"I don’t like to speak badly of people. I have grown up being told that if you cannot say something nice about someone, you should not say anything at all. But I must break that rule in this case because I hate Hulk Hogan very much. He is a big ugly goon and I want to smash his face." - Andre The Giant

Wrestler Profile #49: Bret Hart

Name: Bret “Hitman” Hart

Also Known As: Buddy Hart

Debut: 1978

Famous For Working In: WWF, WCW, Stampede, NJPW

Collection Matches: 2 (Entry #13 vs Steve Austin, Entry #86 with Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, The British Bulldog, & Brian Pillman vs Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, & The Legion of Doom)

Accolades: 5-Time WWF Champion, 2-Time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, 6-Time Stampede North American Heavyweight Champion, 2-Time WWF Intercontinental Champion, 5-Time WCW/WWE United States Champion, 3-Time Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion, 2-Time WWF Tag Team Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion, WWF Royal Rumble Winner, 2-Time WWF King of the Ring, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, WON Hall of Fame, WWE Hall of Fame, Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame, 2 Dave Meltzer Five-Star Matches

When you call yourself the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, you’d better be able to back it up. Fortunately for Bret Hart, he never had a hard time doing that. A member of Canada’s famous Hart family, Bret got his start in his father’s Stampede promotion. It was during that time that he picked up some international experience, wrestling in New Japan against the likes of Tiger Mask, Riki Choshu, and Yoshiaki Fujiwara, among others. When Stampede was purchased by the WWF in 1984, Bret began wrestling there, becoming the Hitman and teaming up with brother-in-law Jim Neidhart as the Hart Foundation.

As his career continued, Bret eventually became a singles competitor again, winning both the Intercontinental and WWF Championships multiple times and making his Sharpshooter submission hold notorious. Fans loved him, especially those in his home country, who would remain on his side no matter what happened. As his career progressed, he had a famous rivalry with Steve Austin, and, unfortunately, a blood feud with Shawn Michaels. When WCW came knocking, their hatred boiled over with the Montreal Screwjob, an incident in which Michaels, Vince McMahon, and referee Earl Hebner collaborated to steal the WWF Championship from Bret before he left. The spurned Hitman spat in McMahon’s face and left for the opposition.

Though he achieved success in WCW, things were never the same for Bret, especially after the tragic death of his brother Owen. In late 1999, he received head injuries during a match with Goldberg that would ultimately end his career, and the Hitman officially retired ten months later. A few years later, Bret buried the hatchet with WWE and has remained on relatively good terms with the promotion since then, although his condition has eliminated any chance of a true in-ring return. One of the most respected and beloved wrestlers of the 1990s, the Excellence of Execution will always have a place in the hearts of wrestling fans worldwide.