To think, people thought that Bret Hart wasn't a good interview...
"The Excellence of Execution" Bret Hart will always be known for his peerless work inside of the ring and memorable matches with likes of Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Undertaker and countless others. Outside of the ring though Hart has been one of the most frequent participants on the "shoot" interview scene. For those who don't know, shoot interviews in wrestling are interviews the wrestlers give out of character. And Bret Hart is one of the most entertaining at it.
Why is that? Quite simply, he doesn't give any f***s. Hart doesn't care who he pisses off or who he pleases. Hart will give you his exact opinion on whatever question you ask him and everyone has to respect him for that. As a result of this, fans have gotten a lot of insight into which people Bret Hart thinks highly of in the wrestling business and the ones who he couldn't care less about. While he may seem bitter at times, I actually discovered in writing this list that it was easier to list guys who Bret praises than ones he hates. So shove that in your pipe and smoke it Bret Hart haters.
One rule of this list will be though that I'm not including family members as that would be too easy.
15 Loves: Ric Flair
If this list was written a few years back, Ric Flair would have been on the opposite side of this coin. For years Hart and Flair would constantly be in each other's crosshairs. Hart would call out Flair for being a sub-par worker stuck in an out of date wrestling mindset while Flair would say that Hart never drew a dime and wasn't a major star.
While I'm sure the two aren't best buddies who hang out all the time, it seems that the two have bonded recently with both Charlotte (Flair's daughter) and Natalya (Bret's niece) being in the WWE. It seems that their family members had a hand in getting them to bury the beef and now they're friends. It's no secret that both guys enjoyed to party back in the day (Flair still does surely) so they probably had more in common than they ever thought.
14 Hates: Vince Russo
Well this one is easy to see why. Save for a couple of exceptions, everyone in the wrestling business seems to think that Vince Russo is a moron who had no sense of wrestling intelligence. You can count Bret Hart on that list.
In an interview with WrestleTalk TV from 2013, Hart asked the host Joel Ross if Vince Russo was still with the company. When Ross told him that Russo was gone, Hart replied by saying it was a modest improvement. In another shoot interview Hart described Russo as "a magazine writer that thought he was a wrestling expert but never had a good idea in his life."
This is consistent with what several other wrestlers have said about Russo over the years and surprisingly enough, there hasn't been much else that Hart has said about Russo. Probably because he isn't worth Hart's time.
13 Loves: The Undertaker
It's always interesting to hear any new details about The Undertaker considering how guarded he is in the public eye and how secretive he is in his Deadman persona. Luckily something we do know about him is that Undertaker and Bret Hart were pretty good friends during Hart's time in the WWE.
It's no secret that both Taker and Hart liked to party while on the road and in Hart's book there's quite a few stories of the two enjoying life on the road. Not only that but Taker's reputation as a locker room leader and a stand-up guy is reinforced by Hart who has nothing but good things to say about Taker personally and professionally.
And just as a side note, I think if Hart and Taker were ever a tag team, the tag name of "Hart and Soul" would sell out arenas for years to come.
12 Hates: George Steele
George "The Animal" Steele is not a guy who you would want to get close to at all. Not only because he would eat turnbuckles and was hairier than a monkey but because he just seems like an a-hole going by Bret Hart's assessment.
In Kayfabe Commentaries' Timeline of the WWE: 1992, Hart gives his opinion on George Steele and it wasn't a glowing one. Hart described Steele as one of the inmates at a prison who got turned into a guard. Steele went from doing lines of cocaine in the dressing room to fining Hart, his brother Owen and Randy Savage for showing up two minutes late to the arena. Hart and company got their revenge on him though, as Savage and Owen took his Halliburton briefcase and tossed it in a river. Classic Owen.
11 Loves: Edge
One of the most talented superstars of his generation, Adam "Edge" Copeland is one of the most respected guys in wrestling (if you discount the whole Lita/Matt Hardy thing of course).
Edge's relationship with Bret Hart stretches all the way back to the mid 90s. Back when Adam Copeland was still trying to break into the major leagues of professional wrestling, he went to Bret Hart's house in Calgary where the Hitman was training wrestlers while recovering from knee surgery. Edge and his idiot in crime Christian managed to impress Hart enough that he put in a good word for them in WWE.
A year after Edge's retirement on "Edge Appreciation Night", Hart came out to the live crowd and gave a speech talking about how much he respected him and how great of a talent he was. Canadians stick together, and Hart always has Edge's back.
10 Hates: Scott Hall
Bret Hart takes great pride in the great connection he has with his fans. Bret always makes it a point to interact with fans and sign autographs as often as he can. This is where Bret Hart has a problem with Scott Hall.
In Hart's autobiography, he tells a story of a young fan coming up to Hall in Kuwait dressed in a homemade version of Hall's Razor Ramon attire asking for an autograph. Hall was making the kid wait for hours to sign his autograph it seemed and when the time came to finally leave, Hall told Hart that "I don't need to sign autographs anymore". Hart says it was then he lost the little respect he had left for Hall. Combine that with the general jerkish nature of the Kliq and it's easy to see why Hart has no love for "The Bad Guy".
9 Loves: Chris Jericho
Being a Canadian, Chris Jericho is obviously going to have a great deal of respect and admiration for the entire family, specifically for Bret and Owen Hart. And I'm sure it's especially pleasing for Jericho that Bret Hart has returned the respect for Jericho.
Bret Hart was one of the few wrestlers to give an endorsement for Jericho's first autobiography entitled A Lion's Tale. In an interview one time where Bret was asked if he read any wrestler's books, he said that he read Jericho's and Mick Foley's. The rest he used to keep his bathroom door open.
Jericho has said that the two people he wish he could have had a match with that he didn't were Bret and his brother Owen. Jericho has earned Bret's respect in and out of the ring, and that is a major thrill for Y2J.
8 Hates: Ultimate Warrior
While Ultimate Warrior's death may have caused WWE and a lot of wrestlers to white wash all the horrible things that Warrior did, but the fact remains that Ultimate Warrior was kind of an a**hole.
Hart's biggest issue with The Ultimate Warrior stems back to a similar incident to the Scott Hall one mentioned earlier. In Hart's autobiography, he told a story that took place in Omaha, Nebraska involving Warrior and a Make A Wish kid. The child and his family were promised to meet The Ultimate Warrior but Warrior kept delaying the meet-up as he kept telling the PR rep that he "busy". The family waited all night only for Warrior to never meet up with them. In Hart's eyes that cemented who Warrior really was: "To me he was a coward, a weakling and a phony hero."
7 Loves: Stone Cold
Stone Cold Steve Austin become the hottest star in WWE history in the late 90s and become the icon that WCW had squandered away due to their short-sightedness. While the majority of the credit will obviously go to Austin himself, Bret Hart also played a large part in getting Stone Cold to superstar status.
The whole storyline of Bret Hart selecting Stone Cold as his return match at Survivor Series 1996 seems like it was a shoot, as Hart really did feel like Austin was one of the best wrestlers in the world at that time. The respect for each other professionally showed in their matches and extended into friendship behind the scenes as their down to earth personalities meshed well together. Both men always speak highly of each other and it's always a feel good moment to see two heated on-screen rivals be such good friends in real life.
6 Hates: Eric Bischoff
When Bret Hart entered WCW in 1997, Eric Bischoff and company were handed a gift from the wrestling gods (and I ain't talking about JBL). This however was WCW, so of course they found a way to squander any potential they may have had.
Bret Hart attributes his lackluster WCW run squarely on the shoulders of Eric Bischoff and a few other political power players (we'll get to a certain hulkster a little later). Hart has stated several times that he thinks Bischoff is one of the dumbest men in wrestling and was completely subservient to a lot of the inmates who realistically ran the WCW asylum.
For mishandling his career and not knowing anything about professional wrestling, Bischoff has received tons of criticism from Bret Hart that likely will not disappear for quite a long time.
5 Loves: Mick Foley
This may seem like a little bit of a cop out because there isn't a single person in the wrestling business who will ever have a bad thing to say about the Hardcore Legend Mick Foley. But nonetheless, Foley has gone the extra mile for Hart in the past that nobody else in WWE did.
In the aftermath of the Montreal Screwjob, there were several wrestlers who told Hart that they were strongly considering leaving the company over the way the Hitman was treated. All of them stayed on though except for one guy who actually quit; Mick Foley. Sure, his walkout only lasted one day due to several people talking him out of it, but it's still one day longer than everyone else on the roster.
Actions speak louder than words, and Mick Foley's actions have earned Bret Hart's respect and friendship.
4 Hates: Triple H
In 2010 Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels finally made up after all the years of drama and feuding in front of the world on Monday Night Raw. Hart has also largely made up with Vince McMahon, but one guy that Hart still seems to have a huge problem with is Triple H.
The beef starts all the way back at the Montreal Screwjob where Triple H played a large part in engineering the entire screwjob deal. It only would get worse from there over the years as Hart would go on to criticize The Game's talent as a performer and a creative mind backstage. Hart has stated that Triple H is an average performer who couldn't lace his boots. While Hart praises McMahon as a genius, Hart doesn't have much faith in Triple H's ability to run the company once McMahon steps down/dies.
Personally and professionally Hart seems to not have much respect or love for The Game, and it's hard to see Hart backtracking on his opinion any time soon.
3 Loves: Curt Hennig
The various matches Bret Hart and "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig had over the years are often cited by Hart as being some of his favorites. Being a great wrestler though is not the only reason why Bret Hart and Curt Hennig ended up being great friends in the wrestling business.
Owen Hart is known as being the undisputed king of ribbing in the wrestling business but if ever there was contender to the crown it would definitely be Mr. Perfect. Pranks like putting shaving cream on a phone so when people picked it up, it would cream their face or putting baby powder in the blow-dryer so people would be coated in powder.
The ultimate show of respect between the two was SummerSlam 1991 when Hennig fought through a back injury and dropped the I.C title to Bret Hart because he respected Hart that much. Of all the deaths in wrestling, Hennig's likely hit Hart as one of the hardest of all.
2 Hates: Hulk Hogan
Now anybody who's read my past articles (and if you haven't what are you waiting for? A carrier pigeon invitation?) knows that I take great pleasure in mocking the Hulkster. It seems that my fellow Canadian Bret Hart also doesn't think highly of Hogan.
Back at WrestleMania IX Hogan infamously sauntered down to the ring after Hart lost his WWE Championship to Yokozuna and won the belt from Yoko in about 30 seconds. Hart says that Hogan told him once he won the belt that he would be happy to put him over one day. When the time came however, Hogan backed out of it and opted to drop the belt to Yokozuna instead with a screwjob finish.
That scar was what started Hart's hatred but it got worse. Hart has blamed Hogan's backstage politics for ruining his WCW run, called out Hogan for ruining TNA and perhaps most scathingly said that Hogan was probably glad Roddy Piper died because it took the edge off of Hogan's racist rant scandal.
They might be the faces of two generations of WWE, but Hulk Hogan and Bret are not going for a beer any time soon. Brother.
1 Loves: Roddy Piper
So this slightly breaks our rule about not including family on the list because Roddy Piper was technically related to the Hitman. However since not many people know that and since they're second cousins, we'll break this rule for the Hot Rod.
Hart and Piper seemingly couldn't be any different in their on-screen characters but behind the scenes you would be hard pressed to find someone who did more for Bret Hart than Piper. Upon his death, Hart wrote on his Facebook page that "He was my closest friend in the business, a man that schooled me and guided me throughout my career."
Hart went on to say that without Piper he would have merely been a footnote in wrestling. Perhaps most telling of all though is that Piper was the only wrestler to visit Hart in the hospital when he suffered a stroke in 2002. It goes to show how beloved Hot Rod was by all in the wrestling and especially to the Hitman.