Bret Hart: I’m a big advocate for a union in wrestling. I don’t think that wrestlers will get any type of support until they get a union. I look at every other sport, whether its lacrosse or even the rodeo, they’ve all got a union. I think that it is long, long overdue that the wrestlers have one. I think that any wrestler that says that they don’t need a union is just a sheep that doesn’t have enough brains to know that they do need a union.
I do think that the WWF, with the exception of the union which I think is a must, the Wellness Policy is a step in the right direction. How much good it does depends on how honest it is. It’s hard for me to look from the sidelines to know how good it is.
I know that a lot of the wrestlers that they cut themselves free of a long time are the ones that are dying from pain problems, drug problems, alcohol problems, and depression. There are a lot of things that you have to take into account with these wrestlers today. They create these stars and then they just cut them adrift whenever they don’t need them. Then they just kind of float out there with nowhere to go and they get discouraged and depressed. I’ve seen so many of them that have died that really it is from depression and having the life of a wrestler. You used to be a star and now you’re working at a Denny’s or something.
A lot of wrestlers, once they get cut, they really don’t have anything to fall back on. No one really educates these wrestler on how to handle their money, how to save their money, how to survive in the world after wrestling. None of them are rarely ever encouraged to be a part of the promotion, evolve into moving into the office. That is starting to happen more and more now.
But, I think they’re trying now. I know that they’ve reached out to a lot of wrestlers that have these drug problems. I think that they are doing everything they can do. The WWF and all of these wrestling organizations and the wrestlers, are all in agreement that too many wrestlers have died. I think there is a sincere effort to stop that from happening anymore. Luckily, it seems that for the past five or six months there hasn’t been another death in wrestling from the drug problems. I do know that there are still quite a few wrestlers out there that have serious drug issues.
Eric: Do you still follow the sport and if so what are your thought about the current WWE and TNA products?
Bret Hart: I try to follow them but I am a little discouraged by the lack of thought that goes into the wrestling. I find that the wrestlers of today have little or no psychology. I think that a lot of wrestlers should read my book and know that there is a gift to telling a story and a real art to telling that story without hurting somebody physically. Wrestling is an art in that it is supposed to pretend to be very violent. It is a very physical job but it should never be a job where you very seriously harm one another.
I like to think that there is a huge difference between WWE and UFC for example where it is so much more extreme. I don’t know that it makes much sense for these wrestlers to be hurting themselves the way they are with chairs and such when there is no protection or coverage to protect the wrestlers from really hurting themselves.
I’ve wrestled 23 years and I never hurt one wrestler in my career that I know of. I never saw a wrestler that couldn’t work the next day on account of working with me. That in and of itself is such a statement. I don’t know of any other wrestler that had a schedule like mine that can say the same thing.
I don’t think that a lot of the wrestlers today necessarily put safety and protecting the wrestler as a priority. Everything is about the shock value of what the next move is instead of telling a story. It’s hard to sort of understand what psychology in wrestling is and understanding the interpretation of what over the years different holds do. How to work somebody’s leg or be working a different bodypart and building a logical theory of how and why you’re trying to win a match. What your assets are, what your weaknesses are all part of the character. It seems to me that all the wrestlers are wrestling the same and that all the matches look the same. It is just a poorly choreographed soap opera now compared to what it used to be.
I long for the days when the titles used to mean something. It seems to me that there are so many different titles in wrestling that none of them now mean anything. I kind of miss the way it used to be.
The interview concludes on the following page