On the premiere episode of Confessions Of The Hitman, WWE Hall Of Famer Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart talked about his brother, the late great Owen Hart. Specifically, Bret recalled fantasizing about wrestling Owen when they were kids. The brothers got the opportunity to make the fantasy a reality when they began feuding in WWE in 1993. During the interview, Bret discussed the conditions he had on taking part in the feud. Also, Bret talked about how far they took kayfabe in those days and what advice Bret shared with Owen about his professional wrestling odyssey.
According to Bret, he fantasy booked a schoolyard wrestling league that saw Owen depicted as the evil Hart brother. Years later when Bret and Owen feuded in WWE, ‘The Rocket’ pointed out it that the storyline was just like when Bret was drawing him as a heel when they were kids.
“When I was a kid, I used to draw these [pro] wrestling magazines in these notepads, and I would have the cover, and I would write all these stories, and I had my kids from school as characters,” Bret recalled. “I had this fantasy wrestling league with all these wrestlers and stuff. I made one brother as the bad brother. Like, the one Hart that had the dark side. That was Owen and it was funny how many years later when we were wrestling each other or we were getting ready to wrestle each other, he said, ‘remember those magazines you used to draw? I’m just like the guy in the magazines.’ And it was so true. I was actually the world champion in my wrestling thing and I had feuds with Owen in my wrestling magazine. It was just a funny little coincidence, but everything with Owen, there was a lot of real situations with Owen.”
With respect to the entertaining WWE feud between Bret and Owen, ‘The Hitman’ was initially apprehensive about the angle. With that said, Bret wanted to help his younger brother show the WWE Universe what he could do.
“I remember I didn’t want to do it. They came to me with the idea and I was like, they ran it by me and I said, ‘first of all, I can only do it with Owen, if I do this. And, I want to think about it overnight because I don’t know if I want to fight my own brother.’ I remember talking to my mom and saying, ‘this is what they’re thinking.’ I think she started crying on the phone being so disappointing, [saying] ‘I hope not’ and everything. I remember telling my mom, ‘but Owen needs a break!’ I needed to do this for Owen, so he could show everybody that he’s better than they give him credit for.” Bret added, “they didn’t understand how good of a talent Owen was.”
Bret, who recently said he would have figured out a way to stay with WWE rather than signing with WCW, divulged that he told Owen to think about whether he would want to have the feud, as Bret had rare leverage with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon at that time. Moreover, Bret stressed that he told WWE officials that the company needed to push Owen or he was going to quit pro wrestling to become a firefighter.
“I remember I told Owen the night before, I said, ‘think about it overnight. We’ll come back tomorrow before I have my meeting with Vince,'” Bret recalled. “And I was in a good position with Vince. I had a little bit of leverage at that time, which you never have leverage for any kind of negotiation with [WWE]. But I had leverage at that time because they needed me and they had to re-sign me. And I had talked to them and I had said, ‘you need to give Owen a push. I’m not asking you. I’m telling you because he’s too good of a wrestler and he’s going to quit and become a fireman because you guys aren’t using him very [well]!'”
Apparently, Owen was eager to do the storyline with Bret to get the exposure and the world champion’s pay scale.
“The next day, I found Owen and I said, ‘what do you think?’ And he goes, ‘I want to do it!’ I said, ‘really?’ because I had made up my mind not to do it. He goes, ‘why can’t I work with you? I’d make’ – because I was the highest paid wrestler with the company at that time and whenever you wrestled me, you got paid the highest – he goes, ‘why can’t I get my break? I can work with you and we’ll have great matches.'” Bret said, “we talked about it and I said, ‘okay.’ I said, ‘we’re in. We’ll do it.'”
As for conditions Bret had for the feud, ‘The Hitman’ told Owen they would have to do it on Bret’s terms, not Vince’s. Also, Bret said he and Owen would have to stop traveling together.
“I said, ‘I don’t mind doing it, but these are the conditions. I’m the boss, not Vince. If I decide we’re not doing it, we’re not doing it. It’s not about what they tell us to do. I’m in control of what I’m doing. You have to be with me. You can’t ever be used as a weapon against me. You have to always side with me with everything as we go down this road. I’m in charge and I’ll protect both of us. You just need to stick with me no matter what. I’ll take care of everything. The other thing,’ I said, ‘we don’t ride together. We don’t travel together. We don’t room together. From now on, once this thing happens, we are at war and there’s nothing worse than after a match, us flying home together.” Bret continued, “it makes it all seem like a big show.'”
During the Hart Brothers’ feud, Bret and Owen would not even talk to each other at family dinners.
“I would go up to Sunday dinners at my mom and dad’s house and I would go there and mingle with everybody and talk,” Bret remembered. “And Owen would bring his kids up and our kids would all play together, but Owen and me would walk passed each other and not say a word to each other. And people were always looking for it.”
Apparently, airport workers in the Harts’ hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada detained them just to see if the brothers would talk to each other.
“They delayed us at the airport, so they were going to check all our luggage and that stuff,” Bret said. “Owen and me were the only two guys detained. They had us in the line and they were taking their sweet time getting our bags checked. We would always go right through all the time. Owen was piping up in the back about how this is bulls–t and somebody was doing this to make life hard for us. He was really complaining about it and I said something like, ‘yeah, it is bulls–t.’ And they had us on their little TV. They had us on camera and they all spill out of this little room. They were laughing and they go, ‘we knew you guys talk!'”
In Bret’s estimation, WWE never really gave Owen his fair due. Bret shared that he even encouraged Owen to take his talents to Japan.
“[WWE] never gave him a real break,” Bret acknowledged. “They kind of pushed him over to the side. And then, Owen, in [pro] wrestling, if they beat you enough times, it’s kind of hard after a while to make your stock rise unless something magical happens. Once they tear you down so many times, once they pin you some many times, you can’t be revived. Your career is done. You’re better off quitting, going away for a while?
“I remember talking to Owen about it. I said, ‘quit, go home, go somewhere else. Go to Japan for a couple of years. Then, come back and you’ll get your break.’ They needed good wrestlers, but they obviously missed the boat with Owen. I think for a long time.”
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