Ronda Rousey has had a longstanding connection with the Hart Family. One of the wrestling world’s most famous wrestling families has been connected to the former UFC Champion’s wrestling career from the start. One of her mentors and allies was Rowdy Roddy Piper. Although billed from Scotland, he was actually from Saskatoon in the Prairies of Canada and, according to his own admission, he had a cousin who was cousins with Stu Hart. He was always considered family within the Hart Mansion. And her closest friend in pro wrestling is Natalya, Stu’s granddaughter, who helped her with her initial training years ago. But as Becky Lynch‘s “The Man” character continues to evoke nostalgia for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin‘s pre-Mega Star ascension, then this past week, Ronda Rousey invoked another part of the Hart legacy into her wrestling career, as her character has now become the Bret “Hitman” Hart part of Austin’s rise to the main event, in more ways than one.
The Turning on Management
The beginning of Bret Hart’s heel turn in 1997 came following his perceived screw over by WWF management following his return to the company in late 1996 after several months off. His return saw fans cheering for upstart “Stone Cold” Steve Austin instead of regular heroes. In March of 1997, Bret Hart had had enough of the way he was being treated (at least in his eyes) and exposed to the world the truth that Vince McMahon was the owner of the World Wrestling Federation – while many “in the know” knew of McMahon’s ownership, by kayfabe standards, that was not the case. Vince was merely the lead commentator. But by bringing Vince into the storyline, it broke the fourth wall that Bret was not exactly thrilled with how management was treating someone with his World Championship credentials.
Ronda’s WWE career actually began with a distrust of the McMahon family, as her debut match was her and Kurt Angle against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. But for the rest of the year, management seemed to re-align with their UFC Golden Child. But during the fall out of Becky’s suspension and the addition of Charlotte, Ronda exploded, on Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon, for not treating her like the star she was and treating her like an afterthought.
The Disrespect from the Locker Room
Bret Hart’s dissent was also fueled by the disrespect he was getting in the WWF locker room upon his return. Sure he still had people like Undertaker backstage, but Bret’s character was increasingly incensed by the presence of such hellraisers as Austin and degenerates like Shawn Michaels and his pals running the roost. The emerging Attitude Era of shades of gray instead of black or white put Bret’s All-Canadian Hero persona in jeopardy and Hart was feeling the sting of the locker room’s apathy to such white knights.
Ronda felt the sting of locker room dissension after Survivor Series when all of the SmackDown women’s roster were lining up to put the former MMA star in her place after Becky was pulled out. Soon even Raw women’s talents were questioning Ronda’s place in the WWE on Social Media, leading Ronda to get more and more angered at the locker room’s lack of respect for her credentials. It lead to Ronda getting more personal in her attacks, both on-screen and on Social Media as she began to get rattled by the disrespect he co-workers were showing her.
The Disrespect from the Fans
Following his epic match with “Stone Cold” at WrestleMania 13, despite leaving Austin unconscious in a pool of his own blood, Bret Hart found himself the receiving end of boos, a chorus of boos, for the first time since he was a heel in The Hart Foundation with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart in the 1980s. So the next night on Raw, Hart addressed the lack of respect from the American fans, which lead the crowd turning fully on the former beloved hero.
Ronda admitted in her latest controversial vlog that her disdain for the WWE Universe initially grew out of the disrespect she was shown at Survivor Series by the Los Angeles crowd. “I’m just like, ‘F*ck you people! F*ck you guys. That whole city is just a bunch of people who are f*cking transplants who are trying to escape sh*tty ass Ohio or wherever the f*ck that they’re from and they have no pride in LA and they come to our f*cking games and sh*t on our teams and say ‘I’m from Los Angeles, I’ve been living here for 10 years’ — No you’re f*cking not!”
The Turning on the Fans
The final nail was Bret Hart’s final turn on the fans, his constant needling to the US audiences that he had no more respect for them nor their opinions. The lack of respect he felt he’d endured at the expense of “Stone Cold”‘s anointment, he was now exorcising onto the American fans who had once praised him, setting up Bret Hart’s best character work as the Anti-American crusader, who would build his own faction of like-minded and trustworthy competitors – those he considered family (and most were) – in the new Hart Foundation.
In her latest vlog – the one that has everyone riled up – Becky also turned her voice against those that previously cheered her. Their disrespect since last November had created a rift inside her that was unfix-able. “I’m going out there and doing whatever the hell I want. And they can explain it however they want, but … f*ck em. Everybody. WWE Universe included. I meant that I’m going to disrespect the sport that they all love so much. ‘Ohhhh don’t break kayfabe Ronda!’ Wrestling is scripted. It’s made up. It’s not real. None of those bitches can f*cking touch me. The end.” And perhaps she’ll turn to a stable of trust worthy companions that she herself calls family – her three MMA Four Horsewomen compatriots in NXT, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir.
The Malicious Attack
The defining moment that finally turned the remaining Bret Hart fans against the Hitman was his brutality during the match and after the bell, his decision to go outside the rules, to disrespect the honor he’d held so dear, to try and injure his opponent when previously the Hitman wouldn’t reduce himself to such a level. But Hart was done playing nice. Now it was time for the Excellence of Execution to “execute”.
And like Hart before her, Rousey had had enough. No more playing by WWE’s rule book, no more smiling for the cameras and sucking it up, no more honor in the ring. On Monday night, she abandoned everything with one goal – to cripple Becky Lynch on a personal level, with the same mentality that Bret Hart did. If Becky Lynch was the WWE Universe’s shiny new toy, she was going to break it.
And while many have argued that Ronda destroyed the kayfabe by saying it was all “scripted” and “fake”, considering it was a kayfabe within a kayfabe – as in it was still “fictional” WWE Ronda Rousey making these comments – then if Ronda was now abandoning the WWE script, she was showing up at WrestleMania 35 to fight for “real”. And by default, it means that Becky and Charlotte will also be fighting “for real”. And when Becky wins “for real”, it will be the catapult elevation to the absolute top of the main event for “The Man”, like how Bret Hart’s feud with Steve Austin cemented the Rattlesnake as the future of the WWF.
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