Published on January 28th, 2017 | by Josh Greenup0
The Story of “TERRIBLE TED” The Wrestling Bear
Bret Hart continues with another great story regarding Ted-
BRET HART: “It just so happened I was invited to the next-door neighbor’s birthday party, which was going to be held at CFCN on a kiddie program called The Headhunter Show. I’d never been to a birthday party or been on a TV show, so I was hyped when I got on the set and took my seat on the bench. Suddenly, out from behind the curtain came Terrible Ted — the very same bear that lived under our porch. The bear handler scuffled around with Ted just long enough to amuse us kids. Some were scared but not me. Heck,
Suddenly, out from behind the curtain came Terrible Ted — the very same bear that lived under our porch. The bear handler scuffled around with Ted just long enough to amuse us kids. Some were scared but not me. Heck, me and Ted were practically on a first-name basis and he no doubt appreciated the ice cream drips.
By the end of the show, Headhunter, the host, came around interviewing various kids. When he came to me, he innocently asked: “Wouldn’t you like to have a bear like that in your backyard?”
It seemed like a pretty stupid question. I matter-of-factly told him: “I already have a bear like that living in my backyard.”
Well, he kind of winked at the camera and chalked it up to the overactive imagination of a five-year-old boy. This was all the opening he needed to have a little fun, as I found myself pleading with him to believe I really did have a bear just about that exact same size living at my house. He had some more fun with me and when the show ended, I felt really annoyed nobody believed me.
I remember getting home only a few minutes later, since CFCN was so close, and my mom gave me a big warm hug and smiled: “Aw dawling, no one ever believes me when I tell them what goes on around here either!”
Bobby Heenan wrote that Ted could perform a monkey flip and a flying mare. At the end of one bout, he wrapped a towel around the bear’s neck and pantomimed choking him. The bear, amazingly enough, would lie down, selling the move like any other wrestler. As Heenan tells it, the bear matches often occurred in winter. The bears, who would much rather be sleeping, would sometimes feel the ice under the padded floor of the arena. That often led to the animal urinating. The wrestler would then find himself soaked in urine, adding a new layer of humiliation.
After his matches, Ted’s trainer would get paid the agreed upon amount and Ted would be fed and they would also give Ted a bottle of Coca-Cola and he would then sit in a chair in the ring and hold the bottle with his paws and drink his post-match reward.
Unfortunately, on July 2, 1978, in Aurora, Ontario, McKigney left Smokey’s (another wrestling bear he trained) cage door open while he answered the phone. Smokey entered McKigney’s house and mauled his girlfriend, 30-year-old Lynn Orser, to death. As a result, both bears were taken away by the Ontario Humane Society. McKigney’s only possible explanation was that bears sometimes act unpredictably during mating season.