Bret “Hitman” Hart is one of the most compelling figures in wrestling. His career spans over five decades and he has won championships in each of them, for a total of 32 championships all together. He has been described as “The Best There Is, The Best There Was And The Best There Ever Will Be."
Hart grew up a second generation wrestler in Calgary, Canada. After performing with his family for years, Hart turned to the competitive world of Olympic wrestling. This was a decision that would further his drive and discipline in a sport that already demands these qualities in its participants. After winning several awards Hart turned his attention once again to professional wrestling and Hart’s career began to flourish. During the time he was a professional wrestler Hart made every effort to be not just be a great wrestler but also a hero to his many fans and followers. Hart travelled the world visiting sick and handicapped children and working with various organizations to make children’s, and their families, dreams come true.
In his retirement, Hart has never been one to mince words in interviews. He always has an opinion and is not afraid to share it. It has caused some to love him, some to hate him. It's important to note for this list that his family won't be included because, duh, of course they love him, and his Shawn Michaels feud is long over and it's been beaten to death. With that in mind, here are eight wrestlers who have loved Bret Hart and seven who have hated him.
17 Loves Him: The Undertaker
During his time as a professional wrestler, one of the many things Bret Hart was known for was his taste for going out and having a good time. Hart liked to party and one of the people he could be seen out with, in any number of cities, was The Undertaker. Both of these legendary characters were well known for tasting the pleasures of every city they blew through, making sure to drink the local flavor. In addition to their shared interest in experiencing the cities they travelled to, Hart and The Undertaker could perform together like few could. They worked well together and their characters, both bigger than life, just seemed to click and the fans adored them for it.
Moreover, The Undertaker was well known for being an upstanding individual and a good leader, endearing him to Hart, who always tried to be a hero to his fans. Over all the years they wrestled together, Hart and the The Undertaker remained great friends with a mutual respect for each other as talents and individuals.
16 Hates Him: Scott Hall
Bret Hart and The Kliq will never get along. The group run by Shawn Michaels will never be something that Hart will be willing to even acknowledge, much less agree with and that is the basis of Hart’s vehement dislike of Scott Hall. Hart and Hall wrestled together for many years in the WWE before he defected and went to the WCW. Hall’s loyalty to Michaels and The Kliq made it difficult for Hart and through the course of many years and many more interviews, Hart was quick to share his opinion of Hall, The Kliq, and of course Michaels.
This vociferousness angered Hall and before long Hall was shooting back, calling Hart a multitude of names and implying that he was only old and unhappy. Hart, understandably, did not take kindly to Hall’s criticism and the mutual hatred between the two men continued to grow unchecked.
14 Loves Him: Edge
Bret Hart and Adam “Edge” Copeland first met when Copeland was first getting into professional wrestling. Hart was training up and coming wrestlers while he recovered from knee surgery after sustaining an injury during a match. Copeland, along with his cohort Christian, were some of his wrestlers that came to be trained in the Hart Dungeon. It was during this time training Copeland that Hart’s fondness for his future fellow wrestler began to grow and the feeling was mutual. Copeland showed not only talent but a certain amount of heart that Hart found endearing.
By the time they were done with training Hart was convinced enough of Copeland’s talent and character to recommend him to the WWE. Copeland never forgot that fact and always appreciated the fact that Hart spoke for him. The mutual friendship continued to grow during the course of their working together and even after both had retired, Hart always spoke positively about Copeland, even being sure to do so at Copeland’s retirement event.
13 Hates Him: Kevin Nash
Both Bret Hart and Kevin Nash have big egos, of that there is no question. They wrestled together for many years in several organizations, including WCW and nWo. It can be said that throughout the time they worked together those big personalities clashed often, much to the delight of their enthralled fans. The two may have gotten along and actually been friends had Nash not been so close to Shawn Michaels. Nash was dedicated to Michaels and was a part of his group, The Kliq. Michaels and Hart never got a long and Nash’s loyalty to Michaels meant that he never quite got to the point where he could get along with Hart.
That being said, the outspoken Nash chose to speak his mind and share his opinion about Hart, which led to even more discord between the two and fanned the flames of hate in for Hart in Nash’s heart.
12 Loves Him: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is very proud of being a Canadian and will often have the backs of his fellow Canadian athletes. A perfect example of this loyalty and affection is the respect and love that Jericho has for fellow Canadian Bret Hart. Jericho, who has one more than one occasion spoken highly of Hart and his brother Owen, has often said that the only two people he wished he could have wrestled but wasn’t offered the chance were Bret and Owen.
The mutual respect the two have for each other extends beyond the ring, however. When Jericho wrote his autobiography he was pleased to find out that Hart not only read it but liked it. Hart, when asked if he ever read his fellow wrestlers books, answered that he had, in fact, only read two. Jericho’s book was one of them and Mick Foley’s was the other one. Jericho was more than honored and delighted that his hero had read, liked, and supported his book. The mutual affection and respect between Hart and Jericho is inspiring to wrestlers and fans around the world.
10 Hates Him: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins does not like Bret Hart, there is no two ways about it, and he has been more than clear when voicing his opinion. Rollins, who has had the misfortune of injuring several of his co-workers including John Cena, Finn Balor, and injuring the “The Icon” Sting so badly he had to retire, has garnered the ire of Hitman. Hart gave an interview to Sports Illustrated in which he openly criticized Rollins, calling him, “reckless and unprofessional” for the injury he inflicted on Cena. Rollins didn’t react well to Hart’s open criticism, expressing his disappointment and hurt at the comments. Rollins, who was a tremendous fan of the Hitman’s, mentioned that of all people Hart should understand that accidents happen. More than that, Rollins commented on the fact that Hart should know how hard Rollins has to work and should show some respect and compassion from one athlete to another.
9 Loves Him: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin is, even now, one of the most recognizable faces in wrestling. Fans around the globe know Stone Cold, and have his shirts, his figurines, and any numbers of items from the vast Stone Cold merchandise line adorning their homes. The fame and fortune Stone Cold has found in the world of wrestling, is due in large part to his hard working, dedication to his craft, but also to the introduction Bret Hart gave him when Hart picked Austin to for his return match of the Survivor Series in 1996.
Hart believed then, and still does now, that Austin is one of the most talented wrestlers the business has ever seen. Throughout the time they wrestled together, they were avid competitors in the ring with dramatic matches that enthralled fans and left them begging for more. They were also friends when they were not competing, friends with similar passions and big hearts. For all of the kind and positive things Hart has said of Austion, Austin has a similar regard for Hart and the mutual respect the two have for each other outside the ring only made their battles inside the ring all the better.
8 Hated Him: The Ultimate Warrior
Bret Hart has, well, a big heart, and one of the things he most wanted to promote was doing good for others-especially children. The wrestling legend was very dedicated to visiting and helping children and their families. He has always done his best to be a hero without all the pomp and circumstance and do the right things for families in need. This brings us to the reason Hart disliked the Ultimate Warrior so much. The Ultimate Warrior had a meeting set up to meet a Make-A-Wish kid in Nebraska.
Warrior kept putting the meeting off and didn’t end up ever meeting the sick child, even after the family waited all night long. Hart had a huge problem with that, as most would, and after that he was very vocal about his lack of respect for the Ultimate Warrior, a fact that eventually morphed into downright hatred. Hart continued to harp on the Ultimate Warrior and caused hostility between the two of them.
7 Loves Him: Mick Foley
Following through on your word is a big deal for anyone and Bret Hart is no different. His affection and respect for Mick Foley stem from the fact that Foley is a decent person that did what he said he would do. While it would be a challenge to find anyone to criticize Foley, as he was a fairly popular wrestler, it would also be hard to find someone who was as close to, and felt as strongly, for Foley as Hart did. After the Montreal Screwjob went down there were quite a few wrestlers who told Hart they would be willing to leave the company in support of him and to take a stand against the way he was treated. Foley, however, was the only was to do so.
Yes, Foley came back into the fold of the company after those around him talked him into it, but the more important point was that Foley did what he said. He gave his word and he followed through with it, endearing him forever to the hearts of fans everywhere, as well as to Hart himself. Hart told Foley he appreciated the gesture, but to do what was best for Foley and his family. Foley would return to the WWE a day later.
6 Hates Him: Eric Bischoff
Hart came to WCW hotter than any wrestler could be, as he was coming off the Montreal Screwjob. When he joined WCW in 1997 it seemed like his star was about to go into supernova. Unfortunately, it was WCW, best known for messing every good thing up and Eric Bischoff’s handling of Hart and his career proved that like nothing else could. Hart always believed that he could have had a much better run and been a much bigger star had Bischoff not mismanaged his career.
Bischoff countered saying that Hart was a bitter old man, however, as more wrestlers came forward with complaints about Bischoff and and his handling of things over at the WCW it quickly became clear that Hart was on target with his comments. For the mismanagement of his career and for his obvious lack of knowledge regarding anything that had to do with professional wrestling Eric Bischoff became one of Bret Hart’s most hated adversaries.
5 Loved Him: Curt Hennig
Bret Hart and Curt Hennig had one of the longest running, most endearing, positive friendships in professional wrestling. The duo had countless matches that entertained and engaged fans around the world. In the course of wrestling together for so many years, Hart and Hennig built a friendship on mutual respect and admiration. Hennig was a good wrestler and a good man and Hart always liked him for it. In addition, Hennig had a fun, comical personality that was the source of more than one prank directed at his fellow wrestlers. Hennig was known for practical jokes like putting baby powder in the hand dryers or whip cream on the phones (back when you actually had to answer the phone and it was plugged into the wall).
Hart had a fondness for this type of personality as his brother Owen was also a prankster and the good natured ribbing that came with this type of person always appealed to Hart. When Hennig died it undoubtedly caused great anguish to Hart, who not only respected, but dearly loved his fellow wrestler.
4 Hated Him: Triple H
Bret Hart’s infamous, longstanding feud with Shawn Michaels finally came to an end in 2010. After years of battling back and forth the two finally made a tentative peace in front of a massive crowd on Monday Night Raw. Hart also extended the olive branch to Vince McMahon and peace was also established between the two of them. Triple H, however, was another story. Hart refused to make peace with the possible future leader of the WWF, offering not even a shred of respect to the man who may be king. The genesis Hart’s issue with Triple H can be traced to the Montreal Screwjob. Triple H was one of the architects of the Screwjob and Hart never forgave him. On several occasions Hart, who has spoken of McMahon as a marketing/business genius, said that Triple H is in no way capable of taking over the reins from McMahon and is not fit to lace the boots of Hart himself or McMahon. While Hart was willing to make peace with Michaels and McMahon his clearly has no intention of making any semblance of friendship with The Game.
3 Loved Him: Roddy Piper
Bret Hart and Roddy Piper, despite having totally opposite personalities in the ring, were the best of friends outside of the ring. Technically Hitman and Rowdy Roddy Piper are related, being second cousins, but that only helps to make their bond all the more impressive and tight. In addition to their personalities meshing well, Piper was a big believer in Hart and his talent. Piper worked hard to help Hart succeed and did more to further his career in wrestling than anyone else. He guided Hart and helped shape his career, not only showing Hart the ropes but helping him to develop into the character that he was. Piper was also the only wrestler to come and visit Hart in the hospital when Hart has his stroke in 2002. It’s easy to see why Hart was so close to Piper and their bond so strong, and why Hart still hurts over the loss of his friend.
2 Hated: Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan, while being one of the most recognizable faces in wrestling, is also one of the most polarizing and difficult personalities. Hogan is also one of the people that Bret Hart hates the most. The beginning of Hart’s problem with Hogan can be traced to WrestleMania IX, when Hart lost the belt to Yokozuna. Shortly thereafter, Hogan beat Yokozuna and took the belt. Hogan had promised Hart that if he won the belt he would put Hart over, but he didn’t. He went back on his word and instead dropped the belt to Yokozuna.
Hart was furious and his hatred of Hogan exploded into a raging fire. Hart went on to declare that it was Hogan that ruined his career and ruined the TNA. His hatred of Hogan was so complete he even said that Hogan was glad Piper died because it took the spotlight off of him and his mistakes. With all that said about him, there's no way Hogan doesn't have some animosity for Hart.
1 Loves Him: Ric Flair
Bret Hart and Ric Flair are former rivals turned friends. Back in the day, Hart and Flair battled constantly in the ring, their big personalities clashing in fantastic fashion. Hart took every opportunity he was given to accuse Flair of being a lazy, slacker who was a sub-par athlete. He thought Flair never worked very hard and just courted the fans, not putting the effort into his performance that others did. Flair would fire back, saying that Hart was not a big star, that the reason he was so sharp and criticizing was that he was jealous that he was never as big with the fans as Flair was.
Their verbal warfare continued for many years and rose to an almost epic level. Then, something unusual happened. Both Hart and Flair had family members that began wrestling. Hart’s niece, Natalya, and Flair’s daughter, Charlotte, both began wrestling and it was through this that feud was ended, fences mended, and Hart and Flair became finally became friends.