Meeting Bret “The Hitman” Hart – Part 1: The back story…

It’s not easy being a Wrestling fan, even more so as an adult. But I’ve always proudly stood tall as a fan. Not just of the WWE, but wrestling overall. I’m easily the single biggest fan in South Africa, and for me its been a life long passion.

(If you still continue to argue I’m not the biggest fan click here for all the proof)

People always try and rile me into defending it, but I never get goaded into the arguments of the naysayers.

If you ask anyone who knows me well enough, they could probably share a wrestling related story with you. From the early Hogan days, right up to the current roster.

I’ve been a fan since 1986, and I’ve had many favourites over the years. I have a vast knowledge of the history of the business, and I have a memory that remembers ever moment, title change or significant piece of trivia.

Some people may share the stories about the oversized Bret “The Hitman” Hart t-shirt I used to wear as a kid. Or the pink pencil case (space case) I used to use in High School (and believe me it’s hard to justify pink when you’re a guy in High School)…but firmly stuck upon my pink pencil case were my stickers of Bret “The Hitman” Hart.

Noticing a pattern? Yup, my all time favourite superstar was Bret Hart. From the moment Bad New Brown turned on Hitman at the WrestleMania IV Battle Royal, and double crossed him only to have his trophy destroyed by Hart. I was hooked. In that moment Bret turned from “bad guy” to “good guy”/

Bret was one half of The Hart Foundation with brother-in-law Jim The Anvil Kneidhart, one of the greatest tag teams of all time. Back in those days, wrestling wasn’t on every day here in SA. And it was hard to keep track of storylines and matches. Especially since this was long before the invention of the internet. But I mad a plan. I have penpals across the globe who sent me tapes, I found magazines, I kept a scrapbook, I knew what was going on…albeit a few weeks late.

I bought merchandise with every cent I had. Everytime a wrestling video game came out, I was there to buy it on day of release, and of course, The Hitman was the first character I played with.

I had Bret Hart posters, flags, action figures everywhere! (and they still are!)

Wrestling was such a big part of my life that I always found solace in it. When my brother died, I remembered that Bret lost his brother Dean a few years before. When Bret’s brother Own tragically died, it was on the anniversary of my brother’s death. The Hart family went through so much loss and pain, similar to my family, that I felt even more connected to him as time went on. When I felt lost or angry with the world, the Hitman was there to show me how to keep going on.

When the WWE (WWF at the time), toured South Africa for the very first time in 1996, it was a very special moment for me. Leading the tour was Bret The Hitman Hart. He was the WWF champion and leader of the new generation. I did everything I could to try and find a way to meet him, but it never happened. I was however content in the fact that I got to see him in action.

The year that followed was a strange one. Bret went through an amazing feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, that eventually led to Bret turning heel again (bad guy), and fans HATED him. The Hart foundation reformed, and they generated heat all through the US, but I still supported them.

Towards the end of 1997, Bret was involved in now infamous Montreal Screwjob, which lead to Bret leaving the WWF and headed for WCW.

Bret’s time in the WCW was miserable. And soon, thanks to more tragedy, including a career ending concussion thanks to that doofus Goldberg, Bret faded away into the history books, and stepped away from wrestling.

When I heard news of Bret’s stroke, my heart broke…but in typical Hitman style, he overcame that too. I always hoped he would come back in some way.

Bret swore he would never return to the WWE, and for over a decade the wrestling world was a lesser place without Bret in it.

My dreams of ever meeting my idol had all but faded into the distance…

Little did I know those fateful stars were only just beginning to align…

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: