Bret Hart has revealed that he almost faced Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam 1992 instead of the British Bulldog.
The rivalry between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart is one of the most infamous in wrestling history. What started out as a friendship between the two became a feud and then real-life hatred which culminated in the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1997.
However, back in 1992, the two rising WWE Superstars were on good terms and looked set to be on a collision course to clash over the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam. However, when the location of the event was confirmed as being Wembley Stadium in England, Bret Hart had only one opponent in mind, his brother-in-law, the British Bulldog.
During an interview with Kenny McIntosh of Inside The Ropes at the 30 Years Later show at Starrcast V, Bret Hart recalled how he first heard about a potential showdown with Shawn Michaels and also how he first heard SummerSlam could be held in London.
“I was lucky. When I won the title from Roddy Piper, the way they told me they said, it was only pencilled in kind of thing, all of this stuff is thought out for months, we are thinking that maybe we will have you drop the belt eventually, meaning anytime, to Shawn. They asked me if I was ok with that, and I said I was totally fine with that because Shawn was a great wrestler. I was a big fan of Shawn and we were close friends at that time.
“So I wanted to work with Shawn and that was roughly keyed in, I knew I was going to hold the belt for a little longer like I figured 6 months was my guess. So I figured 6 months from now I was going to drop to belt to Shawn as planned. But then Jim Duggan and Curt Hennig used to do the play-by-play, the announcing, and they get clued into everything ahead of time [before] the wrestlers do.
“So I remember Curt and Duggan coming up to me, not at the same time but on the same day to tell me, they are looking over their shoulders and saying ‘Psst. SummerSlam, they are thinking about having it at Wembley Stadium in England.’ Then I was thinking me and Shawn at Wembley Stadium would have been a good match, it would have been a great match, but the match to have in England would have been Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog, as he had just come back.”
Hart explained that he suggested a match with the British Bulldog to Vince McMahon and discussed his idea with Shawn Michaels who might have been expecting a big title match at the event.
“So I kind of stepped out on a limb to go to Vince prematurely and go ‘Vince, rumour has it that you are going to England and you are going to have a show at Wembley. I don’t know if that is true or not, but if it is true, and maybe you were thinking of having me work with Shawn, and have me drop the belt to Shawn, I think that’s a lousy idea. I think you should let me drop the belt to the British Bulldog in England and have the British Bulldog drop the belt to Shawn in a shorter run for Davey.’”
“I didn’t want to interrupt Shawn’s chance of getting the belt, wrestlers wait all of their lives to get that moment. For me to substitute Davey in Shawn’s place was not a fair thing to do, so I did go to Shawn and tell him that. I said ‘Shawn, I want you to know that I went to Vince. I don’t know if they actually have plans for me to wrestle you at Wembley, but if they do, I am suggesting this instead.’ Basically, Shawn trusted me enough to know that I was looking after him and the business at the same time.”
In the end, Bret Hart and the British Bulldog headlined Wembley Stadium, a spot The Hitman thinks was the only place for the match to be.
“So Wembley, Vince comes up to me and tells me that it is me and Davey at Wembley. I remember that I told him that this might be the greatest match of all time. I said ‘You’re not going to be disappointed.’ I remember when I saw him a few weeks before SummerSlam, he told me that he was taking a chance, but he was going to put me on last. I remember saying ‘No one will follow us, you have to put us on last. There will be nothing left after my match.’ He said ‘I hope so.’”
At the show, Bulldog defeated Bret Hart before losing the Intercontinental Championship to Shawn Michaels as planned just three months later on Saturday Night’s Main Event.
H/T to Inside The Ropes for the above transcription.