Bret Hart said on HNLive he can’t watch WWE and AEW, and cited Jon Moxley ‘sticking a fork’ in himself and the gore in AEW as being a reason.
Bret Hart criticized the modern wrestling product in an interview with HNLive, stating that it is “pathetic” and “too phony.” He specifically called out the trend of wrestlers slapping their legs to create fake impact sounds and the use of violence and gore in AEW. Hart also expressed disappointment in the lack of storytelling and the failure to make wrestling seem real. He contrasted modern wrestling with the simpler, more artful approach of wrestlers from previous decades and praised the realness and simplicity of moves like headlocks. Hart also criticized the practice of wrestlers hurting themselves by allowing other wrestlers to chop and slap them repeatedly, calling it “stupid.”
I really roll my eyes at how pathetic wrestling is today from top to bottom. All the top wrestlers and all the middle and bottom wrestlers in WWF and AEW, all slapping their leg on every punch and every slap. It’s like it’s to the point now where I can’t watch wrestling today. Sadly it’s it’s getting too phony and I really question the direction that the people that are in charge that are taking wrestling. AEW kind of gone on a bad direction I think with all the violence and gore. Dean Ambrose sticking a fork in someone’s head for five minutes with a close-up on TV – this isn’t wrestling either.”
Hart talked about attending the WWE Clash at the Castle PLE in September of 2022…
“It was embarrassing to sit in the front row and watch all the kids in the audience slap their leg as the wrestlers slap their leg in these kick spots where they pretend to kick each other with shin pads and slap sounds over and over. To realize that the crowd is in on it, the entire floor is clapping and slapping their leg. I’m going, ‘we used to try and make it real, what happened?’ Everybody is in on it. It’s a big giant charade. I had a hard time feeling the fan part of me come to life. When I watched Dungeon Wrestling and I’m watching this young girl [Zoe Sager] wrestling, just watching her take someone over in a headlock and having a real headlock on was so much more than anything I saw in Cardiff with the wrestlers over there. It goes back to simple art. Wrestling is an art form. ‘All art is simple.’ Wrestling is a simple art that is really just storytelling or good vs. bad, most of the time, anyway, and it’s an easy story to tell. Wrestlers have been doing it for decades and wrestlers from 2005 up don’t know anything about telling stories or what headlocks are.”
“When I see wrestlers today just slapping and the crowd going, ‘wooo’ and everyone keeps slapping, one after another and these guys have welts all over their chest and blisters and their chest hurt that night and they go, ‘Geez, I was an idiot tonight and let somebody slap me on the chest as hard as he could 500 times and my chest is killing me.’ That’s what they used to do to the jabronies back in the old days, they would chop them, beat them, and slap them. I would never let a guy slap me and chop me. Ric Flair is the only guy that ever chopped me. He usually got to me in the end where I would tell Ric, ‘you can give me one chop in the match to get it over with,’ but as far as the match goes, I’m not going to sit there and stick my chest out for some guy to slap me on the chest for an hour. That’s not what wrestling is. It’s not about hurting yourself. It’s not about coming back to the dressing room and feeling…everyone knows that it’s not real, right? They all know what’s going on. So why are you letting someone slap you and chop you and whip you across the chest and hurt you and you’re in pain all night and you wake up the next day with blisters all over your chest and then do it again the next night. It’s just stupid.