Smith Hart Talks His Career, Family, Montreal, WWF Buying Stampede & Much More
Smith Hart, the eldest brother of the infamous Hart clan, recently spoke with Raj Giri (@RajGiri_303) of WrestlingINC.com about his time in the business, his family, the Montreal screwjob, WWF buying Stampede and much more. Here is the full interview, in its entirety.
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WrestlingINC.com: You started wrestling back in the 70's in Stampede, was that where you got your start?
Hart: Yeah, exactly. I started wrestling professionally maybe in 1971 or 1972. I thought I was actually a bona-fide wrestler and in 1973 when I went to Japan, I realized how much I didn't know and how a lot of what I learned in the pro ring could be improved upon in Japan. It was great training, absolutely great training. I didn't realize I had 6 months of intensive training there. I knew my parents wanted me home for Christmas, but I was so improved by then that I was looking so much better than a lot of guys who were working on the top of the card. But I wasn't as big or well built or as seasoned as those guys. I worked out in the gym, but I wasn't a body builder or a weight lifter. I had a damn good physique and good genetics, but I was really a lazy bastard, I didn't really like to work out. I had more brains for promotion and angles and spotting talent and making the most out of situations and wrestlers than I did for getting in there.
WrestlingINC.com: How long did you keep wrestling for?
Hart: I wrestled professionally for 18 years. Sometimes I would have a little lay off or I would be in a moody spell and didn't want to wrestle in Calgary, but I'd pick it up again. I traveled a lot around the world in the process.
WrestlingINC.com: What was your relationship like with your brothers?
Hart: Keith was my dad's pet, Bruce was my mother's pet, I was nobody's pet. I was raised by my grandparents and never really bonded with my mother or my dad, I kind of feared my dadů you can call it respect or fear that I didn't lock horns with him too much. I was raised by my grandparents because my parents had a bad car accident and couldn't get back to New York -- they were in Montana and had to stay there to fight this lawsuit for two years -- and I was with my grandparents. At first it was only for a short time, but then they [parents] couldn't pick me up and it just got longer and longer. My mother's father was an Olympic track star that broke the world record in 1912 and he had 5 daughters and no sons, so I was like the son they never had and always wanted. I had a great time there, but when I got to Calgary, Bruce and Keith were born there and I had never seen them before and I was like a stranger. I was the odd man out.
WrestlingINC.com: When WWF bought Stampede wrestling in 1984, what were your thoughts on that sale and did you think it was a good idea at the time?
Hart: At the time I thought it was a great idea, but when you say sale, the deal never happened. Vince [McMahon] Sr. made the deal with my parents in Japan and then he died not long after and Vince [McMahon] Jr. didn't honor the deal, so there was no deal. Vince Jr. shrugged his big, broad padded shoulders and said, "Well, you can start promoting again."