Bret Hart is one of the most respected performers in the WWE Hall of Fame, but he's also one of the most outspoken. And his comments have resulted in some hurt feelings, namely from current WWE superstar Seth Rollins. In interview with Sports Illustrated in November 2015, Hart declared Rollins to be "unprofessional" and "reckless" due to a mistimed knee-lift spot that resulted in John Cena suffering a broken nose. Hart would go on to criticize Rollins for getting injured during his run as WWE champion last fall in a match against Kane, telling the magazine, "The other thing is, when you're the champion, you have a responsibility to not get hurt. You have to be spot on. ... When you do get injured, it throws a wrench into everything. I do feel bad–Seth Rollins is a young guy and he's obviously very talented, and I hope he comes back from his surgery and learns from all these things. I hope they give him another chance and his opportunity has not been squandered from an injury, regardless of whose fault it was."
Well, now that Rollins has returned from injury as a full-time performer, he's speaking out against Hart. Rollins appeared on the Talk Is Jericho podcast, and expressed how hurt he was by the comments Hart made:
Screencap (Credit: WWE)
"It's not like any of the boys or the fans were like, 'Screw you, Rollins.' Actually, except.... and I have all the respect in the world for this guy, but this one hurt my feelings more than anything, was Bret Hart. Bret Hart had some comments about me and... how safe I am in the ring because of John's nose. And then me getting hurt while I was the champion and just said you couldn't do that because people relied on you as a top guy. And that hurt my feelings and I haven't seen Bret since then, but I know he comes from a different era when he worked through a lot of stuff, but man, that sucked. That hurt my feelings. I'm like, 'Dude, I idolized you. You were one of the guys who at 6 foot 1, 230 (pounds), you were a guy who I was like 'Hey, I can do that because Bret Hart does it.'' He's got to know how hard I'm working every night. For him to say that in an interview, I think it was a Sports Illustrated interview I was like, 'Man, that sucks.'"
However, Rollins states he'd love to have a one-on-one talk with Hart and work it out, especially since Hart knows better than anyone that accidents happen in the ring, even among the most well-intentioned wrestlers, as Hart has his career ended by an errant superkick to the head from his friend, Bill Goldberg. At the very least, Rollins is showing an openness to learn from his mistakes:
"I would love to have the discussion with him and be like, 'Hey, what did you mean by that? Is there something I can learn from this experience?' Because for me, as you said, it was a very routine, simple as a clothesline, not dangerous. I've done literally a million times that isn't dangerous, never had anything close to an issue with it."
I'll agree that it was kind of a crummy thing for Hart to say, although Hart would know better than I ever would about what constitutes recklessness in the ring, since he's had to carry some really iffy opponents in the past, some of whom ended up hurting him pretty badly. But as far as his other comments, we're in a vastly different era than before, so Hart probably shouldn't expect that guys will work through ACL tears and other such serious injuries. The idea that you should work through an injury to protect your spot is how guys end up dying young or retiring in their mid-30s. I think it's better that a guy like Rollins forfeited the title and rehabbed his injury so he could return healthy, rather than try to work through the pain and end up having to call it a career. Granted, even if he wanted to work through the injury, I'm not exactly sure how you're supposed to get around ACL, MCL, and medial meniscus tears without surgery.
What do you think about this back-and-forth between Bret Hart and Seth Rollins? Sound off in the comments!
And for more WWE news, find out what Goldberg had to say in a recent interview about MMA vs. pro wrestling!