Real Name: Bret Sergeant Hart
Nicknames: “The Hitman”, "The Excellence of Execution"
Born: July 2, 1957
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Height and Weight: 6’1”/234
Trained By: Stu Hart, Iron Sheik, Harley Race, Mr. Hito, Mr. Sakurada
Favorite Moves: Inverted Atomic Drop, Pendulum Back Breaker, Leg lock Around the Ring post
Finishing Move: Sharpshooter, Spike Pile-driver
He was, “The Best there is, the best there was, and the best there will ever be.” Bret was an outstanding wrestler, combining speed, power, and technical wrestling all into one.
Bret Hart was born into a wrestling family led by Stu and Helen Hart. He was eight of eleven children. Bret’s seven brothers were wrestlers or involved in the wrestling business. Owen Hart is the most famous of his brothers. Bret’s fours sisters all married professional wrestlers (Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Hart and Ben Bassarab).
Bret’s dad, Stu was a wrestler and owner of Stampede Wrestling. He would train future wrestlers in the “Dungeon,” the basement of their house which served as the most grueling training area in the wrestling business. Bret was trained by his farther who used hundreds of submission holds in trying to teach him how to break the holds.
Hart took his training to Ernest Manning High School where he won championships in tournaments throughout Canada. He did enroll in Mount Royal College to pursue a career as a director. He never finished college.
In 1976, at the age of 19, Hart began working for Stampede Wrestling promotion, his father’s company, in Calgary, Canada. His first job was refereeing matches. Then one day a wrestler wasn’t able to perform his match. Stu asked his son to stand in as a replacement. Bret’s first match was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Bret teamed with his brother Keith to win 4 Tag Team Championships in Stampede Wrestling. Some of Bret’s best singles matches were against Mr. Hito and Mr. Sakurada (both of whom continued with the training of the young Bret Hart). Bret also had several high-impact matches against the Dynamite Kid which brought the crowds to their feet in amazement. Bret also wrestled with his brothers and even his father during his time in Stampede. It was also easy to say that Bret was a rising star in the promotion, winning numerous British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championships, British Commonwealth North American Heavyweight Championships and International Tag Team Championships. Bret let a contingent of Stampede Wrestling Wrestlers to the World Wrestling Federation, in 1984, when it was bought by the WWF (Stampede Wrestling was sold back to the Hart family in 1985, but, not before taking all the extensive video library from the promotion).
It was in 1984, in conjunction with the signing of Bret Hart and the importing of wrestlers from Stampede Wrestling (Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Brian Pillman, Honky Tonk Man, Jim Neidhart and Dynamite Kid) that WWF became a major professional wrestling promotion.
When Hart started out in the WWF they wanted him as a cowboy, but he refused, and instead asked to work with his brother-in-law Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart who was being managed by Jimmy Hart. Instead, in August 1984, with his brother-in-law, The Dynanite Kid as his partner, Bret made his WWF debut. Later on, in an effort to build up the tag team division, the WWF paired Hart with Neidhart and they joined manager Jimmy Hart’s, Hart Foundation stable. But soon the name stuck with Neidhart and Hart due to the similar family names of both team members and their manager. It was Bret who came up with the name “The Hart Foundation.” They started out as a heel tag team, combining technical style of Bret (“The Excellence of Execution” given to Bret by announcer Gorilla Monsoon) with the strength and brawling skills of Neidhart. Together they won two WWF Tag Team Championships fighting the likes of The Nasty Boys, British Bulldogs, Strike Force, The Rockers and Demolition.
As Hart rose to fame in the WWF in the late 1980s, he started competing as a singles wrestler. Wrestling Bad News Brown at WrestleMania IV in a battle royal match and at Wrestlefest 88. “The Hitman” won a 16-man battle royal in Hamilton, Ontario. Bret left the Hart Foundation after a loss to The Nasty Boys at WrestleMania VII and went on to pursue a singles career. He defeated Mr. Perfect, with the Sharpshooter, at SummerSlam in 1991. In July 1992, Hart beat Shawn Michaels in the first ever ladder match in the WWF. It was Bret Hart who came up with the latter match format to the WWF. Who would have thought that?
Bret lost the Intercontinental Championship in the main event of SummerSlam in 1992, to his brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. But, even though he lost the match, he continued to receive main event status and was given a push for the WWF Championship. On October 12, 1992 at Saskatchewan Place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Bret “The Hitman” Hart defeated Rick Flair to win his first WWF Championship. The only way you can see this match, as it wasn’t on PPV or TV, is to buy a Coliseum Video release.
Hart had a long line of competitors for his WWF Championship. Papa Shango, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect were in line for a shot but no one could beat “The Hitman”. Finally, at WrestleMainia IX, Yokozuna defeat Bret with interference from Mr. Fuji. Bret won the first pay-per-view King of the Ring tournament in 1993. After being crowned as the King of the Ring, Hart was attacked by Jerry “The King” Lawler. Jerry claimed he was the real King and than proceeded to verbally attack hart and his family. At SummerSlam 1993, Hart defeated Lawler in a submission, via a sharpshooter. Bret would not let go of the hold and the decision was reversed to a Lawler victory by disqualification. At WrestleMania X, regained the WWF Championship by beating Yokozuna.
At Survivor Series in 1993, a feud started between Bret and Owen Hart. It happened when the Hart Bothers (Bret, Bruce, Keith and Owen) took on Shawn Michaels and a group of wrestlers. Owen was the only Hart to be eliminated during their Survivor match. Owen blamed Bret for being eliminated and for holding him back in general. This was the Owen being jealous of Bret angle. Owen for weeks kept blaming Bret. Owen asked for a one-on-one match with Bret, which Bret refused to accept. According to the storyline, the Harts work things out over the Christmas holidays and settled their rivalry.
In January, Bret and Owen took on The Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Championship at Royal Rumble. During the match, Bret hurt his knee and was unable to continue. After the match, Owen yelled at his brother for costing him a title opportunity and attacked Bret’s injured knee. Owen demanded a match against his brother at WrestleMania X. In a classic match Owen defeated his brother. But, later on in WrestleMania, Bret faced Yokozuna and beat him for his second WWF Championship.
Hart continued to feud with his brother Owen while he also started a feud with Diesel. Hart's friend and former tag team partner Jim Neidhart returned to the WWF and reunited with Hart. At King of the Ring, Hart defended the WWF Championship against Diesel. When Hart was winning the match, Shawn Michaels interfered on Diesel's behalf. Diesel appeared close to victory, yet before he could pin Hart, Neidhart interfered. Diesel won by disqualification but Hart retained his title. Neidhart left when Diesel and Michaels attacked Hart following the match. Neidhart's motivation was made clear when he helped Owen win the tournament that night, so that he could receive a title shot against his brother. At SummerSlam, Bret successfully retained the WWF Championship against Owen in a historic steel cage match.
Over the next several years Bret Hart would have historic rivalries with Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. A 60 minute Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII, between Bret and Shawn, with the wrestler with the most decisions during a 60 minute period would win the match and the WWF Championship. With the score tied 0-0 with less than a minute left on the clock, Michaels was put in the Sharpshooter. Shawn did not submit in the last 30 seconds so the match ended in a tie. Bret thought he won. President Gorilla Monsoon ruled that the match would continue in sudden death overtime. Michaels then hit a super kick to win in OT. Hart left the WWF in March 1996, and in mid 1996, Steve Austin started challenging him to come back and have a match. After an 8 month absence, Bret returned and defeated Austin at Survivor Series. The fighting between Bret and Austin continued at Royal Rumble, when Hart tossed Austin out of the ring. Without the knowledge of the referees, Austin climbed back into the ring and won the Rumble. To deal with this controversy, a Fatal Four Way between Austin, Hart Vader and The Undertaker was set up for In Your House 13, with the winner becoming the number one contender. But, Michaels relinquished the belt and the match became for the WWF Championship. Hart beat Vader, The Undertaker and Austin to win the Championship.
At WrestleMania 13, Hart and Austin wrestled in a Submission match. Hart locked the Sharpshooter on a bloody Austin. Austin refused to give up and he never actually quit. Steve passed out from the pain and blood loss. Ken Shamrock, the special referee, awarded Bret the match. Bret would not let go of the Sharpshooter, which began his turn as a heel.
With Hart becoming a Heel, his new gimmick was the Anti-American Angle. “The Hitman” denounced American fans, because of their negative reaction to him, as opposed to his popularity to the rest of the world. A new Hart Foundation was formed with Owen and brothers-in-law Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith, with Brian Pillman added to the Foundation. This was an anti-American Stable which was popular in Canada and Europe.
Also, around this time, Bret and “announcer” Vince McMahon began an on-air rivalry. Hart had just signed a 20-year contract and Vince had asked Bret to talk to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) about signing with them. WCW had offered Hart a contract before he resigned with the WWF. Now, with the WWF is financial problems, and could not afford the contract Vince wanted Bret to contact WCW and see if the contact to sign with WCW was still available. WCW signed Bret to a contract. Hart’s final match with the WWF would be a title match against his rival, Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series in Montreal. Hart did not want to end his WWF career with a loss to Michaels in his home country; McMahon agreed to Hart's idea of forfeiting the championship the next night on Raw or losing it a few weeks later.
Although Hart stated to McMahon he would not take the WWF Championship with him to WCW TV, and despite insistence from then-WCW President Eric Bischoff that Hart would join WCW with a "clean slate," McMahon was still concerned; this led to him breaking his word in what eventually came to be known as the Montreal Screw Job. Even though Hart did not submit to the Sharpshooter, referee Earl Hebner called for the bell as if he had, on McMahon's orders. This resulted in Hart "losing" the WWF Championship to Michaels. The night ended with an irate Hart spitting in McMahon's face, destroying television equipment, and punching McMahon backstage in front of Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson and Shane McMahon. Hart also confronted Michaels backstage about the match finish. Although he told Hart that he knew nothing about it, Michaels revealed years later that he had, in fact, known about the finish twenty-four hours in advance.
With Hart gone from the WWF, Bret made his debut with WCW, as a baby face, on December 15, 1997, when WCW Chairman of the Board J.J. Dillion announced that Bret would be the special guest referee for a match between Eric Bischoff and Larry Zbyszko at Starrcade. But Bret was actually involved in the Sting versus Hulk Hogan match at Starrcade, stepping in as an impromptu referee. In Bret’s first match in WCW, at Souled Out, he beat Ric Flair.
In April 1998, Bret turned heel in a Nitro man event involving Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Hart unofficially became a member of the New World Order. It appeared that Hogan had Hart’s back and Bret had Hogan’s back. Hart beat Savage in a singles bout at Slamboree, winning the match thanks to interference from Hogan. Hart and Hogan teamed up at The Great American Bash against Savage and Roddy Piper.
WCW did not push Bret effectively (Bret expressed the opinion that the was “poorly used“ by the company). They did not use him as a top contender, but as a second fiddle to a lot of wrestlers in the company. This was due to too many of WCW wrestlers had creative control written into their contracts. Finally Bret won the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, by defeating Diamond Dallas Page on Nitro, July 20th. Hart would go on to hold the United States Heavyweight Championship four times, the most reigns in WCW history. Hart constantly feuded with Page and Lex Luger.
On a March 1999 edition of Nitro, Hart appeared in street clothes and called out superstar Bill Goldberg, verbally coercing Goldberg into tackling him. Hart was wearing a metal breastplate under his sweater, which resulted in Goldberg being knocked out. Hart then counted his own pinfall over Goldberg's unconscious body, although there was no match taking place, and left. The incident caused Hart to leave WCW for a short time. When Hart was about ready to return to WCW, his brother Owen Hart died in an accident during a WWF pay-per-view. As a result Hart took time off from WCW to be with his family.
On the October 4, 1999 edition of Nitro Bret wrestled in a tribute match for Owen against Chris Benoit. This match took place in Kemper Arena in Kansas City, where Owen had died months earlier.
At Starrcade, Hart defended his WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Goldberg. During the match, Hart was struck with a mule kick to the head, resulting in a severe concussion. Hart later speculated that he may have suffered up to three additional concussions within matches over the course of that day along with the days immediately following Starrcade, having been unaware of the severity of his injuries. As a part of this, Hart placed Goldberg on the post in a figure-four leg lock which ended with Hart hitting his head on the concrete floor when Goldberg failed to receive the move correctly. The injuries left Hart with post-concussion syndrome and ultimately forced his retirement from professional wrestling. Hart wrote a Calgary Sun column in which he said that Goldberg "had a tendency to injure everyone he worked with." As part of his DVD documentary, Hart expressed regret that "someone as good-hearted as Bill Goldberg" was responsible for hurting him.
Hart vacated the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on the December 20 edition of Nitro as a result of controversies surrounding his Starrcade match, offering Goldberg a rematch for the title that evening. Hart defeated Goldberg to regain the title with interference from Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Harris Brothers, thus marking the nWo reformation, billed as NWO 2000. Overall, Hart was 3-0 against Goldberg, who was noted for his undefeated streak. He successfully defended the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Kevin Hart on the January 10, 2000 edition of Nitro, which would turn out to be his last ever wrestling match. Hart never lost either WCW World Heavyweight Championship he held, but forfeited them instead.
Hart continued to make sporadic appearances on WCW television, with his final WCW appearance occurring on the September 6, 2000 edition of Thunder, where he confronted Bill Goldberg on the injury he sustained nine months prior. Hart was granted a release from his WCW contract in late 2000 and announced his retirement soon afterward.
On June 24, 2002, Bret Hart suffered a stroke after hitting his head in a bicycle accident. The Calgary Herald reported that Hart hit a pothole, flew over the handlebars of the bike, and landed on the back of his head. Hart suffered total paralysis on his left side, which required months of physical therapy. Hart has since recovered much of his mobility and is in good health, although he suffers from an emotional imbalance and other lasting effects common to stroke survivors.
In mid-2005, WWE announced the release of a three disc DVD originally named Screwed: The Bret Hart Story, with the title a reference to the Montreal Screw job. After he was approached about appearing in the DVD, Hart visited WWE Headquarters on August 3, 2005 and met with Vince McMahon. Hart filmed over seven hours of interview footage for the DVD, which was renamed Bret “Hit Man” Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be. The DVD includes a compendium of Hart's favorite matches, including a match against his brother Owen and his first match with Ricky Steamboat. Before the DVD's release, the WWE released a special magazine covering Hart's career. The collection was released on November 15, 2005.
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.
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On June 11, 2007, Hart made his first appearance on Raw since October 27, 1997 when he appeared in a pre-taped interview voicing his opinions on Vince McMahon as part of "Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night."
At WrestleMania XXVI Bret wrestled the owner of the WWE Vince McMahon. For over 15 minutes, Hart took out years of frustration over the Montreal screw job, in this one-sided match. Members of the Hart family had a shot at the owner during this match.
On January 4, 2010, Bret Hart made a surprise appearance on Monday Night Raw. It was during this show that he called out Shawn Michaels to “clear the air.“ Here is the clip to the memorable night:
For the next several months the “excellence of execution” continued to appear on Raw helping his nephews, Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith, go after the Tag Team Titles.
Hart co-wrote an illustrated autobiography, entitled Hitman, with Perry Lefko in 2000. On October 16, 2007, Hart's second autobiography titled Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling.
Bret’s acting career consisted of appearing in the Lonesome Dove television series, from 1995 to 1996 as Luther Root. He also appeared in a guest spot on The Simpsons in 1997 (as himself, in “The Old Man and the Lisa“). Hart also guest starred on the series MADtv in 1997 where he acted as enforcer at a fan's house, appearing with his WWF Championship belt. Hart later appeared again on MADtv in 1999 and 2000 in an angle with actor Will Sasso in which the two feuded on the set of MADtv and in World Championship Wrestling; this culminated in a grudge match on WCW Monday Nitro, where Hart decisively defeated Sasso.
Hart married Julie Smadu-Hart in July 1982. Bret and Julie have four children: Jade Michelle Hart; Dallas Jeffery Hart; Alexandra Sabina Hart, nicknamed "Beans"; and Blade Colton Hart. The four hearts located on the right thigh of his tights symbolize his four children, as do the four dots following his signature. Bret and Julie separated in May 1998, and they eventually got divorced on June 24, 2002, just hours before Bret suffered his stroke.
Hart married an Italian woman named Cinzia Rota in 2004, but they got divorced in 2007 after failing to agree on where they should live.
In 1994, Bret Hart was one of 18 private investors who purchased The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. They took their name from Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
Bret Hart wrestled in the following Wrestling organizations:
Stampede Wrestling 1976-1984
World Wrestling Council 1978
World Wrestling Federation 1984-1997
World Championship Wrestling 1997-2000
Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame
World Wrestling Federation Triple Crown Winner 1992
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year (1992) vs. British Bulldog at SummerSlam
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Feud of the Year (1993) vs. Jerry Lawler
Pro Wrestling Illustrated #1 of the best 500 singles wrestlers of the year (1993)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Feud of the Year (1993) vs. Jerry Lawler
Pro Wrestling Illustrated #1 of the best 500 singles wrestlers of the year (1994)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Feud of the Year (1994) vs. Owen Hart
Wrestling Observer Newsletter 5 star match vs. Owen Hart (1994) in a steel cage match at SummerSlam
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1994)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year (1996) vs. Shawn Michaels in an Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (1996)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year (1997) vs. Steve Austin in a submission match at WrestleMania 13
Wrestling Observer Newsletter 5 star match vs. Steve Austin (1997) in a submission match at WrestleMania 13
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Comeback of the Year (1997)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1997)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Feud of the Year (1997) with Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog and Brian Pillman vs. Steven Austin
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year (1997) vs. Steve Austin in a submission match at WrestleMania 13
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Stanley Weston Award (2003)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated #4 of the best 500 singles wrestlers of theyear (2003)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated #37 of the top 500 tag teams of the Year with Jim Neidhart (2003)
World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame (2006)
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum 2008
Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship October 14, 1978 - January 6, 1979
Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship June 1 - July 7, 1979
Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship October 1979
Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship February 1980
Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship May 1980
Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship October 1980 - January 31, 1981
Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship June 26 - September 3, 1982
Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship October 17, 1982 - January 14, 1983
Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship May 3 - July 16, 1983
World Wrestling Federation King of the Ring Winner 1991
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship August 21, 1991 - January 17, 1992
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship April 5 - August 29, 1992
World Wrestling Federation King of the Ring Winner 1993
World Wrestling Federation Championship October 12, 1992 - April 4, 1993
World Wrestling Federation Royal Rumble winner with Lex Luger 1994
World Wrestling Federation Championship March 20 - November 23, 1994
World Wrestling Federation Championship November 19, 1995 - March 31, 1996
World Wrestling Federation Championship February 16-17, 1997
World Wrestling Federation Championship August 3 - November 9, 1997
World Championship Wrestling United States Championship July 20 - August 10, 1998
World Championship Wrestling United States Championship August 11 - October 26, 1998
World Championship Wrestling United States Championship November 30 1998 - February 8, 1999
World Championship Wrestling United States Championship October 25 - November 8, 1999
World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship November 21 - December 20, 1999 (Lost due to controversy with Goldberg)
World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship December 20, 1999 - January 16, 2000 (Won by defeating Goldberg in a rematch)
Tag Team Championships:
World Wrestling Council Caribbean Tag Team Championship, with Smith Hart in 1978
Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship with Keith Hart, November 12, 1978 - February 10, 1979
Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship with Keith Hart, January 26 - March 29, 1980
Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship with Keith Hart, April - June 3, 1980
Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship with Keith Hart, July - August 1980
Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship with Leo Burke, November 19 - December 8, 1982
World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship, with Jim Neidhart as “The Hart Foundation” January 26 - October 27, 1987
World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship, with Jim Neidhart as “The Hart Foundation” August 27, 1990 - March 24, 1991
World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship, with Goldberg December 6-13, 1999
Pictures by: Bret Hart: 4.bp.blogspot.com, Hart Family - 3.bp.blogspot.com, Stampede Wrestling logo -100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling, summerslam 92 bret hart vs davey boy smith - cdn.bleacherreport.net
You tube: Bret’s HOF speech - kanwaljeet4u
Info: Various wrestling websites