Posted by Jamie Welton
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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