Kevin from Michigan: You’ve been doing some improv comedy shows. Is that your next career in showbiz? BH: I don’t think so, but you never know what can happen. I have a lot of fun doing them. I appreciate people giving me a stage. They present scenarios that are quite easy for anybody to step into and be quite funny. Sometimes I can be spontaneously funny. When you just make it up as you go along it’s hit or miss, but I’ve found I’ve done pretty good. WNZ: Is wrestling good training for improv? BH: You do improvise a lot in wrestling too, but it’s a little different. In wrestling, you’re not necessarily trying to be funny, but you’re improvising the wrestling itself. Having a talent for the quick response and thinking on your feet is important, especially in terms of microphone work. When you think of the great microphone performers, like Roddy Piper, the spontaneity of what they come out with is the hard part. These guys today like John Cena, with all due respect, they memorize it all. They have it all written out for them and it’s all script-read. Guys like Piper and others from my era, we kind of made it up as we went along — we made it sound important. Most good wrestlers listen to the crowd, and the fans tell you how you work the match. Most wrestlers from the ’70s could kind of call the match while they were out there. There was the old expression: all you need to know is who’s winning, the rest we can figure out as we go. That era kind of phased out a little bit, and it’s become more complicated than that now. Marshall from Canada: You had some great matches in Japan against Animal Hamaguchi, Tiger Mask and Shunji Takano. Doesn’t the language barrier make things extra difficult in the ring? BH: It sort of complicates things. The whole trip over there was complications, since nobody spoke English and I didn’t speak Japanese. But funnily enough, the wrestlers could call things in Japanese or they could call them in English — like “dropkick” and “clothesline.” They knew the English terminology for most of the moves they do. So it was pretty easy to communicate with them. But the crowd in Japan was very difficult. They would watch wrestling as if they were studying opera or something. They would sit on their hands — nobody would clap or cheer. Every once in a while there was an oooh or ahhh, but they generally don’t clap until it’s over. So we would build all these things, setting up higher and higher, and you don’t get much reaction from the crowd unless you really work for it. If you really do work for it, you can get them to blow the roof off the place. Japanese audiences are great audiences, but they’re just really hard to win over. You really have to know how to pull their strings. Jaydn from Australia: If an injury hadn’t forced you out of the ring, how would you like to have retired? Who would be your ideal opponent for a retirement match: BH: If I hadn’t gotten injured, it would have been fun to go back and end my career with a big blow-off match with Steve Austin or Shawn Michaels or The Undertaker. If I could have found the place in my heart to forgive Shawn Michaels back then, it might have been fun to come back to wrestle Shawn Michaels in a ladder match. It’s kind of the match he ripped off from me anyway! We could have built something around that. I think we were good enough friends that we could have done something good with that. I have a pretty good friendship with Shawn now. We get along — I think we’re both glad that we made peace with what happened. We were both drawn into the bad blood with all that screwjob stuff. I think we’re both glad we’ve moved on from that. Steve from England: What’s your relationship like with Vince McMahon? What was your last conversation with him? BH: The last conversations we’ve had have been good. He seems to always be very warm and friendly with me. I would say he’s on the very best of terms with me. I think the last time I really talked to him, my knee was pretty swollen. He wanted me to go out to the ring in Philadelphia — and I did go out — but we were talking about our various injuries, since he had just had hip surgery. We’ve both sort of realized that we’re not getting any younger. WNZ: Have you all mellowed with age? BH: I think I’ve realized that, as you get older, you get more grateful for all the good things you’ve got than for the few things people have taken away. We probably wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if it weren’t for all the good things they did for me. They made Bret “The Hitman” Hart. They picked him out of that caste of wrestlers where they could have made anybody the champion of the world. But they gave me that chance, they made me a huge star. I think I was an artist in my own right, with values and principles — a second-generation wrestler who carried the passion of what wrestling’s all about. We had a collision of principles, I guess. I stand by my ideas and I certainly understand his now. He’s the guy who made me, so I’ve got to be grateful for what he did do for me.