On the third episode of WWE Hall Of Famer Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart’s Confessions Of The Hitman series, the professional wrestling legend talked about surpassing his older brothers in terms of pro wrestling skills early on, failing his so-called WWE audition, and being put with his fellow WWE Hall Of Famer, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart as The Hart Foundation.
According to Hart, he was able to put on good matches pretty early on in his professional wrestling odyssey, and he quickly surpassed the skill level of his older brothers.
“I was technically and physically able to do really great wrestling right from the very beginning,” Hart divulged. “I think I was better than both of my brothers. Ultimately, for sure, later on, I got more of a stock of moves I could sort of go to that surpassed my brothers. I was really good at putting together the matches, the twists and turns at the end of the match, and putting drama into my wrestling matches. And that happened in Stampede Wrestling and I took that to [WWE]. In 1984, I started there.”
Apparently, the Hart had a rough “audition” for WWE back in 1984 when ‘The Hitman’ was fresh off of knee surgery. While WWE Chairman Vince McMahon had nothing to say to Hart following his poor outing, McMahon was described by Hart as being very interested in the late, great Dynamite Kid.
“Vince McMahon saw me one time after I had my knee surgery,” Hart recalled. “And I was told not to wrestle for six months, but six weeks later, I’m wrestling. I told them, ‘I just had knee surgery. I can’t do anything.’ They said, ‘Don’t worry about it – all you’ve got to do is stand on the apron and do a couple of moves.’ They put me in a tag team match with Dynamite Kid and I had been off for six months before my knee got operated on. And then, they told me not to worry too much. Just go out there and get my face on TV.
“We’re two new guys from Calgary [Alberta], Dynamite and me, and we had the match and I didn’t do very well at all. My timing was all off and I kind of messed up something in the ending of the match, but nobody really noticed, but I know when I came back to the dressing room, Vince McMahon couldn’t wait to shake Dynamite Kid’s hand, and praise, and slap him on the back, and tell him how great the match was, ‘Beautiful stuff’. And I remember when I walked by, he didn’t even look at me. I think I failed my audition!”
Hart, who released a statement in response to comments from Owen Hart’s widow, Martha, back in May 2020, noted that his tag team with Neidhart was supposed to be short-lived.
“Six months later, I was wrestling really [well], and I couldn’t get very many wrestlers to give me a match. They never heard of me. I was from Canada. I was a promoter’s kid, which is generally a mark against you. So I had to fight harder and work harder.” Hart continued, “I was going nowhere and I think somebody said, ‘Do you know what? Tag him up with Neidhart. Call them The Hart Foundation. They want to be called The Hart Foundation. We’ll put them with The [British] Bulldogs, and at least [Bret] won’t be a problem for a little while. That solves that problem for a while.’
“I don’t think they expected The Hart Foundation to be a formidable team that would last for a long time. We were probably a short term idea, but we just clicked so well. We were such a good team. We really were. We worked really well together and we highlighted each other, we complemented each other.”
Hart put over Neidhart for his athleticism and noted that ‘The Anvil’ was legitimately the last student trained in The Dungeon by Stu Hart.
“Jim was really quick. He was a big guy. He was about 270 lbs back then, but he was a super strong guy and a really strong sprinter. He could sprint. I think he almost made the Calgary Stampeders [Canadian Football League team] because he could run so fast. They talked about making Jim a fullback or a running back because he could run so fast. And he was third in the world – legitimately third in the world – shot putter. Jim was a really skilled athlete, a really good athlete, and his style? he is one of the only guys who can legitimately say that he came out of the Stu Hart Dungeon. My dad taught Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart how to wrestle and he did a pretty good job.” Hart added, “He was really the last guy my dad actually took the time to go down there with.”
Check out the show here. If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit Confessions Of The Hitman with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.