Best There Is, Best There Was, Best There Ever Will Be

One of the biggest reasons I am a wrestling fan today is because of Bret Hart. The man has done it all when it comes to wrestling – He rose through the ranks of his fathers promotion, went to WWE and worked his way to the top and became a Hall of Fame legend along the way. There have been some tough times along the road but without a doubt Bret showed the world over his almost 25 year in ring career that he was truly one of the greats. I look back at Bret’s achievements and my favourite Bret memories.

Bret Hart

My earliest wrestling memory was Wrestlemania 8. Until I was able to watch it back on DVD a few years ago there were a few things about the event that stood out but the biggest memory was the Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper match. This is the match that really put Bret over for me as my favourite wrestler. From start to finish his matches have always told a story and I cannot recall a bad match or performance Bret has ever given.

Some of my other favourite Bret Hart matches over the years have been the match at Wrestlemania 13 against Stone Cold, his match at Wembley Stadium against the British Bulldog at Summerslam 1992, the Iron Man match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12, his match against Owen at Wrestlemania 10, and the matches at the 1993 King of the Ring as all 3 were great matches to watch. Obviously Bret’s most talked about match is Survivor Series 1997 against Shawn Michaels, when Bret was famously screwed by Vince McMahon before Hart left for WCW. However, Hart has had so many amazing moments in his career it is a shame that this one moment is the first one some people think of.

Bret vs Owen

While the above matches are some of my favourites, my personal favourite is a match I saw live when I was a kid aged 9 back in 1994 in Sheffield, England when Bret faced his brother Owen for the WWF Championship. While my memories of this are very vague now I still remember the finish with Bret hitting a victory roll on Owen for the win and going round ringside to celebrate with the fans. It was unfortunately the first and only time I saw Bret wrestle live, however I got to go back to Sheffield in 2010 aged 25 to see Bret return, which was an amazing moment I thought would never happen given what happened in Montreal and with Owen.

What is it about Bret Hart for me that makes him so great? Simply Bret is without a doubt one of the greatest in ring performers of all time. Certainly I would say he is the best technical wrestler of all time and I would say he is perhaps one of the top 5 wrestlers of all time without a doubt. Bret knows how to tell a story in the ring that grabs your attention and really knew how to draw in a crowd during his matches. Summerslam 1992 is a fine example of this. Bret went into that match with a lack of fan support. By the end of the match people are cheering for Bret and he left probably more over with the fans than the British Bulldog.

Bret Hart

Despite what happened in 1997 with Bret and WWE, it was a great moment to finally see him come back to the WWE family with his Hall of Fame induction in 2006, his Wrestlemania return match with Vince McMahon in 2010, and to see him have an on screen role as General Manager of Raw and have a few more in ring appearances, including his winning the United States Championship. While many fans slate the match at Wrestlemania I feel this match lived up to expectation – At the end of the day, wrestling fans wanted to see Bret kick Vince’s ass, and he did while winning. It may not have been the match everyone hyped up in their minds, but I think it was a great match to watch and it allowed me to one more time enjoy Bret’s work in the ring.

Bret Hart won multiple championships in his career – In WWE alone he is a 2 time Tag Champion, 2 time Intercontinental Champion, won King of the Ring in 1991 and 1993, 1 time United States Champion, and of course a 5 time World Champion. On this weeks Raw John Cena talked about smaller guys such as Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio getting over as WWE Champions when they were classed as ‘smaller guys’. In my opinion, Bret broke this mould first when he won his first WWF World Championship from Ric Flair in 1992 at a show in Saskatoon. He was for me the original ‘smaller guy’ who paved the way for guys like Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio to even be considered a champion.

Bret Hart

While Bret remains on our screens in WWE sporadically, it is nice to see him popping up now and again. I think he could really still bring a lot to WWE in a General Manager role following his first run in WWE doing this in 2010. I also feel Hart could bring a lot to WWE in a backstage role, be it in the creative team or helping talent with their matches and finishes. Bret Hart has one of the greatest wrestling minds I have ever known and it is a damn shame it isn’t used more.

Bret will always be a hero to myself and many fans and I am thankful I got to see him wrestle both on TV and live. The DVD’s of his career have been excellent watches and I look forward to future DVD projects Bret is involved with. I hope we see more of Bret on future WWE broadcasts, and hope his legacy lives on for many years to come. When my son asks me about wrestling and what got me interested, I will point to Bret Hart and show him the work of one of wrestling’s all time greats.

What are your opinions on Bret Hart? Is he one of the all time greats or not? What are some of your favourite Bret memories? As always, I look forward to reading your comments and views. My next article will switch direction a little but will remain on a Hart based theme and looks at Owen Hart and his career. Until then, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did writing it.

  • Josh w

    It was a shame to see him on wcw. They barely knew what to do with him.

    • Jamie Welton

      I agree Josh. WCW had one of wrestling hottest stars and angles when Bret joined WCW, you’d think there was no possible way they could mess that up but clearly they couldn’t. Booking wasn’t really their strong point, and knowing what a great thing they had in terms of Bret being a star clearly wasn’t a WCW strong point.

  • Chris Owen

    Totally agree mate. Bret was the best technical wrestler of all time and a joy to watch. Whether the screw job was real or fake there is no denying that what happened will always be associated with Bret Hart and that will be the biggest shame. I remember back in the day, I think it was September 17th 1994 at the NEC in Birmingham when the then WWF Champion Bret Hart & British Bulldog defeated Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart, when Bulldog pinned Owen Hart with a small package, and I believe after both Neidhart and Bret reversed the hold behind the referee's back? I hope I have that correct Jamie? This was not something I would ever forget. It was the first time I ever saw WWE live at an arena until Sheffield a few years ago, and this was the first time I saw Bret Hart wrestle live obviously and Sadly the last!! I really could not watch WWF on TV as we could not get it for some reason (Can't remember why) I had heard about wrestling from a friend and I was quite upset I was not able to see wrestling in my house. I remember staying over at a mates house one night, because there was something called Summerslam in 1992 in England. Once he told me it was wrestling I jumped at the chance. I remember watching 1 match vividly, Bret Hart vs British Bulldog. I was hooked and to tell you the truth this really got me into wrestling. It was a great match and although I wanted Bulldog to win I had a lot of respect for Bret, Don't get me wrong I loved The British Bulldog but there was just something about Bret. From then on, Like you I really got behind Bret and he was the one I tuned into watch…In other words he is the one who got me really into wrestling (Small world) So when I had the chance to see him at Birmingham you can imagine the excitement in me!! Well and seeing the Undertaker vs Yokozuna lol. I even bought a pair of glasses, Sadly I no longer have them as they were stolen that night and I was gutted. Obvioulsy in 1994, 2 years after seeing him at Summerslam I did start to like other wrestlers also however, he was my original and my favorite. Sadly Bret left WWE and then it went downhill, WWE recovered and maybe did not miss him but the fans did!! What might have been? Well, maybe the greatest WWF/WWE champion ever I can't speculate but he is certainly up there. At the moment he comes and goes which is right for him but his knowledge and wealth of experience will never be in question and I hope we see that in the WWE in some capacity going forward. There are a few things for me that are certain. He is the one who got me into wrestling, One of the few wrestlers who broke the mould and I never once sat live or at home and thought this match is boring, why? because Bret Hart is one of the greatest wrestlers that graced the ring!!!!!! WCW got a huge talent and wasted it. WWE had a huge talent and let it slip. Who knows what Bret would of accomplished if 2 promotions committed to him, He had the tools to be the Best is, The best there was and the Best there ever will be!! And boy did he show that was true. He needed to wrestle Vince at Mania and I wont have anyone slate the fact…The line had to be drawn!!! Bret has a place in the HOF and wrestling history, no-one can take that away from him and he deserves it.

    Really good article Jamie and look forward to the next on Owen, Maybe soon you could write about wrestlers death's from wrestling/Drugs and is Wrestling dangerous leading to serious health problems in later life? I really enjoy being able to comment on these!!

  • Jamie Welton

    Thanks Chris, I will look at the deaths of wrestlers etc in a future article for sure.

    With regards to the match in Birmingham in 1994 I can confirm you are correct about the finish of the match, however I do not believe it was televised. Bret was the catalyst for a lot of people I know getting into wrestling. I still own a pair of the original Hitman shades from when I had to send away with the Bret Hart coliseum home video. Could he have been the greatest champion of all time? For me, yes I think so based on his in ring ability. I agree WCW dropped the ball big style with Bret, they really did not know how to manage what a great thing they had! The match at Mania is seen by some as a let down but like you, I see it had to happen and I think it was so worth watching to see Bret finally get the victory and finish the story.

    • Ibra

      I agree with you Chris Bret hart is the reason I love wrestling so much. He wasn’t the best on the mic but was passable for me because of his passion for the business. The reason Bret is my favorite is because of his in ring work. He could wrestle anyone and have a good to great match. He definely broken the mold for smaller wrestler to become wwe champion and to me the main reason guy like Shawn micheals won the champion. He is the reason why guys like punk and Bryan are on top of the card in wwe. He is the reason why people respected the ring work of smaller workers in wrestling history and truly is the best wrestler ever to me and forever will be.

      • Jamie Welton

        Thanks for replying Ibra – Glad to see another person who was inspired into wrestling by Bret Hart. He truly was a great and his in ring work is sorely missed in WWE

  • wolfenator87

    He is definitely my favourite wrestler from the 90s era and probably my favourite of all time. I grew up watching WWF and he always stood out above everyone else as the greatest technician and wrestling ability. He has so much integrity and respect for the business and is a good human being too.

    • Jamie Welton

      Absolubtly agree with you wolfenator87, Bret has always stood out and you could say has always been in a class of his own. I hope one day to get the chance to meet Bret when he comes to the UK but that’s still a work in progress