Bret Hart has recalled some great advice that he was given by his former WWE boss Vince McMahon when Bret when first became the top guy in the company.
The month of November is a time for wrestling fans to reflect on WWE Survivor Series events because the historical event has been a part of our lives for 35 years. The most famous moment at Survivor Series happened in 1997. That was the year when Bret “The Hitman” Hart lost the WWE Title to Shawn Michaels in a match that has been referred to as the “Montreal Screwjob” because Vince McMahon called for the bell at a time when Bret didn’t know it was coming.
It was around five years before the Montreal Screwjob when Bret won the first of his five WWE Titles.
After a successful career that saw him win the Tag Team Titles and Intercontinental Title, Bret became the unquestioned top guy when he beat Ric Flair for the WWE Title on October 12, 1992. The first title reign would last 174 days, which is nearly six months.
The Hitman recently took part in a lengthy article/interview with The Ringer talking about Survivor Series 1997 and also spoke about what McMahon told him when Bret first became WWE Champion.
“When I became champion, Vince gave me a lecture on it one time, saying, ‘You’re the champion. You call the shots. No one tells you how to wrestle. You’re the guy that tells everyone else how to wrestle.’ And I made that my new rule. For a long time up until that, I always had to incorporate some other wrestler’s ideas into my match to make him happy. Now I could tell people, ‘No, we’re not going to do that idea. We’re going to cancel that because it doesn’t make any sense, but we’re going to do this instead.’ And nobody would argue with me anymore. I became a very detailed guy and I think just the passion and the workrate that I brought to wrestling is finally being appreciated today.”
Hart also spoke about how he believes his matches hold up better than other wrestlers from his era.
“When you go back and you watch these old matches over and over again like people do today, I think my matches hold up better than any wrestlers that I can think of. I was a perfectionist in the ring and I was an innovator. I was not a thief. There’s a lot of thieves out there that steal ideas from other wrestlers.”
“If you watch my matches back, I think you see a psychology and a logic that’s always there. The matches just seem real. You don’t have to see me wiggle to move into the right place, or if I get knocked over the top rope, I’m always in the right spot at the right time. The timing and the ability to be a great wrestler has often been misunderstood or underappreciated. We don’t get credit for being great athletes and we don’t get credit for being great actors when in fact we’re probably a combination of them both in full motion.”
Bret Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice. The first time happened in 2006 as a singles wrestler and again in 2019 as a member of The Hart Foundation with his late tag team partner Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.