Well, it goes without saying that I’ve not posted on this, my own creation, for a long, long time with any frequency. Whilst it’s a nice boost to my ego that people pay me to waffle about stuff, now and again I just have the need to write under nobody’s umbrella. I’m not saying there’s restrictions in place, I’m not saying there’s people stood over me… no, this right now is just me at my most naked, simply me, talking from the heart, spewing my guts out. And the topic right now is Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
I know, I know, this is a film and TV website for the most part of it. But let’s be realistic here, this is a site that has not rarely been regimented for a year or so now. This is the website that was a fantastic learning tool for me – it still is – but it’s my website, meaning it’s my tool to play with. And right now I’ve had some truly horrible news in regards to one of the true heroes of my life, the Excellence of Execution, Bret Hart.
In case you hadn’t guessed it, yes, I’m a wrestling fan. Fuck your sports entertainment, I grew up on a diet full of pro wrestling. This was men against men, some good guys, some no-good sorts, but it all made relative sense and it all made for you want to see more of it. I was born in 1982, meaning I had the mantra (one I still stick by) of my heroes being Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, British Bulldog and Luke Skywalker… and also Marty Jannetty.
I watched wrestling from an early age, and whilst watching Warrior vs Hogan at Wrestlemania VI was one of my first massive, massive, distinctive memories of professional wrestling, it was the sight of Bret Hart at Wrestlemania VIII that really hit me hard. To me, Bret was on death’s door, he was beat, he was beaten worse than anyone had ever been beat. This was a Hitman who was dripping blood, which had a neon glow amongst the pink attire and the dark, sleek hair – this was the first time in my life, as someone who’d watched wrestling from the age of 3 or 4, that I had really, really thought someone was seriously injured or may even… die! And this, as I got older, became a common theme: Bret Hart made me believe.
I’d like to think that regardless of Bret Hart then I’d still enjoy wrestling, but if it wasn’t for Bret then I honestly don’t think I could ever claim to love wrestling. But love professional wrestling, I do. Whilst I was always a believer in pro wrestling, it was only the sight of a bloodied Hitman at Wrestlemania VIII that made realise how truly brutal wrestling could be (well, y’know, bar the tables, chairs, thumbtacks, and the rest of the weapons). But even after that, past the age of the nudges and the winks (damn that kayfabe!), it was still Bret that had me believing.
As a 33-year-old man, I still find myself looking to Bret as a figure, not only of inspiration, but of calm. It was only this past Saturday that I’d had a truly shit, horrible time in work, as we all do, and so my reaction to that was to get home, pour a whiskey, and then put on Bret vs. Mr Perfect from SummerSlam ‘91. If I’m honest, I actually preferred Bret vs. Perfect at King of the Ring ’93. Yes, the SummerSlam match itself was far superior and it was the first step on the ladder for Bret’s single career, but as a fan, on a personal level, the KoTR match was a greater grin-bearer. The pre-match promo of the face vs. face contenders, with a few subtle heel lines from Perfect, and then the handshake and well wishes at the end… yeah, I can watch those moments over and over again. And I sit here right now, locked away in my own abode, with an awesome oil painting of Bret and the winged eagle looking over me. But I’m not here to talk about Bret Hart as a wrestler.
Today I heard some news that hit me like a bullet through the heart. Bret Hart has prostate cancer. Bret Hart. The Excellence of Execution. The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be. Yep, that Bret Hart. My Bret Hart. The man who, to me, was the soul of my childhood, was the greatest single person to ever partake in a sport (err, sports entertainment) that I’d ever seen. Like one of many, Bret was my guy, our guy. That’s the great thing, The Hitman was, and is, truly a man of the people.
When the average person of a certain age thinks wrestling, they immediately think Hulk Hogan. To another generation, that magical wrestling word conjures up instant images of John Cena. I’m not doubting Hulkamania or the Cenation, but I’ve never chomped vitamins, said prayers, and my hard days of training have been minimal, but, for some reason, I’ve always been about a greasy guy in pink and black lycra who busts his ass and made his craft truly believable.
So yeah, I’m a wrestling fan, and so many of my wrestling memories, my life memories, revolve around a certain man in pink ‘n’ black. SummerSlams, Wrestlemanias, King of the Rings, or just Colisuem Video bouts against Skinner, Bret “The Hitman” Hart always made you believe in his story, making him the best there is, there best there was, and the best there ever will be. Now let’s hope he gets better and kicks the ass of that bastard known as cancer.
Andrew J. Pollard