On episode 33 of Confessions Of The Hitman, two-time WWE Hall Of Famer Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart got in depth on the subject of tag team wrestling. Specifically, Hart, who recently weighed in on the another legendary tag team, The Road Warriors, talked about the special place held in professional wrestling history for The British Bulldogs. Hart discussed breaking into professional wrestling during a golden era of tag team wrestling. Additionally, ‘The Hitman’ shared his thoughts on WWE Chairman Vince McMahon devaluing tag team wrestling in his booking.
Even though The Dynamite Kid was a better singles wrestler in Hart’s eyes, The British Bulldogs has a special place in the annals of pro wrestling history as a tag team because they changed the pace of tag team wrestling and had a unique in-ring style.
“I would always tell you that I think Dynamite Kid was better as a singles guy, but they were a great tag team. The Bulldogs were a very special team. And I think it was the matches that The Hart Foundation had with The Bulldogs that launched me and Jim [Neidhart], for starters. But The Bulldogs have their own iconic sort of place in tag team wrestling, and it was just because of the way they worked and they changed the pace of wrestling. I think not just in tag team wrestling, but in the whole card.” Hart continued, “The Bulldogs really, sort of raised the bar. And I think The Hart Foundation, when we worked with The Bulldogs, we raised that bar even higher.”
According to Hart, he came up in pro wrestling at a time when WWE had great tag teams. ‘The Excellence Of Execution’ gave examples like, The Dream Team, The US Express, and The Fabulous Rougeaus as tag teams that could put on five-star matches with anyone.
“It was also a great time for tag team wrestling,” Hart recalled. “When I look at those days and those teams, all of them, The Hart Foundation, and The Bulldogs, even Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake as an example, were a good combination. Beefcake was never the wrestler that Greg was; Greg was a very solid and credible wrestler. He carried the weight, and Brutus was enough of a character that he could carry his end, and he was a big enough guy, and had enough of a physique. It was an interesting combination. If you look at even Mike Rotunda and [Barry] Windham, they really were a good, polished, skilled wrestling team that could go out there and have a great match with anybody. And then you look at the Rougeau Brothers – they came out of Montreal [Canada] with their dad and wrestling in Montreal, which was a very formidable wrestling territory in its time.
“Montreal, nothing but great wrestlers came out of Montreal. The Rougeau Brothers were used to each other, teamed up together for years. Again, a very unique style. They had their own storyline with who they were. Whether it was The Hart Foundation, or whether it was Valentine/Beefcake or whoever they were working with, The Rougeau Brothers, you’re still going to get a five-star match. It’s going to be a really good match.”
During the show, Hart expressed some sadness over WWE’s lack of commitment to tag team wrestling. ‘The Best There Is, Was, And Ever Will Be’ suggested that tag matches serve an important role in a professional wrestling card, as tag matches are a change of pace and have a different presentation than singles matches.
“There were so many great teams,” Hart remembered. “It’s sad if you look at tag team wrestling today, where it [has] gone because they let it die out a little. But it always had its own history and its own style. A tag team wrestling match is so much different than any match on the card. It’s a completely different kind of strategy to the match and building it up. And the matchups – there are four guys in the ring and you team up Andre [The Giant] and Haku, as an example, against me and Jim ‘The Anvil’. It’s like, people go, ‘what’s going to happen in this?’ Me and Jim working over Andre can happen. Two guys on one. It was just fun to play up the psychology of how would The Hart Foundation fare against that team or The Rougeaus? They tag in and out all the time and they have a certain style.”
Apparently, tag team wrestling has fallen out of favor with McMahon and that is the reason tag team wrestling has not been given the same prominence it received in the past.
“I think it’s my understanding that Vince McMahon got sick of tag team wrestling and is no longer a fan of it,” Hart said. “And that’s so sad that he kind of singlehandedly killed a part of the wrestling business that was so important.”
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