Canada’s Walk of Fame has gained its first ever pro wrestling inductee. Bret “The Hitman” Hart, a legend and trailblazer in the business, was celebrated at the Victoria Pavillion in Calgary on Sept. 12.
Hart was one of wrestling’s top stars during his career from 1984-1997. He was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame on two occasions, and is revered for his storytelling and technical wrestling abilities.
Although Hart is well known in the global pro wrestling world, some Calgarians may remember him from his Stampede Wrestling days in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Hart wrestled at the Victoria Pavillion — the same venue where he was celebrated for his Walk of Fame induction — and mentioned his fond memories of the building during his speech.
“When I think of pro wrestling, and being here right now in this moment, it makes me really proud,” says Hart. “It’s difficult to imagine or even rationalize, how, when I was six years old selling programs out here in front of this building, that somehow I would be standing here today talking about my wrestling career the way I am.”
Even though Hart has held 32 pro wrestling titles throughout his career, he says that his proudest accomplishment was that he has never seriously injured another wrestler.
“My all-time biggest pat on the back that I could give myself, was that I never seriously injured one wrestler in my 23-year career. And that is what really is my final statement about being the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.”
The Victoria Pavillion was filled with friends, family and fans of the legendary grappler. Hart says that it was nice to see pro wrestling receive credit for being a performance art.
“I always felt that pro wrestlers have to be the world’s most believable, realistic and hardest working actors, while also being some of the most gifted and creative athletes in the world.”
Hart was sentimental about the impact that he’s had on the city of Calgary, and the notoriety that he has created.The Hart family is a well-known wrestling dynasty in the city.
“I like to think in my own way that I did my part to put Calgary on the map, and I represented well. I think that is a credit to my mom and dad,” says Hart.
The WWE’s Wrestlemania event — which takes place yearly, and is considered to be one of the largest sporting spectacles — drew an attendance of 156,352 fans during this year’s event, which took place in April. Hart has competed at a Wrestlemania event on 14 different occasions, traveling throughout North America for these appearances.
Even still, Hart chose to mention how much his Stampede wrestling career meant to him during his speech, and how much his performances at the Victoria Pavillion meant to him.
“Wrestling is all about telling a story while blowing the roof off the building. And I can say with great pride that I’ve blew the roof off this building many, many times.”