AS I SEE IT - 11/07/2001:
Wrestling's own Shakespearean Tragedy... The Harts

by: Bob Magee

It never seems to end.

Wrestling's own Shakespearean tragedy...filled with death, betrayal, and family conflict... the Hart family.

This Sunday, family matriarch Helen Hart died on at about 3:30 am MST, after the family made the decision to disconnect her respirator.

Mrs. Hart had been in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Calgary's Foothills Hospital since September 29th, suffering from what was first thought a stroke, then found to be a diabetic coma, then resulting complications from diabetes.

She briefly rallied for about a week but, then suffered another setback as her latest turn for the worse came on October 15th after Mrs. Hart suffered another seizure, and was forced to go on a respirator.

Only days before his mother's death, Bret Hart engaged in what may become yet another chapter in his perpetual personal war; responding to fairly benign remarks made during an online fanchat with former NWA Champion Jack Brisco.

Brisco was asked during the chat if anything comparable to the Survivor Series 1997 Bret Hart "Montreal screwjob" happened during his day.

"Not in the ring. They knew better!...And by the way, I thought Vince McMahon did the right thing by taking the belt off him. Bret Hart owed it [to] Vince McMahon, the other wrestlers and the WWF to do the time honored tradition.

What does it mean, 'I can't drop the belt in Montreal because I'm from Canada?' He's from Calgary!

That would be like me saying I couldn't drop the belt in Florida because I'm an American!"

Bret Hart then sent out the following remarks to his e-mailing list, with a personal attack on Jack and Jerry Brisco.

"...Jack Brisco shouldn't pass judgment on things he knows nothing about without first hand info - other than that which he gets from his deceptive brother, Jerry, who, in fact, had a large part in orchestrating how to screw me, under orders from McMahon; no more than I should make comments about how Ernie Ladd beat the crap out of the Brisco brothers in a parking lot, stuffed them into the trunk of his car and drove all over town with them, eventually dumping them out like trash at the promoter's house.

Or then again, maybe I don't know enough about it so I shouldn't say. At least Owen and I had more grit than that but then again Owen and I were certainly a much better class than the drunken, pill poppin' Brisco Brothers anyway.

When I knocked out Vince McMahon no less than ten former world champions each called me on the phone to tell me they were very proud of me. I certainly never needed a call from Jack Brisco.

Jack Brisco can kiss my ass..."

Ironically enough, the story about the Briscos has an interesting sort of tie to what occurred in Montreal.

Wrestling reports it this way: Frankie Cain (better known as the Great Mephisto) tells the story that in 1975 Ernie Ladd refused to drop the Florida title, after seeing TV cameras ready to tape the finish. Promoter Eddie Graham sent The Briscos after him later that night. Ladd apparently then handled himself physically as stated above.

It seems an interesting coincidence that Bret Hart quoted a story about someone who refused to do the "time honored tradition" as part of his self-serving tirade.

You have to wonder if Bret Hart will ever stop complaining about Vince McMahon and what happened in Montreal.

I didn't like what happened in Montreal. I said so in this column. I still hold that opinion. But that was four years ago. It's long past the time for him to Bret Hart to let go of Montreal.

It seems that Bret Hart blames Vince McMahon for Montreal, for the accident that happened to his brother Owen, for Bill Goldberg's ending of his active wrestling career... and for everything up to and including the high price of Molson Lite.

But Bret Hart never seems to blame himself.

Perhaps Hart would have been better served to have followed his own advice from his April 17, 1999 Calgary Sun column:

"How much energy does it take to hold a grudge and what does it get you? Sticking up for your ideals is one thing, but not when it reaches a point where being right becomes more important than being happy."

Instead, over the next few months after this Calgary Sun column, we were greeted with these comments...about his own family in the very same column:

July 10, 1999: "...Saw a strange sight yesterday. Dogs rolling in manure and loving every minute of it. For some reason it made me think of how the British Bulldog will do anything to work for the WWF..."

July 17, 1999: "...Then there were these four little pigs in the pig races. The guy there told me they'd sell out their mothers and brothers and sisters to the slaughterhouse just for those little mini donuts. Kind of reminds me of...err... I won't go there this week."

October 2, 1999: "...When I heard the British Bulldog expounded on how it was his dream to come back and wrestle in honour of my brother Owen... I don't approve of anyone who says they are doing something to honour my brother Owen when it turns out they stand to gain from it either financially or through publicity..."

November 27, 1999: "...One thing that didn't turn out like I thought it would, was Dynamite Kid's book. As great a wrestler as he was, I'm saddened to realize that in addition to injuring his elbows, knees, shoulders and back, he's broken his brain, too."

January 8, 2000: "...Meanwhile, I recently turned on Stampede Wrestling on TV. What I saw made me embarrassed for my family name. I was disappointed to see that my sisters, Diana and Ellie, would participate in such a farcical performance. When did they become wrestlers?"

Apparently taking part in the destruction of his own family doesn't relate in his mind to "where being right becomes more important than being happy".

All of the above shows Bret Hart to have, sadly, turned into a bitter shell of what he once was... a talented worker who was a welcome alternative within the WWF for those of us who despised the Titan 'Toon Adventures of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Now he's down to engaging in Internet flame wars with former NWA World Champions; even commenting on their supposed alcohol and pill habits.

Does anyone remember reading Tom (Dynamite Kid) Billington's "Pure Dynamite"...and a story about the evening where Hart himself had indulged in the smoking of a certain crystalline substance with two other WWF performers?

Mr., meet Mr. Kettle, and Mr. Black.

That, not to mention feuds with nearly every other member of his family, with Bret and Martha Hart on one side and nearly everyone else on the other.

Then, even after his mother died, he said the following about the book Under The Mat: Inside Wrestling's Greatest Family written by sister Diana Hart:

"It's pornographic, it's absolute trash....Diana's book would have been an appalling thing to my mother, she would have been disgusted, so there's a bit of a comfort there that she was called to heaven before this trash could come out."

The SLAM Wrestling website sponsored by the Calgary Sun (which runs his weekly column) didn't seem to think so, as they've been airing weekly comments by Diana Hart as well.

It's long past the time, especially with the passing of Helen Hart, for the various factions of the Hart family to start taking steps to making their peace with one another. One would hope Helen Hart's funeral, which will likely bring many of these individuals together does just that.

Sadly, I have my doubts that will happen, however.

Readers who wish to send condolences to the Hart family may do so at: 74094, 144-555 Strathcona Blvd SW, Calgary, AB T3H 3B6.

Take a moment and appreciate the real-life heroes and victims of September 11, and to give them your help in the following ways:

Dusty Rhodes is making available various pieces of memorabilia from his career, with a portion of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross/September 11 efforts.

The memorabilia can be bid upon at the URLs below:

A 1976 NWA Wrestler of the Year Trophy at this URL.

A signed 1981 Dusty Rhodes Tour jacket at this URL.

A signed match-worn WWF tights at this URL.

A signed 1975 NWA match-worn cowboy vest at this URL.

A joint benefit show of New England independent promotions, with talent from NWA-New England, Chaotic Wrestling, Yankee Pro Wrestling, Southcoast Wrestling, Primal Conflict Wrestling will be held on November 18 at the Elks Hall in Billerica, MA with a 4:00 pm belltime.

100% of the proceeds are to go to the American Red Cross. For information on this show, you can go to their official site here.

Combat Zone Wrestling has designed a special t-shirt, with proceeds going to the September 11th relief effort. You can purchase this t-shirt at CZW events, call (856) 848-5070, or contact CZW at

For those who prefer to donate directly to charitable organizations:

You can go to any one of the many organizations listed at

You can donate directly to the September 11th Fund, administered by the New York United Way via this URL.

You can donate to the New York City Police Foundation Heroes Fund, the officially recognized charitable organization of the NYPD via this URL.

You can donate to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund, administered by the International Association of Fire Fighters via this URL.

Until next time...


(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at