Wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart recently sat down for an interview on an episode of Rasslin’ with Brandon F. Walker.
During the interview Hart discussed his favorite opponents from his career. Hart said that while Owen Hart is a close second, that it is Curt Hennig who takes the top spot. Hart also discussed Curt Hennig working their match at SummerSlam 1991 hurt in order to put over “The Hitman,” which isn’t the only time that Mr. Perfect went out of his way to give Hart a great match.
“I’ll always say this about Curt, if I could’ve wrestled one guy again, it would’ve been Curt,” shared Bret. “He was my favorite opponent ever. My brother Owen is a close second. But, [Curt and I] had such a bond and chemistry together whenever we went out there, no matter the circumstances, no matter how [much] we travelled that day, whether you got stuck in an airport for 8 hours and you were completely wiped when we got the dressing room. I can remember a lot of times with Curt we’re getting ready to go out there and it’s like, ‘I’ve got nothing in the tank. I’m completely burned out, I’m exhausted.’
“And you go out there, and the crowd starts to cheer, and then in about five minutes you’re giving them a five-star match. You’re laying out all the stops, you give them everything that you have. And I was like that with Curt. And I think there was a growing respect we started having for each other. Curt really loved working with me, and I loved working with Curt. And if you really look at my rise to the top, it all starts with Curt Hennig.
“He was the guy that, even though he was injured too with his back, he was never going to miss SummerSlam  because he wanted to do that for me. He wanted to help elevate me to the next level. I had such a respect for Curt and we had such a great friendship. He’s one of those guys I never forget [about] that first match. Trusting me, being there for me, and sacrificing so much with his back injury. He could’ve said, ‘You know what, I can’t make it that day and I’m going to take a few months off.’ But he came back specifically, and came back hurt, to deliver that match with me.”
When discussing legendary matches from his career, Hart also talked about his match with Roddy Piper at WrestleMania 8. He says he was nervous that Piper would have a lot of bad ideas for the match, but that they ended up being on the same page. Hart also revealed it was Piper who came up with the part of the match where Piper debated hitting Hart with the bell.
“That was Roddy’s [idea], Roddy gets full marks for [that],” said Hart. “We worked out the match very roughly. [I] didn’t see Roddy a whole lot in those days. He was on one circuit and I was on another circuit. And then we did get to meet each other in, I believe it was, Moncton, New Brunswick of all places, where we could sit down and sort of talk about the match, and start to put this match together.
“And I was kind of dreading it, because I loved Roddy, and I was very close with Roddy. Then I started worrying, ‘What if Roddy gives me a bunch of really lousy ideas and I don’t like it?’ Like, how do I tell a guy I love and have so much respect for that I don’t like that idea? I hadn’t been in that situation very many teams. It’s like, do you speak up, do you not speak up?
“And I was sort of, kind of, a control freak too. I had a sort of set idea of how I thought the match should go. And we sat down in a restaurant in New Brunswick, and I said, ‘What do you think?’ Then Roddy goes, ‘This is what I have in mind, this is what I was thinking.’ And he started telling me his ideas on how the match should go [and] the pace of it. Anyways, we had the exact same script. . .I remember listening to it and it’s like, ‘I’m in agreement with all of that, like everything. Let’s do it exactly like that, that’s exactly what I was thinking.’ And [we met] without flushing out all the details of what the story was going to be, just sort of the arc of the story. And it was very harmonious.”
Hart also recalled that he was apprehensive of the famous spot that ended the match with Piper. He said he was nervous that Piper wouldn’t be able to protect himself during the fall, and that Hart could’ve broken his neck.
“And as far as the match went, the pinning thing at the end with the sleeper hold, and me pushing off the top turnbuckle with my feet, that was a move that Roddy thought of, or created,” recalled Hart. “Because I’d never seen it done anywhere else, but he came up with that idea. And I can remember saying, ‘Okay. . . we can do that.’ But I’m a 240-pound man pushing off the top turnbuckle, and you’ve got your hands around my neck. And all I can do, as a 240-pound man, [is fall] with all [my] weight on your face from that height, straight back. And you can’t break your fall because your arms are around my neck, you’ve got a sleeper hold on me.
“I remember saying, ‘It’s a dangerous move. I could break your neck, or at least break your nose, or knock all your teeth out, or something. That’s a hard fall to take.’ And whenever I watch it back, you watch how Roddy takes that bump flat on his back, all my weight right on his face. And it was a gutsy call, and it was a very generous thing he did for me in that match. And I loved the match, and I loved its voice.”
Hart went on to talk further about Roddy Piper and how talented he was. He compares Piper to Hennig in regards to how they opened the door for his career. Hart then went on to say that a lot of other wrestlers didn’t have as much interest in elevating future talents.
“Roddy, like Mr. Perfect, Roddy was a guy who was going to open the door for me, he was going to hold the door open for me to help me get to the next level,” Hart remembered. “A lot of wrestlers hadn’t done that for me, and some would never do that for me. Roddy was a guy, that’s what I love about Roddy, he was a guy that was going to try and open the door for the next generation.
“There’s a lot of guys like Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, and Ultimate Warrior, guys like that, who never held the door open for anybody. As soon as their careers ended, they slammed the door shut and never did anything for anybody, for whatever reasons. But Roddy Piper was a guy that opened the door for the next generation, and I never forget that.”