theScore's Arda Ocal recently spoke with WWE Hall of Famer Bret "The Hitman" Hart. In the third and final part of the interview, Bret discussed Lex Luger, his opportunity to carry "the ball" for WWE and his role as the champion of the company in the 1990's. Here are some highlights:
Ratings after dropping the title to Michaels at Wrestlemania XII: "At the time, ratings plummeted after I dropped the belt to Shawn at Wrestlemania XII. They started losing the ratings to WCW. Shawn did not fill the void like I did and they kinda ended up where its like 'We're gonna go back to Bret Hart.'
"The guy that pulled them all out of that was Steve Austin and that was the guy I had a lot to do with helping shape where he was going in his career. I think I had a lot to do with, through the '90s and I think I had a lot to do with the direction the whole company went, and the stars that did make it for WWE, like Austin and even Shawn I had a lot to do with helping get where they were."
Carrying the company through the 90's: "[Vince] needed someone immediately, like someone right now to carry the whole thing and not drop it. And that's what I love about my era. Its like 'Here, give it to Bret Hart.' And they gave me all that. And you know I say, guys like Flair and some of these guys say Bret Hart didn't draw money, and that's not true at all. I did draw money. I drew big houses. And I had the tough job of having to carry things, I had to be the big star after Hulk Hogan, who was a failed hero at the moment."
On changing the 'rules' as champ: "The big one was I was never a big fan of the big star on the door of the dressing room. Warrior had it, Macho Man had it too with Liz, but Liz had to change and it was a different thing with Macho, but I always felt Macho earned it. Hogan had the fruit basket, the flowers and the special room with star on the door too. I always felt Hogan earned it too. I never thought he didn't deserve any of that, he did. I know just when it came to me, you know the limo rides, and the limo service and all that, I didn't want any of that ... I want to change in the dressing room with the other wrestlers. I don't need the star on the door, I don't want it. Save the 'it's all a big show' for somebody else, I don't want it. I was the first champion to refuse that ...
"You see guys like Warrior and Hogan that didn't have the time of day for anybody but themselves. I changed that. I wanted to be not just the peoples champion, but I felt like I was the dressing room champion."
You can check out all three parts of the interview below: