This was filmed on April 29th, 2001 in Yonkers, NY
The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein
It runs at one hour and twenty-five minutes long
I reviewed Volume 1 last year, which you can view by clicking on the link below
They pick up where Volume 1 left off as they discuss Bret’s WCW deubt. Bret said that he still believes that Eric Bischoff had the best intentions while hiring him. He also said he was apprehensive regarding the backstage politics and worried about what he would be able to do from a creative standpoint.
He talks about speaking with Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan in WCW and said that they treated him well while he was there, which shocked him a bit as Bret said he was negative towards them in the WWF.
On his WCW debut, Bret said he found himself scratching his head from the day he started until he left and said the company did not have a clue on how to use him, something that Vince McMahon himself told Bret before he left the WWF.
When asked about the difference between the WWF and WCW locker rooms, Bret thought they were similar and the WWF was probably more “polished” as a whole. He then said the biggest difference was that one company had a direction (WWF) while the other (WCW) did not.
Bret said he did try to bring Owen to WCW with him but he was locked into a five-year contract with the WWF and Vince would not let him out of that. Bret said Owen was under distress while working in the WWF after his departure. Bret said that Bischoff offered to give Owen the same amount of money as Vince was giving him but that Vince gave him Owen extra money and it became a “game” after that which was one by the WWF.
Bret then talks about how Vince Russo called him and said that Vince McMahon had to do what he did regarding the “Montreal Incident.” Bret told him how that was not the case as he could have dropped the belt on any of the dates that he had left, even losing to Shawn Michaels on the way out. Almost immediately after that, Vince McMahon called up Bret, who said McMahon was listening the whole time during his call with Russo, and told Bret that if he interfered on Owen’s business again he would sue him for everything he has with a smile on his face. Bret said he calmly told Vince if he had any integrity he’d let Owen out of his contract. Bret said that was the last time he spoke to Vince until Owen’s funeral and after that never thought much of Vince Russo again.
When asked why they dropped his feud with Ric Flair, Bret said WCW would tell you one thing and completely drop it the next day, stating they didn’t know a good idea from a bad one.
Bret talks about suggesting to re-form the Hart Foundation with Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit but WCW quickly rejected the idea.
He then talks about pitching an idea in which he’d wear a steel plate underneath his hockey jersey in order to counter the spear from Bill Goldberg, which would set up for a feud between the two. Bret credits Kevin Nash for the idea. Bret presented it to Goldberg, who thought it was great. He then went to Bischoff, who also loved it but said Goldberg needed to be sold on the idea. Bret told him he already did that as Bischoff told Bret they had to build him up. Bischoff went away to France then the company had Bret put over Booker T in California, something that Hart did not mind doing, but felt it was the wrong time seeing as they were going to keep him strong for Goldberg. Bret even said he would have loved to “properly” put over Booker T but this was not the time for that. Bret then said they wanted him to job to show everyone else in the locker room that he was all “business” then talks about how he’d show up to shows and be put in random matches while he was jobbing before his match against Booker T. They went to Toronto one day where Bischoff wanted Bret to get on the mic and tell off the Canadian fans for not being behind him as Bret was dumbfounded, saying you could hear fans from the dressing room chanting his name. Bret then refused as Bischoff said Hogan came up with an idea in which they do the spear angle with Goldberg then walks out and beats up Bret in order to start a Hogan/Goldberg angle. Bischoff said he thought this was good as it would “Shock” people as Bret said this proved Bischoff knew nothing about the wrestling business because of how little sense it made. After that, Bischoff told Bret he would have to go with him to speak with Hogan, who said that Bret was right and he did not need to be part of that angle. Bret then talks about feeling bad for Goldberg as a lot of guys were pulling him in different directions.
Bret said the only good thing he did in WCW was his match in Kansas City against Chris Benoit.
He talks about how after he was hurt and out after Owen’s death there was a plan for him to be built up and eventually beat Hogan for the title. However, he went to TV and found out they had no plans then was told he would be part of the guys breaking up a backstage brawl between Sting and Lex Luger. Bret then went to Bischoff and told him this was the idea for his big return then Bischoff changed plans and had Bret do an interview to start the show. This all took place ten minutes before they were airing. Bret then asked Bischoff what he wanted him to talk about and after he cut the promo and returned backstage, Bischoff told him it was “too heel” as Bret said he felt like saying “fuck you” for not coming up with an idea for his return and telling him to do something just before they went to air, with little to no direction. When asked, Bret denied this was malicious on the part of WCW but rather due to their ineptness.
On how he found out about Owen’s death, Bret said he was on a plane to head over to the “Tonight Show” to do a bit when he found out. Bret said Vince should have stopped the show, stating there was no way he should have let it go on, even adding that if it was “little Stephanie” that dropped from the ceiling that Vince would have cancelled it on the spot.
Bret said that he did not like the episode of RAW that was after Owen’s death. He does not disagree with what the guys said about Owen but said it was not the right place to say that and how it shouldn’t be used to get ratings. Bret also said it was not a fitting tribute and “reeked of pro wrestling,” saying it was something a slimy pro wrestling promoter would do for business. He said that a separate tribute show later on with his best matches and segments mixed in with some comments from wrestlers would have been a better idea.
He then talks about how he feels insulted that people think the grudge he has against the WWE is solely due to what happened in Montreal as he never had any regrets about leaving the company. Bret said that it pales in comparison to what happened with Owen then talks about how the WWF is the slimiest company in the world, along with Jerry McDevitt. He accuses them of “dividing and conquering” his family regarding Owen’s death as they were throwing money around to some of them and that caused conflict between everyone.
Bret talks about getting a call from Carl DeMarco that Vince wanted to meet with him around the time of Owen’s funeral. Bret said that he did not want to meet with him in a hotel room and suggested a park. DeMarco called back and said Vince doesn’t want to meet him at a park because he was afraid of getting hurt and that prompted Bret to ask why would Vince even want the meeting in the first place if he was afraid of getting attacked. Vince finally agreed and they met at the park where Bret told him that Owen’s wife Martha was likely going to file a lawsuit and that he was wrong for continuing the show after his death. Bret also said he was instructed by Martha’s lawyers to not talk about Owen. Feinstein then asks him about Vince’s comments from “Off the Record” where he said Bret was cold and “sat their like a skeleton” because he did not once talk about Owen as Bret says that goes to show you they type of person Vince really is after he told him about not being able to discuss Owen due to legal matters. Bret then talks about how he would have loved to discussed Owen then states how it was tough to just have a casual conversation, telling Vince to try and have a casual conversation after Shane McMahon just fell to his death.
Regarding his match in Kansas City against Benoit, Bret said that was his idea. He talked about Benoit being close to Owen and how he wanted to put Benoit over but everyone else wanted Bret to win so they went with that. Bret also said he wanted the match to go for an hour. He then credits Benoit for making him look good in that match.
On learning that Goldberg made comments about not taking responsibility for ending his career, Bret said lets see what happens to Goldberg if he kicks him the same way. He recalls Goldberg denying responsibility for injuring Haku when he dropped him on his head. Bret talks about the injury and how he saw stars and after getting kicked, Goldberg messed up a ringpost figure-four and got dropped on his head. After the match, Bret said no one checked on him or even helped him out and he stumbled to the hotel and worked Goldberg the next night and talks about taking all sorts of bumps on his head by taking powerbombs from Nash and Sid Vicious. He said he was seeing stars and a silver color at this time. Bret said that Goldberg never called him up after ending his career and how he was having memory problems and has luckily resolved most of that.
He talks some more about his concussion and how he saw doctors that worked with the NHL and CFL, not just some quack doctor. Bret then talks about how you can come off like you are fine, referencing his first interview with RF Video, and how for several months he was struggling and remembers breaking down and crying while watching a shaving commercial. Bret said you think you are okay afterwards and he would have went back to work in WCW had he not seen these doctors. He also said he stopped talking to his wrestling friends on the phone as he would be incoherent and unable to follow the conversation.
Bret is then asked if he will ever be able to work again as a wrestler. He said never but might be able to as a manager or something like that.
Regarding the Dynamite Kid’s book, Bret said that he does not hold any resentment towards him for that but said a lot of his facts were wrong and that he was bitter and likely dealing with alcohol problems. Bret refutes a story in the book that he wrestled Abdullah the Butcher, stating he had never wrestled him once in his life. Bret then said that Dynamite was one of the best wrestlers in the world and when you take that and now see him in a wheelchair and start throwing names of other wrestlers at him you will probably be bitter too. Bret was not happy Dynamite spoke negatively about his father though, even saying that it broke Stu’s heart.
On Vince buying WCW, Bret said that he doesn’t want to be the guy who says that its the end of wrestling because that is not the case. However, he does say that its the end of any chance the wrestlers have at forming a union as now they have no bargaining position and never will.
He wishes his nephew Teddy Hart luck while working in the MatRats company. Bret talks about seeing some of that promotion and enjoyed pieces of it but said his dad got up and left, saying he did not want to see someone break their neck wrestling that style. Bret said this wrestling was not for him but does put over their athleticism. Bret then says he would rather watch UFC than pro wrestling today, citing how its more exciting to watch guys battling over a move.
Bret says that he is working on a book, saying he doesn’t want it to be “negative” or “dark” but rather wants to be honest and talk about friendship. He says a lot of wrestling books you want to “flush down the toilet” with Mankind’s book being the exception. Bret says that he is happy with what he has written so far and talks about how he can incorporate all sorts of stories about legends from the past.
On guys like Flair and Hogan who seemingly cannot leave the wrestling business, Bret said that wrestling was his job and he does not need the business. He would even like to open a wrestling school but said can not even take a bump anymore so he does not think that will ever happen.
Bret talks about wrestling today and how he does like it, citing he tried to watch RAW and saw Stephanie McMahon “trying to take someone’s top off.” Bret says that today’s product is “horseshit” compared to the stuff like the glory days of the AWA and Stampede Wrestling, which is what he was watching at this time. Bret also says today’s WWF is too choreographed.
His one regret in wrestling is that he could not stop what happened to Owen, saying that is where any bitterness he has comes from. Bret talks about Owen would work as hard as he could in order to come home and see his family. Bret says that he is lost the opportunity to discuss anything about his life or career with Owen anymore. Bret says that he has no one else to reminisce with anymore as Davey Boy is gone and that Neidhart has had a rough time. He does say that Brian Knobbs calls him a lot and he speaks with Brian Adams (Crush) along with a few guys in the WWF that he does not want to name.
The thing he misses about wrestling the most is being with his friends. He also misses being in the locker room. Bret then says the only two people in wrestling he has bad feelings towards are Shawn Michaels and HHH.
Final Thoughts: I thought this interview was excellent. Bret was very candid about his feelings towards Vince on his handling of Owen’s death. I know a lot of us joke about Bret and how he is in love with himself but the way Owen died really tore his family apart and that has to be just brutal to deal with. I don’t think I could be the same way if my sibling died like that.
Bret’s comments about WCW were good too. It’s not a secret the company was terribly organized during his tenure with the company but to hear about some of the ideas to build him up were either shot down or just forgotten about was eye opening. Bret did not have anything bad to say about the company either. And like he said, all the bitterness he has about wrestling is the result of Owen’s death. After listening to his interview here, I do believe that.
I also wondered what would have happened with Bret’s career if they were as advanced with concussions then as we are today. Its quite possible he would have been able to extend his career somewhere.
I recommend this interview. Its not too long and it holds your attention the entire way.
You can purchase the DVD of this shoot for $15 or a digital download copy for $7.99 by clicking on the links below
Next week I will be reviewing an installment of the “Guest Booker” series from Kayfabe Commentaries as guest Vince Russo talks about how he would book the InVasion angle.