Wrestling Greatest Rivalries: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, Part 2

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Wrestling Greatest Rivalries: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, Part 2
Unless stated otherwise, all photos are originally courtesy of WWE.com.

They say the greatest stories cannot be written, they must be lived.

In the beginning, it was a dream that inspired two boys to dedicate themselves to becoming professional wrestlers. Then, as they grew into young men, they realized they were fully capable of achieving this dream through hours of training and hard work.

Finally, they achieved that dream. They achieved greatness and changed what a WWE Superstar was supposed to be in the process. Their paths would cross each step of the way up the ladder, until finally, a once-friendly rivalry became one of bitter hatred both on and off television.

Welcome to Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries. This is part two of the story of Bret "The Hitman" Hart and "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels.

If you missed part one, you can catch up by clicking here. Enjoy.

This two-part article is derived from the WWE Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart DVD that was released by the WWE in 2011. All the matches—sans the 1997 Survivor Series match—as well as the quotes, can be found on the DVD. 


WrestleMania XII: A Boyhood Dream Comes True

At 12 years old, Shawn Michaels knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. He knew what his life’s goal was, a boyhood dream you could even call it. And since that time, he had been obsessed with achieving that goal: winning the WWE championship.

He had worked and trained in preparation of possibly getting a chance to hoist that championship high, but he had yet to actually to do it. He had the opportunity the previous year at WrestleMania, but fell to his former friend Diesel.

He had suffered numerous setbacks since that time, but now, setbacks were no option. Failure was no option. He was going to WrestleMania XII to defeat Bret Hart in the first 60-minute Iron Man match and finally capture the gold that had eluded him his entire life.

Meanwhile, Bret Hart was atop the WWE as its proud and heroic champion.

Not only was he not ready to relinquish his gold, but he wanted to prove the he was still the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, after many had begun to wonder if Michaels had surpassed him as far as in-ring ability was concerned.

These two men had a rivalry of epic proportions brewing.

They had climbed the ranks of the tag team division and WWE Intercontinental Championship picture, crossing paths numerous times to make it to the main event of the Showcase of the Immortals. No, neither man will live forever. But on this March night in 1996, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels had a match that will be remembered by WWE fans forever.

 

3,600 seconds. 60 minutes. 1 hour. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart

The music of Shawn Michaels echoed off the walls of the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. Howard Finkel introduced Michaels to the capacity crowd of over 18,000, yet there was no Shawn Michaels to be seen. Only the man who trained him how to wrestle, Jose Lothario, was making his way down to the ring.

Lothario made it to ring, then pointed toward the heavens. Suddenly, Michaels’ theme began to play once more, this time with Michaels zip-lining from the rafters to the crowd before he made his way to the ring by foot.

While Michaels' entrance was all about flash, Bret Hart’s entrance possessed nothing of the sort.

No zip-lining, no disappearing act the first time his music played through, and only minimal fireworks. This was no coincidence either, as Hart—unlike Michaelscouldn’t have cared less about those things. He wasn’t about flash, only the substance. To him, if it wasn’t going to aid him in keeping the top prize in sports entertainment, he wasn’t interested.

After explaining the rules to the competitors and fans in his thick southern accent, referee Earl Hebner raised the WWE championship high. Bret Hart gave his sun glasses to his son before entering back into the ring. Lothario stood on the apron to give his pupil some last-minute advice.

Once he jumped off the apron, the bell sounded. The first Iron Man match in WWE history was underway.

The two locked up and jockeyed for position early on. Michaels scored the first takedown, but Hart quickly escaped and reversed. This would be the theme of the match early, which soon began to frustrate The Hitman. On commentary, Vince McMahon would accurately point out that Michaels appeared to be a hair quicker than Hart.

Hart had very rarely stepped foot inside the ring with a man technically up to par with him. Yet, the Heartbreak Kid may have been just that.

Nonetheless, Hart would be the man to display the first effective offense of the match. He’d ground Michaels with a side headlock, taking away his vertical basis, which meant he couldn’t fly as he liked to do.

Hart was going for the conservative strategy, which fit his personality. He was beginning the match with the basics of wrestling; to ground and wear down his opponent. Then, his plan was to slowly begin to go for the bigger and more complex maneuvers as the match wore on.

For the time being, Hart would counter whatever Michaels did back into a variation of a headlock. Michaels may have been the faster man, but Hart was the stronger one.

Michaels finally battled out of the headlock and hit two consecutive arm drags before applying an armbar. He would control Hart’s arm in a similar fashion to how Hart controlled his head and neck area. He figured if he could dissect and injure the arm of the champion, it would take away a great deal of his offense.

Hart would crank back the jaw of the challenger to fight his way to his feet and back Michaels into the corner. He unleashed some strikes to his chest before Michaels turned it around and did the same.

The intensity suddenly ratcheted up, as Michaels whipped Hart into the corner, only for Hart to reverse. Michaels leaped into the air with the assistance of the turnbuckle and used the hurricanrana to send Hart flying to the outside.

Back into the ring, Michaels would go back to the arm of Hart. Hart, though, would fight out and nearly send Michaels flying over the top rope. But Michaels skinned the cat and pulled himself back into the ring.

An unsuspecting Hart would be the victim of an attack and yet another armbar.

Both soon got to their feet, and Hart hit Michaels with a knee to the abdomen to ground him. Next was a headbutt to the lower abdomen area, though he nearly hit the groin instead. He dropped the leg on the neck of Michaels and again synched in a headlock.

Hart’s game plan was simply to wear down Shawn Michaels. If he couldn’t breath, he’d have a difficult time to do much of anything—especially with the move set he had.

Michaels got loose with a neckbreaker atop his own head, followed by a leg drop of his own. He contorted the arm of Hart and went back to an armbar on The Hitman.

Hart would break loose and temporarily hoist Michaels in his arms before slamming him down to the canvas. He tried to apply the Sharpshooter, but Michaels squirmed his way to a rope break. When he stood up, he was nailed with a vicious clothesline to send him crashing to the outside.

Instead of opting to get the first fall via countout, Hart went with the more aggressive approach and went outside to take the offense to Michaels. Michaels pushed Hart away and sent him shoulder first into the ring post. He landed on top of the time keeper, whom Michaels would inadvertently nail with Sweet Chin Music thanks to Hart dodging in the nick of time.

Hart would utilize strikes to get Michaels back into the ring and then back into a headlock. It seemed as if no matter what happened, Hart would revert to his headlock or Michaels would revert to his armbar. This signified that both men were hellbent to execute their game plan to perfection.

An arm-drag takedown would free Michaels of the pressure being wrenched in on his neck by Hart. He’d follow up with a clothesline but was met with clothesline from Hart. Hart would lock in the headlock once more as the clock kept ticking. Forty-one minutes now remained, with zero falls yet to be scored.

Michaels nailed Hart with fists to the gut to free himself of the headlock. He rolled Hart into the rope, but Hart hooked the rope, not allowing Michaels to go for a roll-up.

A dropkick, arm drag and then another armbar put Michaels back in control. He drove his knees into the arm and perhaps even the rib cage of Bret Hart. At this juncture of the match, one began to wonder which strategy employed so far would prove to work best when the final minutes ticked off the clock.

Hart would continuously have to lift his shoulders off the mat as Earl Hebner counted to two. He would get to a vertical basis with his arm still locked in Michaels’ grasp, but would soon collapse back down to the mat.

He would roll into a headlock, yet it took Michaels no time at all to regain the position of power. Eventually, Hart would get to his feet and take advantage of doing so by backing Michaels into the corner and nailing him in the face with a couple elbows.

Hart would hit Michaels with a series of strikes before whipping him into the opposite corner of the ring. However, Michaels reversed with a knee to the gut and threw him shoulder first into the ring post. This was surely going to help him in taking away the effectiveness of The Hitman’s right arm.

Michaels stepped out onto the apron and yanked back on Hart’s arm, before again pounding into the steel post. He rolled back in the ring, lifted Hart, and slammed him down into a shoulder breaker.

He climbed onto the second turnbuckle and hit a double axe to that same shoulder. Next, he hit Hart with a Hammerlock Slam. We appeared to be nearing the first decision of the match. Shawn Michaels was beginning to see the fruits of his labor as Hart favored his right arm more as each second ticked off the clock.

Michaels continued his assault on Hart’s shoulder, employing a great deal of the in-ring psychology that Hart was ironically known for.

Even when Hart began a comeback, the compromised state of his arm would not allow him to take advantage. Jerry Lawler voiced his surprise when he said this was exactly the opposite match that he thought Michaels would wrestle. He had believed he would be jumping around like a “Mexican jumping bean,” and he wasn’t alone in thinking that.

Hart would hammer away at Michaels' head with his good arm and then drop him neck-first into the second rope to force him to relinquish his submission move. Next was a stomach-first slingshot of Michaels into the top turnbuckle, to buy himself some much-needed time to collect himself.

He crawled toward the cover with his right arm limp; one, two: kickout by the Heartbreak Kid.

Hart pulled him into the corner and tried to slam his head into the turnbuckle, but to no avail as Michaels blocked the attempt and instead did it to Hart.

Hart rested in the other corner as Shawn went for a splash, but Hart moved away and Michaels found himself caught atop the top turnbuckle and the victim of some kicks to the gut. He’d land on his feet off the final kick and was hit with an inverted atomic drop, then a clothesline! Cover; one, two: another kickout by Michaels.

Hart responded by hitting a bulldog out of the corner then uncharacteristically climbing to the top rope. Michaels tried to lift him off but instead was driven to the mat by Hart’s knee in an ugly offensive move, also taking out the referee in the process. Hart though, would quickly revive Hebner as he had obvious intentions of going for a cover soon.

We cleared the midway point as Hart rebounded off the ropes into the arms of Michaels for a power slam. One, two: kickout by Hart.

Michaels whipped Hart off the ropes, but Hart reversed and hit Michels with a piledriver. Cover...one, two, no! With each near fall, it was becoming clear that this wasn’t a sprint but a marathon. Neither man was going to give the other an easy fall.

They were going to have to work for it.

Hart grew up in a household with his dad training young wrestlers in the dungeon. Every so often, they would scream in agony, from pain they were suffering at the hands of his father. He would train with his dad as he grew as well, although he was deathly afraid of him. Now, all that work and pain he had suffered was something that he hoped would help. He hoped it would aid him in overcoming the injuries his shoulder had sustained through the first half of the match.

Hart dropped his leg on the throat of Michaels and headed to the top for some high-risk offense. However, it would backfire this time, as Michaels lifted him in the air then slammed him to the mat.

Michaels hit Hart with a hurricanrana next, and nailed him with a flurry of punches to capitalize. He readied Hart for Sweet Chin Music, but Hart hooked the ropes instead of rebounding off them to thwart the attempt. Instead, Michaels settled for the suplex then a cover. One, two: kickout!

Off the cover, Michaels hit Hart an uppercut then again positioned him for Sweet Chin Music. As Hart saw Michaels' foot nearing his chin, however, he ducked and rolled to the outside.

He caught his breath and walked around the ring, but Michaels wasn’t prepared to give him a break. He climbed to the top rope and leaped at Hart for a cross-body. Both men laid on the arena floor exhausted. The question was: Could either reach the ring by the count of 10? Was a countout going to be the first fall of the match?

Hell, was it going to be the only fall of the match?

Michaels stirred and crawled back in the ring at the count of seven. The count restarted as Hart stirred. However, Michaels would break the count by rolling out and tossing The Hitman back in. He didn’t want to win his first WWE championship by a countout. He wanted to have a more decisive finish.

Hart recovered on the inside while Michaels climbed to the top; cross-body! Hart rolled through and went for the cover. One, two: no!

Both to their feet now, they countered each other numerous times before Michaels flipped out of a back slide and rolled Hart up for a cover. One, two: Hart kicked out!

Twenty-five minutes remained, yet the first decision had yet to be scored.

Michaels finished a flurry of offense with a perfect-plex. Cover...one, two: no!

Off an Irish whip, Michaels synched in a headlock, reverting back to the basics in the process. This had been a move Hart had repeatedly locked in on Michaels earlier in the match. He drove him into the corner to break the hold, but Michaels wouldn’t take no for an answer and immediately locked it back in.

Originally from IGN.com.

Hebner dropped Hart’s arm once, then twice, but Hart kept his arm up the third time to perhaps save himself from losing his title. Hart would power out of the hold but would pay the price as Michaels simply slammed him into the corner.

He once again locked in the headlock, but this time Hart flipped out of it. Michaels hit him with an elbow to the face then continued with a mule kick.

He climbed to the top, but Hart lifted him up and over, landing him on the floor on the outside.

Michaels stirred as the count crescendoed. Hart came out to greet him and did so by driving him back-first into the unforgiving steel post. He tossed him in the ring and would focus on the lower back in the minutes to follow. It was far from pretty, but it was effective.

Anguish came across the face of the Heartbreak Kid. He had to fight back now or watch his boyhood dream slowly slip through his fingers. What becomes of the man when he finally fulfills his dream? What becomes of the boy if he doesn’t?

Off a suplex off the top rope, Hart covered Michaels. One, two: no!

Hart continued his dissection of Michaels with a camel clutch, until Michaels finally fought to his feet. He punched him in the solar plexus then slid off the ropes for a rollup. One, two: kickout!

“More than anything in his professional life, Bret Hart wants to retain his championship!” Vince McMahon correctly stated on commentary, as Hart took control once again and punished the already ailing lower back of his opponent.

He lifted Michaels up onto the top rope, and Michaels fought back with a strike to his temple. He lunged off the top rope at The Hitman but again was struck in the solar plexus and sent crashing to the canvas.

Russian legsweep! Cover...one, two: kickout!

The unrelenting champion whipped Michaels around the ring, tossing him into one corner, then up and over the next, leaving Michaels to strike his mentor Jose Lothario as he landed. A smiling Hart went to the outside and tossed Michaels into the steel steps, once again knocking Lothario over.

Back into the ring, Hart nailed a belly-to-belly suplex on Michaels. The following cover would again be unsuccessful.

The thought process of working on Michaels’ lower back was perhaps to weaken him for the Sharpshooter. After all, that’s where all the pressure of the move went. It was an ingenious game plan from Hart. He was going to milk the clock until the final minutes, then attempt to gain the elusive fall of this Iron Man match.

Hart hammered away at Michaels, but the controversial challenger responded with offense of his own. These two men had been friends for years, but leading up to the match, tension had begun to affect their relationship.

Hart felt like he was a sitting duck as champion, just waiting to hand it over to Michaels when the time was right. He felt he was yesterday’s news to the company, and there was something he didn’t really like about that. He also disliked the fact that Michaels had surrounded himself with his buddies in “The Kliq,” and thought he’d dictate how his reign went once he inevitably became champion. But, was this the night he would be crowned champion? Or would Hart’s reign continue?

The Hitman thwarted the comeback attempt of Michaels, attacking his lower back and kidney area as he had done in the previous minutes. It was akin to how Michaels dissected his arm in the earlier stages of this grueling WWE championship bout.

His offensive dominance would carry on. Off a roll-up kickout, Michaels’ momentum carried him to the outside of the ring. Hart listened to the count then nailed a timely suicide dive onto Michaels!

Hart decided he’d go for a countout instead of more punishment. Michaels,  however, inched toward the ring and crawled onto the apron just in time.

Hart met him there, but Michaels reversed his suplex attempt only to fall victim to a German Suplex. One, two: kickout!

“I have never seen two more determined individuals in the ring in my life” Jerry Lawler said, speaking to how this was what both these men grew up craving. They never wanted to be teachers, firemen or even astronauts. No, they had always wanted to become professional wrestlers.

Courtesy of DeviantArt.com

Michaels wasn’t even allowed to reach his feet before they started trading blows. Michaels’ blows, though, weren’t doing damage due to his minimized leverage on the mat. Meanwhile, Hart’s blows were meeting Michaels square in the head. Yet, the more punishment he received, the more he wanted.

Michaels urged Hart to bring all had—something a normal human being would find to be absolutely crazy, but Shawn Michaels had proven to be far from normal. As had Hart.

The clock kept winding down; 10 minutes, it read, meaning these two men had been inside the ring for 50 minutes without a fall, as Hart applied a camel clutch to Michaels.

After sitting in the devastating submission for over two minutes, Michaels got to his feet and broke the hold. He dazed Hart enough whip across the ring and nail Hart with a clothesline. Unfortunately for Michaels, he ate a clothesline as well. Both men were down as Hebner started to count. Under eight minutes remained now.

Both Superstars recovered and traded shots. Desperation had sunk in for both competitors—especially the challenger Michaels.

Hart positioned Michaels on the top rope then climbed up himself. Superplex!

Next, Hart tried to lock in the Sharpshooter, only to be blocked by Michaels. He would successfully lock in the Boston crab. Now, could he successfully gain the only decision of the match?

No, he could not. Somehow, some way, Shawn Michaels clawed his way to a rope break.

Hart’s next move would a be backbreaker before climbing to the top rope. Fiver minutes were left in this hour long match.

Hart said of the bout:

I know at a certain time, I looked up with 5 minutes to go in the match and I’m going "I can’t believe it, we’ve done everything exactly the way we planned it out." I don’t know of any two professional wrestlers that could’ve done that so well. It was an amazing accomplishment.

Hart came down off the top rope and ate a boot to the face. Michaels capitalized with a dropkick, then attacked Hart in the corner with some strikes followed by a vicious Irish whip that would knock the air out of Hart.

Michaels bounced off the ropes and hit Hart with a forearm. He kipped up as only he could and stomped the face of the champion. He set up and nailed his elbow to Hart’s jaw. Michaels body slammed Hart, then hit a double axe cross-body off the top. Cover...one, two: no!

Suplex! Elbow drop! Cover...1, 2: no!

What was it going to take to put the resilient Bret Hart away? Was it even possible for Michaels to put Hart away and grasp the championship he had waited his entire life to capture?

Michaels nailed a gutwrench suplex then climbed to the heavens one more time for a Moonsault! Cover...1, 2: no!

Hart reversed a whip from Michaels but ate a boot to the face. Michaels flew off the top into a powerbomb, but rolled through into a cover...one, two: kickout!

Michaels slammed Hart only to collapse down to the canvas. Fifty seconds remained. He climbed up to the top, but came crashing down and was immediately locked in the Sharpshooter.

Forty seconds! For 40 seconds, Michaels was stuck in this deadly submission with no way out. His face told the story of pure agony and once the bell sounded, heartbreak.

No, Shawn Michaels did not tap, but he didn’t earn a fall either. Therefore, still WWE champion, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, right?

Wrong.

Commissioner Gorilla Monsoon ordered the match to continue under sudden-death rules; there must be a winner!

Hart, who had already headed to the locker room, paced back down in disbelief. He briefly argued with Monsoon over the decision before the bell sounded. Michaels, though, hadn’t reached his feet nor did Hart intend on allowing him to before continuing the punishment.

Hart would dominate the overtime, but Michaels just wouldn’t give up. He leaped over Hart to avoid a clothesline in the corner, came back down to his feet and hit Hart square in the chin with Sweet Chin Music!

Exhausted, Michaels failed to take advantage. He couldn’t cover him!

Hart nearly stumbled to his feet before Michaels, but Michaels just beat him with the assistance of the rope. Michaels tuned up the band in the corner. Superkick! One, two, three!

“The boyhood dream has come true!” Vince McMahon proclaimed. Shawn Michaels—overcome with raw emotion—was finally the WWE champion! 

In a match determined by the most pinfalls in an hour—there were none. Nonetheless, Shawn Michaels overcame adversity and overcame his demons of the past and eventually the future to be crowned the WWE champion for the first time in his illustrious career. His boyhood dream had come true, and his career now had the icing to top off the proverbial cake.

For Bret Hart, however, his living hell was just beginning.

 

1997 Survivor Series

Eighteen months. Eighteen long months it had been since Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart in overtime of the first Iron Man match in WWE’s history to win the WWE championship for the first time in his career.

A lot had changed in those 18 months, too.

Michaels would hold the title for eight months before dropping it to Sycho Sid at the 1996 installment of Survivor Series. Though he’d regain the championship at the following year’s Royal Rumble, he’d be forced to vacate it due a controversial knee injury.

Controversial because Michaels claimed it was going to force him into retirement. However, many believed the injury to not be legitimate, and for it just to be a way out of a rematch with The Hitman at WrestleMania 13. Among those was including Hart himself:

I didn’t buy Shawn’s injury, I didn’t buy that he was hurt. It just seemed to come out of nowhere. Part of me was going, this guy is quitting on the team now, and we need everybody to come together. And I think that’s where I started feeling that it was my job and I had to kind of step up and be a little bit more forceful in my criticisms of Shawn.

In the end, Michaels would return months later, while Hart would face “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in one of the greatest matches in the history of WrestleMania.

Meanwhile, the once-friendly Michaels-Hart relationship had deteriorated to a point of no return. Their planned on-screen rivalry to build up to their inevitable rematch would work itself into bit hatred off screen.

Hart would question the masculinity of The Heartbreak Kid, pointing out how he virtually did a striptease with young boys in the ring, in addition to him posing in Playgirl naked—a magazine targeting gay men. He asked who would want their kid to model themselves after Michaels, when they had a champion who still held himself in a respectful manner like him.

Michaels would respond, claiming that just because he lived his life freely and openly didn’t make Hart the better man. He also claimed Hart had seen “Sunny days,” insinuating an affair between the married Hart and WWE Diva Sunny.

To make things even more interesting, the WWE champion, leading into this Survivor Series match, was Hart, after he beat The Undertaker at SummerSlam (a match Shawn Michaels refereed, and inadvertently cost The Undertaker). Hart had entered a contract dispute with WWE chairman Vince McMahon, who backed out of a 20-year deal due to financial issues, then advised Hart to sign the contract WCW had offered him.

Hart did so, and was prepared to drop the title to Michaels at Survivor Series. However, Michaels then made a comment to him, saying he wouldn’t do the same for him. This infuriated Hart to a point to where he refused to drop the title to Michaels at Survivor Series.

The two would review many options all the way up to the day of the match. Finally, they agreed upon a finish where Michaels would lock Hart in the Sharpshooter, then Hart would reverse before the locker room came out and interfered, leaving the match to end in a no-contest. Then, Hart would drop the title the following night on Raw.

Obviously, this didn’t happen. Michaels applied the Sharpshooter. Hart began to reverse before he heard the voice of Mr. McMahon calling for the bell, leaving referee Earl Hebner no choice but to comply.

Hart laid on the mat with an expression of disbelief on his face. Shawn Michaels scurried from the ring and up the ramp with the title, as the Montreal crowd was absolutely livid.

Hart looked into the face of his boss and spit. That was all he now knew to do to a man he once considered a fatherly figure. Hart said of the incident:

I was so devastated. I couldn’t believe all the times I had gotten up and wrestled sick and hurt, and 300 days a year every year for 14 years. And never missing, and leaving on Christmas Day. And I just thought, they don’t care about what you did yesterday. They only care about what you did for them today.

 

Aftermath

Weeks after last stepping foot inside a WWE ring at Survivor Series, Bret Hart debuted in WCW. In WCW, Hart struggled to find his footing and slipped into relative obscurity for the for time in his career, despite piling up numerous championships during his tenure.

Already suffering from a broken heart due to the disappointing way his WWE career ended—and the fact that he had to sign on the dotted line with a company that he despised—his younger brother Owen died in 1997 due a horrific accident at the Over The Edge pay-per-view.

A year-and-a-half later, his career would end due to a concussion, then his brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith died. To top of this series of tragic events, Hart suffered a debilitating stroke in a small bicycle accident.

Four months following his WWE championship win at Survivor Series, Shawn Michaels would be forced to retire due to a serious back injury. During this time, however, Michaels would find himself and experience a spiritual rebirth that would change his life. As a born again Christian, Michaels' body would heal and allow him to return to the ring in 2002.

In the years to follow, Michaels would not only have some of the best matches and feuds of his career but also right the wrongs he had done to the industry.

While recovering, Hart would receive an inspirational phone call from Vince McMahon, which would eventually patch up their relationship enough to allow Hart to enter the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006. Five years later, Michaels would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as well.

Perhaps more importantly, 12 years after the Montreal Screwjob, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels would bury the hatchet on the Jan. 4, 2010, edition of Monday Night Raw. Hart credits Michaels’ WrestleMania 25 match with The Undertaker for him reaching out to put his past problems with Michaels behind both of them:

You know something? When I think of Bret Hart, I don’t think of Montreal. I think of Anaheim, California. I think of a sixty-minute Iron Man Match. A sixty-minute Iron Man Match that everybody said nobody would want to see. They certainly wouldn’t want to see it on pay-per-view.  They said nobody could do it. Yet Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels went out there and they did do it. And they redefined everything this industry ever stood for.

 

This closed the chapter on perhaps the greatest rivalry in the history of professional wrestling. Once friends turned bitter enemies, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart came face-to-face on national television, shook hands, and buried the hatchet once and for all.

After everything that had come between them, the two Hall of Famers stood in the middle of the ring and hugged as two friends who had finally reunited.

I would like to thank you for reading the lengthy part two to this article, as well as part one. Visit WrestleEnigma.com for more of the Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries series, in addition to other terrific wrestling editorials. This has been the story of Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels

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