Talk is Jericho with Chris Jericho
Guest: Ross Hart
Release Date: July 7, 2017
Recap By: Armando G. Ureña, PWPpodcast.com Reporter
Top Newsworthy Items
– Stampede Wrestling was the first promotion to have a three-way match, called the Bermuda Triangle.
-Stu Hart lost his promoter’s license for having excessive violence on TV.
-Chris Benoit lived in the Hart household for a month while training.
-Ross once got into a car accident with seven other wrestlers in the vehicle, Davey Boy Smith required 60-70 stitches because of it.
00:00: Sponsor Ads
00:41: Podcast Introduction & Sponsor Ads
10:17: Ross Hart Interview Part 1
28:52: Sponsor Ads
31:53: Ross Hart Interview Part 2
42:45: Sponsor Ads
44:27: Ross Hart Interview Part 3
1:05:58: Sponsor Ads
1:09:32: Ross Hart Interview Part 4
1:31:53: Podcast Conclusion & Sponsor Ads
Jericho plugs his sponsors, his book, and Fozzy. He summarizes the upcoming podcast, which is an interview of Ross Hart, the 10th of 12 Hart family kids, between Bret and Owen. The interview focuses on stories of Stampede Wrestling and why the promotion eventually closed down.
Ross Hart Interview Part 1
Ross Hart was a producer of the Stampede Wrestling television show. They would shoot on Friday nights, getting 4-5 hours of footage, between all the promos and the full matches. By 8:00 or 9:00 AM the next morning everything had to be cut down to about an hour for television broadcast. They had to be careful about how much they would show, in order to get people to go to the actual events. They did not have many squash matches, so they would show the last 5-10 minutes of the matches on TV to show wrestlers’ finishers and get them over. Main events with violent stipulations would show a warning before starting on television.
Ed Helms was a producer and commentator for the show who eventually quit because of the violence in the promotion. Stu Hart lost his promoters license for three weeks because of what was viewed as excessive violence. Drawing became difficult in Calgary and Alberta. Ed Helms quitting put the promotion in a tough spot that it couldn’t recover from until its reopening in 1985, after Vince McMahon had already bought it.
They joke about Ed Helms, who was a commentator, that would shoot interfere in the matches, reacting to the actions of the heel, even jumping in the ring on occasion. They also talk about Mike Shaw, who was a territorial heel, who generated a lot of heat in Stampede. Ross Hart credits Mike’s microphone ability as what got him over.
Chris Jericho talks about Owen Hart and his moves in Stampede Wrestling being part of what inspired him to pursue professional wrestling. It also helped him fall in love with the art of technical wrestling.
Ross Hart Interview Part 2
Bruce Hart was the booker of Stampede Wrestling until 1988 when Dynamite Kid came in and replaced him. In 1986, Owen made his official professional debut as a result of someone’s injury. During the five weeks prior he was working under a mask. Jericho asked if he was a tape watcher because of the innovative moves Owen was doing. Ross Hart says that Owen watched tapes of the original Tiger Mask in Japan. Owen was a natural, learning things very quickly. He was also an amateur wrestler.
Jericho asks about Chris Benoit and how he got involved with Stampede Wrestling. Ross Hart says while they were in Edmonton someone brought in Chris Benoit who was training with them. Benoit was a fast learner with a natural flair, so he ended up filling a role as a young guy in the promotion. He stayed in the Hart house for a month allowing for him to work out in the dungeon. He started about 5-6 months before Owen. Ross says a lot of the guys who came through Stampede were truly international caliber workers being able to adapt to any style of a country.
Ross Hart Interview Part 3
Stampede lost some of the better Japanese wrestlers they had including Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, as a result of the Japanese offices calling up guys who got over at Stampede. New Japan Pro Wrestling would ask to use guys like Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid. They talk about some of the other wrestlers who went through Stampede. One of them was Barry Orton, Randy Orton’s uncle. Barry played a character called the Zodiac who managed Jason the Terrible. Bruce Hart and Brian Pillman were a tag team called Bad Company which had a lengthy run with the tag titles. Bruce did it to mentor Brian, and also help with his own career resurgence since he was older.
Bret Hart and Davey Boy did a singles program in Stampede when they had time off from WWF. It was two weekends, with Bret has the heel and Davey as the face. Stampede was able to bring in good crowds in areas the WWF would not go to. Wrestlers who worked in Stampede would always get paid. After TV production costs and transportation costs the promotion was losing money.
Jericho asks about a car accident that he heard a rumor about during his training days in Winnipeg. Ross Hart was driving a rented van in July with, Davey Boy, Chris Benoit, Jason the Terrible, and four other wrestlers in the van. They were driving towards Jasper, and they hydroplaned on an icy section of the road (they were in the mountains, so some of the roads were icy) and they crashed. Davey Boy hit his head and got 60-70 stitches.
Ross Hart Interview Part 4
Jericho asks about the ribs that got pulled in the Calgary promotion. Dynamite Kid would commit a number of them. He would put laxatives in people’s coffee. Usually people new to the promotion.
Jericho asks about Stu’s work in the dungeon around 1986-1987. Stu was still stretching guys during that time. He tore his quad muscle during a WCW Starrcade during a fall. He had difficulty walking after that. He was stretching guys up until the early ’90s. Stampede closed at the end of 1989 because of various issues overwhelming the territory, among them included Dynamite Kid hotshotting the promotion causing dissension, the van accident which discouraged wrestlers from traveling to shows, roid rage, and the constant ribbing. Towards the end, a lot of the best talent of Stampede had gone to WWF or some other major promotion. The producer at the time was not that great, making competing with the WWF’s superior production difficult. Eventually Stu decided it was enough.
They talk about Lance Storm having a wrestling school in Calgary, which has produced some guys who have gone to WWE. Ross Hart wishes there was a promotion that ran shows 3-4 times a week to help guys advance. Jericho asks about Ross’s favorite angles. He likes the run involving Zodiac and Jason. He also says they were the first ones to have a three-way match, called the Bermuda Triangle. Also, they were the first to have a mixed gender match.
People still talk to Ross about Stampede Wrestling and tell him how they miss it. They try to meet with some of the old stars from Stampede once a year.
“Calgary, it’s a wrestling city”- Chris Jericho
Score and Review (8/10):
I like this podcast because of it’s focused on telling stories of a promotion rather than an individual wrestler’s career or life. It is a nice hour and a half story of stampede wrestling, which shares stories of recognizable wrestlers like a young Chris Benoit starting his training, how Owen Hart started wrestling in Stampede, and other stars who came in and out of the promotion during its lifetime. What Ross Hart shares gives the listener a good idea of what watching Stampede was like, and how some of the day to day things for the wrestlers went. Ross was certainly a different guest from the usual suspects, and it’s a good interview for people who are into wrestling history.
For more, check out last week’s recap of Talk Is Jericho with Baron Corbin.