The Undisputed Champion: Bret "The Hitman" Hart

November 19, 2020

Wrestling, as one of the oldest sports ever held, continues to be in the spotlight. It has been favored by many people as it garnered public interest. Though it may seem brutal to watch, wrestling has produced notable persons whom people look up to. One of which is Bret Hart, one of the world's best wrestlers. With the etymology of the name "Hart," which is the German word of "Hard," it is no wonder.

Who is Bret Hart?

Today's generation probably doesn't know the answer. Bret Hart is one of the undisputed champions in the world of professional wrestling during the 1980s and 1990s. His fans know him as "The Hitman."

Bret was a holder of the WWF World Title (5), Intercontinental Title (2), co-held the Tag Team Title (2), the US Heavyweight Title (2), and was the 1993 King of the Ring. It is not surprising as he was born into a family of wrestlers. And his own father has been a WWE Hall of Famer, to which he soon followed.

Let's dig in deeper about who Bret Hart is because there is always more than what meets the eyes.

Deeper into the Hitman's Life

On July 02, 1957, Bret Sergeant Hart was born into one of the well-known families in history. The Hart Family of Calgary, Canada, has been a source of professional wrestlers. The patriarch of the family, Stu Hart, trained Bret in the famous Hart Dungeon.

Stu Hart is a renowned wrestler himself and the owner of Stampede Wrestling. Growing up, Bret started with Stampede Wrestling. He began as a referee in his father's wrestling promotion and soon became a wrestler.

Bret Hart Foundation

Together with his brother-in-law, Bret formed the Hart Foundation when he joined the WWE in 1948. The Hart Foundation referred to the tag team in the World Wrestling Federation. It consists of Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Danny Davis, and Jimmy Hart as the manager.

The team disbanded for a while in late 1989 and wrestled in other teams, but reunited in early 1990. After some time, the Hart Foundation again split up, and Bret decided to focus on his singles career.

His Victories

At the pinnacle of his career, Bret Hart became a five-time world champion and a star of the WWE. It was Bret who led the company into its most favorable era by winning match after match. But in reality, WWE couldn't afford to keep up to Bret's contract and thus, was in a state of a financial crisis. The circumstance pushed Bret to leave WWE, along with other reasons, and later on joined WWC.

Bret was the first-ever wrestler to be inducted into the "Wrestling Hall of Fame." He was also the first WCW wrestler to be inducted into "WCW's Wall of Fame."

bret hart titles

He was voted six times as the "Most Popular Superstar" between 1992-2000 and voted number 4 in a list of the "Best 100 Wrestlers of the Country".

Moreover, WWF offered to induct him into the WWF Hall of Fame, but he declined the proposal due to the death of his younger brother Owen Hart in a WWF ring. But in 2006, he finally accepted a later offer and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (WWF Hall of Fame before)

The Fight that Ended His Career

There were many ups and downs in his career as a wrestler and a renowned one at that. His fight with Bill Goldberg, a former tag team partner, ended his career. Bret revealed in one of his interviews how Goldberg ended his wrestling career.

Goldberg's vicious kick injured him in a way that he could no longer move forward in his career the way he wanted to. A kick straight to Bret's head left him with a concussion, which forced him to retire early.

On October 26, 2000, days after his release from WCW due to his inactivity, Bret retired as a wrestler. According to Bret, Goldberg was the most dangerous guy to work with as he always hurt anybody he works with. Bret further claimed that Goldberg's kick was not the scripted blow that it should have been; instead, it was a career-ending kick.

Bret Hart has always been a person who looks after his opponent's well-being. That whoever his opponent is, he should always remember not to hurt or injure anyone. He always knew what he was doing, and it is his firm resolve that he would hurt himself first before he ever hurt another wrestler.

In one of the Broken Skull Sessions with Steve Austin, Bret spoke about Goldberg as the most unprofessional wrestler to ever work in the business. And for Goldberg to be in the Hall of Fame, he is hurting everybody he is working with. From that incident, people have regarded and accused Bret of being bitter.

The Champ Lost

Bret Hart Lost

But one thing that most people did not realize at that time was that Bret Hart had lost so much when his career ended. Bret became known as the wrestler the WWE "screwed over" and the bereft brother of Owen Hart. WWE bought WCW, and both superstars Bill Goldberg and Hulk Hogan received their due. Unfortunately, Bret did not. He waited for ten months, and yet, they ended his contract and denuded it, which resulted in him getting nothing out of his contract. He suffered immense loss out of his career, and his life turned upside down due to his failing health. The serious concussion he got from his match at WCW Starrcade in 1999 contributed to his stroke, which later on left his third wife with its repercussions, including the possibility of death.

What of His Love Affairs?

Bret Hart got married three times.

He married his first wife, Julie Smardu Hart, in 1982 and stayed together until 2002. They had four children: Dallas Hart, Blade Hart, Jade Lambros, and Alexandra Sabina. Two years after their divorce, Bret married Cinzia Rota, and they were together until 2007. On July 24, 2010, Bret tied the knot with Stephanie Washington-Hart, who was 27 years old at that time.

bret hart and stephanie washington

Bret Hart's third wife, Stephanie Washington-Hart, is a private person and inactive on any social media platforms. Ergo, information about her life on the internet is limited. Stephanie Hart was born in 1983 in San Francisco, California, which makes her 37 years old as of 2020.

Both her parents have Asian and African ancestry that makes a multiracial ethnicity. As her husband is the retired professional wrestler/actor/author Bret Hart, Stephanie was thrown into the limelight.

She became a hot interest in the tabloid's den after dating Bret Hart. The age gap between the two became controversial. Though that time and even today, it is typical when one party is prominent and affluent.

Howbeit, the two disregarded the criticisms and ended the controversy by tying the knot in a private ceremony. They are still together and looking after each other until now.

With Bret's stroke, it had been hard for Stephanie as well to see his husband that way. Bret's demise as a wrestler and his life going downhill started after he took the kick that resulted in many health problems.

The stroke paralyzed half of Bret's body for months, and it left him emotionally imbalanced. That is not all. He has undergone surgery ever since the doctor diagnosed him with prostate cancer. Stephanie stood by him all throughout his fight with cancer. His wife has seen the health problems associated with his past and how he overcame them.

As early as the 1980s, Bret denied that he suffered from broken wrist pain. He had addressed and fixed it when he was already almost 60 years old. The doctors have inserted metal rods into it. As old as he was, he never backed down. Instead, he faced the problem head-on with the help of his wife, who took care of him when no one did.

After 20 years away from the ring, after making amendments with the WWE through Hall of Fame status, after fighting cancer and releasing a best-selling book, does anybody still care about who he was, what he stood for, and who he is today? Does anybody still care about the prominent wrestler, Bret Hart?

Life Outside the Ring

Bret Hart is not only a wrestler but also an actor and an author. He authored various books such as "Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling"; "The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Will Be"; "Minecraft: Expert Tricks and Tips That Can Help You Finish the Expert Difficulty Level on Minecraft Game"; and "Montgomery's Revenge."

He is also a founder and co-owner of the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. These added value to his net worth of $14 million, which Stephanie savors now. In 1986, he earned $4,000 during WrestleMania 2.

In 1987, he totaled $15,000 during WrestleMania 3. Combining his salary from the 1989 and 1992 Summerslam, he garnered $65,000. By 1995, he earned around $9 million from WCW Monday Nitro. Furthermore, he acquired a salary of around $2.5 million from his contract with WCW in 1997. It was two years before he got denuded of his contract as an aftermath of the 1999 match with Goldberg.

Hart and His Big Heart

Not only is Bret Hart a good wrestler, but he is also a person with a beautiful heart.

He sponsors the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Foundation. It could have been because of his past battle with prostate cancer. But nonetheless, it is a big help to the research foundation and to the people who have cancer as well. Aside from that, he also has a sense of deep gratitude towards his fans. In an interview, he said that "…never forget your fans; they are the ones that put food on the table and pay your bills."

It was his dad who taught him to appreciate every single one of them as his dad had always been genuine with the fans. Bret's recognition of his fans' efforts made them respect him more.

bret hart now

"I think I am a lesson in myself – to believe in yourself and be true to yourself, and good things will happen. If you've got the confidence and the work ethic, you can make any dream come true. I applied a lot of that to myself. I was clearly a dark horse in wrestling. When I joined the WWE, I don't think anybody thought I was going to rise out of that and become the star of the company."

Bret Hart was able to make his dream come true through hard work, perseverance, confidence, and respect for people and his fans. He learned that the distance between his dreams and reality is proportional to his efforts.

From battling cancer to stroke, many people watched how Bret evolved as a person in and out of the ring. All the things that he and his family went through in the public eye and the way he carried himself made the people respect him more.

Though his life had been a series of mountain ranges, traveling uphill and downhill, Bret Hart never loses hope. His wife, who has been his backbone all this time, stayed resilient and will-powered. Their life drastically changed, but they both refused to be reduced by it.

Their strong morale has helped them overcome various challenges they encountered. It also helped them withstood the storms that shook their life the moment Bret posted about the detected skin cancer on his body. He was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma – another Mt. Everest they yet have to conquer.

There may be something going on in their life right now, but no matter how gigantic their problems are, they believe they have everything they need. When a person learns to become resilient, he learns to embrace the broad spectrum of the human experience.

And that's how the Hart family has lived throughout the years - by moving forward despite the setbacks and reaching out to the goal before them. That no matter how much falls on them, they must keep on plowing forward because that is the only way to keep the roads clear.