Bret Hart recently sat down with Sky Sports to talk about his career in the WWE, how he had to be talked into turning heel at the inception of the Attitude Era, being worried about alienating his fans, his appeal to the fans and more. Highlights below, but check out the source link for the full interview with the best there is, there best there was, the best there ever will be, the Excellence of Execution, Bret “the Hitman” Hart.
On why he connected differently than other wrestlers at that time…
“I think I had a really hard-working and authentic wrestling style, so people liked the way I was – that I was a ‘no-quit’ kind of wrestler, and I was very realistic and credible in my style…I’m not saying it is, but it might also be that sometimes Americans can come off as so much better than everyone else. Being a Canadian may have set me apart from some of the American heroes that were coming through at the time, like Macho Man or Ultimate Warrior. I always had a much softer approach to my interviews and promos. I was not so much that wrestler that was yelling at the screen, I was always the one that was talking to my fans. I think I was different and maybe the first wrestler to come along in a long time that it wasn’t about how big I was or how big my arms were. I didn’t have 24-inch pythons or face paint and things like that. I just had my wrestling skills, and it was just about my wrestling skills and the stories I could tell in my matches”
On having to be talked into a heel turn by Vince McMahon…
“I think it’s hard to differentiate between your wrestling character and your real character – you kind of end up being both. I’ve always been my wrestling character in and out of the ring and in and out of the dressing room, and I was always really respected in the dressing room by the other wrestlers
I very much worried about losing my fan base when they wanted to turn me heel. I remember that (WWE owner) Vince McMahon laughed and joked on the phone when he called me to tell me, and I said ‘I don’t want to turn heel, I don’t want to be a bad guy’.
I really took pride in being a worldwide hero, much the same as John Cena today. But much the same as John Cena today, the wrestling audience was wanting something different. They wanted somebody new. So it was like, ‘do I change styles to stay alive’?
Vince said ‘give me five minutes and I’ll talk you into it’, and I said ‘no thank you, I’m not interested’, but he talked me into it pretty fast because my option as a good guy was that I was going to wrestle Vader for the next year. That was going to be brutal, and I was thinking ‘anything but Vader”
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