legend of professional wrestling
Steamboat VS Bret "Hitman" Hart - WWE
Legends of Wrestling Game - IGN
Harts hosts WWE RAW, likely to feud with Vince McMahon,
Shawn Michaels and feature in WrestleMania 25 in March
Hart may return to WWE, according to numerous pro
wrestling newsletters and media reports, negotiations
have occurred - October 2009
Sergeant Hart (born July 2, 1957) is a retired Canadian
professional wrestler and part of the Hart wrestling
family. In the course of his career, he is best known
by his ring name Bret "Hitman" Hart. He
also used the monikers "The Excellence of Execution"
(originally dubbed as such by Gorilla Monsoon), "The
Hart Foundation" (primarily while teamed with
Jim Neidhart) and perhaps the most resounding, "The
best there is, the best there was, and the best there
ever will be" (derived from the 1984 film The
Natural, which starred Robert Redford). Hart justifies
this last moniker through three claims: He never injured
an opponent through any fault of his own; through
the entire course of his career he only missed two
shows (both as a result of traffic and flight difficulties);
and he rarely refused to job (lose a scripted match).
Hart was widely regarded as one of the most popular
and gifted technical professional wrestlers of his
was a seven-time world champion through his career
in World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling
Federation: a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion
and a five-time WWF Champion. Additionally in WWF,
he was the 1991 and 1993 King of the Ring, and the
1994 Royal Rumble co-winner. Hart was inducted into
the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Hart was born in Calgary, Alberta, the eighth child
of wrestling patriarch and promoter Stu Hart. His
seven brothers were either wrestlers or involved backstage
with the wrestling business; his four sisters all
married professional wrestlers. Three of his brothers-in-law,
the Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, and Jim Neidhart,
had very successful careers in the business. His youngest
brother, Owen Hart, became a decorated wrestler in
his own right before his death in 1999.
terms of in-ring ability, Hart is known for his fluid
technical skills and agility. Once labeled "the
greatest storyteller in the history of the business"
by Vince McMahon, he was adept at creating tense and
entertaining matches. Mean Gene Okerlund has also
placed him in the top five best technical wrestlers
of all time.
introduction to professional wrestling came at an
incredibly early age. As a child, he witnessed his
father training with future wrestling stars like Billy
Graham in the Dungeon, his household basement which
served as possibly the most notorious training room
in the world of wrestling. Before school, Hart's father,
also a wrestling promoter, would have him hand out
flyers to local wrestling shows. At Ernest Manning
High School, Hart would gain experience in the amateur
wrestling division. Despite being "skin and bones,"
as Hart refers to his teenage physique, he won significant
championships. This would later offer credibility
to his career in professional wrestling as being legit.
However, rather than directly following his father's
foot steps, Hart pursued a college degree.
Stampede Wrestling (1976-1984)
enrolled in Mount Royal College with aspirations of
becoming a director. At the age of 19, however, Hart
began working for his father's Stampede Wrestling
promotion in Calgary, with his father serving as his
manager for a time. Hart first began helping the promotion
by refereeing matches, but at one fateful event, a
wrestler was unable to perform his match. This forced
Stu to request his son stand in as a replacement,
paving the way for Hart's very first match in Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan. Before long, he became a regular contender,
eventually partnering with brother Keith to win the
Tag Team Championship four times. Earlier on, however,
he was still unsure he wanted to make a career of
professional wrestling and continually contemplated
would gain some of his most prominent experience with
Japanese combatants Mr. Hito and Mr. Sakurada, later
praising them as his most significant trainers. And
before long, Hart was amazing crowds with his high-impact
matches against the Dynamite Kid. In the midst of
wrestling alongside his brothers and even his aging
father, Hart made a point not to ride on the shoulders
of his elder as other sons of promoters have. Hart
faithfully jobbed as requested of him, taking pride
in the believability of his performances. As he said
himself, "no one could take a shit kicking like
he dreaded doing interviews and speaking in front
of a crowd, Hart went on to win the promotion's top
titles including two British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight
Championships, five International Tag Team Championships,
and six North American Heavyweight Championships.
Hart also wrestled the famous Tiger Mask in New Japan
Pro Wrestling and remained one of Stampede's most
successful performers until the promotion, along with
several wrestlers, was acquired by the World Wrestling
Federation in August 1984.
World Wrestling Federation (1984-1997)
Hart started out in the WWF with a cowboy gimmick
but soon requested that it be dropped. He made his
first televised WWF debut in August 1984, in a tag
team match where he teamed with his friend the Dynamite
1985, he was eventually partnered up with Jim Neidhart
to build the promotion's tag team division. The duo
were originally a heel team managed by "The Mouth
of the South" Jimmy Hart and actually wore blue
and black, as opposed to the more recognizable pink
and black color scheme which they adopted during 1986.
The team was known as The Hart Foundation due to the
similar last names of both team members and their
manager. Bret and Jim made their WrestleMania debut
at WrestleMania 2 where they participated in a 20-man
battle royal which was won by André the Giant.
Bret's agile, technical style created an intriguing
contrast with his partner Neidhart's strength and
rose to fame in the WWF in the mid 1980s, and the
Hart Foundation won the WWF Tag Team Championship
twice. Eventually, they turned face and adopted the
nickname "The Pink and Black Attack." Their
most notable feuds were with the British Bulldogs,
The Fabulous Rougeaus, Strike Force, The Rockers,
and Demolition. Their first reign started on the January
26, 1987 edition of Superstars when they defeated
the British Bulldogs to win the titles. They went
on to lose the titles to Strike Force on the October
27 edition of Superstars.
SummerSlam 1990, the Hart Foundation began their second
reign by defeating Demolition members Crush and Smash
in a two out of three falls match with some help from
the Legion of Doom.On October 30, the Hart Foundation
lost the titles to The Rockers (Marty Jannetty and
Shawn Michaels) in a very controversial match. A few
days later, President Jack Tunney returned the titles
to the Hart Foundation because the decision had been
reversed due to a rope coming off of the turnbuckle
during the match and the win was never acknowledged
on television. The Hart Foundation's reign lasted
from August 27, 1990 to March 24, 1991.
a loss to The Nasty Boys at WrestleMania VII,
the Foundation split and Hart went on to pursue a
singles career which would become very successful.
He won his first WWF Intercontinental Championship
by defeating Mr. Perfect with the Sharpshooter at
SummerSlam 1991. Hart was then placed in a
feud with the Mountie. This feud came about when the
Mountie's manager, Jimmy Hart, threw water on Hart.
Then the Mountie proceeded to shock Hart with a cattle
Hart lost the WWF Intercontinental Championship to
The Mountie, he was supposedly suffering from a fever;
however, this was a work to protect his character
when he lost the title. In reality, Hart was booked
to lose the title because his current contract was
expiring. Following the loss, Roddy Piper defeated
Mountie with a sleeper hold at the 1992 Royal Rumble,
and Bret would later pin "The Rowdy One"
for his second Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania
VIII later that same year.
July 1992, Hart defeated Shawn Michaels in what was
the first ever ladder match in the World Wrestling
Federation. While many remember Michaels as the main
innovator of the ladder match due to his later success
in those matches, it was actually Hart who won the
first match of this type.
dropping the Intercontinental Championship to his
brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, in a match at SummerSlam
1992 held before over 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium,
Hart was elevated to main-event status. He won
the WWF Championship from Ric Flair at Saskatchewan
Place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on October 12 of
that year at a television taping, in a match never
broadcast on WWF TV. The match was only available
on a Coliseum Video release. Many believe that not
airing this match hurt Hart's early status with the
fans, because up until this win, he was not seen as
a main event wrestler. Hart dislocated one of the
fingers on his right hand during the match and popped
it back in himself so it would not affect the rest
of the match. Hart became the sixteenth man to win
the WWF Championship, the first Canadian, and the
second WWE Triple Crown winner (the first being Pedro
went on to defend the title against contenders such
as Papa Shango, Shawn Michaels, and Razor
Ramon before losing the title to Yokozuna at WrestleMania
IX after interference from Mr. Fuji. Mr. Fuji then
challenged Hulk Hogan, who had come out to help Bret
Hart, to compete for the title; Hogan then won his
fifth WWF Championship from Yokozuna. Shortly
after, however, Hart won the first Pay-Per-View King
of the Ring tournament in 1993, defeating Razor Ramon,
Mr. Perfect, and Bam Bam Bigelow (prior King of
the Ring tournaments were just house show events).
After being crowned as the King of the Ring, Hart
was attacked by announcer Jerry "The King"
Lawler. Lawler claimed he was the rightful King and
began a barrage against Hart and his family. The feud
culminated in a match between the two at SummerSlam
1993, where Hart originally won the match by submission,
via the Sharpshooter. Hart, however, would not let
go of the hold and the decision was reversed to a
Lawler victory by disqualification.
noted by Hart himself, the original plan for SummerSlam
was to pit WWF Champion Hulk Hogan against Hart in
a colossal passing of the torch. Promotional photos
were even taken of the two playing tug of war with
the belt, but later on, anyone Hart mentioned the
plans to acted as though they did not recall it.
Instead, Hogan lost to Yokozuna before leaving the
WWF, with Hart reclaiming the title much later.
was at this point that Bret Hart entered into a feud
with his younger brother, Owen Hart. For the family-friendly
WWF of the early 1990s, a brother-versus-brother feud
was edgy and the fans responded well to it. The storyline
involved Owen becoming jealous of Bret. It began at
Survivor Series 1993, when the Harts (Bret, Owen,
Bruce, and Keith) took on Shawn Michaels (a last-minute
substitution for Lawler) and his knights. All of the
brothers survived the match except for Owen, the only
Hart family member eliminated. Owen blamed Bret
for his elimination and in the weeks ahead, blamed
Bret for holding him back. Owen demanded a one-on-one
match with Bret, which Bret refused to do. In the
storyline, Bret, along with his parents, worked over
the Christmas holidays to reunite the family and to
settle their rivalry.
Royal Rumble 1994, Bret and Owen took on The Quebecers
for the WWF Tag Team Championship. The referee Tim
White stopped the match after he considered Bret unable
to continue after he sustained a kayfabe knee injury
during the match. After the match, Owen berated his
brother for costing him a title opportunity and attacked
the injured knee, setting the feud between the two.
Later on, Hart managed to participate and win the
1994 Royal Rumble match but with controversy. Hart
and Lex Luger were the final two participants and
the two were eliminated over the top rope at the same
time. Therefore, both men were named co-winners of
the 1994 Royal Rumble match and received a title shot
at WrestleMania X.
Bret had to also focus in his feud with Owen Hart.
Owen demanded a match against Bret which Bret repeatedly
refused. This situation was complicated because
of Bret co-winning the Royal Rumble. Jack Tunney decided
that both Hart and Luger would get title shots at
WrestleMania X, but were faced with the possibility
of wrestling two matches at the event. Luger won
a coin toss televised on an edition of RAW and won
the chance to face Yokozuna first. If he had lost
the toss, he would have wrestled Crush before facing
Yokozuna. Under the rules set forth by Tunney, Bret
was required to wrestle Owen in the opening match
at WrestleMania. Owen won the match. Luger
would go on to face Bret if he had become the champion,
but he lost by disqualification, and Yokozuna
went on to fight Hart for the WWF Championship in
the main event. He defeated Yokozuna for his second
continued to feud with his brother Owen while he also
started feuding with Diesel. Bret's friend and former
tag team partner Jim Neidhart returned to WWF and
reunited with Bret. At King of the Ring 1994, Bret
defended the WWF Championship against Diesel. When
Bret was winning the match, Shawn Michaels interfered
on Diesel's behalf. Diesel appeared close to victory
after he delivered a Jackknife Powerbomb yet before
he could pin Bret, Neidhart interfered. Diesel won
by disqualification but Hart retained his title. Neidhart
turned on Hart after leaving when Diesel and Michaels
attacked Hart following the match. At SummerSlam
1994, Bret defended the WWF Championship against Owen
in a steel cage match. Bret successfully retained
eventually lost his WWF Championship at Survivor Series
1994 in a submission match against Bob Backlund where
the manager of either competitor (Davey Boy Smith
for Bret, Owen Hart for Backlund) would have to 'throw
in the towel' for the wrestler they were representing.
When Bret was in Backlund's Crossface Chickenwing
and Davey Boy was (kayfabe) knocked out, Owen persuaded
his mother Helen to throw in the towel for Bret, therefore
giving Backlund the championship victory. Bret's
feud with Backlund would continue at WrestleMania
XI where he would defeat Backlund in another submission
match when special guest referee 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper
would misconstrue Backlund's grunting while Bret locked
him in his own Crossface Chickenwing as a submission
victory for Hart.
would then go after Diesel's WWF Championship in 1995.
After their match at the Royal Rumble was continually
marred by outside interference, Bret won his third
WWF Championship at Survivor Series in a No DQ match
against Diesel. After Hart's real-life rival
Shawn Michaels won the 1996 Royal Rumble, a 60
minute Iron Man match was set up between the two at
WrestleMania XII. The wrestler with the most decisions
during the 60 minutes would win the match and the
WWF Championship. With less than a minute left on
the clock and the score still 0-0, Michaels jumped
from the middle rope; his legs were caught by Hart,
and Hart locked in his Sharpshooter. However, Michaels
did not submit in the last 30 seconds so the match
ended in a tie. President Gorilla Monsoon ruled that
the match would continue in sudden death overtime.
Michaels hit two superkicks to achieve his boyhood
dream and win the gold.
would take a break from wrestling during 1996. Over
the summer, Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was fresh
from winning the 1996 King of the Ring, would
continually taunt Bret and challenge him to comeback
and have a match. After an eight month absence, Bret
would face Austin at Survivor Series 1996. Hart would
reverse Austin's Million Dollar Dream submission into
a roll-up for a victory. This would be the first
great match between the two in a feud between the
old-school 'baby face' (Hart) and the new school anti-hero
feud continued at the Royal Rumble, when Hart tossed
Austin out of the ring, only for Austin (unbeknownst
to the referees) to climb back into the ring, and
go on to win the Rumble. In order to deal with
this controversy, a Fatal Four-Way between Austin
and the participants he eliminated after re-entering
the ring was set up for the February In Your House
PPV, with the winner becoming the number one contender.
After current champion Shawn Michaels relinquished
the belt, though, the match officially became for
the WWF Championship.
defeated Austin, Vader, and the Undertaker in the
Fatal Four-Way to become a 4-time WWE champion at
In Your House: Final Four. However, Austin
made sure Hart's reign was short-lived, costing him
a match against Sycho Sid the next night on Raw.
The two would have a steel cage match shortly before
WrestleMania 13 (Hart's twelfth consecutive and final
WrestleMania), which saw Austin actually attempt to
help Hart win, in order to make their match at WrestleMania
13 a title match. Concurrently, The Undertaker, who
had a scheduled match with Sid at WrestleMania, attempted
to help Sid win. Sid ultimately retained, leading
to a pure grudge match for Hart and Austin.
WrestleMania 13, Hart and Austin had their rematch,
in what some consider the greatest match in WrestleMania
history (alongside Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
at WrestleMania III). This match, which was a Submission
Match, featured incredible brawling and mat wrestling
from two extremely skilled technical wrestlers. In
the end, Hart locked the Sharpshooter on a bloody
Austin, who refused to give up. In fact, Austin never
quit, but passed out from the blood loss/pain. Ken
Shamrock, the special guest referee, awarded Hart
the match, after which he continued to assault Austin.
This turned Austin face, and Hart became a heel. This
was Hart's favorite match with Austin and as of 2007,
is Hart's last WrestleMania appearance. According
to Austin himself, this match helped Austin become
a main event star and a legend in his own right. The
original plan for WrestleMania 13 was a Hart vs. Michaels
championship rematch in which Michaels was slated
to drop the belt to Hart, a return for Bret having
lost to Michaels the year prior. However, Michaels
injured his knee two weeks after the 1997 Royal Rumble.
The injury resulted in Shawn dropping the title with
the infamous "Lost My Smile" speech. Rumors
immediately began flying that Shawn did not want to
drop the belt to Bret. Hart actually came out during
the main event at WrestleMania 13 and challenged Michaels
to step in the ring and stated (in a shoot promo)
that Michaels had a "pussy foot injury".
McMahon, commentating at ringside alongside Michaels,
immediately got up from his seat and tried to keep
their on-camera differences, Hart and Austin always
got along, and continue to have respect for one another,
a fact illustrated when Austin inducted Hart into
the WWE Hall of Fame the evening prior to WrestleMania
the ensuing weeks, Hart denounced American fans, because
of their negative reaction to him in the recent weeks
in contrast to his continued popularity through the
rest of the world, and reunited with brother Owen
and brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith. The trio formed
the new Hart Foundation with Brian Pillman and Jim
Neidhart, an anti-American stable which was popular
within Canada and Europe. Hart captured his fifth
WWF Championship at SummerSlam 1997 after spitting
in guest referee Shawn Michaels' face; Michaels swung
a steel chair in retaliation, which accidentally struck
the Undertaker and allowed Hart to get the pin.
this time, Hart's on-air rivalry with "announcer"
Vince McMahon also escalated. A heated ringside altercation
between the two led many fans to dislike McMahon,
who at the time was being exposed as owner of the
WWF more and more frequently on-air.
Hart had signed a 20 year contract, Vince McMahon
had asked him to talk to WCW about possibly taking
a second look at their original offer to him, as the
WWF was in a rough financial position at the time
and could not afford the contract. Hart's final match
with the WWF would come in Montreal at Survivor Series
1997. Hart did not want to end his career with a loss
to Shawn Michaels in his home country; Vince agreed
to Bret's idea of forfeiting the championship the
next night on RAW or losing it a few weeks later.
Although Hart stated to Vince McMahon he would not
take the WWF Championship with him to WCW TV, McMahon
was still concerned; this led to him breaking his
word in what eventually came to be known as the Montreal
Screwjob, one of the most controversial moments in
recent wrestling history. Even though he did not submit
to the Sharpshooter, referee Earl Hebner called for
the bell as if he had, on orders of Vince McMahon.
This resulted in Hart "losing" the WWF Championship
to Shawn Michaels. The night ended with Hart spitting
in Vince's face, destroying television equipment,
and punching Vince in the eye backstage.
also stated on a recent shoot interview that after
the Montreal incident, Vince Russo called Bret Hart
about Bret trying to get Owen out of his contract
with WWF and come join Bret in WCW. Bret listened
to Russo and explained that he was still going to
try to get Owen out of his contract to come to WCW
with him; a few minutes afterwards, Vince McMahon
called Bret and told him he would sue him if he tried
to get Owen out and continued to talk to Owen about
his contract. Hart believed McMahon was on the phone
the whole time with Russo/Bret and Bret says Vince
Russo denies that claim to this day, and that it was
just a coincidence that McMahon called a couple minutes
World Championship Wrestling (1997-2000)
day after the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Eric Bischoff,
while in the nWo announced that Hart was going to
be coming to WCW, and joining the nWo.
a month after Survivor Series, Hart joined World Championship
Wrestling (WCW), the WWF's main competitor. He made
his debut on WCW Monday Nitro on December 15, 1997
when it was announced by WCW Chairman of the Board
J.J. Dillon that Bret would be the special guest referee
for the match between Eric Bischoff and Larry Zbyszko
at Starrcade 1997. Bret was involved in the Sting
versus Hulk Hogan match at Starrcade 1997, stepping
in toward its conclusion as impromptu referee. He
attacked referee Nick Patrick, accusing him of making
a fast count and shouting he would not let "it
happen again" (a reference to the Montreal Screwjob).
Eric Bischoff's period in control of the company,
the goodwill towards Hart generated by the Montreal
Screwjob resulted in him being pushed as a face, defeating
Ric Flair in his first WCW match at Souled Out 1998.
However, this was short-lived, and in early 1998,
Hart turned heel in a Nitro main event involving Randy
Savage and Hogan, and Bret unofficially joined the
nWo. At Uncensored, Hart defeated Curt Hennig in a
match. Bret defeated Randy Savage in singles action
at Slamboree and then in a tag team match with
Hogan at The Great American Bash in which Savage was
partnered with Roddy Piper. As part of the faction,
Hart was no longer pushed as a main event superstar,
instead becoming a mid-carder. At Bash at the Beach,
Hart faced Booker T in a match for Booker's WCW World
Television Championship in which Hart got disqualified
after hitting Booker with a steel chair.
the July 20 edition of Nitro, Hart defeated Diamond
Dallas Page for the vacant WCW United States Heavyweight
Championship. A few days later, Hart lost
the United States Heavyweight Championship to fellow
WWF alumni Lex Luger. Hart regained the title
from Luger, the next night on Thunder. At
Fall Brawl, Hart and several other wrestlers lost
to Diamond Dallas Page in a WarGames match. On
the October 26 edition of Nitro, Hart lost the United
States Heavyweight Championship to Diamond Dallas
Page. The two had a rematch at World War 3 for
the title which Hart lost. Hart regained the title
from Page on the November 30 edition of Nitro in a
No Disqualification match with help from nWo member
the February 8 edition of Nitro, Hart lost the United
States Heavyweight Championship to family friend Roddy
Piper. He remained in the upper mid-card bracket
until an incident on Nitro in March 1999 when Bret
lamented about "what WCW had not done" to
him. Hart, in street clothes, then called out superstar
Bill Goldberg and verbally coerced Goldberg into tackling
him. Hart was wearing a metal breastplate under his
Toronto Maple Leafs 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 Bret was
about ready to return to WCW, his brother Owen Hart
died in an accident during a WWF PPV. Bret was scheduled
to wrestle Kevin Nash on The Tonight Show on May 24,
1999, and was on the plane to Los Angeles when Owen
was killed. Bret was told the news of his brother's
death by Eric Bischoff after he got off the plane
and immediately flew home to Calgary to be with his
family. His Tonight Show appearance was immediately
Hart returned to wrestling on the October 4, 1999
edition of Nitro 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.
Around this same time, the WWF's top writer Vince
Russo "jumped ship" to join WCW. Russo instigated
an angle which involved a controversy over a series
of World Heavyweight Championship matches between
Sting, Hogan, and Goldberg at Halloween Havoc, ultimately
leading to the title being declared vacant. A tournament
then took place over several episodes of Nitro. The
first round took place on the October 25 edition in
which Bret Hart defeated Goldberg to advance to the
second round and to also win Goldberg's WCW United
States Heavyweight Championship.
the November 8 edition of Nitro, Hart lost the United
States Heavyweight Championship to Scott Hall in a
ladder match which also involved Sid Vicious and Goldberg.
Hart went on to win this tournament by defeating Perry
Saturn, Billy Kidman, Sting, and Chris Benoit
to win the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
His tournament matches with Sting and Benoit occurred
at Mayhem held in Hart's native Canada.
later participated in an nWo reformation with Jeff
Jarrett, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and
Creative Control. On December 7, Hart and Goldberg
won the WCW World Tag Team Championship from Creative
Control but lost the titles to The Outsiders on the
December 13 edition of Nitro. 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.
The sum total of those 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.
vacated the title on the December 20 edition of Nitro
as a result of the injury he sustained, but later
that same night, Hart defeated Goldberg in a rematch
for his second WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Hart never lost either WCW Heavyweight Championship
he held, but forfeited them instead. The second vacated
title came about in January 2000 when he was forced
to withdraw from the main event of WCW's Souled Out.
He wrestled his last matches in both the WWF and WCW
as the World Heavyweight Champion of each respective
October 2000, Hart was released from his contract
with WCW due to Hart's "ongoing incapacity".
He would officially declare his retirement shortly
Life after professional wrestling
June 23, 2002, Hart suffered a major 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. Hart wrote in detail about his stroke in
his biography, Hitman: My Real Life In The Cartoon
World of Wrestling. . 
The Bret Hart Story
relationship with Vince McMahon improved throughout
the early-2000s (Hart stated in an interview that
after he had the stroke, the first person to call
him in the hospital was McMahon), with Hart being
featured in WWE video games, including the WWE Day
of Reckoning 2 and Smackdown titles. In addition,
Hart stated on his website that he would have liked
to wrestle Kurt Angle, and had watched Chris Benoit's
World Heavyweight Championship title win at WrestleMania
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 Screwjob.
After he was approached about appearing in the DVD,
Hart visited WWE Headquarters on August 3, 2005 and
met with Vince McMahon.
said that a turning point for him in agreeing to do
the DVD was a bothersome encounter with a small child
in a dentist's office. The child had a Bret Hart action
figure, but he had no knowledge of Hart's actual work
and was only familiar with WWE video games in which
Hart was featured as a "WWE Legend." 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 held in White Plains, New York and his first
match with Ricky Steamboat. The collection was released
on November 15, 2005.
appeared on the November 16, 2005, WWE Byte This!
webcast, marking his first live WWE appearance since
November 9, 1997.
WWE Hall of Fame
the February 16, 2006, episode of RAW, it was announced
that Hart would be a 2006 inductee into the WWE Hall
of Fame. Hart had also been approached by Vince
McMahon for a potential match between the two at WrestleMania
22, but "politely declined" the offer.
Coincidentally, Hart's last WrestleMania appearance
was also in Chicago (WrestleMania 13).
April 1, 2006, Bret 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. He also mentioned his favourite match with
the late Davey Boy Smith at Summerslam 92 at Wembley
and thanked all of his fans in England. Vince McMahon
and his son Shane did not attend the ceremony.
did not appear the next day at WrestleMania 22 with
the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame Inductees at the Allstate
Arena in Chicago, Illinois saying that he did not
feel "comfortable with the situation".
Bret Hart accepts his induction into the George Tragos/Lou
Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
Bret Hart accepts his induction into the George Tragos/Lou
Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
July 15, 2006, Bret Hart was inducted into the George
Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame,
at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum
in Newton, Iowa. The induction took place in an immensely
crowded and humid display room showcasing one of Hart's
ring entrance jackets. The honor is only awarded to
those with both a professional and amateur wrestling
background, making Hart one of the youngest inductees.
During his acceptance, Hart compared this induction
to his place in the WWE Hall of Fame, saying "This
is a much bigger honor for me."
June 16, 2006, Bret Hart made the Bret Hart VIP Access
in the Hotel San Juan in Puerto Rico where he signed
autographs, took pictures with the fans, and spoke
with the people about his wrestling career, his 2002
stroke, and more.
May 9, 2007, it was announced that Bret Hart would
make his first appearance for a professional wrestling
event since he appeared at the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame.
Bret made an appearance and signed autographs at "The
Legends of Wrestling" show at the Tropicana Field
in St. Petersburg, Florida. On June 11, 2007,
Bret made his first appearance on RAW since October
27, 1997 when he appeared in a pretaped interview
voicing his opinions on Vince McMahon as part of "Mr.
McMahon Appreciation Night."
June 24, 2007, Bret Hart made his first appearance
in Montreal, Quebec at Unison Bar & Billiard since
the infamous Montreal Screwjob, where he signed autographs
and spent the night with over 1000 fans. An emotional
Bret Hart was clearly overwhelmed with the crowds
reaction as he also mentioned that he would turn 50
in a few days; the crowd then sang "Happy Birthday"
October 16, 2007, Hart's autobiography titled Hitman:
My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, was
released in Canada by Random House Canada. It will
also be released in the United States and Europe in
2008. The book is an honest no holds barred look into
the world of wrestling. Hart holds nothing back as
he describes in detail the chronic abuse of drugs
and alcohol he witnessed during his years on the road,
as well as his own infidelities, and personal struggles.
began writing the book in July 1999 with his long-time
friend and business associate, Marcy Engelstein. They
didn't complete the book until eight years later,
in September, 2007, due to Hart suffering a major
stroke in 2002, among numerous other tragedies that
occurred during the writing. On October 17, 2007,
there was an invitation-only launch party at McNally
Robinson in Calgary, attended by family and friends.
An emotional Hart acknowledged the completion of the
book as one of the biggest milestones of his life
and lamented that his parents were not alive to share
the moment. He thanked Anne Collins of Random House
for editing and Marcy Engelstein for her work on the
entire project, saying only he and she truly know
the sacrifices that were made to complete the book.
November 3, 2007 Hart's book reached number one on
the Globe & Mail bestseller list. Hart did book
signings across Canada from October through December,
has four children, Jade Michelle Hart (b. March 31,
1983), Dallas Jeffery Hart (b. August 11, 1984), Alexandra
Sabina "Beans" Hart (b. May 17, 1988), and
Blade Colton Hart (b. June 5, 1990) with his ex-wife
Julie Smadu-Hart (b. March 25, 1960). The four
hearts located on the right thigh of his tights symbolize
his four children, as do the four dots following his
signature. On September 15, 2004, he married an Italian
woman named Cinzia, whom, according to his
book, he divorced before he finished writing his book
because she did not want to live with him in Calgary.
"Canada vs. America" storyline
Hart began the controversial "Canada versus America"
angle, he was criticized in public, accused of being
a racist and often told by angry American fans to
"go back where you came from". Hart responded
in an interview with the Calgary Sun, stating that
"[there is] a difference between a show and reality".
In actuality, Hart holds dual citizenship with Canada
and the United States, as his mother is originally
from Long Island, New York in the United States. 
Racial and homophobic remarks
was involved in a similar racial controversy during
an angle in which it appeared that the Hart Foundation
had vandalized the locker room of the African American
stable, the Nation of Domination (in the storyline,
DX framed the Hart Foundation). During a promo with
DX, Hart had called both Triple H and Shawn Michaels
"homos". After leaving the WWF, Hart apologized
for the angles and said that he had been pressured
into going through with them. He said, "I am
not in any shape or form a racist. And I don't believe
it is anything to kid around about. I also want to
apologize for any remarks I made about gay people.
It was a stupid mistake on my part."
In popular culture
* From 1995 to 1996 Hart appeared in the Lonesome
Dove television series as Luther Root. He has made
numerous televised appearances since, including a
guest spot on The Simpsons in 1997 (as himself, in
"The Old Man and the Lisa") and a stint
playing The Genie in a theatrical production of Aladdin
in 2004, a role which he reprised in the Canadian
Touring production of Aladdin in late 2006. Hart also
played a part in a skit on MADtv as himself where
he beat up his friend's family. It was heavily rumored
at the time that Hart was interested in pursuing acting
on a full-time basis and was willing to leave wrestling
to do so. Hart also appeared in episodes of the Honey
I Shrunk The Kids TV series (along with his brother),
The Adventures of Sinbad, and Big Sound.
* When Hart joined WCW, his entrance music was written
and performed by Craig Northey of Odds.
* When Bret Hart joined WCW, he became a special referee
for a match, accusing a ref of not being fair. This
was a direct comment to the Montreal Screwjob.
* Hart wrote a weekly column for the Calgary Sun from
June 1991 until October 2004.
* Hart co-wrote an illustrated autobiography with
Perry Lefko in 2000. The book, entitled "Hitman",
was somewhat concise, and focused primarily on Hart's
World Championship Wrestling tenure.
* In 2004, Hart was chosen as one of the Greatest
Canadians, coming in at number thirty-nine. He was
also the advocate for Don Cherry during the televised
portion of the competition. Hart was ranked number
#39 in Time Magazine's "Greatest Canadians of
All Time" article.
* The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League
took their name from Hart, who was a founder and part-owner.
* Hart was sampled by the Canadian rap group Rascalz
in their song "Game Time/Sharpshooter,"
appearing in their music video.
* Bret can also be seen applying the Sharpshooter
to Chris Benoit in the opening credits of the television
show Malcolm in the Middle.
* He is a spokesperson for March of Dimes Canadian
Stroke Recovery program.
* Hart has recently been on many talk shows (Larry
King Live, Nancy Grace, Hannity & Colmes, On the
Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, etc.) discussing the
Chris Benoit tragedy.
* While in WCW, Hart was 3-0 against Bill Goldberg.
* Hart's last matches in both the WWF and WCW have
coincidentally happened to be World Championship matches.
* In the course of his career, Hart amazingly competed
for twenty years without injuring any of his opponents.
He mentioned on many occasions that he had always
looked after his opponents in the ring. (Credit:
Hart official website
Hall Of Fame Bret Hart