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Hart attacks

February 2nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Slobberknocker: McMahon spits on the legacy of Hart.

Slobberknocker: McMahon spits on the legacy of his former World champion.

The Vince McMahon/Bret Hart program heated up last night (2/1/10) and provided what appears to be the direction they’re headed going into WrestleMania. First, a minor point: A certain edge is lost with McMahon calling the shots as to when Hart appears. When McMahon a few weeks ago vowed that Hart would never again appear on WWE TV, it would have added to the storyline’s sense of realism (and much of the content in the promos thus far has been reality-based or derivative of negative thoughts or feelings that the parties involved may have had in past) had the Hitman at least tried to crash the party and counterattack the chairman of the board.  That is, it would have been effective to see Hart held at bay by McMahon’s security force or cronies before John Cena’s memorable impassioned plea for McMahon to reconsider “allowing” Hart to appear. (Incidentally, that Cena promo was fantastic and illustrates what he’s capable of with the right material. He’s going to make one hell of a heel when they finally turn him in a few years. )

Last night’s RAW segment finished strong after getting off to a shaky start with guest host William Shatner. The earlier swerve with McMahon confronting an unseen Canadian, who turned out to be Shatner, was fine, but his “comedy” bit tripping over Jerry Lawler was distracting right before this crucial segment. (I must say, though, that Shatner’s spoken word bit, in particular his take on HBK’s “Sexy Boy” theme and Rey Mysterio’s entrance music, was the funniest stuff on RAW in months.) 

Hart’s threats to kick McMahon’s ass (which thankfully did not make an on-camera appearance) brought back memories of the Hitman’s final run WWE during the Attitude era, but was a little repetitive from what they did to start the angle a month ago, when he called out “Vinnie.” From there, it picked up. Hart looked a lot better physcially this time around and came off much cooler, with his hair cut and slicked back like his glory days. I have it on good authority that throughout the afternoon prior to his return appearance on 1/04/10, certain WWE personnel were trying to convince Bret to dye his hair, which he refused. (Hmmm…I wonder if that explains the awful dye job Roddy Piper was sporting on RAW not too long ago.) It appears Hart may had second thoughts after seeing himself on TV, as his hair last night more closely resembled his old look and he appeared to have hit the tanning bed as well. Personally, I didn’t think he looked awful upon his return-a little run-down, but that’s to be expected at his age, especially after the career he’s had (the travel, his physical in-ring style, etc.) and the stroke. Ditching the shorts in favor of contemporary jeans was a step in the right direction as well. (Apparently, prior to his 1/4 appearance, Hart was wearing jeans all day. He slipped into the shorts moments before they went on the air, which surprised some people when he walked out to his revamped entrance music, despite the fact that he occasionally wore shorts during the last incarnation of the Hart Foundation in ’97.)

The Hitman’s words were heartfelt as he called out McMahon for the littany of promises his longtime boss broke over the years. In an emotional moment, Hart said McMahon’s gut shot (which looked more like a low blow, which was an accident) made him feel pathetic…much like when he sat in a wheelchair for so many months following his stroke. This was strong, effective stuff. While it’s pretty clear that Bret was reciting scripted material, he clearly at least had some input in this portion. When Bret finally came into his own as a promo guy in ’96 and ’97, he had a way of channeling his emotions in making every interview seem like an extension of his real-life frusrtations-which came pretty easily, I suppose, since he was usually talking about Shawn Michaels and/or being underappreciated.

McMahon responded with quite possibly every single snide knock that he, HBK and Triple H must have ever uttered as part of their attempts to character assassinate the Hitman over the years: no charisma, unpolished promo skills, that sad “hounddog” look on his face,  etc. (Knock him all you want-and I often do-but McMahon is simply amazing as a heel.) Hart stood there patiently, cooly asking, “Are you finished?” Finally, he snapped with a flurry of punches, pulling McMahon’s suit jacket over his head like a hockey fight breaking out and going for his classic Sharpshooter finisher as the crowd erupted. (Funny…Vinnie’s loafer came off in Bret’s hand as he placed McMahon into position. Hart  adlibbed and threw it at him.) Bret was a little tentative at first in this flurry, understandably so, until his adrenaline kicked in as the crowd cheered.

Batista then blindsided Hart to prevent him from applying the hold. Really, Batista was almost overly cautious with his punches, which looked lame on TV, but I suppose it’s clear that they aren’t taking any chances with Hart, whom I doubt will be working any type of match with McMahon.  He then held Hart while McMahon taunted him and spit in his face-a receipt for Montreal. The fans were pretty hot for this, chanting loudly for Cena to make the save. (And Cena did, once the show was off the air.)

This appears to be shaping up to be Batista w/McMahon in his corner vs. Cena w/Hart at Mania with some kind of stipulation. Some have speculated that Hart could possibly work a street fight with McMahon, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, judging from last night. I suppose it’s possible they could hide Hart in a tag match (man, that was uncomfortable typing those words), but that scenario has the possibility of coming off a little sad. Still, this should make for some damn interesting TV in the weeks ahead.

Incidentally, for those younger fans still confused over the McMahon/Hart issue, I highly recommend the excellent documentary Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows, which features the entire conversation between the two prior to the Montreal Screwjob. It’s available at amazon.com for $17.49. Riveting stuff. Click the link below to order. Bret’s bio also has the scoop, albeit from his viewpoint; it’s also one of the best wrestling books I’ve ever read.

  1. Calcifer
    February 6th, 2010 at 00:21 | #1

    Maybe we’ll see the return of a time honored stipulation with Bret getting 5 minutes alone with Vince should Cena win. That would be a good way for Bret to come out on top without risking his health.

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