WWE Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart recently spoke with Fightful to discuss all things pro-wrestling, including his thoughts on his anti-American heel gimmick from the late 90s. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Said that he made the sure the angle was done in an intelligent way:
“I remember in the beginning they would have me say stuff. I remember I’m walking this line between being a babyface and a heel, and I remember a lot of times saying, ‘I’ve got to say something smarter than that. I can’t just go out there and say stupid stuff. I’m kind of still a babyface. It has to be done in a very intelligent way’. I think there was an effort to keep it pretty smart in the beginning. That was where it kind of petered out was when they cut the power on me. Vince mysteriously ran out of ideas about the end of August. They didn’t really push the US / Canada promos for me. Vince was the one that came up with the idea of the storyline about giving Pittsburgh an enema. I remember I was like, ‘Geez, that’s a bit strong.’ ‘Cause I always liked Pittsburgh as a city. It’s like, ‘Yeah, you gotta say that.’ It was always one of the things, I’m not sure I’ve ever been forgiven in Pittsburgh for saying that.”
How Vince McMahon was hands-on with the story:
“But, Vince was hands-on telling me how to do the whole US / Canada thing. One of the things that happened after SummerSlam, after I worked with the Patriot and the Undertaker. But, that time period they just cut the power. If you watched my promos for the next two months, I’m walking out there and it’s the same thing as I had in WCW where I don’t know what I’m talking about,” said the five-time WWE Champion. “I don’t have anything to say other than I’m saying what I said the week before. It’s just ranting about Canadians being better than Americans. It lost a lot of its power because ultimately Vince McMahon, he’s the idea guy. He was a big part of the success of that US / Canada thing working ‘cause he was giving me a lot of ideas. I think it was part of my intentional grounding was to go, ‘Okay, now we’ll cut the power on him. Let him go out there and he doesn’t know what to go out there and say.’”
His thoughts on the angle:
“It’s too bad. I’ve always thought that was one of the smarter storylines. I always loved the line I had about ‘they don’t shoot each other and kill each other on every street corner’ and all that stuff. Turned out to be pretty fitting stuff for the times. Even in those days, when I think of the United States today and how much problems with the political tensions that they have right now, if I go back to remember those days, I can remember in some of those places like Montgomery, Alabama, and places like that, getting in my car to drive off after the show and I would have hillbilly guys in trucks follow me for miles, shaking their fists at me and trying to drive me off the road. It was dangerous stuff.”