Bret Hart Responds To Jake Roberts Saying He Was One Of "The Worst World Champions"

On episode 26 of Confessions Of The Hitman, two-time WWE Hall Of Famer Bret 'Hitman' Hart took aim at AEW's Jake 'The Snake' Roberts. Specifically, Hart weighed in on Roberts' claim that Hart and fellow WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels were the worst world champions of all time. Also, Hart discussed Roberts owing 'The Excellence Of Execution' thousands of dollars, and deciding against knocking out Roberts on account of the debt. Additionally, Hart shared his thoughts on what could have been in respect to the world title match between Hart and Michaels at WWE Survivor Series (1997).

According to Hart, he and Michaels may not have always liked each other, but they put on great matches together. Apparently, there was another 25 minutes of a match planned for the Survivor Series (1997) main event. Hart is of the belief that the match could have been one of the greatest professional wrestling matches of all time had the match gone as planned.

"We may not have liked each other that much, but we sure had some great matches together, and we really worked hard to perform together. Like, even the match – The Montreal Screwjob match – before the whole screwjob happened, is a five-star match. We tore an incredible pace. We we were going for 15 minutes before we even got into the ring, and then, we did about 10 minutes in the ring. But we had another 25 minutes of a match that was planned out. If it had ever happened, it could have been one of the greatest matches of all time." Hart boasted, "and we'd be talking about that more today than the actual Screwjob."

During the show, Hart wished to rebut Roberts' "stupid comment" that he and Michaels were the two worst world champions ever were. In Hart's view, he drew well internationally but did not draw as well as two-time WWE Hall Of Famer Hulk Hogan in the United States.

"I take exception," Hart said. "Jake Roberts is one of those guys who a few months ago said something about– he made a stupid comment about the two worst champions there ever were were Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. And he made some reference that we didn't draw, which is always– I don't know if that's a fair view. If you look at any of the WrestleManias – WrestleMania 12 – you can't tell me, if you look at the crowd, that I didn't draw. I mean, it was huge buyrates and it was a packed [arena]. Even Wembley [Stadium] with [The British] Bulldog was over 80,000 fans there. And to try to throw out, 'hey, you never drew?' I wrestled in front of 100,000 people in India for [WWE] in 1994. We drew, but maybe in the United States, you could argue that I didn't draw in the way that Hulk Hogan drew. But, I mean, who did? Who drew like Hulk Hogan did? It was a phenomenon in 1984 when WrestleMania had the whole sort of rebirth of [pro] wrestling happened, and the numbers that happened at that time were unprecedented."

Even though Roberts never went to the gym, was not a legitimate tough guy or real athlete, Hart acknowledged that Roberts was a good promo and a good "pretend wrestler". Additionally, Hart indirectly argued that Roberts should have been world champ if Hart and Michaels were such weak selections.

"I think it bothers me that someone like Jake, who never went to the gym– if he did go to the gym, he might do a set and then go smoke a cigarette outside. He was not a tough guy, was not a legit athlete, he was strictly a promo, and he was a great worker; a great pretend wrestler. But all I know is that when my time came and they picked me to be the champion, they chose me for whatever reasons. I'm very happy that they chose me. I think I was a good choice. I certainly worked hard enough to get that opportunity. But Jake Roberts said something like we were too small and we and we never drew big numbers or anything like that, but I say in response to that, where was Jake Roberts?" Hart asked, "like, why didn't [Roberts] take the torch? Why wasn't he there?"

To Hart's recollection, Roberts never mentored anyone or put anyone over but himself. 'The Hitman' then rhetorically asked where was Roberts to pass the torch in the way that the late great Roddy Piper did for him?

"Jake Roberts is one of those guys who never passed the torch to anybody. He never made anybody but himself." Hart questioned, "so where was Jake Roberts when guys like me or Shawn Michaels needed somebody to pass the torch like what Roddy Piper did for me? Why was Jake Roberts never there for anyone else? He was only there for himself."

Hart claimed that although The Undertaker was supposed to go over Roberts at WrestleMania 8 via pinfall following the Tombstone piledriver finish, Roberts instructed 'The Deadman' to Tombstone him outside of the ring. That way, Roberts would not have to be pinned in defeat.

"[Roberts] was a sneaky kind of guy in the ring," Hart divulged. "[Roberts] was supposed to put over Undertaker at WrestleMania – I think it was WrestleMania 8 in Indianapolis [Indiana] – and [Roberts] called something, an audible in the match, and had Undertaker do his finish on the floor. Undertaker didn't know what to do. He was still kind of green in those days, and he was listening and trusting Jake. And Jake ended up getting counted out on the floor so he wouldn't have to actually go in the ring and put [Undertaker] over. And then, [Roberts] was fired. He was fired from the company."

According to Hart, he 'completely disagrees' that he and Michaels were the two worst WWE world champions of all time, as there was no one else better at the time. 'The Best There Is, Was, And Ever Will Be' suggested that he and Michaels were two of the best in-ring performers.

"I don't know who was going to carry the torch if it wasn't me and Shawn Michaels," Hart admitted. "At least we were hard workers. I disagree completely that we were the two worst champions of all time. I think you would be hard pressed to find two better [pro wrestlers]; we were at the top of the pile. Shawn Michaels or me never had to take a backseat to Hulk Hogan, or Ultimate Warrior, or whoever Jake thinks are the real iconic [pro] wrestling champions."

Hart pointed to the current product to indicate that the modern style of professional wrestling has been influenced by the likes of himself and Michaels most of all, not the so-called body guys like The Ultimate Warrior, and not just good promos like Roberts.

"If you look at [pro] wrestling today and how the athleticism is such a big part of it in the style of wrestling, that's not a throwback to Hulk Hogan. That's not a throwback to Jake Roberts. That's not a throwback to The Ultimate Warrior or any of those other guys, that's a throwback to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels." Hart noted, "[Roberts'] dead wrong about that."

Hart said that even though he has had issues with Michaels, he never said he was a bad worker. Hart went on to put over 'The Heartbreak Kid' as was one of the very best professional wrestlers of all time, who routinely offered up Herculean efforts in the ring. 

"For a guy that's clearly just jealous of me and Shawn and maybe the success we had, I've never ever said that Shawn is a lousy [pro] wrestler," Hart professed. "Even when I had whatever issues with Shawn, as an example, all I could say is that he is a total pro in the ring most of the time. Other than The Screwjob maybe, he was always a total pro. He was safe and one of the hardest workers. He was one of the most highly skilled professional wrestlers there ever was. And you can sit there all day and throw stones at [pro] wrestlers, but Jake Roberts has no business ever throwing stones at me and Shawn."

During Hart's Stampede Wrestling days, he let Roberts live with him at a time. Hart stated that Roberts sold him his stereo, only to steal it back. Roberts also ran up approximately $2,000 in telephone bills as well.  

"Yeah, Jake lived with me," Hart recalled. "[Roberts] lived with me, and I remember he said to me, 'I can't take my stereo with me.' He had sold me a big stereo with speakers, turntables, amp, all that. He said, 'I'd do him a favor if he could sell it to [me]', so he sold it to me for, I think, $1,500. And I remember the day I was leaving Edmonton [Canada] and he was supposed to be leaving that day, I had been waiting around and they came to pick me up around 4:30, and he was still there, and he goes, 'I'll still be a little while – I have to pack up a bunch of stuff.' He goes, 'just leave me the key and I will leave it under the mat.' So, I left him my house key. By the time I got home, he had stolen the stereo that he just sold me for $1,500. I never ever got the money back, but he totally ripped me off on that. Plus, he phoned every promoter in the territory and the world in Japan and he ran up about a $2,000 phone bill on me. [Roberts] never paid any of that."

Hart acknowledged that he wanted to punch out Roberts when he first saw 'The Snake' in WWE, but WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was so high on Roberts that Hart thought better of retribution, especially given Hart's low place on the card at the time.

"I did see him in [WWE], and I was going to punch him out because that's how [pro] wrestling worked in those days. I remember I just wanted to go find him in one of the dressing rooms and beat the crap out of him, which wouldn't have been very hard, but he came in on such a high wave. The first time I saw Jake Roberts, the first time I laid eyes on him, he was doing promos for Vince. Vince was actually there watching the promos and giving him direction, and Vince was just loving it. He was like, 'you should see this guy – he's unbelievable!' And he was a great talker. He was a great car salesman. He could sell you a car, and Vince was in love with him. Like, he went straight to the top with the snake and the whole thing. And I remember going, like, I'm nobody at the time. I didn't have enough of a position to go beat up who they thought was their new superstar, and he was a star for a long time." Hart added, "I never brought it up. I never ever said anything to him. He never, ever paid me back or said anything."

Hart, who filmed his own documentary film, Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows, during the Montreal Screwjob, claimed that Roberts' documentary from 1999 entitled Beyond The Mat included many "staged" moments just to make people feel sorry for 'The Snake', and the film was not an "honest portrayal" of how pro wrestling works.  

"I could just tell that from the way it was done," Hart began, "there were things done in that movie that were done strictly for the shock value, and they were strictly theatrical. They weren't legit. They weren't honest moments. Like, the part when Jake Roberts is lighting the crackpipe, and he looks at the camera and he goes, 'don't feel sorry for me,' and then he lights the crackpipe. It's like, that was all put in there for the sole reason of 'please feel sorry for me. I'm lighting crack. I can't stop doing it.' You know if you want to smoke your crack in a crackpipe, you can just do it in private and do it without them seeing you, or you can tell them to turn the cameras off. It was all staged, which I didn't like."

Subscribe to Confessions Of The Hitman here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Confessions Of The Hitman with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.