Bret Hart has recalled telling WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to hire a star that would go on to become a WWE Hall Of Famer and change the business forever.
In the mid-nineties, Bret Hart led a New Generation of WWF Superstars through a turbulent time in the company. Speaking on WWE’s The Bump, The Hitman discussed looking outside the company for new blood and thinking he saw something special in a certain Steve Austin:
“I thought Steve was someone to be reckoned with before he ever got to WWE. I saw him in WCW, and I think he went to ECW for a time. I remember when he jumped from WCW and ended up in ECW, I actually went into Vince’s office and go ‘Why didn’t they get this guy? Why didn’t someone grab him when he was available?’”
“I remember I had this conversation with Vince a lot. I thought it would be really good for me to wrestle him. A week later, he was sitting in the dressing room.”
Austin joined the World Wrestling Federation in and debuted in early 1996, first as The Ringmaster. By June of that year, Austin 3:16 was born at the King Of The Ring, and in November Stone Cold Steve Austin faced off one-on-one with Bret Hart at Survivor Series.
That classic match was followed up at WrestleMania 13 when Hart again defeated Austin in a Submission Match. Hart went on to say that he thinks himself and Austin had great matches and that he could see the megastar that the Texas Rattlesnake was about to become:
“Steve was a really great wrestler. He was on the cusp of great things. You could see Steve just getting better every week and sort of finding himself and getting more confident. He was reaching his peak of becoming the Superstar that he became. We had great matches and chemistry in the ring. I stand by all the matches I had with Steve.”