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Bret Hart On His 1997 Heel Turn: “I’m Not Sure I’ve Even Been Forgiven In Pittsburgh”

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Across the years there have been countless heel turns in professional wrestling. Some are a momentous point in history. Others simply fall by the wayside, forgotten to all who witnessed them. Arguably the most heartbreaking and scandalous was that of Bret Hart.

Maybe the most alarming act treachery occurred on March 27, 1997, at WrestleMania XIII when Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin underwent a double-switch during their Submission Match and for the first time in seven years ‘The Excellence of Execution’ turned his back on the fans.

With Ken Shamrock serving as the special guest referee, Hart and Austin worked their way to arguably the most dramatic and memorable finale of all time when the Canadian locked his bloodied foe in the Sharpshooter and eventually claimed victory when ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ passed out.

The torture didn’t end there. After Shamrock has awarded the match to Hart, ‘The Pink and Black Attack’ proceeded to wail away on his unconscious foe to the jeers of the audience.

What followed in the weeks and months after was a storyline the likes of which had never been seen before. Bret Hart and his Hart Foundation were heels to the American audience, but heroes and idols to Canadians everywhere.

This was never more apparent than at WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede on July 6, 1997, when The Hart Foundation were treated like superheroes by their hometown fans while Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock and the usually beloved Legion of Doom were jeered out of the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Speaking to Sean Ross Sapp and Fightful, Bret Hart recalled the storyline which polarised fans from different countries. Speaking on his 1997 heel turn, Bret told the story of coming up with his promos himself and how much fun he had playing that character: