Bret Hart Takes Center Stage on Byte This!

Byte This
November 16th, 2005 – wwe.com
Hosted by: Todd “I’m not John, Dammit!” Grisham

The show opens with Todd in the studio. It’s a cold open for the show this week due to the loss of Eddie Guerrero. No doubt, he’s still on the minds of all wrestling fans alike as we head into the Holiday season. I’ve been pretty numb all week, just sort of coasting along waiting for the rest of the Eddie Tribute this Friday night on Smackdown. I miss Eddie as much the next hardcore fan, but with time will come closure.

I’ve been waiting for this edition of Byte This since it was announced a couple of weeks ago that The Hitman would be making his triumphant return to WWE produced programming. Back in the day, in my teens, Bret Hart was the MAN! The Excellence of Execution was the dominant WWF champion in the 90’s and I was and still am a mark for the Best There Is, the Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be…

The Grish says the WWE has received over 100,000 emails for Eddie and his family in the last 24 hours since his passing. Apparently there was so much traffic to the main site that it made the servers crash! The emails are going to be sent to Eddie’s wife, Vicki.

It’s obvious that we love Eddie, the Grish tells us, but we should know that Eddie loved us just as much. Oh, how sweet. Todd tells us a story from a couple of years ago at Wrestlemania 20 – while Eddie was the defending WWE Champion – in which he shared a limo ride with Guerrero from a hotel to a Planet Hollywood appearance. When Eddie climbed into the limo her was exhausted due to coming back from touring overseas. But, like all great showmen, once he got out of the limo to make his appearance, he seemed like a different person, a fresh man. Whenever Eddie saw his fans, his face would just light up.

A new video package of Eddie is played. It reminds for the hundreth time this week how much I am going to miss Eddie’s presence in this business.

A commercial of sorts for the Hitman 3 DVD collection

Back inside in cozy Conneticut, we find The Grish sitting alongside Bret. Wow, Bret is back. It’s surreal even writing this after everything that’s happened in the last 8 years…Bret looks, well, older to say the least. Considering what he’s gone through over the years though, the losses he’s incurred and his stroke. He’s at least alive and seemingly happy.

Right off the bat Todd asks Bret about Eddie. Bret says the media likes to sensationalize how great a person was after they pass away, but Eddie “lived up to everything that everyone’s saying about him.” Bret – a man of few words. It’s probably a good thing he doesn’t go to in-depth concerning Eddie. He barely knew him, compared to some of his contemporaries.

Bret starts talking about the DVD. He says he’s shown it to a few people and they feel it’s a great production. Todd asks The Hitman how the DVD came to be. Bret says he and the company had been talking about it for a while. Once Bret got involved in the project it began to take a different direction, and began to focus more on the positive side and less on the negative side to Bret’s career. Bret says he had a great career and wanted to be remembered for that. He feels this DVD is a nice way of giving back to the fans, who will in turn pad his checkbook.

The Todd asks Bret how his relationship with Vince is currently doing? Hart says there were a few rocky spots, but they now have an open dialogue. Bret says the WWE did everything they could to keep him happy during this project and it has the Hitman’s blessing.

Todd asks about Bret’s current health status and if we’ll ever see Bret lace up his boots one more time. We all know that’s not going to happen. The whole Bret will never wrestle again mantra has been ingrained in our brains, unfortunately. Bret says his overall health is pretty good, but can’t get back into the ring for anything. Bret says that he left the wrestling business under circumstances that were beyond his control. He’s also as proud of his last match as he was with his first, and is glad he didn’t leave wrestling on a decline. They cut to some clips of Bret during the Stampede part of his career. A young, hungry Bret. Bret is glad the DVD’s have footage from his days in WWE and WCW as well as the early stuff.

Bret says he chose to wrestle, but deep down you get the impression he was also very encouraged to do so by his domineering family and that Stu wanted all of his sons to wrestle.

Bret says that the Hart Foundation was probably the strongest group in pro wrestling. He said that no member ever argued, and mentions that Jim Neidhart enjoyed the DVD as well. He said that without the Hart Foundation and without Jim “The Anvil”, then the Hitman would have never existed. Anvil helped cover-up for Bret’s lackluster promo abilities, while Bret got things done in the ring.

The Grish asks Bret if he still watches wrestling – which I think is a stupid question to ever ask someone like Bret who lives and breathes the business, whether he ever admits to it or not. Bret says he click through the channels every now and then. I’m thinking Bret’s one of those guys who sits around watching old tapes, new tapes and anything wrestling while waiting for RAW, Smackdown and Impact to come on or anything from Japan he can get his friends to send him. Bret is no different than most of us. A big wrestling mark.

Todd asks Bret what he thinks of the current wrestling product and who he enjoys watching? Bret ignores the first part of Todd’s question and goes right into Loving Kurt Angle mode. He likes Kurt because of his old-school style of wrestling. Bret also puts over Eddie Guerrero again, whom he never got the chance to wrestle and says he would wrestle Chris Benoit no matter the time or the place. Bret also puts over Rey Rey and Batista and says he’d look real good in a Sharpshooter.

A break gives us the old Bret commercial where he’s backstage, on his way to the ring and gives a kid his sunglasses. Very inspirational. Very WWF circa mid 90’s. I love it!

The Grish asks Bret about the sunglasses. He says he doesn’t have any left anymore. And that originally, the sunglasses helped him seem more fierce while giving promos for the Hart Foundation. His eyes were complete giveaways to his heel persona.

A caller wants to know what The Hitman is up too lately and if he’ll be coming to visit Pittsburgh in the future? Bret doesn’t know when or if he’ll ever be in Pittsburgh, but he says it’s a nice city and similar to Canada. While Bret does have some travel plans – like to Florida for the TNA tapings(cough cough) – he doesn’t wish to be a slave to his suitcases and hotels anymore.

A caller asks Bret if would ever consider coming back to wrestling as a Manager? Bret says he considers it every now and then, but wants to be remembered as a wrestler, not as a referee or a manager. I still think Bret will be back someday in some way, shape or form. Only time will tell…

Todd asks Bret who he would have a mach with out of everybody if he could? Bret says it would be Kurt Angle, because of his style. He’d want to work with Batista and Cena, also.

The Grish asks Bret who he prefers to see dominate in the ring, big guys like Batista and The Big Slow or the little guys. Bret preferred working with the medium sized guys, like Mr. Perfect and The British Bulldog because of their speed, power and flexibility. He could always have good matches with them.

Todd asks Bret if anyone else executes the Sharpshooter correctly. Bret states that Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle have come the closest.

Todd asks The Hitman where his catchphrases came from. Bret credits Gorilla Monsoon with dubbing him the Excellence of Execution and the “Best There Is..” comes from a Paul Newman movie called the Natural. It was the perfect line to wrap up an interview and put across one’s point.

Grisham brings up Bret’s match he had against Stonecold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13 from Chicago. Bret says that most fans think it’s Bret all-around match. I’d personally say I enjoyed the Summerslam classics with Mr. Perfect and Davey Boy over the IC strap more. Bret puts Austin over saying they had a great respect for each other. Bret doesn’t blink while he mentions that wrestlings best storylines mix truth with fiction.

Time for Word Association with Bret Hart:

The Hart Family Dungeon – Bret thinks “Torture Chamber”
“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith – Bret says he misses him.
Steve Austin – A great adversary.
Ribbing – It makes Bret think of his brother Owen.
Life on the Road – Suitcases…damned suitcases. Could you imagine waiting for luggage like 7 times a week?
Others Using his Sharpshooter – Not the Excellence of Execution.
Eric Bischoff – A sweetheart and a good guy.
The Hart Foundation – The Greatest Tag Team there ever was.
Bruno Sammartino – A first class champion.
Stu Hart – A stretcher.
“Superstar” Billy Graham – A one of a kind
Dirt Sheets – Legitimate History.
Wrestlemania – The Super Bowl
The Hart Family – Still Standing
Kurt Angle – The Best There is, but not quite the best there was or ever will be.

Another caller asks if Bret will return to TV to give a farewell speech? Bret says he considers it, but after his stroke he doesn’t know how he would hold up under the pressure.

The Grish asks Bret if he misses the spot light? Bret does miss the fans, the cities he traveled through, and his wrestling buddies. But he doesn’t miss the spotlight. Bret mentions how he was the Champion of both WWE and WCW when he left due to circumstances beyond his control.

Bret addresses the back kick he took from Goldberg that sent him out of wrestling. He said the kick caught him at just the right angle on the back of his neck. It doesn’t look all that bad, but it’s the move that took his career away from him.

Caller asks Bret if any one opponent ever stands out as his best? Bret says he’s had many great opponents, and he wishes he could’ve worked with Stonecold or the Undertaker a few more times. But more than anyone else, Mr Perfect Curt Hennig, because of his impeccable record of safety in the ring. He says Hennig would always put his body on the line to protect his opponent.

Todd goes to his close and Bret thanks all his fans. He says the DVD is a tribute to his fans.

The Hitman’s music plays us out as Todd says Goodbye for them both.
Another fine edition of Byte This, and this show of course makes me – and YOU – want to run out and BUY the DVD right now! I think Bret did a nice job of staying on topic and the E is obviously saving the really good Bret shit for whenever he makes his return to RAW…which he WILL…it’s just a matter of when and where.

It’s been a tough week for us wrestling fan, enjoy Smackdown tonight and I’ll see you next week with my first Friday column along with the newest Byte This recap – and until then you can BYTE me!