on the concrete floor, leaving Hart with post-concussion syndrome forcing an early retirement. Hart wrote a Calgary Sun column saying that Goldberg “had a tendency to injure everyone he worked with.” But in his DVD documentary, Hart expressed regret that “someone as good-hearted as Bill Goldberg” was responsible for hurting him and ending his career.
Hart vacated the title on the December 20, 1999 edition of Nitro. January 10, 2000 would Hart’s last match. He technically never lost the title. September 6, 2000 edition of Thunder would be Hart’s last appearance on WCW television. He was granted his release from his contract in late 2000 and then announced his retirement soon after.
Bret Hart Facts:
In 2002, Hart suffered a stroke as a result of a motorcycle accident.
In 2004, Hart was chosen as one of the Greatest Canadians, coming in at number thirty-nine.
February 16, 2006 edition of Monday Night Raw, it was announced that Hart would be a 2006 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. Hart had also been approached by Vince McMahon for a potential match between the two at WrestleMania 22 but declined the offer. On April 1, 2006, Hart was inducted by his old in-ring rival, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He thanked every wrestler he worked with (even thanking Vince McMahon) and said he’s “in a good place in life.” He also told some humorous stories he had with other wrestlers during his career in the WWF – most notably with his late brother, Owen, and brother-in-law Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.
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.
From 1995 – 1996 Hart appeared in the Lonesome Dove television series as Luther Root.
Hart is a Beatles fan and fashioned his ring attire from the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s after the band’s attire of the 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League took their name from Bret Hart, who was a founder and part owner.
Bret devoted 7 years to writing his critically acclaimed autobiography; HITMAN: MY REAL LIFE IN THE CARTOON WORLD OF WRESTLING and is now a #1 bestselling author in the US, UK and Canada.
Bret is already researching his next book idea; a romantic novel that has nothing to do with wrestling.
Bret Hart continues to consistently draw massive crowds all over the world whenever he appears at book signings, autograph sessions and as a riveting, humors and inspirational motivational speaker. He also enjoys lending himself to charity events, when possible.
Bret’s Historic Rivalries
Wins his third WWF Championship at the 1996 Survivor Series from Diesel.
60 Minute Iron Man Match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII. Michaels win with a super kick to win the title.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, www.brethart.com and www.wwe.com