Bret Hart’s opinion is pretty much gold in the realm of professional wrestling. That seems to have been the case even while he worked for the company full-time throughout the eighties and nineties. Vince McMahon hired Steve Austin very shortly after the legendary Hart spoke to him about him, it would seem.
It was on this week’s edition of The Bump that Bret made this revelation. Steve Austin was to have been on the show as well, but couldn’t make it. It was supposed to have been in celebration of Bret and Steve’s 25 year anniversary of their match at Survivor Series. It is heralded as one of their best, right after their hellacious match at WrestleMania 13 – a submission match that was as artful as it was brutal.
Bret stated in his interview how hard it was to get ready for their confrontation, going into detail about the training and the injuries he suffered in his twilight year with the company. Bret would leave the company in quite the blaze of controversy, the event now known as the infamous Montreal Screw Job.
Bret also spoke of how he had noticed Steve Austin while watching WCW and ECW and he suggested him to Vince. He said:
“Well, the truth of it is, and I’ve said this a few times, is that I thought Steve was somebody to be reckoned with before he ever got to WWE. I saw him — He was in WCW and I think he even went to ECW for a time, and I remember when he jumped from WCW and he ended up in ECW, I actually remember going into Vince’s office and going, ‘Why didn’t they get this guy? Why didn’t somebody grab him and bring him in here? He’s too good a guy to end up in — He’s working ECW.
Why don’t we look into getting him.’ I remember having this conversation with Vince about how I thought he’d be really good for me to wrestle and work with and a week later he was sitting in the dressing room. They went out and got him and I don’t know what they did to get him from ECW or get him out of that contract or if he was free to go, but that’s when he started.”
Bret Hart and Vince McMahon had almost a father/son relationship, as Bret Hart himself has said in the past. He specifically said this in the narrative of the documentary film that chronicled his fall in WWE entitled Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows. They were close, and it makes sense that Vince would have valued the opinion of a wrestler he had cultivated a relationship with for over 15 years.
*Thanks to fightful.com for the quote.