I was just getting into professional wrestling in 1997, one of the hottest years in quite some time. I didn’t grow up watching Bret Hart, Owen Hart, the British Bulldog, or anybody else. I didn’t realize the weight that Montreal carried with it. But in the years since, as a self-proclaimed wrestling historian, I have watched the Bret Hart DVD set WWE produced in 2005, Bret’s 2006 Hall of Fame speech, the A&E documentary “Wrestling with Shadows,” read his book and I’ve seen every match of his I have on any DVD in my library.
I’m a Bret Hart mark.
I buy into the Hitman character, who stands for what’s right in a world where characters can be so deceiving and callous. I believe that Bret Hart, the person, has had an incredible life and career. He’s seen so much in his life, has meant so much to Canada, and has inspired so many that it’s hard not to like him.
Naturally, I had to buy the Hart & Soul DVD. I’d read about the Hart family in both Bret Hart’s book “Hitman,” and in Martha Hart’s tragic account of her husband Owen’s death in “Broken Harts,” that I felt Hart & Soul would make a great addition to my collection.
Bret pulled no punches in his book. Perhaps he was writing it at a different stage in his life, but I thought the WWE pulled many punches in their production. I thought their portrayal of the Harts was always a positive one, when it seemed that Bret said it wasn’t always – or even usually – the case.
The other issue I have with it is that I thought it should have went longer. The Harts have gone through so much that I think it needed to be documented further. Maybe WWE felt that fans could purchase Bret’s book, but I doubt that since they wouldn’t see a dime of that profit.
Minus those two things, I’ve always been curious in the Hart family. I think this is a great addition to anyone’s DVD collection, featuring interviews from many members of the Hart family. The features are even hosted by the third generation – Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith and Natalya.
Top 5 favorite matches on WWE’s Hart & Soul: The Hart Family Anthology
Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog – Summerslam 1992
I can’t say anything about this match that hasn’t already been said.
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Summerslam 1994
I liked how there was no blood. Bret alluded to this on his DVD when he said most cage matches are bloody affairs, but I thought this really told a good story about a younger brother trying to overcome his brother – and really, his whole family.
Owen Hart vs. The British Bulldog – RAW 1997
This match crowned the Bulldog as the first WWF European Champion. I hadn’t seen this match before and was very impressed with the athletic performance of both men. Starting off very technical, Owen resorted to some sneaky tactics. The German crowd ate it up.
The Hart Foundation vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust and the Legion of Doom – In Your House: Canadian Stampede 1997
How much do you think any professional wrestling company would love to hear a crowd as hot as the one in Calgary that night? It wasn’t the best technical or scientific match, but the simple story of the Hart Foundation and their entire family uniting was really special to the live crowd.
Bret Hart, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Undertaker and Dude Love – RAW 1997
This was a random pick, almost. I liked all of the matches on this set, but I really liked the cast of characters in this flag match. The Austin/Dude/Taker combo involves three of my favorites, along with Bret on the other side. So it was a lot of fun for me.
Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart – WrestleMania 26
This match wasn’t included on this disc, but if you have WrestleMania, watch this match after you watch the Hart & Soul set. Again, I thought this told a great story of a family united.