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We Interviewed Bret Hart About Wrestlemania XL and It Went as Well as You’d Expect

Wrestlemania 40 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting wrestling events in recent years. With Cody Rhodes finishing his story, (or maybe not, because it’d be funnier), Rhea Ripley asserting her dominance (not in the way many of you perverts think of), the tag team titles potentially being split, and much more, the card is stacked. We had the opportunity to talk about this weekend’s entire card with WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart, and it went pretty much how you’d expect it to.

Rey Mysterio & Dragon Lee vs. Santos Escobar & Dominik Mysterio

HARD DRIVE: Extending the son vs. father feud while also adding in the extra storyline between all factions is interesting. What are your insights into this?

Bret Hart: Wrestling against your family member is a special occasion. Just like myself and Owen, the Hardy brothers, Dustin and Cody, it goes on as we see another layer of the Mysterio v Mysterio feud in this tag team bout. Maybe if Bill Goldberg’s brothers were wrestlers, he could’ve ended one of their careers instead of mine.

HD: Are you insinuating that Goldberg would legitimately harm his own family?

Hart: Before you misconstrue this, I don’t think Bill Goldberg is a bad family man. I do think that Bill Goldberg is and has always been a bad wrestler and disgraces his family with his work ethic.

Bianca Belair, Naomi, Jade Cargill vs. Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai, Asuka, Kairi Sane)

HD: We’ve been seeing a lot of buzz around Jade Cargill being in her first match since debuting at the Royal Rumble and being featured in the ring since her departure from AEW. Joining a different company surely has to be an arduous acclimation process. Mr. Hart, how do you feel about this match?

Hart: Well, you have Dakota Kai wrestling after coming back from an injury. I wish I came back after an injury but the concussions given to me by Bill Goldberg took that away. In terms of joining a new company, specifically WWE. Don’t get screwjobbed by them. Don’t let anybody take away your entire personality. Don’t let anybody tell you Bill Goldberg is a safe worker. I know Jade has great potential and is already being showcased wonderfully. This isn’t a McMahon hellhole anymore, so I see her thriving. She’s much better than Bill Goldberg.

HD: You wrestled Golberg in WCW though. How does that apply to WWE?

Hart: Bill Goldberg almost paralyzed Undertaker in WWE after he concussed himself. Albeit, he concussed himself less severely than he did me. Either that or his skull is so thick he can’t feel the shame. The point still stands.

HD: Fair enough. 

Six Pack Ladder Match (Undisputed Tag Team Championships)

HD: With the stipulation of the match being that it will not end until both tag team belts are taken, it’s very likely we will see the championships being finally split. Do you think that the tag team division in WWE necessitates having their championship belts split between Raw and Smackdown?

Hart: Personally, I’d rather the tag team championship be something that gets held between Raw, Smackdown, and NXT. You get to add prestige to your title by making it something that anybody across all three brands can fight for. The risks are higher, the competition pool is larger, and there is a target on the back of you and your partner at all times.

HD: I didn’t think of it that way. That’s a really great point on how to utilize the roster.

Hart: The best way to utilize your roster is to pair those who need more ring experience with those who can guide them through a match. This is where tag teams excel because you can hide those small mistakes as your talent all respectively grows. Unfortunately, Bill Goldberg just wanted to be a singles competitor and didn’t grow as a talent. I guess retrospectively you can’t be too mad at it. In another life there would’ve been a Hart Foundation versus Unsafe Worker Foundation match and he would’ve concussed us all. 

Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

HD: Mr. Hart, do you think this match will be ucey?

Hart: I refuse to answer a dumbass question.

HD: My apologies. 

Hart: If you’re going to ask my opinions on this brother versus brother match, I’m going to say the same thing about the Mysterios. Family is everything, and being in a wrestling family creates some of the most versatile generational wrestlers. Bill Goldberg has no wrestling bloodline, as you shouldn’t pass down mediocrity. 

Intercontinental Championship – Gunther (c) vs. Sami Zayn

HD: Sami Zayn has really become a crowd favorite in recent years. Gunther is the Goliath to his David. Dominant and an extreme challenge to all who oppose him. As someone who was often the underdog, how would you navigate this from Zayn’s perspective?

Hart: What Sami Zayn has in front of him is an opponent who does not like him, but will respect him in the same regard he respects wrestling as a whole. Bill Goldberg does not respect the ring and does not respect those he works with. That’s why he’s in the Hall of Shame. That’s why he concussed me. That’s why he gave himself concussions banging his damn head on a door.

HD: Do you see Sami Zayn winning the title?

Hart: If his Helluva Kick isn’t stiff and doesn’t concuss Gunther, yes. 

Women’s World Championship – Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Becky Lynch

HD: Mr. Hart, you’ve witnessed over the years how women’s wrestling has evolved in all promotions. What strikes you the most about these changes?

Hart: Overall, it’s really positive to see how we’ve strayed away from the Vince McMisogyny era and let the women do what they do best. Where I give WWE credit the most is that they are placing their women’s roster in superstar status and giving them more time and visibility on TV and the pay-per-views. I do find though that in North American women’s wrestling as a whole, companies such as AEW and TNA are showcasing the athletic ability of their women much more. With WWE, you still have a character-focused product, which works best for them. 

HD: In regards to being a “character-focused product,” is that something that helps or hurts the wrestling world?

Hart: Depends on how you look at it. Sports entertainment is driven by characters and segments that culminate into star-studded matches. Wrestling can sometimes be secondary because an easily digestible story brings in a larger audience. Nothing wrong with it, but it caters to the sports entertainment world of wrestling and not the full field of professional wrestling. Now, when you have a guy like Bill Goldberg who isn’t entertaining and cannot wrestle, then you are hurting the product. 

HD: He was one of the most popular wrestlers of the WCW era though.

Hart: WCW was a mismanaged company that didn’t know what to do with me when I was the hottest free agent. It’s no wonder they saw something in Goldberg.

HD: How about when he was in entertainment outside of wrestling?

Hart: Like what?

HD: Forged In Fire, NCIS, The Goldbergs, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, The Celebrity Apprentice, just to name a few.

Hart: Trash binge TV. Didn’t watch it. Poor casting to have Bill Goldberg on the show and disgrace the namesake. He’s not smarter than an elementary school kid. No comment. 

The Rock & Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins

HD: We’re reaching what seems to be the final stretch of the Bloodline era. The arc of enemies to unlikely alliances in Seth and Cody collide with the WWE’s dominant faction. With this and the match between Cody and Roman for the next night, how do you feel about the years of buildup all culminating together?

Hart: This can either be the greatest thing in modern WWE or the absolute dumbest booking decision by HHH if it all goes wrong. This has been brewing for around four years now, and the balance of the booking decisions are very delicate here. Vince really messed it all up with the title combinations and essentially forced us into this long stretch, but we’re at a point where we see everything taking its final place

HD: Would you say that this is your current favorite storyline in WWE programming?

Hart: No. My favorite was R-Truth and The Judgement Day. Funniest shit I’ve ever seen.

HD: That’s quite an interesting take.

Hart: I know, I know. But circling back to the topic at hand, this match for night one will set the tone for night two. Once again, we’re about to see what may either be the fall of the Bloodline or the most monumental fumble if Rhodes cannot finish his story. Everything with The Rock, Rollins, and everybody else involved is secondary to the real main event. I’m not saying this lightly. This will be unforgettable no matter how it goes. That’s much better than I can say for

HD: Mr. Hart please don’t.

Hart: Bill 

HD: You don’t have to.

Hart: Goldberg

HD: There it is.

Hart: Who has made Wrestlemania matches forgettable just with his presence alone. Remember him against Brock Lesnar? Sex pest versus an OSHA violation? At Wrestlemania XX when the crowd booed both their asses out of the building? I only wish I could boo him myself. Shameful performance.

HD: What about his other matches?

Hart: I told you already. They’re forgettable. Those are what the marks call “bathroom break matches.”

Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits vs. The Final Testament

HD: We’re inching our way closer to ending feuds and finishing multiple stories. How do you feel about this one?

Hart: This feud is like Bill Goldberg going against Bray Wyatt. After nearly taking out one dead man in Undertaker, he puts the brakes on another supernatural character. Bill Goldberg is not equipped to handle the paranormal. He’s not a Ghostbuster. He’s not Zak Bagans. He’s just a man.

LA Knight vs. AJ Styles

HD: Mr. Hart, can we stop talking about Goldberg and talk about your opinions on this match?

Hart: No, my mind always replays the moment he ended my career. I won’t stop. But, you know what, you’ve been doing something he hasn’t, and that’s being respectful. So, here’s some insight. You have two workhorses that can put on a show stealer. Yes, the main storylines right now are going into the championships, but I can bet this match will definitely catch well-deserved attention.

HD: Who do you think should go over in this feud?

Hart: AJ Styles thinks the earth is flat, so LA Knight is my pick.

HD: Solely because of that?

Hart: Solely because of that.

United States Championship Triple Threat – Logan Paul (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens

HD: Mr. Hart, have you ever tried a bottle of Prime?

Hart: What did I say about dumbass questions?

HD: Sorry, Mr. Hart.

Hart: But speaking of prime, I was taken it in my prime by Bill Goldberg who never had a prime because he’s always stunk.

WWE Women’s Championship – Iyo Sky (c) vs. Bayley

HD: Lately, we’ve been seeing crowd reaction to this feud be mixed as it feels left on the back burner. Bret, how do you see this match winning over the crowd?

Hart: Listen here, the people telling you that there’s a mixed reaction aren’t the ones that’ll go to the show. Those are the people who won’t hear a crowd’s reaction, only what the TV audio gives them. Then, they just go into their little echo chamber and tell the world how this show or that show is in decline. Wrestling right now is really getting into a better place all over the world and anyone telling you otherwise is a cynic. The only time a crowd’s reaction truly matched the TV audio was anytime Bobby Fish tried to do a promo. Even Bill Goldberg got a better reaction out of the crowd just for beating his head on a door. Probably because they were hoping the door would go over, which it did many times because that’s how bad Goldberg is. 

HD: All things aside, how do you see this match going?

Hart: Although I do think that Bayley should win, Iyo Sky retaining would put her and her group in a better position. Having all members of Damage CTRL, who are all very capable athletes, all lose? That’d be nonsense. Yes, there are reasons as to why someone on a losing streak may still be a legitimate competitor. But having a group be back-to-back losers in these major events makes them look like a joke. That’ll make it look like McMahon booking. When we get McMahon booking, we get people like Bill Goldberg stinking up the joint because we needed a last-minute feud.

World Heavyweight Championship – Seth Rollins (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

HD: Do you see this as the event where Seth loses his championship?

Hart: Should’ve been to CM Punk…

HD: Excuse me?

Hart: I said what I said.

HD: Well, CM Punk isn’t wrestling for the title. 

Hart: Well, you’re the one asking me for my opinion.

HD: That is a fair point, but this is where we are at right now. Do you see McIntyre achieving a championship in front of a live audience, something that the pandemic took away from him?

Hart: I see it, but my opinion remains the same.

HD: What if I told you Drew McIntyre beat Goldberg in 2021 for the title?

Hart: He beat Bill Goldberg? For the championship? In front of an empty arena?

HD: Yes, yes, and yes.

Hart: Ha. Bill Goldberg puts on a performance in front of nobody and loses. That’s how it should be. You know what? Hell yeah, I want to see Drew take the title. We already know he hates CM Punk so at least maybe he’ll win it when he’s medically cleared.

HD: And if CM Punk theoretically is not medically cleared again?

Hart: Then he’ll be just like me after Goldberg showcased his inability to wrestle. 

Undisputed Universal Championship – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes

HD: Here we are. The most anticipated moment that WWE has been pushing for since Rhodes returned to the company. Mr. Hart, in what could very much be the most important match of the current WWE era, who do you see as the victor?

Hart: Now, I’m a bit of a Cody Crybaby myself. I think Dusty’s boy has done very well for himself over the years. That right there is a man who has reinvented himself and has raised the bar for those who want to be the face of the promotion. 

HD: And as for the match, how do you predict it will go?

Hart: It’s sports entertainment. You are going to have the entire roster out there fighting. You’ll probably have some legends out there too causing a scene. Hell, I might be out there if Shawn Michaels personally pays me to show up. It’s going to be madness.

HD: Do you think Damian Priest will cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase here?

Hart: If he did so, and won, it would be the absolute worst booking decision by HHH and I will call him every day afterward to remind him of it. You do not throw away a monumental moment by deflating the entire thing just to have the championship switch hands in that fashion. However, it would be kind of funny and I would like to see it anyway just so I can give Hunter a call.

HD: You think it’d be funny for them to waste the prestige of the title and years worth of build-up?

Hart: Yes. 

HD: Why?

Hart: Because then the WWE would see how some things just shouldn’t happen. Which is something that WCW should’ve seen when they hired Bill Goldberg and gave him a wrestling career. 

HD: Bret, you and Shawn Michaels have moved on from the Montreal Screwjob. Are you going to do the same with Goldberg?

Hart: No. In fact, I no longer forgive Shawn because he’s the reason I went to WCW in the first place. If only he wrestled his ego better than his in-ring performance, then maybe I wouldn’t have had the displeasure of being in the ring with Bill Goldberg.

HD: Even when WWE bought out WCW? You don’t think they would’ve booked you together then if you stayed?

Hart: Don’t speak to me in hypotheticals. 

HD: Perhaps in every universe, you and Goldberg are destined to run into each other in the ring.

Hart: Perhaps in every universe, he ends my career and I sit retelling the same story over and over. I’m done here.

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