Bret Hart On Which WWE HOFer He Told Vince McMahon To Hire

This week on WWE's The Bump, in honor of Survivor Series this Sunday, the panel and two-time WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart commemorated the 25th-anniversary of his match against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at this very pay-per-view event.

While reflecting on this match, Bret Hart believes too many spectators slept on this spectacle. He thinks this match alone catapulted Austin's legacy in WWE.

"It's one of those matches like you said, that's gone unnoticed. It was a great match. In a lot of ways, it holds up to WrestleMania 13," Hart explained. "They're both really good matches, good stories and structure; very credible.

"I don't know which match was more physical. Maybe, this one was more physical than WrestleMania 13. They're two of my favorite matches. I cherish both moments in both of those matches. That was the first time that Steve and I had a really big match. Taking that time off [Hart was out for half a year before their Survivor Series '96 match], I was under a lot of pressure to deliver. As I went into 1997 and the tail end of '96, I delivered some of my greatest matches.

"That's what I liked about our chemistry; it was real warfare. You don't have that kind of magic with everybody. Every time I stepped into the ring with Steve, we had this intensity. You can see that was where Steve was kind of climbing to the top of the heap. He was almost there right when that match happened."

Switching gears for a moment, Hart discussed his two-time King of the Ring tournament victories in '91 and '93. In the midst of talking about it, Hart detailed the grueling injuries and fatigue he suffered and how important it was for him to receive some recuperation time after them, especially after his '93 tournament showing.

"Well, I know when I won the KOTR – and I know it's the same for Steve or anyone who won it – you're usually wrestling at least three times, and they're three hard matches," Hart began. "I remember when I wrestled in the KOTR in '93, [I wresteld] Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect, and then, [runner-up] Bam Bam Bigelow. [They] were real physical matches. In fact, the only time I got a day off – where they gave me a forced day off – was after that match [with Bigelow]. I was in rough shape. I could hardly stand up."

Returning to his rivalry with Steve Austin, Hart retold the story of when he proposed to Vince McMahon the idea of having Austin join the WWF/E roster after seeing the work he did on WCW and ECW, respectively.

"I thought Steve was someone to be reckoned with before he ever got to WWE," Hart repeated. "I saw him in WCW, and I think he went to ECW for a time. I remember when he jumped from WCW and ended up in ECW, I actually went into Vince's office and go 'Why didn't they get this guy? Why didn't someone grab him when he was available?'

"I remember I had this conversation with Vince a lot. I thought it would be really good for me to wrestle him. A week later, he was sitting in the dressing room."

As he watched back clips of their legendary Survivor Series '96 match, Hart once again stated what a great opponent Austin was for him and how The Rattlesnake gave him "[his] greatest moments and also his toughest challenges."

"Steve was a really great wrestler. He was on the cusp of great things," Hart noted. "You could see Steve just getting better every week and sort of finding himself and getting more confident. He was reaching his peak of becoming the Superstar that he became. We had great matches and chemistry in the ring. I stand by all the matches I had with Steve."

You can watch Bret Hart's full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.