The Career

of

Bret Hart

part 1

Bret Hart has been in the wrestling business for many years, and during the years, he has shown that he really is the "Excellence of Execution". Bret is mater technical wrestler, equally proficient in mat wrestling or aerial attacks. He is an outstanding ring strategist, he knows how to work a crowd with a microphone, and is among the most cunning wrestlers competing today.

Bret has many talents, he writes an article for the Calgary Sun, he can draw comics, and he has owned his own ice hockey team.

The beginning

Bret is the son of former pro wrestler and promoter Stu Hart, who trained Bret and his brothers in the basement, called the "Dungeon", here Bret learned every move in the game.

Bret Hart was a nationally ranked amateur wrestler in Canada, when he in 1976 became a pro. wrestler by joining his fathers wrestling promotion, Calgary Stampede. Actually Bret had his first pro. match, when he was only 16. Besides wrestling in Canada, Bret, from time to time, wrestled in Japan and in the Caribbean.

Bret won his first title in 1978 together with his brother Smith in the World Wrestling Council, where they defeated the Castillo Brothers to lift the WWC Caribbean Tag Team Title. This was only the first of many titles for Bret, who lost the title to Kengo Arakawa and Kendo Kinura on September 29, 1978.

In Calgary the Hitman persona, as we know it today, was developed, Bret was shy at the interview segments, so he started wearing shades, which has been his trademark ever since.

In Calgary Stampede, Bret proved his skills in both tag team and singles competition. Bret won the Stampede International Tag Team Title on 5 occasions, 4 times with his brother Keith. In singles competition Bret's skills also paid off, by winning the British Commonwealth Mid-heavyweight Title twice, and the Stampede North American Heavyweight Title 6 times feuding with the likes of Bad News Allen (Brown), with whom he also had a minor feud in the WWF.

WWF

In 1985 Bret achieved national exposure in the United States, when he joined the WWF, as a hardworking scientific wrestler, but he was relegated to low card status (it was the early days of Hulkamania). Manager Jimmy Hart saw Bret's potential, and decided to team him with Jim Neidhart, forming the rule breaking Hart Foundation. Many consider this to be one of the best tag teams ever, because of the successful mix of scientific skill and speed, with stunning power and brutality.

The Hart Foundation won the WWF tag team titles, in 1987, from the British Bulldogs, with a little help from the referee Danny Davis, who Jimmy Hart had paid off. Bret and Neidhart continued their feud with the Bulldogs for a short while, before they continued their destruction of every team in their way.

Actually the Hart Foundation lost their title to the Rougeau Brothers, September 26, 1987, but the title was given back the next day, since Raymond hit Bret with Jimmy Hart's megaphone and covered him for the win when he was not the legal man. The Hart Foundation were champs for nine months, until they ran into Strike Force, who defeated the Hart Foundation for the titles.

At WrestleMania IV, Bret and Neidhart were in a 20 man battle royal. Bret and Bad News Brown were the last two men in the ring, together they had eliminated the competition, Brown double crossed Bret, and eliminated him. This incident started the Hart Foundation's face turn, Bret feuded for a short while with Bad News Brown in some singles action, where he showed some of the stuff, which is his trademarks today.

When the Hart Foundation dropped Jimmy Hart as their manager, because he sold their title shot to the Fabulous Rougeaus Brothers, Jimmy Hart swore revenge, and he got it through Demolition, who defeated the Hart Foundation at Summer Slam 1988. But Jimmy Hart wanted more, and since he still had the contracts on the Hart Foundation, which meant, that he got a part of their money, which he gladly gave to his new team, the Fabulous Rougeaus Brothers, this started a feud between the two teams, with the Hart Foundation victorious.

Between 1988 and 1990 the Hart Foundation wrestled every tag team, that the WWF put in front of them including Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma) and the team of Greg Valentine and the Honky Tonk Man, with whom they feuded after Honky Tonk Man smashed his guitar to bits on the head of Bret Hart.

Until 1990 the Hart Foundation was a major player in the tag team scene, but they didn't receive many title shots, but they managed to defeat Demolition for the title, at Summer Slam 1990, in a 2 out of 3 falls. Bret and Neidhart held on to them for seven months, before dropping them to the Nasty Boys, who were under the guidance of Jimmy Hart. During their seven month regain, they also battled the Rockers, who won the titles, but since the top rope broke during the match, the title change wasn't acknowledged by the WWF.

A new beginning as a singles wrestler

After the title loss to the Nasty Boys, Bret wanted to pursue his singles career, so the Hart Foundation split up. Bret Hart soon showed that he is also a great singles wrestler by winning the King of the Ring tournament on September 7th, 1991, in the final he defeated Irwin R. Schyster. The victory earned Bret a shot at the WWF Intercontinental title against Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig at Summer Slam 1991. In a great match, Hart won the IC title for the first time via the sharpshooter.

During his first IC title regain, Bret Hart defeated many tough competitors, like Ted Dibiase. The Mountie was the next challenge, and Hart had the upper edge on him, and it was only misfortune that cost Bret the title two days before the Royal Rumble, Bret was ill. The Mountie and Bret was scheduled to meet at the Royal Rumble, but since Bret was ill, he awarded the shot to Roddy Piper, who won the title.

At WrestleMania VIII, Roddy Piper offered Bret a chance to win the IC title back, Bret gladly accepted, and in an evenly match Bret retained the IC title. During his second IC title regain, Bret also faced numerous challenges, especially from Shawn Michaels, but Bret fended him off.

Summer Slam 1992, Wembley Stadium, Bret Hart was going up against his brother-in-law, the British Bulldog, the booking seemed to tear the family apart. In one of the best matches ever, the Bulldog came out victorious, and in the end Bret, Bulldog, and Diana all celebrated in the ring.

With the loss at Summer Slam, the former 2 time Intercontinental Champion set himself a new goal - the WWF World Heavyweight Title. Bret Hart completed his quest for the title, by defeating the legendary Ric Flair. Bret Hart showed the world, that he was a fighting champions, by taking on all comers, including Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series, Razor Ramon at the Royal Rumble, Ted Dibiase and Kamala.

At WrestleMania IX waited none other than Yokozuna, Bret wasn't afraid of 500 pound mammoth and in the match Bret had Yoko in the sharpshooter, when Mr. Fuji threw salt in his eyes, which resulted in Hart getting pinned. Hulk Hogan ran to the ring to protest, but it didn't help instead Hogan was challenged by Yokozuna, which he defeated in seconds, which in my point of view made Bret Hart look bad.

With Hulk Hogan as champion most people expected him to give Bret Hart a title shot, since Bret was cheated from his title, but it never happened. At the King of the Ring 1993 it was Hogan versus Yokozuna (Yokozuna won, and Hogan went to WCW), and with Bret in the tournament. In the first round of the tournament Bret was going up against Razor Ramon, the two rivals tore into each other, like hungry lions, and in the end the Hitman came out on top.

In the semi finals waited none other, than the old nemesis, Mr. Perfect, who know was a face. Bret and Mr. Perfect delivered the best match of the night, with the Hitman as the winner. Bam Bam Bigelow and Bret met in the final, Bret had damaged his knee and some of his fingers in the two first rounds, which Bam Bam used to his advantage, but Bret was the smartest of the two, he won the final, and was declared the King of the Ring.

Jerry Lawler

A victory at the King of the Ring normally turns you into the no. 1 contender for the World title, but that didn't happen for Bret, because Jerry Lawler attacked him at the coronation ceremony, which turned into a feud between the two, and lead Bret out of the title picture. Jerry Lawler used every trick in the book to get Bret and his family mad, and he succeeded.

At Summer Slam 1993, Jerry Lawler came to the ring with crutches, saying that he was injured, instead Doink would fight for him. Bret had Doink in the sharpshooter, when suddenly Lawler attacked with his crutches, president Jack Tunney ordered Lawler and Bret to fight. Lawler won the match by DQ, because Bret wouldn't release the sharpshooter.

Bret and Owen - the family feud

At the Survivor Series 1993, where a united Hart family (Bret, Owen, Bruce and Keith) fought Shawn Michaels (was scheduled to be Jerry Lawler) and his knights. During the match Owen was whipped into Bret, who stood on the apron, causing Bret to hit the railing and Owen to get eliminated. The Hart family won the match, but Owen wasn't satisfied with the result, he blamed Bret for his elimination. Owen then developed an obsession, he wanted to be regarded as his brother Bret's equal, Owen would not be in the shadow of the Hitman. Owen was furious at Bret, so he wanted a match against him, so he could step out of Bret's shadow, but Bret wouldn't give it to him.

Owen and Bret talked the things through at the end of 1993, and they agreed to form a tag team. Owen and Bret got a shot at the tag team champions, the Quebecers, at the Royal Rumble 1994. The brothers lost the match, when the referee ended the match, because of Bret's injured knee. Owen totally lost it, he kicked Bret on his knee after the match, and blamed Bret for the loss. Owen also said, that it was Bret, who told him to wrestle under hood and cap (during Owen's Blue Blazer days), so Owen wouldn't take the limelight from Bret.

Bret was also scheduled to compete in the Royal Rumble, and despite his injury he entered the competition. In the end Bret and Lex Luger was the two last men, and in some way or the other, they both hit the floor simultaneously, which gave them both a shot at the World title at WrestleMania X.

At WrestleMania X, Owen and Bret had a classic match, which went back and forth. In the end Owen was victorious, but at the same event, Bret became WWF Heavyweight Champion for the 2. time beating Yokozuna, which made Owen even more jealous, so he wanted a new match against his brother but to do that, he had to win the King of the Ring.

King of the Ring 1994, Bret had to battle Diesel, who together with Shawn Michaels had attacked the Hitman on several occasions, so Bret wanted a man in his corner, who he could trust. Bret choose his old tag team partner Jim Neidhart. The match ended with Neidhart attacking Diesel, causing Bret to be disqualified, after his attack Neidhart deserted Bret and left him to the wolves. Neidhart later the same evening helped Owen to win the King of the Ring, which meant, that Bret and Owen would clash again at Summer Slam.

This time the WWF wouldn't have any interference, so they decided, that the match should be a cage match. Both Owen and Bret had some security, since they both had a family member in the public which they could trust, Neidhart for Owen and Bulldog for Bret. The match went back and forth, both wrestlers slugged it out up the cage, over the top and on the way down, when suddenly Bret slammed Owen's head against the cage. Owen got his ankles caught between the bars, Bret jumped, landing feet-first at ringside. The British Bulldog cheered, when suddenly Neidhart attacked him. Owen and Neidhart dragged Bret back into the cage and started beating on him. Bulldog got to Bret's rescue. This event was reason for some great tag team matches between Bret/Bulldog and Owen/Neidhart.

Owen and Bret also had a Lumberjack match, where Neidhart was one of the lumberjacks, during the match he sneaked up on Bret and knocked him down, Owen then quickly pinned Bret, and thought that he had won the World Title, but a second referee made his way down and the decision was overturned.

At the 1994 Survivor Series, Bret clashed with former World champion, Bob Backlund, in a I quit match, where there had to be thrown in an towel, when one of them couldn't take it anymore. Owen was in Backlunds corner and Bulldog was in Bret's. Near the end of the match, Bulldog was knocked out, and Bret was put in the chicken-wing by Backlund, Owen begged his mother to throw in the towel, which she did, this ended Bret's second World title regain.

Royal Rumble 1995, Bret got another shot at the World title, this time versus Diesel. But the match was literally destroyed by outside interference by Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Bob Backlund, Jeff Jarrett and Roadie. The match was declared a draw. Bret got a bit of revenge on Bob Backlund, when he made Backlund submit at WrestleMania XI.

Back to the top

Bret and Jerry Lawler continued their feud after WrestleMania, when Lawler teamed up with Hakushi to take care of the Hitman. Bret beat Hakushi at the first ever In Your House, but crashed to Lawler the same evening, this resulted in a Kiss My Foot match at King of the Ring 1995, which Bret won, so Lawler had to kiss Bret's and his own foot. Lawler brought Isaac Yankem to do the job, but together they couldn't handle the Hitman, who came out victorious at Summer Slam. Bret Hart also feuded briefly with the pirate Jean Pierre Lafitte, before he got another shot at the title.

Survivor Series 1995, Bret versus Diesel for the third time, this time people wanted to see one of them getting pinned, and they did, Bret fooled the big man by pretending he was out cold, so when Diesel went for the Jackknife, Bret cradled him, and became World champion for the third time. Bret and the Bulldog clashed at the December In Your House, in yet another classic match, this time with the Hitman on top.

The Undertaker is one of the few wrestlers, who has been in the top of the business for many years, and still haven't received many title shots, but at the Royal Rumble 1996 he got the shot. The Undertaker was on his way to victory, when Diesel interfered, cause Bret Hart to be disqualified. So this meant, that Bret would have to meet Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII in a sixty minute Iron Man Match.

If you haven't seen the Iron Man Match yet, go get the tape immediately. The match went back and forth, with each man showing that they are some of the best in the business. In the final seconds of the ordinary match Bret had Shawn in the sharpshooter, when the time ran out, Gorilla Monsoon decided, that the match should continue, with sudden death rules. Shawn won the match, but in my opinion both wrestlers had pride in this match. I personally think, that the sudden death rules should not have applied, since they were not in the original contract.

Bret vs Steve Austin

After the loss, Bret decided that he would take a break from wrestling, and so he did, until a certain Stone Cold Steve Austin started to send out a challenge to Bret Hart, all this started some months before Survivor Series 1996. Bret Hart came out victorious, Bret had won the match, but the war isn't over.

When Bret returned he had an interview with Vince McMahon, where Bret stated, that he had got an offer from WCW, but he declined the offer since he felt that the WWF is his home. Bret also said that one of the reasons he returned was because the WWF needed a good role model, not like Shawn Michaels, no love between these two superstars.

At the following In Your House Bret Hart crashed to the World champion Sid, because Shawn Michaels had to stick his face into the match. Bret took out his frustrations on Michaels afterwards. This incident started Bret's whining period, where he claimed that he had been screwed out of the World title and so on.

Michaels regained the World title at the Royal Rumble 1997, and the winner of the battle royal would face him at WrestleMania 13, and Bret Hart would do anything to get his hands on Michaels. When the Hitman hit the ring, his arch enemy Steve Austin stood in the ring, and hell broke loose. Bret Hart eliminated Austin, but the refs. didn't see it, so Austin went back in the ring and eliminated Undertaker, Vader and Bret Hart to become the winner of the 1997 Royal Rumble.

Part 2