Bret Hart recently shocked fans, revealing he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Since that announcement, Bret has undergone successful surgery. With luck, the seven-time world champion is truly out of the woods.
Bret Hart has led a life full of triumph, heartbreak and contradictions. One of the last of the old-school workers and defenders of kayfabe, Bret inadvertently ended up exposing wrestling’s inner workings more than almost anybody. He was the principled voice of reason on TV, but often played the wild child behind the scenes. Ultimately, though, Bret was, above all else, a damn fine pro wrestler.
Bret Hart has led such a full life, I couldn’t possibly do all of it justice in a single article, so this one only covers up until the Montreal incident. Here’s a few facts you might not know about the early life and career of the man who truly was one of the best there ever will be…
Bret Hart grew up surrounded by wrestling bears, giants and fork-wielding maniacs.
Terrible Ted, the excellence of wrestling bear execution.
Bret Sergeant Hart was born July 2, 1957 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Bret was, of course, the son of the legendary grappler Stu Hart, which meant the lil’ Hitman got an even more potent dose of pro wrestling craziness than your average second generation wrestler. Bret was the eighth of 12 kids, and his dad Stu wasn’t just a former wrestler, he was an old-school wrasslin’ promoter whose sprawling territory was big enough to attract all the major stars, but backwoods enough that they still dealt in lot of pretty sketchy carny sh*t.
The Hart Family lived in a sprawling 20+ room mansion overlooking Calgary, and during the summers, the Hart Family home was often home to Terrible Ted, an honest to goodness, real live wrestling bear. All the Hart kids tell fond stories of hanging out on the porch eating Creamsicles and having Ted lick whatever they dripped off their feet. Of course, numerous wrestlers would also mosey through the Hart’s kitchen, including the likes of André the Giant and the cutlery-wielding Abdullah the Butcher (who got his first big break in Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling). Oh, and let’s not forget the basement was home to The Dungeon, where Bret’s dad would twist victims into screaming submission on a regular basis. So yeah, if you’ve ever wondered why most of the Hart kids ended up a little strange, well, wonder no longer.