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Bret Hitman Hart:

The Best There Is,

The Best There Was,

The Best There Ever Will Be:

The Documentary

By Kirk Angel


I am honored to have my first DVD review to be that of Bret Hart. I am a huge Bret Hart mark. He was not only one of the few guys that made every match seem important, but was also more believable with his moves than just about anybody else. He also had an elevated confidence throughout most of his career, which few people ever had. Also, he had really, really good matches. So, when it was announced that the WWE was putting out a DVD set of Bret, few people were happier than me. However, with their initial slant, the appropriately titled “Screwed,” I was skeptical. Thankfully, Bret and Vinnie Mac came to an agreement, which included Bret being interviewed, as opposed to everyone bashing him, like on the Warrior DVD. The WWE even let Bret choose his favorite matches. Hey, if anyone knows Hart’s best matches, it’s Bret, unless the concussions and stroke had their way. So here’s my review of the 127 minute (!) feature on Bret Hart. Semi-funny jokes and other comments included. Let’s start the show.


The main menu was awesome. It was basically a 2-3 minute music video chronicling his whole career on the top half of the screen. Vince McMahon opens, thanking Bret Hart for putting his feelings aside for the DVD set. Hey, Hitman’s got a reputation to uphold, unlike Mr. Hellwig. Gene Okerlund, Jim Ross, Roddy Piper, Chris Benoit, Animal, Christian (!), Steve Lombardi, Gerald Brisco, Bruce Prichard, Jimmy Hart, Vince McMahon, and Eric Bischoff are among the people that talk about Bret. None of Bret’s family is involved. The documentary starts off with Stu, and not Bret. It revolves around Stu coming to Calgary, opening up the dungeon, etc. Young Stu looks like Davey Boy Smith, minus the roid rage. Bret talks about the pressure of being Stu’s kid and going into amateur wrestling. He gets choked up after winning a city tournament and presenting the medal he won to his father. Said medal shows two wrestlers in a rather odd wrestling position, if you ask me. You’d think it was something won from one of JBL’s parties.


Anyway, he got out of going to the British Commonwealth Games by turning pro, much like going to Canada to avoid the draft apparently. He brings up being taught by two Japanese wrestlers, who worked for his father. Bret puts them over a ton, a standard theme of the DVD. He worked his way up from referee to wrestler in Stu’s Canadian Stampede, kind of like Danny Davis, except without the success or the titles. His first match was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, also the place of his first WWE title win, against his Japanese teachers. He got booed mercilessly by the fans, just like Dwayne Johnson. He brings up that no one took a kicking like him. Bret should tell that to Goldberg.


He took the place of his brother Bruce to wrestle with his brother Smith in Puerto Rico for Carlos Colon. He’s cool. Bret moves on to his series of very innovative matches with the Dynamite Kid, including Dynamite hitting a sweet-ass suplex on Bret, sending both wrestlers over the top rope to the floor. He was thrown into a tag team with his brother Keith and pretty much destroyed everyone in Stampede, leading to them winning the tag titles. Footage of Bret, Bruce and Keith Hart teaming up was also shown.


Next is Bret as the North American heavyweight champion, which included feuds with David Schultz, Nick Bockwinkel & Bad News Allen, with one of the first-ever ladder matches, for $2,000. This would have been cool to see it in its entirety. It looked pretty good, especially considering the time it took place in. Bret also fought The Stomper? Blah. Anyway, the point of this segment was an escalation of matches, first a lumberjack match, then a chain match, which was more like a paperclip match, then teaming with Stu against The Stomper and his manager. Stu, unfortunately, went shirtless, making Ric Flair look like Stacy Kiebler in terms of tit size.


Vince then purchases Stampede wrestling and in the process picks up Bret, Dynamite, and Davey Boy Smith. Vince calls it an acquisition mode. My ass. Bret tours Japan a little bit before going to The E. Bret was shown as “Brett Hart” in an unintentionally funny moment. He was also known as “Cowboy” Bret Hart at one point. WTF? Thankfully, it didn’t last too long. Bret actually hates country music, as do I. Jim Neidhart got a good laugh out of it, though. Anvil’s laugh > anyone else’s laugh. Bret almost quit over being underutilized, but came back as a heel and was put with Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart and formed the Hart Foundation, which is what Bret had wanted all along. During one of the clips, Gorilla Monsoon badmouths Bret over becoming a heel. BOO! *Throws a banana at Monsoon* Christian and JR bring up the complimenting styles of the Hart Foundation. Hitman and Anvil are shown owning all sorts of shit. The Foundation-Bulldogs feud is featured, with Bret putting it over. He’s right, as it was arguably the best that the WWE had up to that point in the tag team division. During an interview, The Anvil nearly rips Bret’s head off, which evidently led to him ripping off people recently. Video package shows the Harts dominating every team in the company with very cheesy music. Hart says that they deserved to be champs. Hart also mentions that they were initially thrown together just to give them something to do, making their success even cooler, IMO.


Bret starts his singles career, pimping his own sunglasses to boot during an interview, and talks about going through the Barbarian (?), Irwin R. Schyster (Huh?), and Col. Mustafa (WTF?) to get to the Intercontinental title. I didn’t realize how much the Intercontinental title division sucked back then. Oh well. Bret felt bad about breaking up with Jim, but thought it was his time to break out. It was. Hart’s sweet-ass match with Curt Hennig from SummerSlam 1991 is shown. Hennig’s injured back is brought up, with Bret mentioning that they loved wrestling against each other and that Curt wrestled the match out of respect of Hart, not to mention Hennig bumping his ass off like never before. The Bret-Piper match from WrestleMania 8 is talked about. Very disappointing that it wasn’t on the DVD as one of the match extras. Piper points out that it was the first time in 17 and a half years that someone had pinned him. I don’t know if it was, but if so, what a way to put someone over. The Bret-Davey match from the 1992 SummerSlam is highlighted, which ended that PPV. Bret brought his forklift to England that night to carry Davey Boy to the best match of his career, as Davey wasn’t 100 percent that night and not from injury, which in turn caused Bret to legitimately get beat up. During the match, Bret dives onto Davey on the outside, Davey isn’t ready, and they damn near kill each other as Bret manages to do an inverted bulldog. Bret gets choked up over the whole period, another running theme of the DVD.


Bret then wins the WWE title from Ric Flair in Saskatoon. Bret comments on dislocating and snapping his finger back into place during the match, much to the visible discomfort of Curt Hennig, Ric Flair’s Executive Consultant. Bret’s pretty respectful of Naitch, a surprise, given their history. After the title win, footage of Bret and Vince laughing is shown. I fully expected Ron Burgundy to pop into the picture and say “We are laughing!” Bret says that following Hulk Hogan was difficult. Better to follow him than get buried by him, though. Oh wait, that happened too. Bret was mildly pissed over WrestleMania 9. That’s like saying Lita is promiscuous. However, Bret got his revenge at King of the Ring. Bret puts over Scott Hall for a great match in the quarterfinals of the KOTR tournament. Same with Curt Hennig in the semifinals, even after Hennig nearly put him out of action. Bret almost blows his knee out after Hennig bounces him off the ropes to the floor, with Bret’s knee hitting a huge bucket. Bret puts Bam Bam Bigelow over to the moon, saying Triple B was the best big man in the business when commenting about their match in the finals. Arguably, BBB was the best big man in the WWE; however, Vader was better in pre-Hogan WCW. Bret ego-strokes himself about having three great matches with three different guys at KOTR. Can’t argue with him there, though.


Bret says that even though there were smaller crowds, the WWE crowd claimed Bret as their guy. Don’t blame Bret for not being able to draw, blame the guys that came up horrible characters for 90% of the wrestlers. Bret mentions the importance of winning the WWE title in MSG at WM 10. Bret puts himself over again, another constant theme, for taking on everyone, no matter the size. Hey, so does Lita. Don’t steal her gimmick! Vince then comments on Bret’s technical ability, saying he’s equal to Buddy Rogers. WOOOOOO! Wait, wrong Nature Boy. Animal says that he was the second or third best technical wrestler ever. Never mentions who the others were, though. Damn Alzheimer’s! And while we’re at it, damn buffets! Nature is trying to reunite the Road Warriors in the afterlife to take on the Public Enemy, I guess.


Bret’s classic feud with Owen is next, including Owen’s awesome upset at WM 10. Bret says that the fans actually got emotional over the feud because it reminded them of their own relationships with their siblings. That’s bullshit! My brother and I watched that, and he still whooped my ass every day. Bret talks about bonding with Owen off-camera while feuding with him on-camera. Bret loved their matches at WM 10 and SummerSlam. Odd that the SS match wasn’t picked by Bret, but we did get two Bret-Owen matches. Bret talks about protecting Owen on a superplex during the SS cage match, getting choked up again in the process.


You knew it was coming: SHAWN MICHAELS! HBK! THE SHOW… ok, I’ll stop. Bret brings up the inevitability of facing Shawn, including Bret damn near losing his voice not trying to put Michaels down. He was also disappointed that his matches leading up to WM 12 were being underappreciated. Bret says that the Ironman match was one of the best of his career. Must have wrestled a different match than I watched. Video of Bret running on icy streets and wrestling his dad in preparing for WM 12 is shown. Bret complains about his video looking bad compared to Shawn’s; HBK’s basically killing himself on his video. Anything to be like Jesus... Bret calls Shawn the Roadrunner, making Hart Wile E. Coyote? Bret puts over the match… but calls HBK a bastard, in a respectful way though. Kind of like calling Lita a whore in a respectful way. Bret shits all over the ending, especially after Shawn told him to basically get the fuck out of the ring after his win.


Hart followed up the HBK feud with Steve Austin. The Bionic Redneck (!), who was once managed by the Million Dollar Man, not to be confused with the Six Million Dollar Man, who… happened to be named Steve Austin. Bret acknowledges the ying-yang clash of styles between himself and Austin, ala Steamboat-Flair in the late 80s. Bret gets interviewed by Todd Pettingill before his 1996 Survivor Series match. Todd makes Michael Cole look like Joey Styles. Personally, I was disappointed that this match wasn’t chosen by Bret either, but said disappointment is probably because I’m an Austin mark too. The “dancing” between Bret and Steve is brought up. Hey, take that to ABC, bitches!


Screwjob finish… at the Royal Rumble follows, including JR yelling “HELL FIRE AND BRIMSTONE!” as Hart battled Austin. Didn’t know that he was somehow associated with Kane. Figures though: dead brothers (Owen and Undertaker), emotionally scarred by their fathers (teaming with a shirtless Stu Hart, knowing that Paul Bearer had sex with his mom). Next up: the classic I Quit match at WM 13, arguably the best match on this DVD set, including Austin bleeding a gusher, which was surpassed a few weeks later by Terry Funk nearly bleeding to death at ECW’s Barely Legal. Bret and Steve put each other over, as their feud revitalized Hart’s career and kick-started Austin’s.


Bret mentions the fans getting behind Steve and the WWE going with it, keeping Bret a hero in Canada and overseas, which was arguably his ultimate undoing. During a promo, Bret tells the American fans to kiss his ass. Unsubstantiated rumors report that Pat Patterson had to be held back by the Hart Foundation upon hearing this comment. Bret made this the greatest anti-American angle most fans, myself included, have ever seen. The Hart Foundation gets reformed, adding Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and Brian Pillman, but minus Jimmy Hart. A funny poster shows the Foundation pissing on a burning American flag. Had they done that in real life, they probably would have gotten sent to prison for life. Bret says he’s not anti-American, but very, very pro-Canadian. I’m not anti-exercise, but very, very pro-laziness. He also says that America is shaped like a toilet and is full of crap, both of which were great lines. JR comments on how creative Bret’s character and the entire Hart Foundation were. We all should have gotten used to it. By the time Goldberg was using Bret’s head as target practice two years later, wrestling was going down the tubes. Bret puts over America, but still says he loves what he did with the Hart Foundation in ’97. The Canadian Stampede PPV, in Bret’s home town, is shown, with Stu and Helen Hart gradually shrinking out of existence. Pros: No caskets. Cons: How do you know they actual died? Oh well.


Survivor Series 1997 is brought up. Well, I’m sure nothing bad happened here. Seriously though, Bret plays up his pride for the WWE leading up to this. Vince chooses not to clear himself for what he did, much like every wrong thing that he ever did. Vince says that he orchestrated Bret going to WCW. You can say that again. Vince tries to indirectly play off the whole thing as being Bret’s fault. I won’t even try to get involved in this; nobody’s really innocent, but some are less innocent than others. The SS match is shown, presented by Karate Fighters! Bret hates the way the match ended and didn’t want to end his career in the WWE that way. I guess he thought the way that he ended his career period was better. The single most famous video of all time is shown (Paris Hilton!), but seriously, Bret gets screwed (unlike Paris). Fans are pissed, Bret is pissed, Michaels is “acting” pissed. Be thankful. Like Steve Austin said, “I’d rather be pissed off than pissed on,” although I’m sure Bret wanted to piss all over this whole damn thing. Bret says no one knows the circumstances. Hey, it’s not like the key points are exactly well-kept secrets. Bret brings up the father-son relationship that he had with Vince. Too bad Vince didn’t actually adopt him. The screwjob would have been hi-larious.


Upon going to WCW, Vince comments that they didn’t know what to do with Bret. It’s not like they really knew what to do with anyone else either. Eric Bischoff is shown in leather jacket and baseball cap, jumping up and down at the sight of Bret and is just about the funniest thing on the DVD, especially when gray-headed Eric is shown two seconds later. Bischoff says that he needed Bret, among others, for the start of Thunder. Even Bret couldn’t make another WCW show work. He should have asked HBK. He knows someone who can pull off miracles like that. Bret says that WCW was very uncreative. Hey! What about the Kiss Demon? What about Three Count? Oh wait, he’s right. The Hart-Goldberg-Steel-Plate moment in Toronto is aired and is probably the most creative thing WCW did in their last two years.


The Owen Hart fall, ironically at Over the Edge in Kansas City, is next. Bret, obviously, is very emotional. Jeff Jarrett’s, Mick Foley’s, Shane McMahon’s, and Edge’s comments, interspersed with Bret’s comments a month and a half later on Nitro, are shown. Following this was the Hart-Benoit match on Nitro four months later in Kansas City, proving how much Owen meant to them, as it was possibly WCW’s best match. The Hart-Benoit match at Mayhem in Toronto for the World title was also shown. I would have liked to have seen this match on the set too, just to see how good it was. Plus, it was Hart vs. Benoit, possibly WCW’s best match-up. Goldberg’s “Educated Feet” are highlighted, as he unintentionally retires Bret. Bret compliments Goldberg on being a good-hearted person, but not good-footed. I keed about the latter. Bret believes that his stroke would have never happened if the concussion hadn’t. Don’t know about this one, but Bret would know better than me.


The end of the show features everyone putting Bret over, minus Bret putting himself over, for the most part anyway. Hell, even Vince McMahon put him over with Bret’s catchphrase. Vince restrained himself from badmouthing Bret, as much as could anyway, much like Bret did with Shawn and Vince. Video package is shown to close the DVD. Muted is the best way to watch it, since it sounds like Limp Bizkit was used. Save it for the Undertaker DVD, guys.



DVD #1 Extras:


The Dungeon: It picked up steam from Jesse Ventura mentioning it during Bret’s time in the Hart Foundation. Nothing more to add.


Halloween: Bret talks about the wrestlers sacrificing time with their families while being on the road. Missing Halloween was one of the toughest, because of the kids dressing up and getting their pictures taken. Same was Christmas. Hart put it best when he said that he couldn’t entertain his own kids, so he entertained everyone else’s.


The Hart Foundation: Everyone got along (Bret, Anvil, and Jimmy), but the other teams really didn’t (Rockers, Rougeaus, Bulldogs…). Hart says Neidhart was Bret’s biggest fan, and Jimmy Hart was basically the same guy on camera as off.


The Sharpshooter: Pat Patterson wanted him to use a submission, so Bret chose to use the Sharpshooter, but didn’t know how to use it. He ended up asking Konnan how to do it. K-Dog would have been the last person that I would have expected, but Bret did use it better than anyone, so he must have done something right.


Owen Crank-Calls Stu: At WM 4, Bret roomed with Stu. Owen called Stu from the lobby as Reg Park (a wrestling belt designer) and claimed Stu was afraid of him and other shit. Owen finally cracked up, causing Stu to hang up on him. Funny story.


Family Tree: Bret comments on the different members of his family. Nothing of interest here, other than Bret has a ton of brothers and sisters.


Learning the Ropes: Bret brings up American wrestlers not wanting to go work for Stu in Canada, due to the weak Canadian dollar, so Stu brought in wrestlers from all over the world to work, which enabled Bret to pick up a few different styles of moves as he went along.


Sunglasses: Bret gets interviewed by Okerlund, but is nervous of Vince McMahon’s reaction. Bret’s eyes dart off everywhere, so he picks up a pair of sunglasses from his locker room, and they transform him into a good talker.


Being a Villain: Bret loved being a heel. He said the best part of the day was when he got to basically be an asshole in front of the crowd, just to let off some steam. Pretty funny story involved fans in Toronto wanting to, and sometimes getting to, go after him in the ring. However, the fans eventually started to love him.


Dean Hart Tribute Video: Dean (Bret’s older brother) passed away the night before the 1990 Survivor Series, due to kidney failure. As the final men on their respective teams, Bret and Ted DiBiase ended up working a very good match, in a tribute of sorts to Dean. The match-up far surpassed anything else that night, for five minutes anyway, with Ted winning. Easily the best part of that PPV.


Bret’s Tribute to Wrestlers Who Had Passed Away: Bret talks about Curt Hennig’s death almost being on the same level as Owen’s. He also brings up Ray Traylor, Hawk, Brian Pillman, Adrian Adonis, Miss Elisabeth, Davey Boy Smith, and Rick Rude. Clips of other wrestlers also aired.


All of the clips were really short and were anywhere from 1-3 minutes for the most part. None of them were really bad, but you really didn’t miss too much if you didn’t see them.



Final thoughts: It went a bit longer than other WWE documentaries. Benoit’s, which I believe was the longest prior to this, was about 75 minutes, compared to Hart’s 127. Bret’s is definitely worth watching though, as you wish it could have gone longer. Everybody came across very well, even Vince. Vince and Bret were about as nice in speaking about each other as humanly possible. However, I believe there’ll be a missing person report issued after people watch this DVD: Shawn Michaels was no where to be found, even on the matches for the most part, but it’s not that big of a deal. This was easily the best documentary that the WWE’s put out and there’s very little to be disappointed in. This is a must-buy just for the documentary and if I were grading it, I’d give it an A+. That’s my DVD review. You stay classy… planet Earth.

Pictures and logos created by Sean Carless.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).