He is “The Excellence Of Execution”. He is “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be”. He is none other than Bret “The Hitman” Hart. I have read quite a few wrestling books in my day and I have to say that Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling is definitely at the top of the list.
First off, if you’re not a wrestling fan you’re probably not going to get the brilliance of this book. It’s over 500 pages long and the detail that Bret goes into is just short of photographic memory type recall. He does make a reference early in the book of the fact that he kept a diary of sorts over the years but even still the details that he’s able to provide are amazing.
Bret is one of 12 children and he goes into a ton of back story about the Hart family tree which I really didn’t care for. One thing that the family history did do is frame quite a bit of the angst that is common toward the end of the book. While the Hart family is certainly synonymous with the wrestling industry this is a book about Bret. He goes into a ton of details about his marriage, his family, in-laws, etc. One thing that shocked me was how cavalier he was about his infidelity when on the other hand he was so adamantly against drug use, etc.
Speaking of drug use Bret really sheds some light on the professional wrestling locker room. He tells tales of steroids, uppers, alcohol, etc. being used like it was candy. Not only that, but he pulls no punches. He names names, talks about how he doesn’t like this guy or that guy, and calls out quite a few people for being bad workers in the ring. He obviously prides himself on his work ethic and it really comes through during these discussions.
If you’re only a WWF / WWE fan then you’re going to want to skip over about the first 200 pages or so. Those chapters deal with Bret’s time in Stampede Wrestling and other promotions prior to his arrival in the WWF. That said, I think you owe it to yourself to read that stuff cause there’s some incredible stories in there. They really provide a foundation for the wrestler that was The Hitman.
Bret talks very openly about everything from his love/hate relationships with Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan, to the deaths of his brother Owen and countless other wrestlers. He provides insight into the wrestling business that I’d never seen before (even though I’ve read more than 20 wrestling titles over the years). He certainly paints some people in a good light and others he completely trashes. In fact, as I was reading this I was thinking how awesome it would be to have a “rebuttal” book where people would go through chapter by chapter and respond or defend their actions. The Vince and Shawn chapters would be AMAZING!!!
He talks openly about his divorce, his time in WCW after he left the WWF, Owen’s tragic death and his stroke. I found it weird that he only mentioned that Chris Benoit was among those wrestlers that have died (not that he murdered his whole family). I guess that’s one can of worms that Bret didn’t want to open.
I’m a big wrestling fan so I loved this. If you’re not a wrestling fan you should probably pass as you’ll never get past the Stampede years. If you’ve ever been a fan of The Hitman you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. It’s a long read but it’ll give you more Bret Hart than you ever wanted.