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‘Hall of Shame’ Goldberg cost me my career and $16m in one second with deadly kick to head

The hero of many WrestleManias, Bret Hart’s wrestling career ended in the cruelest of ways – and he’s still counting the exorbitant cost.

A five-time former WWE Champion in his prime, Hart is considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.

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Wrestling icon Bret Hart was a multiple-time world champion in WWE and WCW.Credit: WWE

His unique blend of technical ability, in-ring execution, and on-mic credibility has made him a complete package for many fans, the star known as “The Greatest There Is, The Greatest There Is, and The Greatest who ever is.”

He was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, first in 2006 and then in 2019 when the Hart Foundation was inducted.

Unfortunately, Hart’s career was never able to reach its natural conclusion due to injuries sustained during a chaotic time in WCW.

The Canadian traces his downfall to Starrcade in 1999 when, during a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match, he suffered a concussion after being kicked in the head by opponent Goldberg.

Hart claimed that Goldberg did not execute the planned move carefully enough, with the fallout leading to the end of the star’s career shortly afterward.

Although he sometimes acknowledges that Goldberg “doesn’t have a bone in his body,” Hart has since launched numerous scathing attacks against Spear’s master for what he considers his lack of professionalism in the ring.

He told Inside the Ropes: “I regret getting hurt by a guy who didn’t know how to wrestle and doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

“He should be in the Hall of Shame.”

Serious injuries dating back to the deadly Starrcarde clash in 1999 eventually forced Bret Hart to end his illustrious career.

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Serious injuries dating back to the deadly Starrcarde clash in 1999 eventually forced Bret Hart to end his illustrious career.Credit: WWE Network

In a 2019 interview, Hart revealed the overwhelming cost of the incident, telling Sean Mooney: “When Bill Goldberg kicked me in the head, I have to be honest with God, I lost about $16 million in about a second.

He added: “I just signed with WCW for three million a year for three more years on top of the two years I had left on my original contract, so it was bad timing and unfortunate.”

Goldberg, himself a former WWE and WCW champion, was remorseful, saying in 2016: “This will forever go down in history as the biggest mistake I have ever made in my entire life.

“For those who didn’t hear me say this, I sincerely apologize.

“God knows I put Bret Hart on a pedestal where very few people sit. The last thing I ever wished for him was harm, especially at my own hand.

The former Hart Foundation executive revealed that he likely suffered the effects of multiple concussions following the incident, before finally having to retire in October 2000.

Hart – who won one of his WWE titles at WrestleMania 10 in 1994 – had only signed with WCW in 1997 following a controversial WWE release known as the Montreal Screwjob, where he had been effectively stripped of his world championship, losing a title match to Shawn Michaels by submission despite knowing nothing of such an ending.

It later emerged that WWE boss Vince McMahon had engineered the Survivor Series show’s alternate ending as a way to take the gold away from Hart – and prevent him from taking it with him to the WCW.

After decades of wrestling for Vince McMahon in WWE, Hart controversially moved to rival company WCW in 1997.

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After decades of wrestling for Vince McMahon in WWE, Hart controversially moved to rival company WCW in 1997.Credit: WWE Network

Hart returned to the ring for various short or fixed matches in 2010 and 2011, even winning the United States Championship in his home country by defeating The Miz.

His last outing took place in Ontario on a September 2011 edition of Raw which saw him team with John Cena to defeat Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez.

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