Now that I’m back from watching my Orioles drop 3 straight in Toronto and fully becoming the Orioles Cooler, here are more highlights from Bret Hart’s 2007 book “Hitman: My Real Life in the World of Cartoon Wrestling”.
Vince hadn’t run anything in Calgary in five months, and hadn’t paid Stu a nickel of their supposed deal,
Despite “buying” Stampede in 1984, Vince McMahon did not come through on payments. One reason for this is that Bruce Hart possibly violated part of the deal by trying to relaunch Stampede behind everyone’s back. All the WWF had wanted was the contracts of talent like Bret and the British Bulldogs.
I had rarely ever talked to Vince McMahon at the time, and when he turned to me, I blurted out a line from Robert Redford’s movie The Natural: “We’re the best there is, best there was, and the best there ever will be!”
The Hart Foundation team didn’t exactly get pushed on the same level as the Bulldogs when they came in during 1985. The Natural had only come out the year before and with that line, the Hitman had his motto for a decade an a half. Still, he wouldn’t say it so much when he was in the tag team.
I challenged Jim and Bundy to one final be-all and end-all sumo match in the dressing room. Bundy dismissed the idea with a laugh, saying, “I don’t waste time with midgets.”
King Kong Bundy was a particularly proud man who did not want to lose sumo battles in the shower against smaller guys, which was just about anyone. The thought of Bundy and Jim Neidhart having a sumo match in a shower is a bit much, so let’s just move on.
The match aired live on NESN. That was the first time Gorilla Monsoon ever referred to me as The Excellence of Execution.
This is in reference to a singles match Bret had with Ricky Steamboat at the Boston Garden in February 1986. Ah for the days of the televised house show from Boston, New York and Philadelphia. As mentioned in an earlier piece on this book, Gorilla was close with Stu Hart, though he also used to say “Cowboy” Bob Orton also had excellence of execution too.
As it turned out, it was George who was fired, on June 20 that year. The word in the dressing room was that Hogan and Roddy had taken against him. They didn’t like his booking, perhaps because he was always pushing his Carolina boys, and had said to Vince, “He goes or we go.”
George is George Scott, who wrestled in the 1950s and 60s for Stampede Wrestling but became known as a top booker in the Carolinas and other areas in the following two decades. He joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1983 and was a key figure in the planning the first two WrestleMania shows. After getting fired in ’86, he had a disastrous stint in World Class Championship Wrestling and then had a short run in 1989 in WCW. He was fired there for failing to promote Flair-Steamboat at Clash of the Champions 6, fearing it would hurt house show business. Scott was also very fond of the double pin finish, which I hate.
suggested Owen, who was getting raves as a new high-flying sensation for Stampede Wrestling and had been named rookie of the year by wrestling magazines and the marks who wrote newsletters.
As you can gather, Bret wasn’t a huge fan of guys like Dave Meltzer who covered pro wrestling in greater detail. Owen Hart’s work in the late 1980s is universally praised because he was doing things that almost nobody else was doing at the time. Doing a moonsault in a WWF ring in 1988 was such an alien concept.
He would work under the name Owen James, and team up with S.D. Jones against me and Jim.
And thus began Owen’s WWF career though this was only a tryout match in 1986. It’s quite strange that Owen crossed paths with S.D. Jones at any point. Jones was the dictionary definition of a jobber to the stars for most of the 1980s but was pretty much gone by the time the Blue Blazer run began.
Coming up next time: We learn about the infamous match with Tom Magee, the WWF starts testing for drugs like cocaine, and the Hitman gets a SNME match with the Macho Man.