Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thoughts on Bret "The Hitman" Hart

As both a Canadian and a wrestling fan it was great to see Bret "The Hitman" Hart back in a WWE ring for the first time since the infamous "Montreal screwjob" in November 1997.

Hart was the guest host for last night's Monday Night RAW on The USA Network. Aside from accepting an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, Hart has had little association with his old employer.

In November 1997, the lines between reality and sports entertainment were blurred when Hart lost the then WWF championship to Shawn Michaels. Unbeknownst to Hart, Michaels put Hart into the sharpshooter which was Hart's finishing hold. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon ordered the bell rung and awarded the belt to Michaels. A stunned Hart spit into McMahon's face and would later punch him out backstage. For his part, Michaels denied any knowledge of McMahon's plan but this turned out to be a lie. To this very day, when Michaels wrestles in a Canadian arena especially in Montreal or Calgary (Hart's hometown) the fans chant, "You screwed Bret."

So why was Bret Hart in a WWE ring? Money, of course. The WWE's rival Total Non Stop Action Wrestling (TNA) was also on the air on Spike TV with the much anticipated return of Hulk Hogan. While I don't like it was likely that TNA would have a higher TV rating than RAW, McMahon wasn't taking any chances. Why not bring back a very real rivalry?

Long story short Hart and Michaels buried the hatchet. Hart and McMahon appeared to do to the same but McMahon kicked him in the groin to end the show. As it turns out, Hart has been signed to a short term contract which will culminate at Wrestlemania XXVI. Look for a grudge match between Hart and McMahon. It is worth noting that Hart suffered a stroke in 2002 after a biking accident. Although he has regained most of his mobility there's a limited amount he can probably do in the ring. But that won't matter much if he applies a sharpshooter to McMahon. The fans will love it.

Between 2002 and 2004, Hart wrote a semi-regular column for The Calgary Sun. He mostly wrote about his memories in wrestling. One such memory revolved around his younger brother Owen Hart who died tragically in a ring accident back in 1998. Hart recounted a time when they did a wrestling show in Jerusalem during Easter in 1994. Owen was known as a practical joker and was doing his shtick in the ring much to the delight of the children both Israeli and Palestinian.

Anyhow, I am looking forward to seeing Bret Hart for one more hurrah. I hope the WWE does at least one show in Canada to give wrestling fans north of the border an opportunity to pour out their affection for one of their favorite sons.

No comments: