Bruce Hart, brother of former WWE stars Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Owen Hart and the son of legendary Canadian promoter Stu Hart, was the guest on this week's In the Room podcast on VOC Nation. Bruce compared WWE's NXT efforts to the independent productions of yesteryear, criticizing the product offered by WWE in the present market.
In his heyday, Hart performed extensively in his father's Calgary-based Stampede Wrestling promotion and also played a role in some memorable WWE feuds, most recently serving as the special guest referee for Bret Hart's match against Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26. On the show, Bruce talked about his time in the business and also shared his thoughts regarding WWE's business practices and the current state of the industry.
Hart discussed how Vince McMahon's aspirations and strategies ended pro wrestling's "territory days" back in the 1980s, explaining his position that WWF's practices were detrimental to the business of pro wrestling. As previously noted by WrestlingINC, WWE purchased the video library for Stampede Wrestling in 2006.
"One of the biggest mistakes [WWE] made, among others, was going to inordinate lengths to get rid of these promotions. I'm not sure if they were insecure or afraid of them being a threat to them or whatever. The promotions like Stampede Wrestling — and there were a number of other ones that I was fortunate enough to visit … That was, and still is, one of the things that jeopardized the future of the wrestling business — them going out of their way to eliminate the smaller promotions, that's where all of the … talent was coming from."He further discussed WWE's NXT project, indicating that he is unimpressed with virtually every aspect of the project. He was unenthusiastic regarding NXT's training facilities and staff and even blasted some of WWE's young talent, without actually naming names.
"There's no substitute even if you've got the best trainers and training facility in the world, which they don't, I might add … In any other sport you still have to take raw material. In hockey, [you] develop it in junior hockey, in football you develop it in college or university or the CFL or wherever, in any other sport, even if you have the best talent at your disposal, and I might add that they don't. Half the guys that I see them developing are cr*p … You still need a place for people to hone their craft and learn how to do the subtle things; learn how to interact with each other, learn how to interact with fans, all this other, they don't have that. You take these NXT guys and it's laughable that you always see guys who have come up supposedly from NXT or from the minors in the last decade or so. You do a little research and find out that they were kicking around — Kevin Owens or Daniel Bryan or CM Punk — you'll find out they were training or wrestling in small indie circuits before they went to NXT …That's where they learned how to work."Interestingly enough, Bruce's brother Bret Hart is apparently still in good standing with WWE and was recently rumored to be in the running for a new spot with the company. As previously reported by Inquisitr, a number of sources indicated Bret would be cast as a judge on WWE Tough Enough after Hulk Hogan was dropped by the company following a controversy over Hogan's history of racist comments. The Miz ended up coming in as a judge after Hogan's release. Bret Hart has also praised WWE's NXT events in the recent past.
Also in the interview, Bruce shared some reminiscences of Stampede Wrestling and touched briefly on the deaths of Brian Pillman, Owen Hart, and Chris Benoit.
[Image via WWE]