Regular price $750.00

HISTORY: Stewart Edward Hart, CM (May 3, 1915 – October 16, 2003) was a Canadian professional wrestler, wrestling booker, promoter, coach and trainer, football player, amateur wrestler, and sailor. He is best known for founding and handling Stampede Wrestling, a professional wrestling promotion based in Calgary, Alberta, teaching many individuals at its associated wrestling school "The Dungeon" and establishing a professional wrestling dynasty consisting of his relatives and close trainees. As the patriarch of the Hart wrestling family, Hart is the ancestor of many wrestlers, most notably being the father of Bret and Owen Hart as well as the grandfather of Natalya Neidhart and David Hart Smith. Hart was born to a poor Saskatchewan family but became a successful amateur wrestler during the 1930s and early 1940s, holding many national championships, as well as engaging in many other sports. He began wrestling for show in 1943 with the Royal Canadian Navy while serving in World War II as he could not go to the 1940 Summer Olympics due to the war. After leaving the service he traveled to America and debuted professionally for the New York wrestling territory in 1946. Hart was considered very handsome and a good in-ring performer, focusing on a submission-like and technical style of wrestling, but despite this and being popular in general he was not given a major spotlight by the writers, and soon after marrying Helen Smith, whom he met in New York City, he created his own promotion in Edmonton, Alberta which would be known as Stampede Wrestling[e] and took over the surrounding wrestling territory which covered most of western Canada and the US state of Montana. The territory would go on to become known as the Stampede territory thenceforth. In 1949, Stu and Helen moved to Great Falls, Montana. Hart's promotion featured a large variety of outside stars from the wrestling industry as well as homegrown talent for whom he booked story lines. Beginning from the 1950s Hart helped train a large number of people for his company and gained a reputation as one of the best teachers in the wrestling business. In October 1951, Stu and Helen moved to Calgary, Alberta, into what would become the famous Hart House. Hart remained an active full-time wrestler until the 1960s when he entered semi-in-ring retirement, thereafter he would focus mostly on promoting, booking and teaching, as well as raising his twelve children with Helen while still appearing in the ring sporadically until the 1980s. Throughout his career, Hart almost exclusively portrayed a heroic character, a so-called "babyface" role and only held one professional title, the NWA Northwest Tag Team Championship. After selling his territory to Titan Sports, Inc. in 1984, Hart would make several appearances on WWF television and Pay-Per-View with his wife, often involved in storylines surrounding his sons Bret and Owen and several of his sons-in-law who were signed to the company. He continued to teach wrestling at his home in Calgary until the 1990s when he suffered a severe leg injury and had to stop engaging excessively with students, leaving most of the work for his sons Bruce and Keith. He died at age 88 in October 2003 after suffering from multiple medical issues. Hart has been referred to by multiple writers, including the major wrestling historian and sports journalist Dave Meltzer, as one of the most influential and important figures in pro wrestling history. His greatest contribution to the art was as a promoter and 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, Chris Benoit, and Jushin Thunder Liger. Hart was a member of the inaugural Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame class in 1996 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010 by his son Bret. Hart was also well known for his involvement in over thirty charities, for which he was named a Member of the Order of Canada, the second highest honour for merit which can be given in Canada and the highest civilian honour. Offered here is a scarce, original promotional photo of Stu Hart which he has boldly signed and dated 1946.

FULL DESCRIPTION: This is an original 8" x 10" promotional photo of Stu Hart in full pose. Boldly signed in ink, "To Don Austell Best Regards Stu Hart Edmonton Canada 1946." Bold, clear image. Clean. Small crease in upper left corner. No tears. Very scarce signed photo.

Size: 8 x 10

Condition: very good