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 - Arnold Schwartz

Torches must be passed from generation to generation. Bridges must be made so the torches can be passed. The bridges between Bret Hart’s reign in Stampede Wrestling and Owen Hart’s were their two brothers Keith and Bruce. Keith and Bruce never made it to WWF superstardom but both played pivotal roles in Bret and Owen’s future. Both entered Stampede in the mid 70's and teamed with Leo Burke, against Foley's army of The Loch Ness Monster. And often, they teamed with Bret in the early days and later with Owen.

Both Keith and Owen were never big in physical size. By today’s standards they would be dwarfed in stature. In a slugfest they could never go toe to toe with behemoths like Kasabooboo or Abdullah the Butcher. Or could they?

Keith Hart, soft-spoken and quiet carried his presence into the squared circle and lit up the fans as much as his soon to be famous brother Bret. Keith brought to the ring pure technical wrestling skills and a heart as big as Montana. He would wear his opponents down with several submission holds for minutes at a time, yet never going for the win with these. Keith patiently wore his opponents down till they had no life energy left. I still remember to this day Duke Myers grimacing face as Keith locked him in a abdominal stretch at the 10 minute mark, then seeing the match skip forward to the 20 minute mark with announcer Ed Whelan telling us that Duke was in the hold the whole time! No chants of "boring" from the fans… no big boot kick followed by a leg drop from Keith. Simply an intense desire to squeeze Duke's strength away. If Duke got out of the hold, Keith quickly tripped him up and put him in his version of the figure four. Keith would then quickly follow up with one of Bret's and Leo Burke's powerful finishers; a sleeperhold. Because of his size, he often would be at a disadvantage with it, but persistence paid off and more often then not his larger opponents would be on his knees where Keith would be able to take the edge with his figure four.

Possibly the most electrifying tag team he was in was with Leo Burke. Burke fought with the same submission style but added a brawling edge. With his bigger size, Leo could go toe to toe with bruisers like Killer Tim Brooks, while Keith stood faithfully in the corner waiting his turn to trip up their opponent and squeeze the life out of him. Keith used combinations of sleeperholds, stretches, and trip ups with a stunning drop kick, to propel him, to tag titles throughout the late 70's with his partners, Leo Burke and Hubert Gallant. Of all the Hart brothers Keith was the purest of scientific submission wrestlers in ring. If Bret was later called "the Hitman", Keith's moniker should have Been "the Shooter" in reference to shoot wrestling years gone by. More...

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