MR. TITO: Older Bret Hart and Ric Flair Need to Forgive or Let the Past Go

First and foremost, I love me some Bret “the Hitman” Hart and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair… They are among my favorites of all time and their past work, in my opinion, still holds up to this day. Both are arguably among the best of all time in terms of in-ring work, while both added to the product when not wrestling as well. Great characters, great promos, and great connection with fans.

But that was for both guys in their prime…

Lately, as both have grown older (Bret at 66, about to turn 67, while Ric Flair is 75 years old), they’ve been a big peculiar as older men. To me, both men just cannot let go of the past, as Bret holds a major grudge towards certain individuals while Ric Flair thinks he is younger and bulletproof like he perceived himself in the past. What a shame, because both guys should be repeatedly receiving flowers for their efforts and contributions towards pro wrestling. Yet, both guys are showing their ways in a negative fashion.

With Bret Hart, he just won’t let go of past grudges… Primarily, it’s about Bill Goldberg or Triple H, while never giving either man the benefit of the doubt that either person has evolved. The Triple H of the 2020s is a far different man than he was as a wrestler, while Bill Goldberg has only really injured Bret Hart. Otherwise, wrestlers have had safe experiences with him and he was very safe for his WWE run (except for injuries to himself).

Let’s be honest about Starrcade 1999, which was headlined by Bret Hart vs. Bill Goldberg. Fine, let’s make the argument that the turnbuckle Figure 4 and then the Superkick concussed Bret Hart. Let’s believe Bret Hart…

So…. Why did Bret Hart wrestle NINE matches in 22 days following WCW Starrcade 1999?

Don’t believe me? Internet Wrestling Database has the following:

12/20/99 vs. Bill Goldberg
12/21/99 vs. Chris Benoit
12/27/99 vs. Jerry Flynn
1/4/00 vs. Terry Funk in a Hardcore Match
1/6/00 vs. Sid Vicious (Cagematch suggests this was against Ric Flair)
1/7/00 vs. Sid Vicious
1/8/00 vs. Sid Vicious
1/9/00 vs. Sid Vicious
1/10/00 vs. Kevin Nash

For one, if Bill Goldberg was sooooooooo dangerous, why did you wrestle him on the Monday Nitro immediately after Starrcade 1999? Not only that, but you wrestled Chris Benoit on the Thunder taping following that show. Chris doesn’t go easy, ever…

Getting into early 2000, Bret wrestled Terry Funk in a Hardcore match. Why, if someone was badly concussed, why would they agree to do that match? You’ve got a big contract and have some pull, so why let the match happen? THEN, for 5 straight days after that, wrestle Sid multiple times and then Kevin Nash. Big wrestlers who can drop you from a higher place.

I’m terribly sad for what happened to Bret throughout 2000 and then later following the bicycle accident which may have induced his stroke.

But if you’re badly hurt, you shouldn’t wrestle for 9 more matches, and a rematch with Bill Goldberg, too, along with matches with Benoit, Sid, Terry, and Nash (4 physical wrestlers). I understand the LACK of concussion protocol back then, but you had guaranteed money on that contract and stroke of being one of the highest paid performers.

Shouldn’t you be badmouthing Sid, Benoit, Funk, and Nash for possibly making your situation worse following the Goldberg match? A Hardcore match with Terry, too?

If you watch Wrestling with Shadows documentary, which captures amazing behind-the-scenes footage of WWE Survivor Series 1997 and the infamous Montreal Screwjob, you’ll see a younger Triple H lying to Bret Hart’s wife about knowing about the fix. Bret has forever held that against Triple H and used that as the basis to badmouth HHH’s in-ring work and character. Meanwhile, he has forgiven Shawn Michaels who actually wrestled Bret that night and acted, on camera, as if he wasn’t involved with it (though he was totally in on it).

Bret – Just pick up the phone and call Bill or Triple H. Talk things out. You make it seem as though Bill Goldberg wanted to purposely harm you and he clearly didn’t. While he was still a bit green during late 1999, he didn’t hurt other wrestlers. In my opinion, the Figure 4 on the corner was an accident as was the Superkick. But again, you wrestled NINE matches in 22 days following that Starrcade 1999 match. With Triple H, look at what he’s doing with the wrestling business right now and it’s welcoming to all different types of wrestling talent. Do you honestly think he wouldn’t want your input or involvement in some way? Come on…

If Bret can find room in his heart to forgive Vince McMahon for (a) Montreal Screwjob and (b) Owen Hart’s death, then he should definitely have room for Triple H and Bill Goldberg.

Then, you have Ric Flair… He thinks that he’s younger, but he’s 75… Instead of being the veteran that everyone admires, he’s someone who just can’t let go of what he used to be. He can no longer wrestle, but he shouldn’t be able to party as hard either. Honestly, we’re lucky to have him healthy and alive right now given recent health scares.

Just to see how sensitive “Karen” Flair has become with age… He Tweets like a teenager through saying bizarre things while he can get quite personal with current talent, such as the “the Man” fight with Becky Lynch. But then you have this recent incident at the bar, where he claims that he was kicked out but the video shows the opposite. It shows Flair cursing out a staff member.

Lots of erratic behavior… Terrible with money, always seemingly pissed off. But I think that Ric is frustrated that he became older and can no longer perform full-time. Rather than letting his body relax in his older age, he wants to keep the pedal floored. Problem is that he’s not wrestling like he used to, and thus the revenue isn’t coming in like it once was to maintain that Nature Boy lifestyle. He’s a total victim of his own success and just can’t calm things down.

That said, he’s Ric Flair… Always hypoactive and cannot sit still. I actually met Ric Flair at an autograph signing during 2002. He looked like he didn’t want to be there at all. Didn’t smile for pictures with fans, didn’t interact with anyone, and just seemed miserable. From what I’ve heard, that’s a typical Ric Flair autograph signing. By his own human nature, he cannot sit still… He needs to either wrestle or dance, but not sit down and do repetitive things.

But treating bar employees poorly and getting rigid on Social Media is not a good look for one of the best wrestlers of all time.

I love both of you guys, Bret and Ric, but join us here in reality. Let the past go and embrace being an elder statemen of the wrestling business. You have years of stories to tell and lessons to provide, but you hold grudges or can’t act your age.

CLICK HERE for the Mr. Tito Column Archive @ NoDQ