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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » WWE - Bret ''Hit Man'' Hart - the Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be
WWE - Bret ''Hit Man'' Hart - the Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be
World Wrestling Entertainment // Unrated // November 15, 2005
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Crichton | posted January 20, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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This latest retrospective from the WWE pays tribute to Mark Calaway aka the Undertaker who gained popularity during the WWF

There are those who think that wrestling is nothing other than grown men in tights throwing and smacking each other around. While this might be true for some of the "wrestlers" currently in the industry today, Bret "the Hit Man" Hart is NOT one of those wrestlers. After viewing this three disc set in its entirety, you'll understand that the mark of a TRUE wrestler is one who could successfully accomplish their own moves while insuring that their partner (opponent) is not injured. See, regardless of the fact that each match's outcome is predetermined, the journey to the final bell lies solely on the two (or more) people in the square circle. There are few people in the industry that could (or have been able to) pull this off. With the latest release from WWE Video "Bret "Hit Man" Hart: the Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be", Vince McMahon and the WWE pay homage to one of the finest technical wrestlers that ever hit the industry.

It seems that some people are predestined to follow a certain path in life. With a wrestling ring in his basement, and a father who was one of the most respected men in the industry (he even wrestled a tiger and a bear!), it was no surprise when Bret followed in his father's footsteps. Initially, he started wrestling for his dad's "Stampede" promotion in Calgary, and once he made his debut in the WWF, he languished for some time, before his career took off after teaming with Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart and Jimmy Hart to form the Hart Foundation. Neidhart's aggressive, brawling wrestling meshed well with Bret's impressive technical style. Since they were in the midst of the "Hulkamania" era, according to Hart, Hogan and his cohorts were getting all the attention, while the Hart Foundation's matches were mostly overlooked. Sure, Hogan might be putting asses in the seats, but TRUE wrestling fans knew when the real wrestling was happening - when the Hart Foundation stepped in the ring. On January 26th, 1987, they won their first WWF World Tag Team Championship. They held the belts for close to a year before losing to Rick Martel and Tito Santana the following October, and it'd be three long years before they reclaimed the title.

After losing the belts for the second time in March 21, 1991 to the Nasty Boys, the Hart Foundation split up and Bret struck out on his own. Once he did this, his popularity only intensified and he had some classic matches with the likes of Curt "Mr. Perfect" Henning and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, which resulted in Bret becoming a two time WWF Intercontinental Champion. It wasn't until 1992, in a match with Ric Flair, that Bret won his first of five WWF World Heavyweight Championships. As time wore on, he'd have some great matches with his brother Owen, Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Eventually, Bret's career in the WWF would come to an end in one of the most controversial events in wrestling history. Following the "Montreal Screwjob", his run in the WCW was far from impressive, but that's where he spent the remainder of his days, until Bill Goldberg cut his wrestling career short.

During the documentary, Bret shoots from the hip (no pun intended). In actuality, his involvement was last minute (and after some careful negotiating on Vince's part). It's been reported that over seven hours of interview footage was shot when Bret visited WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut on August 3, 2005. If that's true, it's a shame that only two of those hours made it on to this set. Let's hope the relationship between Vince and Bret is cordial enough to give the fans a well-deserved second volume.

"Bret "Hit Man" Hart: the Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be" is spread over three single-sided DVDs. Disc one contains the main feature along with some extra moments and two MSG matches. Discs two and three contain some matches hand-picked by Bret for inclusion on this set.

  • Disc 1

    Main Feature 2h 27m 28s

    • Early Years - We're treated to the briefest of looks at Bret's beginnings and discussion about his famous father, Stu Hart.
    • Stampede Wrestling - Once he starts wresting for his dad, we're shown his progression as a technical wrestler in these early matches. I wasn't familiar with any of Bret's opponents, but it's a shame that Vince didn't include some of these matches on any of the discs.
    • Coming To WWE - We're given an overview of Bret's early days in the WWF, including a peek at what could've been - "Cowboy" Bret Hart.
    • Hart Foundation - Bret teams up with Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and "the Mouth Of the South" Jimmy Hart to become one of the greatest tag teams the WWE has ever had. In addition to putting on some great matches, this is also the period of his life where Bret improves his mic skills and picks up his trademark sunglasses.
    • Intercontinental Champion - We're not really told why the Hart Foundation split, but after Bret became a singles wrestler, he defeated Mr. Perfect and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper to become the Intercontinental Champion twice during his career with the WWF. His match against Mr. Perfect is included on disc two.
    • WWE Champion - Bret defeated Ric Flair to become the WWF World Heavyweight Champion, but later lost the belt to Yokozuna. However, there was some controversy after Hulk Hogan got involved at the end of the match pins Yokozuna with little effort. Later, Bret went on to become the only two time winner of the WWF's "King Of the Ring" and would hold the Heavyweight belt four more times.
    • International Star - A brief segment discussing Bret's popularity overseas.
    • Hart Family Feud - Bret talks about his feud with Owen. Their match at WrestleMania X is, thankfully, included on disc two, along with a championship title match on disc three.
    • Iron Man Match - Bret prefaces his comments about his Iron Man Match at WrestleMania XII by talking about Vince not giving him "his time" in the limelight, instead working hard to push Shawn Michaels as the next big thing for the WWF. As a result, Shawn won the belt in a somewhat controversial fashion for the first time in his career. See, in an "Iron Man" match, when the time limit expires in a title match, and they decide to continue the match, the title is no longer on the line. However, once the hour was up, Bret was called back into the ring and Shawn pinned him for the win. AND the belt.
    • Stone Cold Steve Austin - The "Attitude" era of the WWF was kicking into gear and Bret talks about his feud with Austin, culminating with an outstanding "submission" match at WrestleMania 13 (which is included on disc three and is also Bret's last WrestleMania appearance).
    • U.S.A. vs. Canada - In the midst of the aforementioned "Attitude" era, since wrestling fans were latching on the anti-hero antics of Austin, Bret routinely saw himself getting booed before, during and after matches. Instead of fighting it, Hart embraced it and, together with Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman, his brother Owen and ex-tag team partner Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart, they re-formed the Hart Foundation and played up the "anti-American" angle.
    • Survivor Series 1997 - Bret and Shawn's animosity simmered in Montreal during a Survivor Series PPV. If you're a fan, you already know what happened. If not, i'll let Vince and Bret explain it on the DVD.
    • WCW- Immediately after (what's now known as) "the Montreal Screwjob", Bret departed (as planned) for Ted Turner's upstart promotion - World Championship Wrestling.
    • the Death Of Owen Hart- During a 1999 pay-per-view, "Over the Edge", Owen fell close to 75 feet into the ring and died shortly afterwards. On the following episode of "Monday Night Raw", they had a tribute to Owen. Bret did not appear, and if the dates listed on the DVD are correct, he didn't acknowledge Owen's passing until two months later on Nitro.
    • Problems In WCW- Everyone interviewed for this part of his career seem to agree that no one in the WCW seemed to know what to do with Bret. However, in 1999 that would change during a match with Bill Goldberg. During a StarrCade PPV, Goldberg gave Bret a concussion after kicking him in the head (a kick that's repeated a few times on the disc). He left wrestling altogether shortly afterwards.
    • Living It Up- In 2002, Bret suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed for some time.  He's recovered, and during this segment he talks about how the stroke has helped him realize what's important in life.

    Bret Hart Interview Moments


    • Bret talks about the origin of the name "the Dungeon"
    • Bret talks about being away from family on Halloween
    • Bret talks about how well the Hart Foundation got along
    • Bret talks about learning the Sharpshooter
    • Bret tells story about Owen Hart crank-calling Stu Hart
    • Family Tree
    • Learning the Ropes
    • Sunglasses
    • Being A Villain

    Tribute Videos


    • Dean Hart Tribute Video
    • Tribute To Bret Hart's Wrestling Colleagues Who Have Passed Away

    Matches


    • Madison Square Garden 7/13/85 [Hart Foundation vs. British Bulldogs] 15m 55s
    • Madison Square Garden 2/17/86 [Hart Foundation vs. Killer Bees] 23m 25s

     

  • Disc 2

     
    • Boston Garden [3/8/86] Bret Hart vs. Ricky "the Steamboat" Dragon 17m 11s
    • Bret Hart vs. Ted DiBiase [Odessa, TX 3/8/89] 17m 26s
    • Saturday Night's Main Event [4/28/90] Hart Foundation vs. Rockers 10m 18s
    • WWE World Tag Team Championship Match [WrestleMania VII 3/24/91] Hart Foundation vs. Nasty Boys 13m 47s
    • WWE Intercontinental Championship Match [SummerSlam 8/26/91] Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect 31m 36s
    • WWE Intercontinental Championship Match [SummerSlam 8/29/92] Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog 30m 59s
    • Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow [Barcelona, Spain 4/24/93] - Your ears aren't playing tricks on you -- the ringside announcers are calling the match in Spanish - 14m 48s
    • King Of the Ring 1993 Semifinal Match [6/13/93] Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect 20m 21s
    • Wrestlemania X [3/20/94] Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart 25m 33s
  • Disc 3

     
    • WWE Championship Match [White Plains, NY 9/29/94] Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart 17m 22s
    • In Your House [5/14/95] Bret Hart vs. Hakushi 17m 10s
    • WWE Championship Match [Survivor Series 11/19/95] Bret Hart vs. Diesel 26m 22s
    • WWE Championship Match [In Your House 12/17/95] Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog 25m 42s
    • Submission Match [WrestleMania 13 3/23/97] Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin 27m 32s
    • WWE Championship Match [One Night Only 9/20/97] 27m 20s
    • Owen Hart Tribute Match [WCW Monday Nitro 10/4/99] Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit 30m 26s

    Video: "Bret "Hit Man" Hart: the Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be" is presented in the full frame 1.33:1 ratio and, while there are some slight differences in the textures of the video (depending on its age), it was a pretty attractive transfer. Obviously, the older "Stampede" footage isn't a sharp as some of Bret's later matches, but they were pretty clean.

    Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound was crystal clear and enveloped my living room while I was watching it. All of the matches included are in Dolby Digital 2.0 with a 192kbps bitrate.

    Conclusion: In my opinion, Bret's a slightly cocky individual. However, after watching this retrospective and the matches that were included, he has every reason to be. As I said earlier, if one were to overlook the fact that the outcomes in the WWF were predetermined, perhaps they might realize that Bret was one helluva wrestler. In fact, i'd dare say that he truly was
    "the Best There Was & the Best There Ever Will Be". Not only that, but I think this DVD set should be required viewing for any new hires in the WWE - hell, have some of the "veteran" wrestlers watch it too. Perhaps they'll learn something.

    While I truly wish Vince had included more of Bret's matches on this set (the Shawn Michaels "Iron Man" match was rumored for inclusion), but as it is, this is a Highly Recommended DVD and I have my fingers crossed for a follow-up volume with more classic matches.

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