Bret Hart has revealed that he turned down a surprising pitch from WWE early on in his career.
After proving himself appearing for his father’s Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, interspersed with stints with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Bret Hart made his way to the WWF.
The would-be World Champion made his televised debut in August 1984, going on to join The Hart Foundation stable the following year. What followed was a career which established Hart as one of the greatest technical wrestlers in history, and made him a national hero in the eyes of Canadian fans. Even when Hart was a heel in the United States during the 1990’s, he still received a hero’s welcome whenever he performed in his home nation.
However, Hart has revealed that the WWF actually wanted him to abandon his Canadian heritage on television and present him as an American. Despite it only being early days with his run in the company, Hart told SportsNet that he stuck to his guns and insisted on being presented as Canadian.
“When I first went to WWE, they wanted me to say I was from America,”
And I remember going, ‘I’m Bret Hart from Calgary.’ That’s where I’m from, that’s where I want to be from. I stuck to my guns and made them. I stayed ‘Bret Hart from Calgary’ with my dad’s history which eventually got worked into my storylines about The Dungeon and growing up in the Hart family.”
Hart continued, explaining that he was always very aware that no matter what character he was playing in the United States he wanted to be a hero in Canada.
“I was always mindful that I needed to be a hero in Canada,” the Hitman said. “I need fans in Canada to go, ‘Yeah that was cool what Bret Hart did, I still back him even though he cheated last night.’”
After a glittering career which has seen Bret Hart inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice, he was also recently honoured in his homeland, with an induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame.