Straight from the Hart

Straight from the Hart

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1550229397

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

?Straight from the Hart is the no-holds-barred book about the often surreal, physically and psychologically brutal and politically cutthroat world of professional wrestling that fans everywhere — from the most casual or skeptical observer to the most rabid, hardcore aficionado of the action from the squared circle — have truly been waiting for. Bruce Hart is the son of legendary wrestler and promoter Stu Hart and a member of what may be wrestling’s true “first family” — a wrestling legacy that now spans three generations and includes icons like Bret “Hitman” Hart, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhardt, as well as current day stars like David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd, and Natalya Neidhardt. For the first time ever, Hart steps from out of the shadows of Calgary’s fabled “Hart dungeon” to discuss it all: growing up as one of twelve children in a house where men like Andre the Giant and Killer Kowalski might be seated at the breakfast table; the rise, fall, rebirth, and ultimate demise of the popular and highly influential Stampede Wrestling promotion; what it was like to be trained by his father and fight both with and alongside his brothers; why his family’s business was destroyed by Vince McMahon’s WWF; how the tragic death of his brother Owen rocked the Hart family; and what really happened behind the scenes of the infamous “Montreal screwjob.” Along the way, Hart gets to the heart of the wrestling business, taking you behind the scenes to discuss how wrestling should be booked, the toll steroids and other drugs have taken on his friends and family, and what it was like to write his brother Bret’s newspaper columns while the “Hitman” was on the road.

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Antigua, my brother Smith — who’d been entrusted to bring the money back — decided to stop over in nearby Puerto Rico to hook up with Tricky Dicky Steinborn, who was now booking for the promotion down there. Nobody’s quite sure what transpired after that, other than that Smith’s suitcase, in which he had the gate receipts from Antigua, disappeared — from Steinborn’s hotel room. After an extensive search, it never turned up. The common conjecture was that Steinborn, who had a reputation within

With the wrestling business no longer an option, I tried to find a job with the Calgary Board of Education as a schoolteacher, but they told me they weren’t hiring at the time. I finally took a $100-a-week job working at a place called Weightlifter’s Warehouse, selling nutritional supplements, vitamins and making protein shakes and that kind of thing. Remember when Mickey Rourke’s character in The Wrestler was working in the deli — that was pretty close to what it was like for me at the time. A

many wrestlers and others onboard, the whole venture was, nonetheless, quite costly. By the first of October I’d already laid out over $40,000, out of my own pocket, to pay for building rental, airfares, hotel reservations, advertising and assorted other expenses — and that didn’t even cover the talent. I was confident that we would draw a good house, but for some reason, our initial advance ticket sales were pretty sluggish. Since I’d pretty much mortgaged the farm, my wife was starting to

significant drop-off in the number of great workers, it was no coincidence that the WWE now had to resort to excessive gimmickry — sex, sleaze, slapstick and other crap — as cheap compensation for wrestling. It wasn’t the way to go because, as he put it, “There are no shortcuts to any place that’s really worth going to.” It wasn’t the first time wrestling had faced this dilemma, he argued. As far back as the 1940s, after Gorgeous George had become the rage, there 266 StraightFromTheHart.indb

of the promotion goes, in addition to Siki and Johnson, my dad was able to secure the services of a few other decent hands for the January start, among them: Alexander the Great (Al Ward), Stan Stasiak, Gil 25 StraightFromTheHart.indb 25 10/8/10 5:08:52 PM ♥ BRUCE HART ♥ Hayes, Leo Burke, his brother Yvon (the Beast), Newton Tattrie, Joe Peruzovic (later Nikolai Volkoff) and Johnny Kostas — all of whom were instrumental in helping to get the new promotion off the ground. Necessity, as they

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