On Steve Austin's Broken Skull Sessions, Bret "The Hitman" Hart sat down with Austin, to discuss their well-remembered rivalry, and how Hart asked Vince McMahon to have Austin come over from ECW to WWF.
"You know, this is a true story that people don't know. I was going to Vince all the time trying to bring new guys in," Hart proclaimed. "I remember talking about you. You, I think, had just signed with ECW. And I said 'Why didn't you guys grab Steve Austin? He was free, he was available. You're looking for new guys all the time, he's one of the best guys down there.' I talked to Vince about it, and I remember the next week, you were sitting in the dressing room."
Shortly after The Montreal Screwjob incident in November of '97, Hart officially joined WCW a month later. Hart mentioned how several wrestlers on the WWF roster, including Austin, told him not to go over and work for WCW. Even though he had no choice but to do it, he says, it was a big mistake.
"You know who told me that [not to go over to WCW], you," Hart stated. "I remember you were talking to me and said 'They don't know what they hell they're doing down there.' Guys that had been there [in WCW], including Kevin Nash and different guys who had been there before, said 'Don't ever go there. They are the dumbest idiots in the world.' I kind of knew that before I went. But I mean, they really proved that to me - that they were the stupidest people that could ever run a wrestling business.
"There was so much talent that I could have worked with - Booker T., Hulk Hogan. I should've worked with Hogan right away. I should have had Hulk Hogan in a sharpshooter and done some big numbers with him. I went into WCW. I had so much heat, they just didn't know what the hell to do with me. Eric Bischoff didn't know s--t."
Going back to their year-long feud in the WWF, Hart recalls the reason he enjoyed his and Austin's bout, was because he found Austin's style to be different and amusing. He complements Austin's ability to be a performer both in and out of the ring.
"I had a lot of respect for your work when you came in," Hart informed Austin. "In my mind, I already knew that eventually, I would like to work with you. I was hoping they were going to use you right...But I knew, I could do great stuff with you."
Everyone who watches wrestling knows that when big pay-per-view events like WrestleMania occur, it's best to take the stories they hear with a grain of salt, especially since many ideas they have for matches change throughout the year leading up towards these monumental events. Hart recalls who his original opponent was supposed to be at WrestleMania 13 before it changed to Austin.
"I was told in August when I met with Jim Ross that it was me and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 13," Hart announced. "When Shawn came up with the - you know, he was going to retire because of his knee, I still don't know what that was, whether it was like a legit injury, I assume it was. It just seemed so made up at the time, I will say that. I didn't buy it. I remember Vince saying it was too obvious with you and Shawn, so we're going to go for Sycho Sid and Undertaker for the belt [WWF World Heavyweight Championship], which is the money spot.
"So, they told me it's going to be you [Austin] and me. I was like it's too soon. We just wrestled at Survivor Series. I wasn't eager either about working with you, not that I - I loved working with you and I wanted to work with you, but I thought it was too premature."
You can view Hart's full interview on the WWE Network. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Steve Austin's Broken Skull Sessions with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.