Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart – Biography, Age, & Career

Canadian pro wrestler Bret “Hitman” Hart became a popular WWE champion thanks to his smooth style and technical proficiency.

Who Is Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart?

One of 12 children born to Canadian wrestler and promoter Stu Hart, Bret “Hitman” Hart began his career in his father’s Stampede Wrestling promotion. After surfacing in WWE as one-half of the Hart Connection tag-team duo, the “Hitman” emerged as a fan favorite en route to becoming a five-time heavyweight champion. Hart joined the rival WCW in the late 1990s following the controversial “Montreal Screwjob,” before mending ties with WWE the following decade.

Early Years and Stampede Wrestling

Bret Sergeant Hart was born on July 2, 1957, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the eighth of 12 children of longtime wrestler and promoter Stu Hart and his wife, Helen.

An artistic child, Hart enjoyed drawing cartoons and later went to film school, but the lure of the family business proved irresistible. He began selling programs for Stu’s Stampede Wrestling promotion at an early age, and soon joined his brothers for practice in the basement of their 22-room mansion, a space known as “The Dungeon.” By high school, the well-trained grappler had emerged as a state and provincial champion.

Hart became a regular competitor in Stampede Wrestling in the late 1970s and went on to claim a series of individual and tag-team championships.

WWE Career

With Stu’s sale of Stampede Wrestling to Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment in 1984, Hart joined his in-laws Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith on the roster of the rapidly expanding Connecticut-based promotion.

The Hart Foundation

Hart’s initial WWE success came as part of the Hart Foundation, a tag-team partnership with Neidhart under the management of the unrelated Jimmy Hart. Known for their eye-catching pink and black attire, Hart and Neidhart toppled the British Bulldogs – Smith and fellow Stampede alumnus Tom “Dynamite Kid” Billington – for their first tag-team title in 1987, and they later became two-time champions at SummerSlam 1990.

Superstar and Champion

Making the push as a solo performer, the Hitman won over fans with his cool-as-ice style, marked by the gifting of his trademark sunglasses to kids before matches, and his distinct “Sharpshooter” finishing move. He knocked off Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam 1991 to win the intercontinental championship, awarded to the organization’s best technical wrestler and reclaimed the title with a dramatic win over “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII the following spring.

After dropping the intercontinental belt to Smith in August 1992, Hart earned a bigger prize that October by defeating Ric Flair in his father’s hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for the first of his five WWE heavyweight championships. He cemented his elite standing with wins at the 1993 King of the Ring and 1994 Royal Rumble, before ousting the gargantuan Yokozuna at WrestleMania X.

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