KENTVILLE, NS - It doesn’t take long to realize when talking to Teddy Hart that the third-generation star has the DNA of Canada’s greatest family wrestling dynasty coursing through his veins.
Hart will square-off against Kentville’s own second-generation pro wrestling star, 26-year-old Zack Doyle, at the Kentville Centennial Arena on May 30. The card, which features several matches, is being promoted by Victory Championship Wrestling (VCW) Can-Am.
Zack is the son of Kentville’s Rick Doyle, a professional wrestler better known to fans as Trash Canyon. Among many other accomplishments, Canyon was among the wrestlers to star in Fight Network’s Wrestling Reality. Doyle is also a mixed-martial artist who was one of the stars of the reality TV show Cubicle to the Cage.
Hart, who is now 38, became the youngest person ever to be signed to a developmental contract by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 1998. The son of wrestler B.J. Annis and Georgia Hart, the Edmonton resident is the eldest grandson of Order of Canada recipient the late Stu Hart. His uncles include WWE Hall of Fame inductee Bret “The Hitman” Hart and the late Owen Hart.
Lots of pressure to overcome
Hart said there can be a lot more pressure on second or third generation wrestlers. They tend to be judged more on what their family members have done before them.
Being a Hart is an “absolute blessing” when it comes to the knowledge and experience that’s been shared and the legendary “Dungeon” training. However, Hart believes that the conflict his uncle Bret had with the WWE in the late 1990’s that led to Bret leaving the company negatively impacted Hart’s developing career. He said this also made things difficult for other Hart family members of his generation, such as Natalya, Tyson Kidd and Harry Smith.
He said they were very smart and resilient and were able to overcome that. In his own case, Hart believes that he made some bad decisions when he was younger due to immaturity and not fully understanding the pressure of being on the road - which cost him opportunities.
“I think definitely being part of a third-generation family has its pros and cons and it depends on how you play it out,” Hart said.
He said the WWE is the world’s greatest and best organized wrestling company and they’re the biggest for a reason, working non-stop toward global success. He said wrestling for them is a top-notch experience.
Hart said something else that made things difficult for him was having so many family members pass away during a relatively short time and losing their influence and direction. By the time he made it onto WWE shows, uncle Owen was the only one still wrestling there.
A couple of months later, Owen was killed in a tragic accident on a live pay-per-view show. Hart’s uncle by marriage, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, was the next member of the family who passed away, followed by Hart’s grandparents, Stu and Helen.
Hart said there was bad timing associated with his second stint in the WWE over a decade ago because of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Chris Benoit, a wrestling superstar closely associated with the Hart family. This was also around the time his uncle Bret authored a book that Hart said was great but somewhat controversial and critical of people in positions of power within the WWE.
“I think it had a negative effect on me getting a fair opportunity to be in there,” Hart said.
Hart believes there is still time for him in the wrestling business and he hopes that the WWE will grant him another opportunity further down the road. He said he’s worked hard to change his life and to redeem his reputation, although a lot of the damage done to his name has been caused by misunderstandings and “smoke and mirrors.”
Hart was to play a “loose cannon” type of character similar to that portrayed by the late Brian Pillman, another superstar closely associated with the Hart’s. He said a lot of wrestling promoters either didn’t understand this or they knew about it and didn’t bother telling Hart’s fellow wrestlers that “a lot of it was a work.”
Coming to the Maritimes
Hart said he wanted to come to the Maritimes to wrestle for VCW Can-Am because it’s a region he hasn’t been to before. He’s aware that there are great fans and a great history of wrestling in the area. The promoters have worked hard to build a nice crowd and they run a good, family-oriented show.
Hart views it as an opportunity to get his name back out there and to continue the Hart legacy while demonstrating how hard he’s worked to develop his skills and become one of the greatest wrestlers on the independent scene.
He’s looking forward to meeting some other fantastic people in the business, to tell a story and have a lot of fun. Hart wants to continue living his dream while making people happy. When it comes to the Kentville show, Hart said he’s heard good things about his opponent.
Since Doyle is a second-generation wrestler, Hart is confident that Doyle understands the discipline it takes to be in professional wrestling and that he’s training hard to develop his career. Hart said it’s always great to make new friends in the business and he’s sure that Doyle’s father has passed along some stories about the good and bad of wrestling. Hart said he has a lot of respect for anyone in a second-generation family who takes the wrestling business seriously.
Doyle prepares for challenge
Doyle, who grew up in Kentville and currently resides in Charlottetown, PEI, said everything has been going great since he made his professional debut in his hometown a year ago April. He’s had many opportunities to face some of the best wrestlers in Canada and said he learns something new with every match and each opponent. Doyle has wrestled approximately 50 professional matches to date.
He said everything he’s learned will be on display when he faces Hart on May 30. Doyle views the opportunity as a privilege and he’s taken the intensity of his training up a notch.
“It’s an honour to step into the ring with Teddy Hart,” Doyle said. “He will be my toughest opponent since my debut, so I am not taking this match lightly. I have been training harder, both physically and mentally for this match.”
He said part of his training has been to watch and study every video of Hart he can find. Doyle said getting to wrestle Hart is a great opportunity in and of itself but to get to do it in front of his family members and friends in Kentville makes it more of an honour.
“What I am looking forward to the most is to showcase my talent and provide a great night of wrestling for the community of Kentville,” Doyle said.
Other wrestlers scheduled to appear include women’s stars Ally Zwicker and Lilah Dare; the current, reigning and defending VCW Can-Am champion “Straight Shooter” Devin Chittick, “Slam Dance” Tim Lennox, “The Alpha Dog” Jason Rumble, Brandino Davis, Sidewalk Sam and more.
VCW Can-Am promotes professional wrestling shows in the New England states and Maritime provinces.