Del ‘The Patriot’ Wilkes has lifted the mask on his 1997 feud with Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart and what it was like working with ‘The Best There Is, The Best There Was, And The Best There Ever Will Be.’
Following a short stint in the World Wrestling Federation between 1991-1992 where he was used as The Trooper in Dark Matches and live events, as well as a brief stint in World Championship Wrestling in the mid-nineties where he teamed with Marcus Alexander Bagwell under the name Stars and Stripes, The Patriot found his way back home in 1997.
Arriving back in the WWF in summer of 1997, The Patriot was immediately pushed into the main event against WWF Champion Bret Hart and used as the foil for the anti-American star who was bashing the country with every promo.
Standing up for his homeland, The Patriot challenged Hart and shocked the world when he pinned the champion in a non-title bout on the July 28. This afforded the masked powerhouse a shot at the coveted prize which he received at Ground Zero: In Your House just over one month later.
Though he was unsuccessful and forced to submit to the legendary Sharpshooter, Wilkes received a third crack at ‘The Hitman’ at Badd Blood: In Your House in a tag team match. Again the result was the same. The Patriot and Vader lost to Bret Hart and The British Bulldog.
Now, the man behind the mask has sat down with Dr. Chris Featherstone on Sportskeeda’s UnSKripted to discuss his time in the main event, working with Bret Hart and if the company ever seriously considered him for WWF Champion.
Quizzed about working with ‘The Excellence of Execution’ on pay-per-view, Wilkes had nothing but praise for arguably the greatest technician this industry will ever see: