Legendary professional wrestler Bret “The Hitman” Hart says he is honored to be the first in the sport to be inducted into Canadian Walk of Fame.
âIn WWE I’ve been in a Hall of Fame twice which has always meant a lot to me. But it’s bigger or bigger than that because it represents the whole country,â Hart told Your Morning on CTV Thursday.
Hart joins actor Keanu Reeves and Olympic champion Damian Warner as part of the 2021 Canadian Walk of Fame inductees.
During his 26-year in-ring career, the Calgary-born wrestler was a five-time WWE Champion and two-time World Championship Wrestling (WCW) heavyweight champion. His biography on the Canadian Walk of Fame says he has been credited with “changing the perception of traditional North American professional wrestling in the early 1990s by putting technical performance in the ring first.”
âA wrestling match is a story,â Hart said, noting that unlike other sports, spectacle and play is an important part of professional wrestling, in addition to track and field.
But while the outcome of the match was always predetermined by the organizers, it was up to the wrestlers themselves to develop the intrigues of everything that happened during the match.
âFor me, I’ve always been a storyteller. I always sat down with my opponent and told him what we were going to do,â he said.
As part of his script, Hart often donned a Canadian flag in the ring while espousing Canada’s superiority over American opponents, leaning into a fierce Canada-United States rivalry in wrestling.
âI think I will always remember being appreciated in the wrestling world for being the guy who could tell these great stories,â he said.
For many Canadian children who grew up in the 90s, Hart was their hero.
âBack when I was the World Champion in WWE, it’s part of your job to meet a lot of Make-a-Wish kids, to meet a lot of kids who have more serious issues than you do. could never imagine it, âHart said.
“It is a humbling thing to be a television hero like I have been for so many years on television every Saturday from Canada.”
Hart’s time in the fight was not without challenges. In 1997, at a WWE match in Montreal, organizers secretly changed the outcome of the match without telling Hart after he announced he was leaving the federation to join his competitor, WCW. This incident became known as the “Montreal Screwjob”.
After a career-ending concussion in a match, Hart retired from wrestling in 2000. In 2002, he also suffered a stroke that left him with total paralysis on his left side.
To enable him to overcome these challenges, Hart says he found strength in the wrestling hero character he created.
âThe wrestling hero that I described myself as someone that I finally became,â he said.
“I believed in that person and found strength in that person, didn’t I? I found strength in the fans who have cheered me on all these years and felt that they were always in my corner, that they always supported me. “