Hart, aged ca. 18, with an amateur wrestling championship belt.[a]
|Birth name||Stewart Edward Hart|
May 3, 1915|
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
|Died||October 16, 2003
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|Spouse(s)||Helen Smith (m. 1947; d. 2001)|
Donald Stewart, grandfather
Harry Smith, father-in-law
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Stu Hart|
|Billed height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Billed weight||231 lb (105 kg)|
|Billed from||Calgary, Alberta, Canada|
|Trained by||Toots Mondt
Stewart Edward "Stu" Hart, CM (May 3, 1915 – October 16, 2003) was a Canadian amateur wrestler, professional wrestler, promoter and trainer. Hart founded Stampede Wrestling, a promotion based in Calgary, Alberta, and associated wrestling school "The Dungeon". The patriarch of the Hart wrestling family, Stu was the father of many wrestlers, most notably Bret and Owen Hart.
Hart has been referred to by multiple writers, including wrestling historian Dave Meltzer, as one of the most influential and important figures in pro wrestling history. His greatest contribution to the art was as a trainer. Along with Bret and Owen, Hart's trainees included future world champions Fritz Von Erich, Superstar Billy Graham, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Mark Henry, and Chris Benoit.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Wrestling
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Death
- 5 Legacy
- 6 In wrestling
- 7 Championships and accomplishments
- 8 Awards and honors
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
He was born in Saskatoon in 1915 to Edward and Elizabeth Stewart Hart. He was mainly of Scots-Irish descent but also had Scottish and English ancestry. His childhood was impoverished; as a boy, Stu Hart lived in a tent with his family on the prairie in Alberta, living off the land and wild game that Stu took down with his slingshot. In 1928, his father was arrested for failure to pay back taxes, while the Salvation Army sent Stu, his mother, and two sisters, Sylvester and Edrie to live in Edmonton. There, Stu Hart began attending wrestling classes at the YMCA. Hart played football for the Edmonton Eskimos in the 1938 and 1939 seasons. Hart also captained a popular baseball team called Hart's All Stars.
Hart enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy and served as the Director of Athletics.
Stu Hart began amateur wrestling when he joined the YMCA in Edmonton in 1929. Hart was trained in catch wrestling in his youth by other boys. Speaking of it, Stu said that his "head would be blue by the time they let go of him". Stu taught this 'shoot style' to all who trained under him in the 1980s and 1990s with the thought that teaching his students real submission moves would make their pro wrestling style sharper.
By 1937 he won a gold medal in the welterweight class from the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada. His amateur career peaked in May 1940 when Hart won the Dominion Amateur Wrestling Championship in the light heavyweight category.
All of the wrestling belts that Hart wore were handmade by himself. Making championship belts was one of Hart's many domestic skills.
As a wrestler
It was during his Army service that Stu was introduced to professional wrestling. Around this time Hart also got to know Al Oeming, fellow future wrestler and nature conservationist, who would help him handle his own promotion. After recovering from a car accident, Stu competed in various exhibition matches to entertain the troops. In 1946, while receiving training from Toots Mondt, Hart debuted in New York City. Hart had on occasions wrestled animals such as tigers and grizzly bears.
As a promoter
In 1948, Hart established Klondike Wrestling in Edmonton and in 1952 he brought up the territory of another promoter in Alberta and renamed them to Big Time Wrestling. The promotion would later change name to Wildcat Wrestling and lastly Stampede Wrestling, which was responsible for developing many wrestlers who would later become very successful in other promotions and territories, mainly in the WWF. Hart would often let his sons Bruce and Keith handle the booking of the promotion later in his life.
The televised version of Hart's Stampede Wrestling was one of Canada's longest running television programs, lasting over 30 years and remained one of Calgary's most popular sports programs eventually airing in over 50 countries worldwide.
As a trainer
Three years after founding Stampede Wrestling, Hart purchased a mansion in Patterson Heights, Calgary, The Hart House which is now considered a heritage site. Its basement, known as the Dungeon, provided training grounds for his wrestling pupils. There Hart trained all his eight sons and many others such as Junkyard Dog, Jushin Liger, Superstar Billy Graham and The British Bulldog.
Hart's training technique, called "stretching" consisted of Hart putting his trainees in painful submission holds and holding on for a substantial time to improve their pain endurance to prepare them for the life of professional wrestling. Hart's technique was well known and he would let anyone who wished to let him play one of his holds if they came to his home, Hart's son Bret once spoke about a well known case where he stretched a priest that his father wasn't prejudice, "he stretched a rabbi once too."
Hart was said to have had a special liking for training football players since he enjoyed testing their strength.
Some of Hart's former students, including his son Bret, have mentioned that his stretching would sometimes result in broken blood vessels in the eyes. Something which others have attempted to learn from him.
Some have described his training as torture and have accused Hart of being a sadist who enjoyed inflicting pain on people and was more interested in doing so than teach them pro wrestling. Although many who were close to Hart in his life have denied these claims.
Stu's son Ross has said that his father was always generous and compassionate with his children in person but added that he was different when training people, believing that there was no easy way to teach wrestling.
Stu made several appearances on WWE television in the 90's and early 2000's. The majority of said appearances involved his sons, Bret and Owen Hart. A recurring staple of these appearances in the 90s was that Stu and his wife Helen would be verbally attacked by one of the commentators, Jerry Lawler, who was in a long running feud with Bret during this point in time.
At the 1993 Pay-Per-View event Survivor Series, Stu had a physical planned interaction outside of the ring with Shawn Michaels. Shawn was involved in a match with Stu's sons Bruce, Keith, Bret and Owen Hart. Shawn played the part of the antagonist, and when failing to succeed in winning the match, Shawn attacks Stu. Stu responded by knocking Shawn out with an elbow smash. Shawn later stated that he was happy to take the hit as he considered it an honor.
Hart was close friends with Luther Lindsay. Lindsay was one of the few men who bested him in the infamous "Hart Dungeon" and Hart reportedly carried a picture of him in his wallet until his death. Hart was also a good friend of Jack Pfefer, who he asked to be the godfather of his son Ross.
Hart allegedly wrote the foreword to the controversial book Under the Mat which was written by his youngest daughter, Diana Hart. His son Bret has questioned the legitimacy of it, and has stated that if Hart did write the foreword, his daughter probably didn't let him read the book beforehand.
A coach and mentor to countless young athletes, and a generous supporter of community life in Calgary, Hart, a loyal benefactor to more than thirty charitable and civic organizations, including the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children and the Alberta Firefighters Toy Fund was appointed on November 15, 2000 to the Order of Canada. He was honored with an investiture on May 31, 2001.
Hart married Greek Irish New Yorker Helen Smith (born February 16, 1924), the daughter of olympic marathon runner Harry Smith in 1947. Stu and Helen were married for 53 years until her death in November 4, 2001.
Together he and Helen had and raised twelve children in the Hart mansion, Smith, Bruce, Keith, Wayne, Dean, Ellie, Georgia, Bret, Alison, Ross, Diana and Owen. Many of his children went on to become wrestlers or were otherwise involved in wrestling. The couple have around thirty-six grandchildren and several great-grandchilden, including Teddy Annis's son Bradley, Tobi McIvor's three daughters Amanda, Jessica and Isabelle, Kristin Neidhart's sons Locklin and Maddox, Jade Hart's daughter Kyra, Alexandra Sabina's son Grayson and Mike Hart's two children Lakken and Ashwin. Tom and Michelle Billington's three children, Bronwynn, Marek and Amaris are also often included in the list of his grandchildren, therefore Bronwynn's daughter Miami is also often referred to as one of his great-grandchildren.
In 1949 Hart and his wife Helen who was pregnant with their second child, Bruce were in a car accident on their way home from a wrestling match, Hart was unscathed, although he did break the car's steering wheel on impact, but his wife Helen suffered several injuries and had to be held in a hospital for a long time, this led to them leaving their oldest child, Smith, with Helen's parents Ellie and Harry Smith for two years.
Hart's son Bret has stated that while his father was hard man he also had a very gentle side and would often be a very compassionate man and an indulgent parent to his 12 children.
Hart was admitted to Rockyview General Hospital on October 3, 2003 for an elbow infection and then developed pneumonia. He also suffered from ailments associated with diabetes and arthritis. He had a stroke and died 13 days later at the age of 88. Hart's funeral service was attended by approximately 1000 people. He was creamated and the ashes were put in a cherry wood box later buried at Eden Brook Memorial Gardens in a plot with his wife Helen, who died two years earlier in 2001.
- Finishing moves
- Signature Moves
- Wrestlers Managed
- Abdullah the Butcher
- Allen Coage
- Archie Gouldie
- Ben Bassarab
- Billy Jack Haynes
- Bret Hart
- Brian Pillman
- Bruce Hart
- Chris Benoit
- Chris Jericho
- Yvon Durelle
- Davey Boy Smith
- David Hart Smith
- Dean Hart
- Tyler Mane
- Dynamite Kid
- Eduardo Miguel Perez
- Fritz Von Erich
- Gama Singh
- Gene Anderson
- George Scott
- Gorilla Monsoon
- Greg Valentine
- The Honky Tonk Man
- Jake Roberts
- Jim Neidhart
- Jos LeDuc
- Junkyard Dog
- Jushin Thunder Liger
- Justin Credible
- Keith Hart
- Ken Shamrock
- Klondike Bill
- Lance Storm
- Larry Cameron
- Luther Lindsay
- Mark Henry
- Masahiro Chono
- Michael Majalahti
- Natalya Neidhart
- Nikolai Volkoff
- Owen Hart
- Paul LeDuc
- Ricky Fuji
- Roddy Piper
- Sandy Scott
- Shinya Hashimoto
- Smith Hart
- Steve Blackman
- Superstar Billy Graham
- Tyson Kidd
- Tom Magee
- Ruffy Silverstein
- Johnathan Holliday
- Kip Abee
- Mike Michaels
- Reggie Parks
- Terry Marvin
- Dino Ventura
- Steve Logan
- Sandor Kovacs
- Vern Warner
- Steve Patrick
Championships and accomplishments
- Dominion Amateur Wrestling Championship in the Light Heavyweight category (1940)
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Iron Mike Mazurki Award (2001)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA Northwest Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Pat Meehan and Luigi Macera
- Pro Wrestling This Week
- Wrestler of the Week (August 1, 1987)
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2014
- Stampede Wrestling
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- World Championship Wrestling
- Lifetime Achievement Award
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Luchas de Apuestas record
|Winner (wager)||Loser (wager)||Location||Event||Date||Notes|
|Stu Hart (hair)||Towering Inferno (mask)||Calgary, Alberta||Stampede||February 6, 1976|||
Awards and honors
- The belt Hart wears in the picture with his initials SED was handmade by Hart himself.
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