“It’s such a beautiful match, really,” Hart told CBC Radio’s Q podcast. “I can say it was one of the easiest, most fun matches I ever had. Which if you watch it, you go, ‘Geez, it’s one of the most violent and tense…It’s a very serious match. And it was just so much fun for me to play the part. And Steve Austin was in his prime.”
The match is celebrated for its “double turn”. Bret Hart and Steve Austin swapped their face-heel alignment.
“I would say in thinking of that match that there’s nothing in there that you would want to take out,” Hart recalled. “Like, every move is so intense and powerful. It adds – one move adds to the next move. It’s this constant building of the story. And the shifting of where a good guy can go too far. And the bad guy – it’s like cheering for the shark in Jaws. It’s just not gonna happen. But by the end of the movie, you’re cheering for the shark. And the shark doesn’t quite pull it off and becomes a hero.”
Bret Hart said he knew almost immediately after the match that he and Austin had achieved something special. Hart says it was a challenging match to put together because of the limitations of the stipulation and the fact that he and Austin had a match just months earlier at Survivor Series.
“Both of us are kind of like, ‘What are we gonna do?'” Hart said. “We’d just wrestled a few months before in a big match and we…thought we used up everything. We didn’t have anything. Like, why are we wrestling again now? Like, we kinda spent everything we had.”
Bret Hart said he drew inspiration from his youth to craft the psychology of the match. Hart said he recast a memory of a fight at school.
“I remember telling Steve it’s like two guys at school having a fight after school,” Hart explained. “You’re the badass guy that came into my school. And now it’s like [everything] is building to this moment where we’re going to fight after school. I’m the hero and you’re the bad guy and this is how it’s gonna shift. Because I can remember a school fight when I was a kid where the guys fought and everyone thought one guy was gonna win and the other guy was gonna lose. In the end, it was the other way around. And the guy that won became the bad guy. People didn’t like him because he won and they felt sorry for the bad guy in the school fight.”
The aftermath of the WrestleMania 13 saw Bret Hart commit to a heel character. He was booed at shows in the United States, but he was still cheered in Canada. Hart has fond memories of that period of his career.
“It was kind of a chance for Canadians to give it to the Americans,” Hart recalled. “And the Canadians kind of got behind the role. ‘We’re gonna be bad guys with Bret Hart, cheering him on.'”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit CBC Radio’s Q podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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