Survivor Series 1996 took a lot out of Bret Hart.
At WrestleMania XII, Bret Hart dropped the WWF Championship to Shawn Michaels in an Iron Man match. Following the event, The Hitman took six months off, only performing on the occasional overseas tour to supplement the home workouts he had been doing to stay in shape. His first televised bout back came at Survivor Series 1996 against Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Appearing on the most recent episode of WWE's The Bump, Hart shared his expectations for the match after being gone for so long, noting that he didn't feel like he re-reached peak performance until just a couple of weeks before his WrestleMania 13 match with Austin.
"I just wanted to come back and sort of pick up where I left off," Hart began by saying. "I'll be honest, this match really took a lot out of me. I was really in a lot of physical pain, I think, because of this match and the time I took off. Right about within two weeks of the WrestleMania 13 match, it took me that long to iron out all of the kinks and the pain. I was feeling this match for probably two months."
Hart continued, detailing the physical toll of his match with Austin and how he is sorry he took the time off, in a way, because of how long it took him to get back up to speed. Here are his full remarks:
"Well, I knew that I was going to be under the microscope a bit when I came back and taking the time off that I took, which was the longest time off I ever took as a wrestler. I had roughly six months off. I worked a little bit. I did the occasional foreign tour which I thought would keep me tuned up and in wrestling shape, in bump shape as I would call it. I just wanted to pick up where I left off and I thought I could. Even though I'd been off for a while, I trained pretty hard and did a lot of cardio and kept myself tuned up and ready to go but, you know, there's no way to prepare your body for what you're going to go through. It was kind of an assault. I took a lot of hard falls. I fell on the railings, got thrown on tables. There's no way you can prepare your body for that kind of intense, constant impact. It's not apparent necessarily when you watch the match or even when it's over, but I came from that and I really don't think I wrestled for maybe another month after that until I finally got back on the road. It just made it really hard for me because taking another month off after taking that beating was really hard on my body. To suddenly be wrestling one time every couple of weeks wasn't going to help and I felt like I -- When you go back, you have to get sore all over again and I kind of went home and sort of just rested, which didn't help me. I remember I could hardly move for a couple of weeks. I think I fought Sycho Sid somewhere and I think Steve Austin might have interfered, I can't remember exactly, I know it was a PPV. I remember after that I was in so much pain for so many weeks, really leading all through over Christmas and into January and February, I couldn't get my momentum going. I was really feeling it. I think of all the times in my career when I think back to wrestling, I was sorry that I took the 6 months off in a way because it really took me a long time to get back to where I was which was about two or three weeks before WrestleMania 13 with Steve."
WWE is set to present Survivor Series 2021 this Sunday, November 21. The full card for the event can be seen here.
Fightful will have live coverage of Survivor Series on Sunday beginning at 7 p.m. ET with a post-show review immediately following its conclusion.
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