Their names are often associated with each other whenever you think of 1990s wrestling. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were the guys who took the WWE audience and reprogrammed them. When Vince McMahon took complete control of the WWE in the '80s, it became known as the land of the giants. From the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and The Ultimate Warrior, fans would never expect a guy who was 6’2’, 220 lbs. to be the face of the company.
In the early '90s, Vince McMahon was charged with distribution of steroids to wrestlers. Although McMahon admitted to using steroids and even admitted that the wrestlers used them as well, he was not convicted of distribution. To be safe, McMahon moved away from the bigger guys, and Bret Hart was now the face of the company.
With Hart as the new top guy, he opened the door for the smaller guys, mainly Shawn Michaels. The same way the NWA had Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat, the WWE now had Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Hart and Michaels, initially friends, worked themselves into a real life shoot. Hart was a traditionalist and wanted to keep the business as real as possible. In an attempt to make the entire locker room believe that they really hated each other, the jabs they took in a business manner would eventually get personal. The climax came at the 1997 Survivor Series in Montreal where Shawn Michaels beat Bret Hart for the WWE Championship in Hart’s last night with the WWE in the infamous Montreal Screwjob. 13 years later, Hart and Michaels buried the hatchet.
Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have a lot of history, but here are the top 15 interesting facts about the history of these two WWE Hall of Famers.
15 15. First Official Ladder Match in WWE
14 14. Three Matches at Survivor Series
When you think of Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series, of course the 1997 event in Montreal comes to mind. But they wrestled on two other occasions. In fact, Michaels was Hart’s first title defense on Pay-Per-View in 1992 after he defeated Ric Flair. The first match was thrown together. Originally Hart was supposed to face Jake the Snake Roberts, but WWE could not come to terms with Roberts. This match is often forgotten, but it would set the stage for years to come.
13 13. WrestleMania VIII, Singles Competition
12 12 Road to WrestleMania XII
11 11. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania
10 10. Sunny Days
9 9. Rockers Beat Hart Foundation for WWE Tag Titles ... or Did They?
8 8. Bret Declined Invitation to Join The Kliq
7 7. Injuries Cancelled Two Matches
6 6. Kayfabing the Boys
5 5. Blade Hart Dressed Like Shawn Michaels
4 4. Fight in Hartford
3 3. The Sharpshooter is Wrong
2 2. Squash the Beef
1 1. Shawn Seeking Bret’s Validation
Bret Hart paved the way for the smaller guys to be in the main event. However, when Shawn Michaels got his turn, he grabbed the brass ring and took it to a new level. Many may consider Shawn the greatest WWE Superstar of all time but while earning his nickname the Showstopper, he sought validation from Bret. He wanted Bret to just say that he was a great champion and leader of the locker room. Bret said that it was coming, but in the mean time, him being such a traditionalist he was constantly working the storylines on and off screen. If Bret would have validated Shawn right after WrestleMania XII, one can only imagine how many more matches fans would have been privy to between these two icons.
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