It's safe to say that Bret Hart is one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the WWE. Bret is a member of the famous Hart family and a second-generation wrestler, so most people may think that because he was born into the sport that wrestling was in his blood, but that wasn't always the case for Bret. His career started in the mid 1980s when he joined The Hart Foundation with his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart. For the following 5 years he was one of the biggest stars in wrestling and as a result of his success is still one of the most famous Canadians in the business.
When wrestling fans think back on The Hitman's career, one of the first things that comes to mind is the infamous Montreal Screwjob where his title was stripped by Shawn Michaels without his prior knowledge or consent during the Main Event of the 1997 Survivor Series. As much as that may have left a black mark on an otherwise stunning career, it's important to realize that there was so much more to The Hitman than that once incident.
Whether you're a fan of the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, here are 13 Shocking facts about Bret Hart that you may or may not know:
13 Championship Titles
From the 1970s to the 2010s Bret Hart has held a number of championships and has had a total of 32 throughout his career, 17 of which were held between the WCW and WWE. The seven-time World Champion held the WWE Championship five times and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice. During the '90s he spent more time as the champ than any other WWE wrestler, he held the belt for a total of 654 days. He was also the first ever champion in the WCW that was born outside of the U.S.
12 He Almost Missed His Chance at Wrestling
An interesting fact about Bret Hart is that he almost didn't become a wrestler, while he was a successful amateur wrestler in high school, he actually majored in Broadcasting at Mount Royal College with the hopes of becoming a film director. However, as we all know he did in fact stick with wrestling and started his pro wrestling career in 1976 for the Stampede organization. Thank goodness he did because he became one of the most legendary figures both in the industry and in his country, being voted one of CBC's Greatest Canadians of All Time in 2004.
11 He Initially Rejected the WWE Hall Of Fame
Bret Hart originally refused the World Wrestling Federation's (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment) offer to induct him into the WWF Hall Of Fame because of the tragic death of his brother Owen Hart. However, years later he eventually decided to accepted another offer and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame's class of 2006 by none other than the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin.
10 The Origin Of "The Best There Is..."
Bret “The Hitman” Hart accredits his famous tagline from a movie called The Natural starring Robert Redford, a film about baseball and one of his all-time favorites to watch. "The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be" came to him while he was participating in a tag team match with Jim The Anvil back in the days of the Hart Foundation. The idea struck him during a post-match interview and, as many great catchphrases do, it just stuck with him from that point on.
9 Brothers Divided
Probably one of Bret's most overwhelmingly bitter feuds in the WWE was actually with his real-life brother Owen Hart. Despite their ongoing televised feud, after Bret left the WWE, Owen wanted to cancel his contract as well and stick by his older brother's side, but Bret convinced him to stay with the company. It almost seems like a cruel twist of fate that not long after this, Owen tragically died during a live WWE event when a cable lowering him from the rafters snapped, causing him to fall 78 feet to the ring below.
8 Changing Within The WWE
Once asked in an interview what changes he would make if he were Vince McMahon and in charge of the WWE, Bret said:
“I would go back to 1995 and watch how I use to wrestle and then I would try to get every wrestler that he’s got to wrestle more like I did. I like the wrestling in the 90s better than I do the wrestling today. Even though I have a lot of respect for a lot of the young wrestlers today, and a lot of them are really really good like (CM) Punk, and Daniel Bryan are two phenomenal wrestlers, that to me show lots of new stuff, new moves, and new psychology. They brought out the future of wrestling a little bit more, where as a lot of wrestlers I think that came after I left like, Triple H and guys like that. They’re just the same old thing over and over, and I think wrestling could have done a better job over the last few years. It’s the young guys that are picking up the torch and carrying it today.”
7 Health Problems
In 2002 Bret Hart suffered a stroke a result of a motorcycle accident. The Calgary Herald reported that Hart flew over his bike, landing on the back of his head. He suffered complete paralysis on his left side, and endured several months of physical therapy. Since the accident he has recovered most of his mobility and he is in reasonably good health, but he does suffer from an emotional imbalance which is quite common in stroke victims. Since overcoming his stroke he has become a spokesperson for March of Dimes Canada's Stroke and Recovery program.
6 Acting Career
It's not too surprising to find out some of our favorite wrestlers have dabbled every now and then in some acting, but Hart has acted in quite a few different movies and TV series over the years. His first role was in 1994, where he played a prison inmate in Natural Born Killers, however the scene he was supposed to be in was cut. Between 1994 and1995 he appeared in the TV series Lonesome Dove. Some other TV series he has appeared in have been guest spots on The Simpsons, Honey I Shrunk The Kids TV series, The Adventures of Sinbad, Big Sound and The Immortal. He also starred on the series MADtv a total of four times. He's even tried theatre, where he starred as The Genie in a production of Aladdin in 2004, a role he reprised in the Canadian Touring production.
5 A Published Author
A jack of all trades, not only is Hart a legendary wrestler, and an actor but he is also a published writer. He wrote a weekly column for the Calgary Sun from 1991 to 2004. Two years later, Hart's autobiography, Hitman; My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling was released in Canada. He actually started writing the book in 1999 with long time friend and business associate, Marcy Englestein. But because of Hart's stroke in 2002 and a number of other tragedies it ended up taking them eight years to complete the book. His book is based on an audio diary he kept over the years during his incredible wrestling career.
4 He Didn't Create The Sharpshooter
Bret Hart is one of the best wrestlers, probably ever to step foot in the ring, and he most certainly has earned the nickname “Excellence of Execution.” He’s one of the most memorable technical wrestlers and had one of the most popular submission moves in the history of WWE called The Sharpshooter. Most people may think that Bret created this move, since it was his signature, but it was actually taken from someone else. The inventor of the sharpshooter was a Japanese wrestler by the name of Riki Choshu.
3 A Champ Without Bumps
Hart returned to WWE in 2010 and right away he was put in a feud with Vince McMahon, which led to their match at WrestleMania 26. It by no means whatsoever was a good match but it was refreshing to see "The Hitman" back in action. The main reason that the match wasn't that great was that he was unable to take any bumps because of the stroke he had over a decade earlier. Another match worth mentioning was in 2010 in Toronto when Hart went up against The Miz. The only bumps he took were to the stomach, and he had the no DQ finish to allow interference in order to help Bret out if need be. Bret eventually put The Miz in his famous Sharpshooter and he tapped out.
2 A Feud With A Pirate
Part of Hart’s attire was a black leather jacket with pink stars on it. It was probably one of the coolest looks in WWE history, especially with the wicked shades he would wear all the time on his way down to the ring. His match with Jean Pierre Lafitte started with a feud over Hart's jacket. He ended up stealing Bret's jacket and they went on to have a match in 1995 at the In Your House PPV. Bret won fair and square and claimed his jacket back. Lafitte was a pretty good sport, but the idea of a pirate stealing a jacket was extremely lame.
1 He Wanted To Be A Cowboy
Before the Bret “the hitman” Hart gimmick came about, the WWE in the early days wanted Bret to have the gimmick of “Cowboy” Bret Hart. The idea was that he would ride on a horse down the ring and wear a cowboy hat. He immediately shot down the idea and not long after that he and his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart formed the Hart Foundation. Most likely, the WWE execs thought the cowboy approach was a good idea considering Hart is from Calgary, the city famous for the Stampede.