WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart recently spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard website. The Extra Mustard branch of Sports Illustrated is described as the place “where culture meets sports.” The former five-time WWF Champion talked about various topics including his problems with Triple H as an Executive Vice President, how he thinks Seth Rollins is unsafe in the ring, and how “(Roman) Reigns is just like Kevin Nash.”
After talking about how much he misses seeing CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, he was then asked what side he stood on in regards to the part-timer situation; the fact that part-time wrestlers are getting main event spots at WrestleMania instead of the wrestlers who are there on a weekly basis. He took the side of the full-time wrestler and spoke about how he prefers Vince McMahon’s wrestling logic and booking compared to Triple H’s:
“I’d have to take Punk’s side on it. Triple H is a bodybuilder nut. He goes after the bodies. He doesn’t care how good–and he can look in the mirror–guys work, he cares how guys look. Punk and Bryan are guys concerned with how they work. It’s a different philosophy. I admire Punk for taking his stand. He was the guy doing all the work, every week, going injured, and here’s a guy sitting at home–working three or four times a year–and you’re going to give him the main event at WrestleMania? I’m not buying it.
Vince is sorry that they lost Punk. Vince has a better sense of a wrestler’s look and their work, and Triple H is more prone to bodybuilders. If a guy is 6’5” and has a body builder’s physique, that’s all that matters to him. But he’s wrong.”
There have been many comparisons among fans between Seth Rollins and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. When Hart was asked if he sees similarities between the two and if he thinks Rollins is the second coming of Michaels, he responded with:
“Shawn was always really safe. He was always a really safe worker, but I don’t know about Seth Rollins. That knee in the face that he gave to John Cena was unprofessional, at best. It’s really strange that a guy like Rollins, who I have a lot of respect for, would be that reckless with that knee in the face. If someone kneed me in the face like that, I would have met him in the back dressing room with a baseball bat. There’s just no excuse for it.”
Hart continues about how he feels Rollins should take better care of himself and his opponents in the ring, especially as WWE Champion:
“You can’t hurt somebody like that under any circumstances. It’s totally reckless. It can’t happen. The other thing is, when you’re the champion, you have a responsibility to not get hurt. You have to be spot on. I love that Rollins kept going on and finished the match, and that shows a lot of courage.
Nobody can hurt you and you can’t hurt yourself. It’s not allowed. I was champion, off and on, for quite a few years, and I never missed one title match from an injury. I got hurt lots of times, but the reality is you’ve got so much pinned on you and so much tied onto you, the company and your peers can’t afford for you to get hurt. When you do get injured, it throws a wrench into everything. I do feel bad–Seth Rollins is a young guy and he’s obviously very talented, and I hope he comes back from his surgery and learns from all these things. I hope they give him another chance and his opportunity has not been squandered from an injury, regardless of whose fault it was.”
Hart admitted that his two favorite Survivor Series matches, that he competed in, was his match against ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in 1996 and his WWF Championship match against Kevin Nash in 1995. Hart goes on to talk about how he thinks Reigns’ current run in the WWE is eerily similar to that of Kevin Nash’s WWF run in the mid 90’s:
“Reigns is just like Kevin Nash. If you look back at Reigns, his character was getting over really good on his own. Then they rushed him into a babyface turn and crammed him down everybody’s thoughts, and people rejected him. It wasn’t his fault. It was kind of like with Kevin Nash. He was slowly getting over, and I wrestled him at (the 1994) King of the Ring and we had a really good match. All of a sudden, by August, they were ready to make him the new champion. And I’m going, ‘He’s not ready yet. Give him a little time and let him get even more over.’ Why is there a rush? Reigns got dealt a bad set of cards. It has nothing to do with his work rate–he’s a really good worker and his style is really good. He just needs to be himself.”
Hart’s thoughts about rushing guys to the top of the card too soon and how he feels that Roman Reigns is a victim of bad booking:
“They tend to rush guys too soon, and that makes me think of Steve Austin. Vince wanted to turn him baby face much sooner than he did. I remember Steve stopped it. Austin said, ‘No, let me get over more.’ And it paid off to be a little smarter and not rush. Some of the mistakes have more to do with the bookers instead of the actual wrestlers. Reigns is a victim of bad booking.”
Lastly, Hart gives his thoughts on who he feels is worthy of winning the WWE Championship this Sunday at Survivor Series:
“Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose are the hardest working guys in the company. They’re the most deserving to be the next champion, even though Reigns has been the most short-changed with booking.”
Hart also goes on to talk about his past memories at the eleven Survivor Series pay-per-views he’s competed in, how he feels that Dean Ambrose can carry the WWE, the greatness of Paul Heyman, WWE’s problematic booking of European wrestlers, and much more. You can click here to read this interview in its entirety.
Well, wow! Bret touched on a ton of different topics in this interview. Although I didn’t agree with everything he said, I really enjoyed the read and encourage you to check it out if you have the time (it’s lengthy).
In regards to Triple H being more bodybuilder prone when looking for wrestlers and Vince caring more about their in-ring work, it’s funny because I was always under the impression that it was the other way around. I definitely wouldn’t say that Triple H “only goes after the bodies” and “doesn’t care how good guys work.” Although the acquisition didn’t work out as planned, Triple H’s first real wrestler acquisition was Sin Cara, who would hardly be described as having the bodybuilder look. Seth Rollins left this year’s WrestleMania as WWE Champion defeating Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in the main event match to end the show. NXT, which is pretty much Triple H’s baby, is filled with plenty of men and women who aren’t 6’5” 250-300lbs. The current NXT Champion is Finn Balor who doesn’t physically resemble Hulk Hogan or John Cena in the least. The story also goes that Triple H was instrumental in getting Kevin Owens into the WWE. So I’ve got to respectfully disagree with Bret on this one. Maybe that was Triple H’s mentality in the 90s or 10-15 years ago, but I don’t think that’s his mentality now.
With Rollins needing to be more careful in the ring to his opponents and himself, I think it’s not that black and white. Yes, as champion Rollins needs to make sure he takes care of himself. However, these wrestlers are working a ton so the question of being overworked comes into play. I’m sure saying that the wrestlers are physically exhausted from time to time is an understatement, so that’s something that needs to be taken into consideration. Rollins kneeing Cena in the face was a massive slip up on Rollins’ part, but it was a mistake. There have been plenty of slip ups in wrestling history that were far more dangerous and drastic than what happened to Cena. When Sting got injured in his WWE Championship match with Rollins, the bump that took it over the top was the turnbuckle powerbomb. Even Bret mentions in this interview how Sting wouldn’t have agreed to do the move if he didn’t want to or feel like he could take it. I just don’t think you can put all the blame on Rollins as being dangerous in the ring as some fans adamantly have.
As far as the comparisons between Reigns and Nash, I never realized how similar both of their initial runs in the WWE were until Bret mentioned it. He’s right when saying that the WWE tends to rush guys way too soon. We’ve seen it happen plenty of times and the fans usually reject it as, more often than not, there are usually other guys on the roster who have more deservedly earned the top spot than the wrestler that the WWE is pushing on us.
What are your thoughts on Bret Hart’s comments? Do you see Reigns having the same fate as Kevin Nash? Do you think Seth Rollins can be the next Shawn Michaels? What are your opinions on Triple H’s time as Executive Vice President, has he done a good job thus far? Keep the conversation going by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.
Photo used above is courtesy of WWE.com.