Bret “Hitman” Hart is one of the very best of all time. His in-ring skill and understated charisma perfectly suited his “best there is, best there was, best there ever will be” catchphrase. However, with his sour, shouting-at-clouds post-career attitude, has Bret Hart, a man who prided himself in making us believe in the serious side of pro wrestling, made himself a punchline?
From ‘92 through most of 1997, Vince McMahon gave Bret Hart one of the best runs in WWF/E history. Whether he was working as a babyface against Yokozuna, Jerry Lawler, his brother, Owen, or as a heel against Shawn Michaels or Steve Austin, Hart was always positioned as “the man”; until it was time for him to no longer be “the man”. It was at this point when Bret Hart seemingly lost the whole damn plot and started believing his gimmick a bit too much.
So, does Bret Hart, after so many accomplishments, after a two decade career in which he won every last title you could possibly win, after being paid so much money (and at least as many compliments), still feel the need to belittle so many?
The unending shots on Eric Bischoff, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg, Seth Rollins, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Vince McMahon, blah blah blah blah blah…
It’s all really pathetic, honestly, and it’s long been enough already.
Let it go, Bret.
“The Excellence of Execution” is a wealth of wrestling knowledge, someone capable to putting together a match better than just about anyone in the history of the industry. Imagine having him working with the men and women in NXT? What an amazing resource he could be for all those up-and-coming wrestlers. Through them, his legacy could live on long after he’s gone.
Instead, he’s too busy rehashing slights from two decades ago. Say what you will about guys like HHH and Bischoff, but they’re not crippled by their pasts.
His latest bit of pettiness is yet another shot at Bischoff, saying, “Bischoff is an idiot; a total, complete idiot. Maybe the single stupidest idiot that ever got into wrestling”. No, unfortunately, that wasn’t a quote from an 8 year old, and with each of these diatribes, Bret further damages his own image.
There is no doubt Hart has suffered a great deal of loss throughout his life. He watched his parents struggle mightily to keep their Stampede Wrestling promotion afloat during some extremely trying financial times. He’s seen many of his closest friends go down dark and lonely paths of abuse and violence, some of whom lost their lives far too early. He lost his brother Owen to a freak accident that took him from the world far too soon. He suffered a stroke.
Yes, Bret has endured his share of bad times, but the way in which he’s chosen to cope has manifested itself into something altogether sad.
Perhaps it’s jealousy that eats at Bret; to see so many of the people he dislikes be so, well, happy? HBK has found contentment, Hunter is basically running the show in WWE, Bischoff has a very popular podcast (and a number of interests outside pro wrestling), Vince is still the most powerful man in the industry, and Hulk Hogan (for better or worse) will always be Hulk Hogan.
Pro wrestling went ahead and carried on just fine without Bret. Why without him? Because he made that choice. He took himself “out of the game”, forgetting he was little more than a spoke on the wheel. Perhaps he’s content in his negativity? If so, carry on wayward Hitman, but do so with the knowledge that a high percentage of the very fans you worked so hard to entertain now view you with rolled eyes and a shake of the head.
I’m quite sure that’s not how Bret saw things playing out.