WWE Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart was almost saddled with an awful Cowboy gimmick, in the early days of the WWE.
A former WWE Champion and one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Hart is revered by fans and professionals alike for his in-ring talent and his incredible gimmick.
His “Hitman” gimmick brought him huge fame, where he was a huge heel in the United States, but became the ultimate babyface when crossing the boarder into Canada.
He was also popular in countries like the UK, and all over Europe – Bret Hart himself reckons he was more popular than The British Bulldog in England!
However, he was almost stuck with a much more embarassing gimmick in the WWE.
Early on in his career, Hart was told by then-booker George Scott that he was to debut as “Cowboy” Bret Hart, and ride a horse to the ring.
Hart initially agreed, but eventually went back and told him the idea was ridiculous and he would not do it.
At the TV taping in Brantford, Ontario, near the end of February, George
Scott pulled me aside with some big news. They had a gimmick for me-a
“After WrestleMania, yer gonna ride out on a horse. A different one
every night, just like the Rhinestone Cowboy.
You can ride a horse, right?
Cowboy Bret Hart! Can you imagine that? We’ll sell the action figure
with the horse in the same box! It’ll be great!”
I found myself agreeing, even thanking him, but I hated it. That night on
the drive back to the hotel, Jim couldn’t stop laughing at how funny it was,
but then, every few minutes, he’d tell me how lucky I was.
At 1 a.m., I knocked on George’s hotel door. He was just about to crash
after another long day of TV; his tie was loosened, and he was shielding his
eyes from the light in the hall.
“George, I don’t want to be a cowboy.”
“Are kiddin’ me? It’ll be great!”
I told him I was sorry, but I couldn’t even ride a horse and, where I
come from, if you called yourself a cowboy, you’d better be one.
I was surprised to hear myself suggest to him that since Jimmy Hart, The Mouth of the South, was already managing Neidhart, they could turn me heel, out us all together and call us ‘The Hart Foundation’
While it does sound silly, the gimmick was not without it’s basis.
Bret Hart had never done the “riding a horse to the ring” gimmick before, but he did wrestle as “Cowboy” Brett Hart whilst in England.
He was given the moniker when working for Max Crabtree in Joint Promotion, the same company where Big Daddy plied his trade in the United Kingdom.
Wrestling on the televised World of Sport program, Bret Hart wrestled as the cowboy in a match against ‘Tiger’ Dalibir Singh in a match in Oldham, which you can view down below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.