I think we’ve all had our fill of obscure WWE heels? So I’ve decided that I will be covering bigger heels, and their adventures outside WWE. My first stop is Bret Hart and his first year wrestling in WCW. I’ve often heard about Bret being wasted in WCW but I think the people saying that are either Bret Hart fans or people who hated WCW. The truth is his WCW tenure was okay. He came to WCW on the night of their biggest Pay Per View ever. He even had a hand in the WCW World Title match by throwing out Hogan’s win and restarting the match. He now had exposure to the WCW fans.
His babyface career in WCW began with a feud against Ric Flair. Flair was still the best in the eyes of most WCW fans while Bret was the greatest technical wrestler coming in from the WWE. Both men had a history so this was a ready-made feud, and Bret beat Flair, twice, each time getting the win with a clean submission victory.
After his feud with Flair, WCW could not keep Hart away from an NWO angle. He was put in a series of matches with his friend, and now turned NWO foot solder, Brian Adams. This was a total betrayal because Adams was one of Bret’s biggest supporters after Montreal, and followed Bret to WCW. The Adams mini feud led to Hart’s next obvious opponent, Curt Hennig.
After Bret beat Hennig, he was running out of good competition, and so Bret Hart decided it was time to turn heel. During a World Title match between Randy Savage and Hollywood Hogan, Bret got involved in the match. Hart attacked Savage, costing him the World Title. Bret was a unique character because while he allied with NWO Hollywood, he never officially joined. He became Hogan’s tag partner of choice and this led to he and Hogan taking on Roddy Piper and Randy Savage in a series of matches throughout the Spring of 1998. He was the only non-NWO member in Hogan’s inner circle.
During the summer of ’98, Bret was the WCW United States champ. While Goldberg was fighting Ming and Lodi, Bret was putting on great matches with guys like Lex Luger and DDP. He attacked a fellow Dungeon Alum, Chris Benoit, for the fun of it and the fans got another great match. By this time Bret decided it was time to turn into a real WCW heel, and tell Sting that he wanted to be friends. Sting enjoyed the company of his new friend, and even they even teamed up against Bret’s in-laws, the British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart. Sting finally found someone he could trust. Everything looked good for WarGames ’98, but Bret turned on Sting by the end of the PPV, and a match at Halloween Havoc was made.
Bret beat Sting at Halloween Havoc, while Goldberg scored the pin over DDP. Around this time Tony Schiavone started talking about how Bret Hart had shelved Sting. Schiavone then said Hart had also shelved Randy Savage and Booker T. On WCW Saturday Night, Mike Tenay mentioned that Bret was piling up injured opponents. They mentioned how Hart was ducking Goldberg. This was never mentioned again until WCW was in Toronto. I thought it would’ve been cool to have WCW count all of the wrestlers Bret crippled, the same way they counted Goldberg’s wins. I guess that was what my inner fanboy thinking.
It took a Canadian to bring prestige to The WCW United States Championship, but Bret would lose the belt to Roddy Piper. The NWO was pretty much dead at this point, and Bret was gearing up for his mega push in Toronto. Well since it’s WCW, they just forgot about Hart for most of the show until Bret came to the ring to call out Goldberg. Of course, Goldberg answered the call and came out. Almost as soon as Goldberg entered the ring, Hitman got in his face and started being a real dick. Goldberg speared Bret, but neither man moved. Finally Bret pushed Goldberg’s limp body off him, and counted his own pin over Goldberg. Bret Hart would tell Eric Bischoff that he quit. We all know that Bret would be back because he told Eric Bischoff he quit, and not WCW President Ric Flair, although that cool loophole was never used.
In retrospect, Bret Hart was treated well during this time. He held the US Title for 5 months, beating most opponents by submission. He got to be tag partners with Hollywood Hogan, who was still the biggest name in wrestling. He headlined Souled Out against Flair, sharing the main event with Randy Savage vs Lex Luger. Which was okay for two reasons; first being that Souled Out was supposed to be an NWO PPV, and second being that the NWO had main evented pretty much every big event since Bash at the Beach ’96. Bischoff still saw the NWO as their cash cow, the same way WWE now sees Cena.
I think Bret turning heel the first time was because he needed more competition, and it worked well enough. WCW was known for being booked like an indy fed because almost every WCW booker was from the old territory days. WCW was fine if you just sat back and watched it without freaking out about Judy Bagwell, or the Kiss Demon, or the fact that Hogan and Nash were dicks.
British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart vs Curt Hennig and Bryan Adams.
Bret Hart pins Goldberg.
Fun with Stinger
This has been Forever Heel … 4 Life.
Tags: Bret Hart, curt hennig, Eric Bischoff, nWo, Randy Savage, WCW, WWF