Bret Hart started WWE's Attitude Era before Stone Cold Steve Austin did (opinion)
Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. The 5-time WWE Champion. The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be. Any wrestling fan worth his or his weight in salt will always place Bret Hart as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.
He was the buffer between the Hulk Hogan Era and the Stone Cold Steve Austin Era. His biggest asset was his technical prowess inside the squared circle and perhaps the biggest weapon in his arsenal was that he was believable. He wasn't over the top and neither was he winking at the camera.
He took wrestling seriously and his persona was a throwback to wrestlers from the old days. But while people will always heap praise on The Hitman, he doesn't get enough credit for his role in starting the Attitude Era.
Months before the infamous incident in Montreal happened, Bret Hart was already getting into 'physical' fights with Vince McMahon. In fact, most fans thought that Vince was just the lead announcer on Monday Night RAW and in that buildup to Survivor Series 1997, it was quite apparent that Vince was the man behind the curtain.
After the infamous 's**ewjob' happened, Vince McMahon became a character on his own show and was touting the fact that he 'sc**wed' Bret Hart. It was after this that Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was already building momentum, took the ball and ran with it.
In a sense, Bret Hart laid the groundwork for what became the Attitude Era. Sure, Shawn Michaels started DX with Triple H and providing 'naughty' vignettes which became the staple of the Era. But Bret's behind-the-scenes tension with McMahon was already apparent to many.
Some would love to think about how Bret Hart would have faired in the Attitude Era, had he not left for WCW. Certainly, Bret Hart would have some great matches and would have also given Steve Austin another great match. Perhaps, had he not left, Bret Hart would have done the honors for Austin at WrestleMania 14, instead of Shawn Michaels.
In reality, Bret Hart was already in the Attitude Era as he was one of the most believable characters on the WWE roster and really speaking, he had already started it. In a way, he made Stone Cold Steve Austin a star at WrestleMania 13 and he inadvertently made Mr. McMahon the greatest heel of all time at Survivor Series 1997.
Bret Hart should be remembered as the man who lit the spark while others ignited the flames.Published 18 Jan 2020, 16:36 IST