It runs for two hours and thirty-three minutes
The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein
Hart said he became a fan when he went to visit his uncle in Southern Illinois and saw wrestling there. His favorite wrestler was Rip Hawk and Hart said that fifteen years later, he went on to become his manager.
He calls the program with Kevin Von Erich and Adams one of the stiffest programs ever. He said they had great matches together. After that ended, Gino Hernandez returned to team with Adams against Kevin & Kerry for another long feud that drew a lot of money.
Hart said that he loved working with the Freebirds. He says that Michael Hayes was a capable guy in the ring and doesnt get enough credit. He didnt mind working with Abdullah but said that he had a problem with losing.
When asked about Bruiser Brody, he said that Brody never trusted anyone due to being lied to by multiple promoters and think they got along because Hart was honest with them. He then talks about being able to work with guys who were known as being difficult because he was honest and would use them to the best of their abilities. When asked about Brody’s reputation of being difficult as told by Bobby Heenan and Nick Bockwinkle, Hart said that they would all flip out and get pissed if they were shorted on payoffs or asked to make someone else look good at their expense too but the difference is that Brody would beat the shit out of you.
He shoots down the story of KerryVon Erich allegedly throwing a saw blade at a cat, stating Kerry would never do that as he loved animals.
Hart said that he was not the type of manager for the WWF as they someone with a personality of Lou Albano or Bobby Heenan. Hart then said that the talent he managed knew that he would go to the office to get them what they wanted and if it failed, they would both go elsewhere. Hart admits to being very difficult and said there was hell to pay if he did not get his way, also making him a bad fit for the WWF. He said once he managed The Spoiler in Dallas, he had nothing but success.
He is asked about his last WCW run. At the time, Hart was in Dallas and said he was frustrated with Ken Mantell, who was the booker, because he did not like his ideas so he left. Once the Crockett’s sold to Turner, Al Perez left and they asked him if he could create another Great Kabuki character. They had Keiji Mutoh in mind and Hart said he wanted him to be different than Kabuki and said he wanted to make him the opposite and they made him the Great Muta.
Hart said that Al Perez was the greatest athlete he had ever managed. Rob tells Hart that they did a shoot with Al a few years ago then asks how he ended up disappearing from the business. Hart said that he lobbied for him to work with Ric Flair and the first night they were supposed to wrestle, Kevin Sullivan came to him and said Perez was going to shoot on Flair and take the belt. Hart then asked Perez if this was true and he said it was, because he thought he was the better wrestle and could shoot on him and take the belt, thus getting a bigger contract. Hart said he could not do this with him as he knew the Crocketts and told Sullivan it was indeed true and they came up with the idea that since Hart was not there in Perez’s corner, they could not have the match and after that, Perez was done. Hart said he hated to see that but he had a responsibility to the office and promotion and was the one who went to the office and pitched the idea.
When asked if he saw the tension behind the scenes between Flair and Rhodes, Hart said it was overblown and they had nothing to be upset about as they were making a ton of money.
He said when Dusty left WCW, there was no one else with experience to run the company and that is why it struggled.
Hart said he came up with the J-Tex corporation and it ended up clicking. He wanted to have a corporation-type of stable.
When asked about Sting, Hart said that he was a “selfish, egotistical bastard” and thought that wrestling owed him something and had no respect for the guys that helped put him over. He then says if you have seen one Sting match, you have seen them all. Hart said they developed the super hero persona that children and women loved and when he went to the crow Sting, the fans never wanted to see that.
Hart said that he liked Lex Luger a little more than Sting but called him a loner and that he also did not have respect for the business.
Rob tells Hart about Flair being instrumental in killing the Funk/Flair program. Hart disagreed and said that it was the committee who wanted to get back to the “Four Horseman,” which Hart called “older than his grandmother’s tits” and no one wanted to see that again.
When asked about putting the bag over Flair’s head on TBS, he said the phones lit up at TBS and he took most of the heat and said it was his idea .
Hart said that he was not involved in the booking during 1989, saying it was the committee. He only helped structure the matches of his guys.
He is asked about some of the other people that were there. Hart said that Heyman tried to overshadow the wrestlers he managed but thought he was okay. Regarding Buzz Sawyer, he said that he was terrific but when he was on drugs, he was impossible to deal with.
On how he left WCW, he had an incident at a show in Baltimore with some fans and Hart ended up slapping them. Gary Jester, the promoter of the building, kicked the guys out then they threatened to sue. Hart said that Jim Herd wanted him to go to court and admit that it was “fake” but Hart said that he was not going to do that and told Herd to “kiss his ass” and “go to hell” then quit and went back to Texas.
After WCW, Hart said that he stayed home with his family and said that while he loved wrestling, he hated the travel and said the locker rooms started to feel like prisons and while driving on the highway, he would see homes that had their lights on inside and wondered why he was not with his family. He then said while the people would just see that small glimpse of them on TV, they had no idea what they had to do in order to get to that point. He felt that he was missing his children as they grew up and wanted to be with them instead of calling his family from a hotel room.
Hart is asked how he wound up in MLW with Court Bauer. He was called if he wanted to be a part of the 15th anniversary of the “I Quit” match. From there, he became friends with Bauer and encouraged him to send his resume to the WWE. Hart said he helped teach Bauer how to conduct himself in the office setting and said he was the last guy he helped in the business. He then talks about independent promotions today and said he need to focus on a smaller amount of guys instead of the “bigger is better” mentality, noting that it is a more affordable way to run a company.
He talks about guys today in the independent scene who all look alike and use the same highspots and calls it boring. He then talks about the WWE and likes John Cena and Randy Orton and others who are very good but today there are fewer elite guys.
When asked about his favorite guys to manage, Hart listed off several like The Spoiler, Al Perez, and Gino Hernandez. He never hated anyone he managed and makes a point of saying how you do not want to go the extra mile for a guy that you hate. Rob asks him about the Ultimate Warrior, who Hart managed when he was called the Dingo Warrior, and Hart said that he was a wonderful guy who was always nice and respectful towards him.
If he was managing today, Hart said he could manage guys like HHH, Batista, and Orton. He talks about people ragging on HHH for marrying Vince’s daughter but said he is a tremendous performer. Hart said Batista is limited but reminds him of Road Warrior Hawk.
Hart talks about Vader, who he said had a problem dealing with people and was generally unhappy. Hart thinks he could have helped him and a guy like Sid Vicious as they were constantly having people in their ears talking them up and telling them what to do.
Rob asks him about the Missing Link and if he had a problem with him. Hart said that he did. When he was in World Class, Ken Mantell came back to the company. Hart was the matchmaker and while he was in the dressing room, Link came from behind and hit him in the back of the head. Hart thought nothing of it because he said wrestlers did all sorts of crazy shit. Link then hit him in the temple and knocked him off of the bench. Hart said that Link went over to pick him up but Hart reached in his pocket for his straight-edge razor, which he carried for protection, and started to cut Link, who Hart said ended up running away screaming like a bitch. Hart believes that Mantell put Link up to the attack.
He talks about wrestlers today and how the promoters control guys as there is nowhere else to go to make money and you can either stay with the WWE or go home.
When asked if he is surprised that Flair is still on TV today, Hart said that is sad. He follows that up by saying there is a life after wrestling and you do not have to continue to be your character and talks about how some guys can only identify themselves as their character. He feels bad for people like that. He does credit Flair for not cheating the fans out in his matches but still hates to see him out there and thinks it is time to hang it up when you reach your late 40’s.
Hart says that the guys to write the “dirt sheets” try to represent themselves as legitimate reporters but said that not one of them has called him to ask about the Von Erich’s or even himself. He mentions how someone was sandbagging Muta, stating he needed a job, and kept on writing that. He calls them “gossip columnists” and not legitimate news people.
When asked about playing ribs, Hart said he did not like them and said they are disruptive and embarrassing.
He says that independent workers today do not know how to work a match from beginning to end as they do not know how to make the crowd part of the match. He says that you cant go on the top rope and say look at me and expect the crowd to care. Hart said the art of involving the crowd into the match is lost and that is why wrestling is suffering.
Hart says that he does not blame Chris Benoit’s death on steroids but the media jumped on it, like they do with other things, and calls them the “biggest bunch of whores” ever invented. He says they can care less about what kind of slander they bring. He said blaming Vince for Benoit is like blaming him for the death’s of the Von Erich’s, Gino Hernandez, and Chris Adams.
He says that he has no regrets at all about his career and talks about how he grew up on the streets of Chicago with little education and got involved in wrestling and got to travel the world and make a lot of money.
Hart closes by thanking the fans, stating that if not for them, they would not be able to do what they did. Hart then said he enjoyed the interview.
Final Thoughts: I liked this interview a lot. Sure, Hart came across a bit arrogant but so have a lot of others that had far less talent or have accomplished a lot less. Throughout the interview, he provided a ton of insight abut what he did and displayed a lot of knowledge about the business, making excellent points throughout. Hart also gave off a relaxed vibe her and not once seemed bitter and as he mentioned, he left the business because he wanted to stay home with his family, not because he could not find a way out. He did a lot of wonderful things in his career, especially in World Class.
The part that really stood out for me was when he recalled what happened in the plane crash. It was amazing what he was able to do and it was chilling to hear the events that occurred. To save lives in a situation like that is amazing and I give him all of the credit in the world to be able to stay calm and think the way he did.
Hart was not afraid to hold back and that was refreshing too. He admits that he was not into getting fucked up or pulling pranks so do not expect to hear a lot of that here. Hart came across as a no-nonsense type of guy in a big way. He also showed a lot of affection towards the Von Erich boys and really seemed to genuinely care for them. I do recommend this interview, especially if you are a fan of World Class, but be warned, the beginning is about territories in Chicago and Detroit from the early 1960’s that most people are not that familiar with.