When it came to the present state of professional wrestling, the wrestling legend Bret Hart, “Hitman” definitely didn’t mince his words. Hart expressed his dissatisfaction with what he perceives as the “pathetic” condition of wrestling today, from the top performers in big firms like the WWF and AEW all the way down to the middle and bottom of the show, in an exclusive interview.
One of Hart’s main criticisms is the prevalence of leg slapping in modern wrestling. He lamented how wrestlers now slap their legs on every punch and slap, making the fights look fake and lacking in authenticity. According to Hart, this trend has made it difficult for him to watch wrestling today, as it has become “too phony” in his eyes.
Lost Art and Bruised Bodies: Bret Hart Questions the Authenticity of Modern Wrestling
Hart recently attended the WWE Clash at the Castle PLE event in September 2022, and he couldn’t help but feel embarrassed by what he witnessed. The realization that the crowd is in on the act, and the entire floor is clapping and slapping their legs, left Hart questioning what has happened to the authenticity of wrestling.
Kinda…. Its acrobatics now, its not wrestling.
In a greco roman match, Hart (even at this age) is more adept to having a chance compared to the acrobats of 2023
— Mark Bland (@markbland) April 14, 2023
He’s not wrong, but he is one of the most bitter people in all of wrestling.
— Shaun (@actionjaxon666) April 14, 2023
For Hart, wrestling is an art form that has lost its simplicity and storytelling elements. He pointed out that wrestling is about good vs. bad, and the stories are easy to tell. However, he feels that wrestlers from 2005 onwards lack an understanding of storytelling and the fundamentals of wrestling, such as headlocks.
Edge, when he was 19 years old, asking WWF champion Bret Hart on a talk show about trying to get signed to the WWF.
This was in 1992.
So crazy 😳 pic.twitter.com/mjovfFP9Dj
— Wrestling Pics & Clips (@WrestleClips) April 14, 2023
Hart cited an example of watching a young wrestler, Zoe Sager, who impressed him with her execution of a real headlock, which he found more captivating than anything he saw in Cardiff with other wrestlers. He emphasized that wrestling is a simple art that should focus on storytelling, rather than relying on gimmicks or excessive physicality.
As well as the physical toll that wrestlers endure in the ring, Hart expressed concern about the psychological toll. He questioned why wrestlers allow themselves to be slapped, chopped, and whipped across the chest, resulting in painful welts and blisters. Hart finds it nonsensical and “stupid” to subject oneself to unnecessary pain in the name of entertainment, especially when everyone knows that wrestling is scripted and not real.
Beyond the Bruises: Hitman’s Call for Authenticity and Storytelling in Modern Wrestling
Hart recalled his experience with Ric Flair’s chops but noted that he would only allow one chop in a match to get it over with, as he didn’t believe in intentionally hurting oneself. He criticized the current trend of wrestlers willingly enduring physical punishment night after night, only to wake up with injuries the next day.
Bret Hart’s frank opinions concerning the status of modern wrestling hold weight as one of the wrestling industry’s most recognized and experienced personalities. He advocates for a return to authenticity, simplicity, and storytelling in wrestling, rather than relying on leg slapping, gimmicks, and excessive physicality. Hart’s critique serves as a reminder to wrestling promotions and wrestlers alike to prioritize the art of storytelling and create a product that resonates with fans on a deeper level. Only time will tell if Hart’s observations will spur changes in the wrestling industry.