Why Bret Hart Had the WWE Remove the Documentaries from the Network

Aug 21, 2020 - by James Walsh

As we reported yesterday, the WWE Network took down six documentaries featuring footage of Bret Hart. At the time, no exact reason was provided, but it was believed it was due to the rights over the Stampede Wrestling footage. The basic deal is that Bret owns any Stampede footage featuring himself, but WWE owns the rest after outbidding the Fight Network for it.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, when WWE did the 2005 DVD “Bret Hart – The Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Be”, Hart gave them rights to use his Stampede footage for that documentary. WWE would have to negotiate any other footage through him and they haven’t made a deal for any other project with that footage.

When “Hart and Soul: Hart Family Anthology” came out in 2010, WWE included footage of Bret in Stampede Wrestling without asking him. There was a dispute, but Hart didn’t press the issue because Natalya and Davey Boy Smith Jr were working for the company at the time. He also believed the entire Hart family would benefit from the project.

They then used it for another documentary about Hart and so he called Mark Carrano to get it removed. Carrano said that WWE owned the footage and he should contact legal. Hart sent a text to Vince McMahon, who later took everything down and apologized for it.

This week had a similar situation. Someone told Hart they saw a match of him vs. Dynamite Kid from Stampede on the Network. This caused Hart to text McMahon and Triple H. They said they would take it down as soon as possible and did so.

While they had the rights to the footage for the 2005 documentary, it’s possible that they only had permission to use it for the DVD and not to stream on the WWE Network.

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