Around the ripe age of 4, my uncle introduced me to wrestling in 1987. I remember we were at some mom 'n pop rental shop, and instead of my usual GODZILLA movie checkout, Uncle Jimmy convinced me to rent a wrestling tape. I fell in love with the action and larger than life characters. While he wasn't as larger than life as the IMMORTAL Hulk Hogan, or MACHO MAN Randy Savage, Bret "The Hitman" Hart was always one of my all-time favorites. Yeah, he wasn't the biggest guy and yeah, he wasn't the flashiest guy, but what he was -- was ONE HELL OF A WRESTLER. You think about the all-time great pro wrestling technicians... this guy has got to be near if not AT the top of that list. In the late '80s the Hitman was a up and coming youngster, full of promise and potential. My brother and I loved him. Back then, guys like Savage, Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior ran the scene, but you knew it was only a matter of time before the EXCELLENCE OF EXECUTION took over... and took over HE DID
Bret tagged with his brother-in-law Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. Together, they formed one of the most memorable and successful tag teams in the World Wrestling Federation. Bret's impeccable wrestling acumen was sharply complemented by Jim's sheer brute force. Managed by Jimmy Hart, the Hart Foundation ruled the tag scene and soon became fan favorites. They really caught on. It was lightning in a bottle
Who could forget the Anvil's trademark laughter?
I remember they were my favorite tag team as well as my brother's. And we loved Demolition, we loved the Rockers... but damn did we love the Hart Foundation. I can even remember how my bro tried to "claim" Bret Hart as his guy, and he forced me to pick Neidhart as MY guy. So much for being able to openly liking the same guy, but hey, this was the late '80s after all. I did love the Anvil, but I always secretly rooted on Bret Hart. I remember the highs, and I remember the lows. They won the tag titles twice and we cheered. However, their shocking defeat to the Nasty Boys at Wrestlemania VII left me in a state of sadness, as I recall it. I remember Jimmy Hart, who was then managing the Nasty Boys, gave his megaphone to Knobbs or Saggs, and they bloody took off Anvil's head for the pin and the titles. It was a dark day for Hart Foundation fans everywhere. The tag team split up after that when the WWF realized Bret's potential as a major singles star. He went on to win the WWF Championship five times, before leaving the company after the infamous 1997 Survivor Series screwjob in Montreal
In the wrestling business they say every old dog has one last day to bask in the sunshine. One last glorious ovation. One last walk through those curtains... and for Bret "The Hitman" Hart -- the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be -- this was his last shining moment before his peers and fans... April 1, 2006... Bret Hart enters the WWE Hall of Fame
To see Bret Hart's Hall of Fame special package video, please click on the following link. It starts at the beginning of the clip, and ends at2:52 (it goes on after that, but just exit the clip after 2:52)
Alright, and now to induct Bret "The Hitman" Hart... there are some people who need no introduction, but if you don't give this next guy one, he'll open up a can of whup ass on ya and I don't want that to happen here tonight. I'd like to say a lot of nice things about this guy but... I rather be honest. He's... [WHAT!] he is NOT a nice man [WHAT!]. As a matter of fact, [WHAT!] he is the meanest [WHAT!], he is the toughest son of a bitch in the WWE...
STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN!
The crowd pops, but not EVERYONE's glad to see the Rattlesnake
Hogan looks on with disdain as Austin walks right past him
You know, I was going through my bag in the back and...
*AUSTIN-HOGAN! *CLAP CLAP* AUSTIN-HOGAN!*
*AUSTIN-HOGAN! *CLAP CLAP* AUSTIN-HOGAN!*
*AUSTIN-HOGAN! *CLAP CLAP* AUSTIN-HOGAN!*
*AUSTIN-HOGAN! *CLAP CLAP* AUSTIN-HOGAN!*
[The crowd is deafening! Mean Gene has seen and heard it all in this great business, but even he is amazed by this rabid fan response]
*AUSTIN-HOGAN! *CLAP CLAP* AUSTIN-HOGAN!*
You know it's funny... I was uh, I was going through my bag in the back and I couldn't find something, I lost something. I went in the back looking through my bag and uh, I found a can of WHUP ASS and it had Hulk Hogan's name on it
YOU DAMN RIGHT!
It's a good night to be up here today with all these legends and uh, it's fun for me. And it's a great honor and I know everybody's been saying that but I really mean it, because I ain't the most humble sumbitch in the world
You got the Blackjacks over here. The black trunks, the black boots, the black vests, bad attitude. If I coulda ridden down the roads with you guys, it woulda been great
I never told Sherri this but I've always been in love with her. I just thought she was sexy, gorgeous and just a tremendous work -- I just loved everything she did
You were talking about the blondes a little bit earlier in the evening -- I just love everything you did
A lot of people don't know this but I traveled up and down the road with Tony Atlas. And uh, where's that cheapskate Mick Foley, because he traveled with us
And everybody knows that Tony was a great bodybuilder, and he's a great powerlifter, and a great wrestler too, but he's also a great beer drinker
And we'd ride up and down the road... he was good but he couldn't drink as much as Stone Cold could, I'll tell you that much right now. But we'd drink beer until the late hours of the night, and then me and Tony would go to the gym. I'd be working chest, bench pressing about 225 for about four, five reps, and Tony would be over there bouncing 500 off his chest about 10, 15 times. IT REALLY PISSED ME OFF
So it's good to be here tonight. And uh, you know, I'm here to talk about a guy that I've always respected before I even knew him. And you know, I've always had a deep respect for the great workers in the business, the great technicians, and the great storytellers. And uh, Bret Hitman Hart never was the biggest guy in the business. And Bret never was the flashiest guy in the business. But I always had an unbelievable chemistry in the ring with him. I knew that anytime the bell rang there was a trust and there was a level of respect in there between us and just, good things always seem to happen. And I remember one time I was laying at the house on my couch and I was watching Monday Night Raw. Of all things I had a busted knee. And I'm listening to the announcing -- this was back when Vince McMahon used to do the announcing -- and it was Wrestlemania 13 right here in Chicago at the Rosemont. My favorite building to wrestle in... it's just a magic environment. And I hear Vince go, "Yeah, and in a submission match it'll be Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin." And that was news to me, because I was watching the broadcast and I didn't know a DAMN thing about it
And it got me kinda hot because I'm not a submission wrestler. You probably know that from watching me; I only got about three offensive moves
Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon chuckle along
So when I showed up to Chicago that night, I remember I needed to get in shape for the match, but I had a busted knee. So I stopped drinking for about 17 days. And uh, Lanza commented on how good I looked. And I remember going to the match that night and I was thinking it was at a point in my career where I needed something big to happen. The King of the Ring had already happened, I cut a promo which kind of put me on the map, and this was kind of put up or shut up time. It was a semi-main event that night, a submission style match and I just knew that, we were gonna go out there in my favorite town to work and my favorite building and completely stink the joint out. What we did was go out there and, things happened, and it was the greatest match of my career *applause*
16 time World Champion 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair claps approvingly
I've had a lot of great matches after that, but Jack Lanza came up to me and he said, "You'll probably never have a match like that again." And he kinda was right, we never really achieved anything like that again. But anytime I stepped into the ring with Bret, whether it was overseas or here in the States somewhere, I've wrestled him a million times, and Bret was a guy that always showed up, he didn't miss his shot, now he always showed up LATE, but he never missed his shot. So I'm proud to induct him into the Hall of Fame tonight. He's a guy that's always called himself the excellence of execution. He lives that, he breathes that, and he truly believes it in his heart, and that's why he was so good. He's the best there is, he's the best there was, he's the best there ever will be, he's Bret "The Hitman" Hart!
Wrestlers and fans alike stand up to cheer Bret's arrival
One of the most beloved wrestlers ever, the Hitman has fans everywhere
*THANK YOU BRET! THANK YOU BRET!*
*THANK YOU BRET! THANK YOU BRET!*
*THANK YOU BRET! THANK YOU BRET!*
*THANK YOU BRET! THANK YOU BRET!*
Thank you! I just wanna say um... it's an honor to be here and it's an honor to be up here with so many uh great legends like everybody said. And uhh... y'know, nobody's more surprised and more amazed to be here than I am. But uhh, this is a big night for me
And despite what anyone thinks, many years ago when I had my fallout with Vince McMahon at the 1997 Survivor Series and all that, I made a promise to myself THAT DAY, that if they ever asked me to do the Hall of Fame I would be here
*The fans cheer Bret on*
I wanna say that while I'll never forget what the WWE took away from me, I also wanna say that I'll never forget all the great things that they gave to me. And I've had a great great life and I've had a great career here. And first of all I want to thank the McMahons, especially Vince, for giving me the chance to work on his canvas
*Fans cheer and jeer at the mention of Vince*
Every night that I went out years ago when I first started, I uh, I was just honored to be in the ring and wrestle for the WWE
The McMahons, minus Vince (backstage), look on
You know when I think back years and years ago, when I was about uhhh, well 3 years old I think, I was watching my first wrestling matches on TV and I was watching Killer Kowalski. And uh, I think in my family everybody just became ingrained from the very start to love this business and love the circus life and uh, my family growing up, I mean, everybody loved wrestling and we always been grateful for all the funny adventures and stories that we've had through this great business
I want everyone to know that I came here to celebrate my career, not to mourn over it. And uh, I had a fortune cookie today that said uh, "You're welcomed at any gathering," on my Chinese fortune cookie today
The Nature Boy looks on
I want to go back to when I was a little kid. I remember going to the wrestling matches for the very first time, and I'd be riding in the car down to the wrestling matches with my brothers, and right from the very start I can remember I'd be riding in the car and my dad would pull up to the hotel and uh, I remember when I was real young they picked up the midgets
The lovely Trish Stratus
And uhh, I remember I thought "Cool, finally I got some wrestlers that I can play around with," you know. And it was uhh, I remember Sky Low Low and Little Beaver and that whole bunch, they just all get in the backseat. My dad had like a big ole stretch limo with four different rows of seats, just enough for all us Hart kids and uh, he let the midgets climb in there and they get in the back and I can remember I thought, "Great"
And I can remember trying to headlock them and stuff like that
The Sarge chuckles
And if you ever uh, if you knew midget wrestlers you know that you don't wanna be headlocking them -- they don't appreciate that too much
But anyway, wrestling's always been part of my life. I can remember my first experiences with wrestling, I be about uh, 10, 12 years old, and I'd go down to the basement, and my dad had all these huge wrestlers. And I remember you were kinda safe when you were about that age -- 12 you're OK you know -- you could sit down there and as long as you didn't say anything. And it was pretty interesting to watch, my dad put these guys into all these holds and they'd be screaming for their lives down there. I think my mom sometimes, I dunno what she thought, she sometimes I think she phoned the police -- worried that someone's getting killed down there
But anyway, my dad was an amazing character and I wanna say first that... I owe everything I am today to my dad. And uh, the man I always longed to be was the one I first thought my father was. He was a one of a kind guy in this business. And I can remember when I first got in, I always introduced myself around the dressing room as Bret Hart, Stu Hart's kid, and this was always my passage to safety. And everybody I know who really understood him and got to know him and love him, and he was everything that was good about the wrestling business and I know he'd be really proud of me today standing here *applause*
I uhhh... got all kinds of funny stories and memories, I'll try to not go too long here. It would only be right for me to tell a few funny stories about my brother Owen
My brother Owen was uh... he was a hilarious guy
*O-WEN, O-WEN, O-WEN!*
I can remember being on the road and I get a call from somebody telling me that someone from delivery service was giving me a free pizza. I think I already eaten... but they would sell me on it; it was free and bringing it up and it's on the house. And I was like OK. And the next thing you know I would be arguing with the guy about how he wanted me to pick my toppings; what kind of toppings I wanted. And it was like OK. So I started going through the toppings and then he starts pushing more toppings on ya. Then finally he tells you after that he's gonna charge you for the damn toppings. And you go through this charade... anyway, that was Owen *audience laughs and cheers*
Booker T splits a side cracking up
I remember we were checking into a hotel in Dayton, Ohio. And all the wrestlers were walking in and uh, Jim "Hacksaw" Duggan [HOOOOO!] was there with his wife, and he already went to his room
We were all standing around the front desk signing in. Jim Duggan phoned down and asked the guy at the front desk. "Where's the gym?" The guy puts his hand over the phone and he goes "Anyone know where the gym is?" And Owen goes, you know, "Give it to me." So he hands the phone over to Owen and Owen gets on the phone and of course, Jim, Hacksaw just thinks it's somebody at the front desk. Anyway, Owen tells Hacksaw, "Why don't you look it up yourself, YOU LAZY BASTARD"
*Crowd laughs, including a teary-eyed Mark Henry*
So Hacksaw got all kinda worked up with him and Owen's telling him, "If you wanna do something about it, come down here and I'll kick your ass"
*Crowd laughs again, as does The Game Triple H*
And Hacksaw couldn't believe it, so then Hacksaw, he uh, you know, he's getting dressed and coming down to the lobby to straighten out this front desk guy. And I remember Owen just hands the phone back to him, and the guy says, "Don't do this to me"
Big laughs from Big Show, Sgt. Slaughter and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes
Owen goes, "Don't worry, just tell him it's me, Jim Powers"
Batista, Lashley and Tatanka among the many cracking up
Hacksaw came down and the guy goes "Hey hey, it wasn't me it wasn't me, it was Jim Powers"
I remember that night in the dressing room, Hacksaw came up to Jim Powers and uh... well, that was funny anyway
*audience cracks up*
If you knew him, I'm sure he pulled a joke on you somewhere
The crowd cheers for Owen and a great story shared
Anyway, I remember in the beginning of my career um, I had a chance to uh... I got called and they said they needed me to take the Dynamite Kid's place and he was wrestling in Madison Square Garden against the great Tatsumi Fujinami from Japan. Anyway, Dynamite Kid couldn't get across the border and I was called up at the last minute
I remember I got to the building -- this was such a big thing for me, I was only about 20, 21 -- and I remember I was walking through the lobby getting ready for that big walk over to Madison Square Garden and I kept thinking to myself, "Someday I'm gonna tell my kids that I wrestled in Madison Square Garden"
Anyway, they met me, the Japanese guys that brought me in for this, they stopped me in the lobby and they said, "We have to take you off the card. You don't have a big enough name to wrestle in Madison Square Garden." And I remember that in the beginning of my career
And when I first got to the WWE in 1984, I was fortunate and lucky enough to be part of this new surge in wrestling thanks to Hulk Hogan and Vince, and the whole team of wrestlers that took wrestling to a whole new level
Back in those days wrestling was pretty tough. I worked 304 days my first year in wrestling and I think I worked pretty much close to that for the next six years that I was in the WWE. Double shots, and it was a tough life, but I want to say here and now that... I would never have made it through those days and those years if it hadn't been for my tag partner, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart
*Crowd pops and claps*
Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart was one of the -- you know, he was just the greatest character. I got a little pug over in Italy right now that I keep just coz I think he reminds me of Jim. He's got those sad puppy dog eyes you know, and everytime he wants you to have one more round
I got so many funny memories and stories of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, but I'll just tell one. I remember Owen had just flown in, I think he was getting a new start with WWE back in, hmmmm, somewhere around 1991 maybe, and we just did one night in Texas -- I worked with a guy named Skinner. But anyway, all the wrestlers were kind of celebrating and I took Owen to a strip bar in San Antonio
*Some fans screaming YEEEEEAH!!!!"*
And Owen, he wasn't really prone to those kind of places, but I managed to talk him into it because it was a big night for him, he was starting back in WWE and he'd flown in from Germany. And it was a crazy night, that night in Texas, I'll tell you that much. Coz I remember we were all drinking in the bar and everyone's kinda talking and stuff...
Next thing you know I see Vince coming in *crowd laughs*
And Vince had a few soda pops somewhere else. He was primed up and ready that night. I bet Sargent Slaughter remembers this, he was driving, thank God
*Crowd laughs... Sarge sure remembers that night in Texas*
But anyway, I remember just kind of hanging out in the bar with Owen. And Hulk, you know, he could always stir up shit, y'kno
Hulk Hogan looking GUILTY AS HELL
He was stirring up the Legion of Doom, and he get them all worked up. And I remember Hawk and Animal were talking about how they were gonna do their finisher on Vince
And I remember watching it and I'm thinking, "No way. They're not gonna do it. Nobody would do their finish on Vince." And um, next thing I see Hawk saying he's not kidding and Animal's kind of going along with what Hawk's doing. Quite a few of the wrestlers were starting to mark out over this, and see if it's gonna actually happen
Jim's pulling on the beard and uhh... *crowd laughs*
Anyway, next thing I see Animal come up behind Vince, like I said Vince was in a pretty good state of mind anyway. So he came up from behind and he hoisted Vince up. I look and there's Hawk right there on the little table with the poles
And uhh, I'm waiting, I'm watching, I'm thinking, "Here it is... they're gonna take Vince's head off" *Crowd laughs*
Hawk came off with a really nice, little powder puff kind of clothesline and I remember Hulk and Beefcake and everybody kinda caught him and set Vince down. I think they even gave a little golf clap
And I can remember I had a couple beers in my hand. I think I had a shot of Jack Daniels. And I can see Jim pulling on his beard, you know, he goes, "Hart Foundation woulda done it"
*Crowd cracks up and cheers*
Shelton Benjamin, The Gold Standard, is all smiles
I can remember thinking "I better get out of here." I couldn't set my drinks down fast enough. I told Owen, "Listen, I gotta get outta here RIGHT NOW." Next thing you know, Jim's got him up in the bearhug
And I'll never forget it. I remember Hulk looking at me, kinda like, "So, what's gonna happen here?" *Crowd chuckles*
The Hulkster cracks a grin while reminiscing along
Anyway, I took Vince's head off *crowd cheers enormously*
Ric Flair laughs along with everyone else
Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart... I remember so many funny stories about him. I can't resist telling this one. I remember when we stay in the hotel, we always forget to put the "Do Not Disturb" on the doorknob. We'd be lying there in bed and I can hear the maid fumbling with the key and coming in the room. I'd be like sound asleep and I just remember just sort of hearing Jim pull the whole blanket off, and just be lying there like a big starfish
Batista and his lady enjoying a good chuckle
And then you see the maid come in, I mean, we went through this quite a few times, at least. It was standard, standard Hart Foundation. You hear them scream and get out of the room as fast as they could. Over a period of time I think we could do it in stereo, you know. Anyway, I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart
*Laughter and applause*
And there's a lot of wrestlers I wanna take the time to thank. In my early days, I wanna say I'll never forget Cowboy Bob Orton, Roddy Piper, Don Muraco, Mr. Fuji, Iron Sheik and so many others that uh, every night, they were my family, and uh, I love those guys. I had some uh --
*Fan screaming "ONE MORE MATCH!"*
Huh, we'll see
"ONE MORE MATCH! ONE MORE MATCH! ONE MORE MATCH!"
I wish. I wish I could have one more match. I wanna take the time to uh, think about and remember some of my great matches and great experiences I had. I'll never forget the matches I had with Mr. Perfect, Curt Hennig
[Like my brother, my Uncle Jimmy and all my other friends, we always rooted for the so called good guys. However, there were a few heels (AKA bad guys) that I personally always liked. "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase was one, and Mr. Perfect was the other. He was just such a gifted athlete, wrestler and entertainer. Who could ever forget his classic sporting vignettes with cameos from greats such as Wade Boggs and Felton Spencer (or not). And his splendid music was just like the man himself -- absolutely perfect]
He was uhhh, he was just the greatest guy to work with every night. I never looked at working with him as work. It was a night off. He was just the greatest guy to work with every night. He was just so much fun and he was so safe and so careful. And I miss him. I remember wrestling Curt Hennig in Anchorage, Alaska. It was sold out and I remember it was a big crowd. Andre was working in those days with Warrior, and they were going about 25 seconds every night
*Austin laughs along with the audience*
So they needed some extra time, you know, for someone to do the work out there. I was working with Curt, and I don't think I ever had a bad match with Curt Hennig, but I remember that night we uh, we just had such a beautiful match that I'll never forget it
Another guy I wanna tell you a story about is Earthquake
I hope, Earthquake, wherever you are out there, you're in my prayers. I hope he's doing OK
[Earthquake was one of the most feared bad guys of the late '80s and early '90s. Anyone else remember the angle where Quake sat on Hogan on the Brother Love show? That shit seemed so real when you were 6!
Sadly, he passed away two months after Bret's Hall of Fame speech]
Um, I remember we were flying from Columbus up to Seattle or something, and we had about a six in the morning flight and I remember we got delayed for hours and everyone was sleeping on the floor near the gate. It took hours and hours. And everyone was really tired and really cranky. And we finally got off, and we're in the air on our way to Seattle and I remember, poor Earthquake, he was in the very last seat in the airplane. You know, he was a big guy so he was against the wall sleeping with his head down. I remember going to the back of the plane to use the bathroom, but someone was already in the bathroom. And uh, Jimmy Hart was across from Earthquake, and I was talking to Jimmy
Anyway, this little black kid came up and he was about 4 years old, 5 years old, and he wanted my autograph and I remember I signed it for him, and then he asked Jimmy to sign it. And then he looked over at Earthquake and he goes,"Should I wake this guy up?"
Jimmy's going "Yeah go ahead" and I'm saying "Yeah, he's a pussycat." But Earthquake had a long day, you know, he had about enough. I remember this kid kinda pulling on his coat, "Hey hey!"
And I remember Earthquake just looked up, and his eyes were like red holes. Anyway, he just yelled at the little kid and told him to GET OUT. So then he put his head back down
I remember the little kid just looked around like this...
... And he just leaned back and I couldn't believe it, he just slapped him as hard as he could right on the forehead
*Gasp and laughter*
*OH NO HE DIH-ENT!*
And I remember Earthquake, good thing he had a seatbelt on anyway, he tried to explode out of that seat. And I remember Jimmy Hart was trying to find a place to hide and I remember I kept praying whoever's in the bathroom better come out, y'know
Anyway, as you can tell I had a life filled with all kinds of characters, and great stories and memories... and uh...
*THANK YOU BRET!*
The crowd claps to show their appreciation, including Jimmy Hart
I wanna say here and now that everything I did and accomplished in professional wrestling I did it for my kids. Everyday, you know, you get up, and it's not the easiest thing in the world to go out there all the time and entertain everyone else's kids. It seemed like Birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, you're just always entertaining somebody else's kids, and you're always packing your bags. Your kids pay the ultimate sacrifice. I just want them to know that everything I did, I did it for them *applause*
Bret's kids and Jim "Anvil" Neidhart's daughter, Natalie, Bret's niece, looks on
I remember... a few months before "THE SCREWJOB" ....
I uh, I was trying to put my youngest son, Blade, to bed. It was in the summer time. I ordered him to go to bed and he went up. I remember he really got mad, and he's got a pretty bad temper anyway
Blade Hart looks on
He was slamming doors and making quite a fuss. I remember finally putting him in his room and I went back downstairs and I was sitting in my kitchen. Like half an hour later, all of a sudden I see Blade come down. And he's got Shawn's t-shirt on
*Audience collective GASP*
Shawn's hat *GASP*
And he's got the Shawn glove and he's looking at me like this and he's opening his hand...
I remember looking at him. I said, "So, what are you supposed to be?"
He looks at me and he goes, "I'M IN THE CLIQUE"
*Crowd laughs at the wrestling in-joke as does Blade*
I still put him to bed. I remember telling Shawn that story. But uh, you know, when I think back to those days of the Hart Foundation... with um, Brian Pillman
*Crowd POPS for Pillman... God rest his soul*
Jim "The Anvil"... The British Bulldog... Owen
Those were the happiest days I think of my life. And I uh, I always look back on those days with a real deep fondness
And I was lucky -- I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the great fans I've got all around the world. If I could give any advice to all the young wrestlers out there, never forsake your fans. Never forget them. Coz if he's a fan of yours, you'll want to hold onto them for as long as they'll take ya
I wanna say that I was a real world's champion. I traveled around the world, and uh, I was really proud to be a world champion. I wrestled in India, I wrestled in Israel, I wrestled in South Africa, I wrestled in the Philippines, I wrestled in so many places, and Germany, I wanna say a special thank you to all the fans I had in Germany. I remember they knocked down the barricades just to come up and give me a big hug before my match, or after my match. It was simply a beautiful experience that I'll never forget. They were probably the most loyal and devoted fans I ever had. Canada, you know... I was always a Canadian first. I never ever forgot where I came from
People always say why would you wear pink? Pink was a very special color for me. If you mix a little red and white together, you get pink. Sometimes I thought maybe I should have had a better color throughout my career, maybe black and gold or something, would have been a little nicer. But you know, there was something very neutral about pink as a color. I always said it took a real man to wear pink, but at the same time I think it's always good to know that you can never be prejudice against a color. Pink can be whatever you want it to be. And I uhh, I love the color pink *crowd chuckles*
I wanna get ready to close here but I wanna say that uh... to the wrestlers... you need to pace yourselves for the long haul. And it's not so much about hurting one another. It's respecting the art
I wrestled for 23 years, and it's not easy to go out there every night and describe yourself as the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be, but I wrestled 23 years and I never injured one wrestler ever, that I know of, anyway. Not once. And I was a pretty physical wrestler. And the whole business is about trust and respect. And there's a deep meaning behind the words "Doing the honors"
I wanna thank every wrestler that I ever worked with anywhere around the world, and in closing, um, I wanna thank my wife in Italy. When I had my stroke a couple years ago, I remember I got emails and letters from fans all around the world saying they were praying for me, and they must have been praying good, coz I was lucky and fortunate enough to have been blessed with a great recovery, and I'm standing here today
If I didn't had the recovery that I had, then I would never have met the sweet angel that saved me over in Italy. I just wanna say... she's over in Italy now with my pug, and I just wanna say hi to her. Cinzia -- thank you for being my angel
And uh, I wanna thank everybody for all the great memories. Wembley Stadium, all my fans in England...
That was my favorite match that I ever had, and I'm happy to tell you that. And I wouldn't change that minute, that moment for anything
And I guess I'm gonna wrap up here but I just wanna say that uh, to all the wrestlers and everyone around the world, if I could give only one message to them it would be that..... "The best chance you have if you want to rise to the top is to give yourself up the loneliness. Fear nothing, and work hard. One thing you'll discover is that life is based less than you think on what you've learned, and much more than you think on what you have inside ya right from the beginning"
And I'm happy to say that uh, you don't have to worry about me anymore. I'm good, I'm happy to be alive, I'm glad to be here. And I thank everyone of ya for coming out here tonight. THANK YOU VERY MUCH
Bret Hart receives a rousing send-off
Confetti rains down from the rafters
THANK YOU FOR THE MEMORIES, HITMAN!
The pink and black attack. The excellence of execution. The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Whatever you want to call Bret, he was a wrestler for the ages. His speech is about as great as his own pro career was. As a fan of great speeches and storytelling, Bret's speech is one I'll never grow tire of hearing. Although I was never in the wrestling business as these guys were, certainly not, there is a strange nostalgic bond I have with these old characters and cats. Maybe I'm reminded of a simpler time, perhaps even a better time, but I know there's a lot of history between me and them. And even though they don't know me, I feel like I know them. I guess that's why I still follow wrestling today. Not as religiously as I did some odd 20 years ago, mind you, but a chance to rise outta the chair and cheer and mark out like you're 5 years old again... that's STILL a great thrill. With WRESTLEMANIA 25 coming up like a bad zit on Prom Night, you know where I'll be. The WWF (now the WWE) has given me a handful of fond memories over the years, and guys like Bret Hart, are what I take away from the show the most. Whether you like or dislike pro wrestling, respect it or not, there's a certain brotherhood and fraternity within wrestling circles that even a fan can sense. Every Monday night you tune in for two hours and watch these guys beat each other up and dive headfirst through the ropes. They sacrifice their bodies, their families and more to just be part of the SHOW. To all the wrestlers, and especially to Bret "The Hitman" Hart -- thank you for the entertainment, and THANK YOU for the memories
Watch Bret Hart's historic 2010 return to WWE television!