By Mike Mooneyham
June 10, 2001
Widespread rumors that Bret Hart was WWF-bound as part of the upcoming WCW invasion angle were quickly shot down after making the Internet rounds last week.
Hart, currently stewing over the appearance of members of his family on the recent Raw from Calgary, quickly dispelled the rumors, saying that he has no intention of doing business with Vince McMahon.
Hart, who declined to be interviewed, had the following statement posted on his Web site:
“Bret Hart is not medically cleared to wrestle and he has no intention of ever returning to wrestling again.”
Hart reportedly has remained bitter over the infamous double-cross at the 1997 Survivors Series as well as brother Owen’s tragic death at a WWF event in 1999.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]”He would have considered going back to the WWF before, but I think since Owen passed away he’s probably put that way behind him,” said a Hart family friend. “I don’t think he has ever publicly suggested that he would ever go back, but he has talked to people like he was considering it and setting it up. But with Owen gone and the fact that he has painted himself into a corner, I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”
“This is wrestling, and the rule of thumb is “Never say never,'” said one former WCW colleague. “If Vince came up with the right offer – and it would have to be very sweet – I think Bret would be on the first plane to Stamford.”
Stampede Wrestling press agent Blake Norton denied reports that Stu Hart, 86-year-old patriarch of the Hart family, was wheelchair-bound and virtually incoherent at the recent Raw in Calgary which many Hart family members attended.
“Some people were pulling from the fact that Stu was in the front row and when he didn’t hear his name being announced, it looked like they were dragging him up,” explained Norton. “But his hearing is awful and he has one good ear, and that is really bad. He was backstage talking to all the McMahon family before and after the show, and everyone can tell you that Stu was perfectly coherent.
“As far as reports that he is wheelchair-bound, that’s also untrue, since we chose to give him a wheelchair for the evening merely because there are a lot of steps and he’s 86 years old and has bad lungs. The perception that some people unknowingly put out there that he’s incompetent and constrained to a wheelchair just isn’t true. The guy still drives to Safeway every week to do his groceries. He makes his own meals. He has great conversations with everybody.”
Norton said Hart even makes an occasional jaunt to the infamous Dungeon, the “training facility” in the basement of his house where scores of wrestlers have been trained over the past half century.
“He was stretching me just last week and had me screaming,” joked Norton.
Hart recently spent two weeks in the hospital after experiencing breathing prob lems and a buildup of fluid around his lungs and heart. Hart, who is scheduled to have a pacemaker installed, has some oxygen tanks to help his breathing, but Norton says he has yet to see Hart use them. “Stu’s pretty obstinate about that. Otherwise he’s doing just fine.”
“My dad is quite in control of everything and has been since day one,” said Ellie Hart. “All of us were upset with Owen’s death and no one can deny that it was a terrible tragedy for our family foremost and then the wrestling business, but my poor mother and father didn’t take the charge there. Bret, besides being extremely upset about Owen and what had happened in Montreal and an ego that had been shattered and broken-hearted by Vince McMahon, decided to take the charge, and our whole family has been paying for it ever since. It’s almost like Owen got lost in the shuffle, and our famiy has never come to grips with his death the way normal deaths would have been dealt with.”
Ellie said the family’s recent appearance at Raw and meeting with the McMahons was a way to heal old wounds and move on, and said she was saddened that Bret and Owen’s widow, Martha, condemned the action.[ad#MikeMooneyham-468×15]
“Martha’s come along and said that we were unfeeling and terrible, and I’m not a terrible person,” said Ellie. “My parents lost a son. My mother brought Owen into the world – not Martha. Martha was married to Owen for 10 years, and she said she was with him for 17. Well my mom was his mother for 34 years. My mom never denounced Martha. She was very loyal to Martha.”
Ellie said the night of the show Martha called her mother, Helen Hart, whom Martha said decided not to attend Raw “just to keep peace with Bret,” and “told her to go to hell and that she’d never let her see her children again. Martha has been parading these days as the first lady of Calgary, giving money to the different charities, and that’s all fine, but we were born and raised in the wrestling business and my father has given to at least 30 different charities over the years and did it without blowing his horn. I resent Martha for talking to my parents that way. If anyone should be considered for the first lady, it would be my poor mother, who would never acknowledge herself at all, just for having to put up with a bunch of spoiled, rotten kids going at each other’s throat. For that she should receive an award.”