He’s the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be…especially in his own mind. Bret Hart hails from a legendary wrestling family up in Canada. You can’t even discuss Canadian wrestling without mentioning the Hart legacy and Bret’s father Stu’s training “dungeon”. Bret established himself as a top talent in the WWE during the 1980s as a part of the tag team, “The Hart Foundation”.
He would later rise to the top of the roster during a new era of the WWE in the 1990s, on a post-steroid scandal roster. He is highly regarded by many in the industry and fans alike as one of the most talented individuals to ever step into the squared circle. Outside of the ring, however, is an entirely different story.
Bret has immense talent, but with that can often come a fragile ego. Bret Hart ends up clashing with many Superstars, as he is outspoken, confident and always sure of his opinions. That’s not to say he’s necessarily wrong, just perhaps less than gentle with his approach of other talent. He’s the “Excellence of Execution” and he’s made plenty of enemies over the years. Here we are highlighting 15 of the wrestlers that absolutely hate Bret Hart.
15. Seth Rollins
The architect of The Shield is one of the hottest talents in the WWE today, but he has had some unfortunate luck in the ring. Rollins accidentally broke Cena’s nose in one match, injured Finn Balor in another and actually retired “The Icon” Sting due to injury in another. Hart spoke out against Rollins, in Sports Illustrated of all places, claiming he was reckless and unprofessional for what he did to Cena.
Rollins, a fan of Hart, was very offended and hurt by his remarks and remains rather soured to the WWE Legend. Rollins spoke to Fox Sports on the subject, saying “For him to … I mean he’s got to know how hard I’m working every night. For him to say that in an interview I was like ‘man, that sucks.”
14. Vince Russo
Oh, Vince Russo, how we loathe you so. Apparently, so does Bret Hart and the feeling is mutual. Russo was a controversial writer in the WWE and when he was brought into the WCW, it is regarded as many as the downfall of the company. During his WWE tenure, Russo was one of the lead writers and when Bret Hart opted to leave for the WCW for more money, he was leaving the company in the lurch.
He was the champ and he wanted to drop the belt his way and he kept rejecting every idea that Vince McMahon threw at him. He wanted to keep the belt past the point of his contract, which left open the possibility that he would take the belt over to the WCW. Vince Russo, tired and frustrated with Hart, finally said “Screw it! Let Shawn put Bret in the Sharpshooter and have the referee call for the bell.” It was from this that the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” was born.
13. Hulk Hogan
Hogan was the star of the WWE when Hart first started with the company. He was the main event and the big money draw. In Hogan’s day, the champ made the most money, but once Hart moved into that spot he was less concerned with money and more concerned with how his character came off, so he didn’t demand as much money in lieu of some say.
This caused the money for everyone to go down, something that Hogan resented. Hogan was a businessman and he only cared about winning, because that was where the payday was. Hart only cared about winning, not the payday involved.
12. Shawn Michaels
It’s been called the rivalry that shaped pro-wrestling. If there was ever an on-screen rivalry that reflected real-life then it was Bret vs Shawn. They were two sides of a coin. Bret Hart fancied himself the clean and tidy hero at all times, while Michaels blatantly indulged in a sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll lifestyle. Shawn treated everything like a joke, while Bret had a tendency to take himself too seriously.
They both have the distinction of a large portion of the wrestling fanbase considering them the best talent of their time and together they made magic in the ring, but their real-life hatred for each other trumped any storylines. Their issues hit an apex when Bret was leaving for WCW and there was conflict about how to hand over the championship. Michaels participated in the infamous “Montreal Screwjob”, leaving Hart devastated and disillusioned about the industry that he loved.
11. Ric Flair
The Nature Boy has had conflict with a lot of talent over the years, but few has he been as vocal about as Bret Hart. Ric Flair came-up in a pre-WWE world, where he had to travel the wrestling territories and the world. He wrestled a diverse amount of people and did it the hard way.
Bret Hart came into the privilege of the WWE and the instant audience it provided. Flair didn’t feel that Hart was a big talent and ever had to worry about drawing money on his own, like Flair did. He once said, “I feel sorry for Bret Hart. He is a legend in his own mind. He lives in his own little world.” Flair and Hart have a tepid relationship to this day.
10. Triple H
Trips is “the man” in WWE. He’s married to Stephanie and runs NXT like a well-oiled talent factory, but there was a time when he was simply an in-ring talent and during that time he had run-ins with Hart. Never one to let go of a grudge, Hart said in interviews as recently as 2016 that Triple H”…could never lace my f–king boots up. Period.”
Hart has been critical of Triple H often over the years and the two have clearly never been on friendly terms. The fact that Trips was real-life best friends with another entrant on our list, Shawn Michaels, only complicated their interactions. Loyalty to Michaels dictated HHH never taking Hart’s side and that has carried over into the modern era. The story goes that HHH is reluctant to bring Hart in for any work, due to their less than stellar relationship.
9. Vince McMahon
Vinnie Mac has made enemies with pretty much everyone over the years at one time or another. He has an infamous temper, which can get the best of him. When Bret Hart was a main event guy for the WWE back in the 1990s, he was often difficult to work with, but the two managed. It was those infamous words that have lived in infamy on video, “Bret screwed Bret”, that would always remind fans of their disdain for each other.
Referring, of course, to the “Montreal Screwjob”, Vince was reflecting on how Bret knew better and of all people should have understood why the belt needed to be given back before his contract was up with the company. It was just bad business. The two have mended fences since then.
8. Eric Bischoff
The setting was the late 1990s and Eric Bischoff was on top of the world running WCW. He was so thrilled to be snatching-up Bret Hart from the WWE, but what he got wasn’t the Bret Hart everyone knew and loved. No, he got the post-Montreal Screwjob version of Bret. Bischoff has reflected that he was “a very sad, broken and bitter person.”
Bischoff paid big money for Hart and was hoping for a top talent, but instead what he got was a man that was no longer invested in the business, which would be just another nail in the coffin for WCW. McMahon, simply trying to conserve face in his own promotion, had unintentionally helped to ruin the acquisition. Bret continues to insult Bischoff in interviews to this day, calling him an idiot that knows nothing about wrestling.
7. The Honky Tonk Man
The Honky Tonk Man was a long-running Intercontinental Champ in his day and was a lot of fun as a kid. These days, he remains relevant by creating a lot of controversy by doing “shoot” interviews. That said, he has a legit hatred for Bret. “Very one dimensional, no interview skills”. Honky Tonk got angry over comments that Hart made about him in an interview, claiming that Honky Tonk never hit him hard enough to make their matches believable.
Honky Tonk responded with confusion, uncertain why Bret would want to work long programs with anyone that did work stiff in the ring. You can say what you want about someone backstage, but insulting their in-ring ability is always a sore spot, especially with the old school guys.
6. King Kong Bundy
King Kong Bundy was one of the big men of the 1980s WWE era. He was a bald and imposing giant. These days, he enjoys shooting on other wrestlers, as many from his era seem to be doing online. Bundy spoke to wrestling hack Vince Russo on his podcast, expressing his distaste for Bret Hart as a major player in the WWE.
Bundy said, “The advent on the downfall of this business was champions like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Horrible world champions. Did not look like grown men in my opinion. I read Bret’s book. Wow. You cannot pick up a page without being amazed at how this man’s ego was out of control.” The two were apparently friends back in the 1980s, but that all had changed by the time Bundy came back to the company in 1994 and Bret’s ego had grown.
5. Kevin Nash
“Big Sexy” Kevin Nash is an outspoken man. If he doesn’t like you, then he’ll let you know. When the glory days of WCW and the nWo run were in full-swing the two ended up working together again. Nash was a fan of his in the ring, but he is a lifelong friend of Shawn Michaels and a member of the infamous gang, the Kliq. His problems with Bret are mostly due to loyalty as a friend of Shawn’s keeps him firmly on the other side of a fence.
They enjoyed ribbing Bret about Shawn being a more talented wrestler than him, which would get under Bret’s skin since he takes himself too seriously. He’s joked in interviews that Bret has difficulty socializing, because he had a dungeon in his basement (referring of course to the legendary Hart training dungeon).
4. George “The Animal” Steele
George Steele had a great WWE career in the 1980s. He played-up the brutish simpleton with a green tongue that would bite and gnash at the ring turnbuckles. The real guy, however, is quite articulate and he has a lot to say about Bret Hart and the “Montreal Screw job”. He regards Hart as “lucky” in his career, rather than talented.
“To me that’s one of the biggest jokes in wrestling of all time. Let’s be honest, who did Bret Hart beat to win the belt? They give him the belt and then he can’t drop the belt in his own country? Give me a frickin’ break. By Vince doing the double cross, Vince became the hottest thing in the business when all he did was take his belt back. He outdid everyone who walked away like Hulk and Bret.”
John “Bradshaw” Layfield isn’t a very nice man, there’s no disputing that. He seems to enjoy torturing other wrestlers backstage, causing major heat and even recently has been accused of bullying fellow SmackDown Live! announcer Mauro Ranallo. He’s an outspoken guy that rarely minces words. Recently, JBL took to the huge audience of the WWE Network to call out Hart, putting him on blast during an episode of “Bring It To The Table”.
He went on record saying, “I’d like to tell Bret Hart, please don’t get hot. What are you mad at, Bret? Bret, you’re one of the greatest Superstars of all time. You’re a multimillionaire…What in the world is Bret Hart mad at?”…I’m not sure what has made Bret, appearingly, so bitter.”
2. Scott Hall
Hall worked with Bret Hart in the old WWE days , before he defected for WCW in the mid 1990s. The two never had much for direct heat, but Hart has been critical of Hall in interviews over the years. Hall is, of course, a member of The Kliq, so his loyalty also lies with Shawn Michaels.
He recently mocked Hart in a “shoot” interview for how bitter he is and that he hasn’t moved-on from the whole “Montreal Screwjob” incident and went as far as to call him “an unhappy old f*****”. It’s safe to say that Bret and The Kliq will never see eye to eye.
1. Michael Hayes
Bret Hart put his foot in his mouth when insulting the Fabulous Freebirds (a few of whom are no longer with us) and subsequently WWE big wig Michael Hayes. Bret called them “pillheads” and “screw-ups” and complained that they shouldn’t be in the WWE Hall of Fame, since they never drew any money for the WWE.
Hayes took to Twitter to respond to express his anger at Hart talking badly about his deceased friends and explaining that they did draw huge money for Mid-South and a lot of other territories. Hayes also expressed his disappointed in Hart, “It is really sad when a legend was so blessed with a great career, resorts to crapping on others.” Hart later apologized to Hayes on social media.