WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend Bret “The Hitman” Hart has left an impression on the industry that will be felt for many decades to come. The wrestling icon is the fifth triple crown champion of WCW, and the second triple crown champion in the WWE. Bret Hart was known as the “Excellence of Execution,” and he delivered every move he performed in a snug and believable manner. More than just understanding the moves of professional wrestling, his in-ring psychology is paralleled by few.
For many years, “The Best There Is, the Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be” wrestled as a face. Prior to his face turn, the former WWE champion wrestled as a heel, but when he became a “good guy,” he became a hero to many fans worldwide. Eventually, Bret Hart made another heel turn and formed the new Hart Foundation with members Brian Pillman, The British Bulldog, Owen Hart, and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. What made their group unique was that they were heels in the United States, but in nearly every other country, especially Canada, they were faces.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports, the Canadian native explained how Vince McMahon convinced him to turn heel, and how the late Big Van Vader had an influence on his decision. Bret Hart told Sky Sports that he worried about losing his fan base when Vince McMahon wanted him to turn heel.
“The Hitman” commented that he took pride in being a worldwide hero, like John Cena in WWE today. And like John Cena, the WWE universe wanted something different from Bret Hart. Hart said that Vince asked him for five minutes and that McMahon would talk him into it. Initially, the WWE Hall of Famer wasn’t interested in the turn, but as Sky Sports reported, Hart explained why he changed his mind.
“He talked me into it pretty fast because my option as a good guy was that I was going to wrestle Vader for the next year. That was going to be brutal, and I was thinking ‘anything but Vader.’ So, the heel turn was a difficult choice to make, and I remember Vince stressed to me – and I wonder whether that was the beginning of them trying to tear me down – that ‘you are going to be a hero everywhere else except the United States.'”
The fact that the WWE Hall of Famer didn’t want to be in a program with Van Vader reveals just how imposing the legendary wrestler was. Vader was known as one of the stiffest workers in the ring, and a year-long program with “The Mastodon” probably wasn’t that appealing for most wrestlers. “The Hitman” heel turn ended up working, and rather than tearing Bret Hart down, he had one of his most successful runs in the WWE.