Five instances when Bret Hart overcame the odds

Akhilesh Gannavarapu

Bret’s life has been a testament to fighting the oddsCouple of days ago, Bret Hart posted a lengthy message on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, detailing the hardships he had faced in his career. The Hitman went on to reveal that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and while most of the people would crumble upon hearing such news, Bret expressed confidence and desire to fight on.Bret Hart’s career has been well documented, and the former WWE champion is considered to be one of the greatest technical wrestlers to ever step inside a WWE ring. Bret, along with his brother-in-law, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart made his way to the WWE from the Canadian Stampede promotion, and immediately made an impact. Dubbed “The Hart Foundation”, Bret and Jim soon reached the upper echelons of tag team division, by winning the WWE tag team titles.Bret then pursued his singles’ career, and won the prestigious WWE Intercontinental title. After dropping the title to Davey Boy Smith, Bret then cemented his legacy as one of the greatest WWE superstars in history, winning the coveted WWE title on multiple occasions.However, it isn’t the titles or the glory that comes with championships that has defined Bret Hart over the years. Bret’s on-screen persona is an extension of his real life personality – something Bret has and still does take pride in.For over two decades, Bret Hart has become synonymous with indomitable spirit, and his will to defy overwhelming odds. The entire wrestling fraternity, along with the fans around the world have no doubt that Bret will walk out victorious in his new challenge – something that Bret has proved time and again. In this article, we take a look at five instances when Bret showed his true character, and defied insurmountable odds.

#5 Brets rise to the top in the WWE


Back in the late 80s and early 90s, WWE and the professional wrestling industry was dominated by heavily muscled superstars. It was a common notion during this period that to be successful in professional wrestling, you needed to have an unbelievable physique. It was also during this time that professional wrestlers started using steroids extensively, with the likes of Hulk Hogan admitting to steroid use to bulk up.

As such, wrestlers like Roddy Piper, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and Bret Hart were considered to be workhorses, but not championship material. When Bret Hart won the WWE Intercontinental title from Mr. Perfect in 1991, the entire locker room urged Bret to break down the barriers and aim higher – to become the WWE champion.

However, with the existing mentality, it was an uphill climb for the ‘Excellence of Execution’. However, Bret defeated Ric Flair in 1992 to become the WWE champion, and future stars such as Shawn Michaels credited Bret for breaking down the doors for ‘smaller’ superstars such as himself, and to pave the way for the work horses to dream big in the WWE.

#4 The aftermath of the Montreal Screw Job


Bret Hart’s relationship with Vince McMahon was a closely-knit one. Bret Hart saw Vince as a father figure, and as the years progressed, Bret believed that their relationship transcended the normal business relationship between a boss and an employee.

When Bret was left with no other option but to leave WWE for WCW, Bret informed Vince that he didn’t necessarily like the idea, but with WWE and Vince McMahon going through financial troubles, Bret believed it was the best thing for both the parties involved.

However, after the now infamous Montreal Screw Job, Bret’s entire life came crashing down. As seen during his documentary, “Wrestling With Shadows”, Bret was left heartbroken after Survivor Series, and his professional life seemed to have come to a halt. Anyone else in Bret’s shoes would’ve retired from professional wrestling, considering the fact that it wasn’t “just business” for Bret. However, Bret picked himself up and signed with WCW, and became a multiple time world champion in the organization.

#3 The untimely demise of the members of his family


Bret had a very good relationship with his brother, Owen Hart, and his brother-in-laws and friends. Bret was seen as a locker room leader, and as such, people such as Mr. Perfect, Brian Pillman and others lobbied behind Bret Hart to reach the upper echelons in the company. In a shrewd, cut-throat business, Bret gave more importance to personal relationships than stepping on others to climb the proverbial ladder.

However, Bret’s world imploded back in 1999, when during the Over The Edge PPV, Owen Hart, then working as the ‘Blue Blazer’ fell to his death while being lowered from the rafters. Bret always claimed that Owen was his closest friend and ally, and when Owen passed away, Bret contemplated walking away from the business. In early 2000s, Bret faced further adversity when he lost his good friends Curt Hennig and Davey Boy Smith, along with both his parents.

The circumstances surrounding Owen’s death would’ve disheartened any man, but Bret, to his credit not only managed to pull himself back to his feet, but also rallied the entire Hart family.

#2 Brets battles with concussions and injuries

Goldberg unintentionally handed Bret his retirement

Every superstar knows the risks involved when they enter a WWE ring. With high-risk maneuvers and being dropped on their heads almost every day, professional wrestlers don’t expect to have a 40-year-career like other jobs.

Injuries are a part and parcel of the business, and there have been instances when the superstars had to endure unimaginable pain to finish the match. Like most of the other superstars, Bret Hart endured numerous injuries throughout his career.

However, the defining moment of Bret’s career, both as a professional wrestler and as a person came in 1999 when Bret was working for WCW. During his match with Bill Goldberg, Bret got caught with a mule kick, which unfortunately wasn’t delivered correctly by Goldberg.

Dazed and confused, Bret managed to finish the match, and continued to work for WCW till 2000. During this time, it was found that Bret had suffered a serious concussion, and was forced to retire from professional wrestling.

Bret suffered from post-concussion syndrome, and although Bret knew the extent of the injury, he continued to wrestle for an entire month, being involved in hardcore matches during this period.

#1 Bret Harts stroke and his return


In 2002, Bret faced his biggest challenge till then, when he suffered from stroke while riding his bike. Bret was thrown off the bike, and hit the back of his head. Bret suffered from total paralysis on his left side as a result of the stroke, but true to his character, Bret didn’t give up. After intense physical therapy, Bret regained movement on his left side, and “The Hitman” fought his way back to good health.

In 2010, Bret who was well into his 50’s, returned to the WWE, and competed at WrestleMania. 8 years after suffering from a life-threatening stroke, Bret returned to in-ring competition, competing at WrestleMania and then won the WWE United States championship! Bret’s life and professional career has been a testament to his undying spirit, and much like he has done throughout his career, Bret will undoubtedly come out victorious in his battle against prostate cancer.

Edited by Staff Editor
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