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December 17, 2009

My take on Bret Hart reportedly signing with WWE

When Dennis Miller dropped Bret Hart’s name on Raw Monday night, I figured there was a good chance that “The Hitman” would be the guest host for the Jan. 4 Raw that goes head to head with Hulk Hogan’s debut on a live, three-hour TNA Impact. What I didn’t expect was that Hart would return to WWE for more than a one-night-only appearance.

According to a Wrestling Observer report, Hart has signed a short-term talent contract with WWE that takes effect Jan. 1 and runs through the second week of April. WrestleMania XXVI takes place on March 28.

Hart’s return as an on-air character would make for compelling television, to say the least. Twelve years after the “Montreal Screwjob,” a scripted feud between Hart and Mr. McMahon could finally play out on WWE programming. It also would be interesting to see what – if any – story line interaction Hart would have with Shawn Michaels and Triple H, or if he’d have an opportunity to give a rub to The Hart Dynasty.

Unfortunately, what the 52-year-old Hart can do from a physical standpoint is limited. One would think that WWE would want him to do at least one match (likely against McMahon), but Hart hasn’t wrestled in 10 years due to suffering multiple concussions in 1999 and a stroke in 2002. Still, getting Hart back in the fold in any capacity to counter Hogan’s TNA debut and build to a WrestleMania angle would be a huge coup for WWE.

Will it make Hart look like a hypocrite to work again for WWE, especially if he participates in an angle playing off Montreal? Of course. But on the other hand, Hart coming back as a talent for a few months could actually result in closure, not only for Hart but also for the others who were involved in the “Screwjob.”

As I wrote a few months ago when The Wrestling Observer first reported that Hart was in talks with WWE about returning, if Hart, McMahon, Michaels and Triple H are going to work together, I think they should all sit down in a room together, talk things out and agree to be professional moving forward. Perhaps they already have.

The main thing is for Hart and Michaels to come to some type of understanding. They are no longer the two golden boys of WWE competing for McMahon’s favor, and no matter who was right or wrong in 1997, 12 years is more than long enough to hold a grudge. This will be an opportunity for Hart to show that he is not the bitter egomaniac that some perceive him to be, and for Michaels to show that he is not the same immature prima dona that he admits to being back in the day.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 6:54 PM | | Comments (51)


If Pro-wrestling(or sports-entertainment.whatever) is a male oriented soap opera this is akin to Bo Brady coming back after being left for dead for twelve years by his evil twin brother Bob right before his wedding to Hope and finally getting his revenge! I may have revealed too much....Im just gonna go now.

But seriously this is awesome. Barring a complete brainfart from the writing staff this will be the best angle to come along since Hogan turned heel. For the first time in a loooong time I am excited about an upcoming Monday Night Raw.

Should be interesting to see Hart again. A lot of possibilities open up here.

Oh, and cue the flamewar.

Forget Hart against McMahon. Hart- Michaels at Wrestlemania would be the biggest selling WWE PPV maybe ever but only if Hart can still wrestle which I doubt. If they built it properly it would be gigantic. People are still fascinated by it 12 years later because it was so real which is rare in wrestling. Anybody who read his book can see he's not hypocritical, he's conflicted. Deep down he considers McMahon a 2nd father and seems to change his feelings about him on a monthly basis.


You can't have it both ways and continue to dog Brett for being a hypocrite then advise him to sit down, hash it out and move forward when it appears that is what he is doing. People evolve, their outlook on life evolves. I honestly don't think anyone really remembers much of anything he did in WCW, so maybe Brett realizes that the best way for his fans to remember him is not as the bitter man who left WWE.

I for one am looking forward to Hart's return. I hope I give him enough credit not to do so just to be a flunky for the DX minstrel show.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I agree that people evolve, their outlooks change, etc. But Hart has said for years that he wouldn't work for WWE as a character or do an angle off Montreal because of what went down in 97. To do so now does make him look hypocritical because he always took such a morally superior tone. However, now that he has reportedly agreed to come back, I hope he and Michaels can finally come to some kind of understanding so that they can co-exist peacefully. Hopefully, Hart doesn't come in and demand that Michaels not even dare look at him or he'll punch him out.

Let's hope he's not going to get a Sheamus kick to the head.

Well written Kevin,

I think even your detractors in the Bret Hart fan club will have trouble knocking you for this post.

Hope you and your family have a great Christmas... Look forward to the build to the Royal Rumble after I get back from Holidays (leaving tomorrow!)

RESPONSE FROM KE: Happy holidays to you, as well.

How bout Michaels vs HHH at Wrestlemania w/Hart as special guest referee,promising not to screw Shawn as he was??

Hart is a total sellout. After all he has written about Vince McMahon and the WWE , he comes crawling back like a little lapdog. Pathetic really. What little respect I once had for him is now gone.

Cue Drama Bomb.

This is by far the biggest surprise in WWE business. Maybe Michaels' wish for him to be inducted to the Hall of Fame by Bret Hart could actually become true...let's hope he doesn't get *erhem* screwed.

Filming Vince, HHH, HBK, and Bret sitting in a room talking about Montreal would do more buys than Wrestle Mania.

The WCW/ECW Invasion, Katie Vick, the reformation of NWO, borrow a phrase from Mick Foley, this company could screw up a wet dream.
Indeed, it seems like the decade that comes to a close in a few days will be marked as the decade in which Vince McMahon and the WWE creative team completely lost its collective mojo. We've seen can't-miss opportunities missed time and again over the last 10 years, so it's hard to get behind whatever is getting ready to go down when the Hitman finally makes his return next month.
But a new decade brings new hope, and this angle certainly has the potential to be the biggest in the history of the business. In an era when storylines are built in 3-4 weeks, the principle players in this case have 12 years of genuine animosity to draw from. Let's hope all these men are capable of putting the business first in order to make some magic.

What is this? the battle of the old signings? Hart has not even been in the eyes of wrestling for what seems like a decade, WCW mismanaged him and Goldberg ended his career, what can he be doing now? Hart was one of the best technical wrestlers to actually have had some recognition, if you take away his only skill, what are they left with besides an open shot at McMahon? I do not see it as a competition between TNA and WWE, I see it was stupidity and desperation on WWE's part, first guest hosts, now washed-ups?


I think we all know why Bret Hart signed back with the WWE........ MELINA! Now we know why she is the greatest wrestler in the world.

I stopped watching Raw a few months ago, but January 4th may be a good time to start again.

Only good that can come from this...OWEN HART WWE Hall Of Fame 2010!

Thats cool to seem him coming back. Cant wait for the battle royal.

Look for lots of talking and for Vince to eventually take a couple of big bumps from Bret. Maybe he will even get his head shaved again. Ratings will go up, for a while, and Bret will go on his way. The friction will only be interesting for so long.

If this is, as some have suggested, going to be the greatest storyline in the history of the WWE, then the company is in major trouble.

As Bret can't wrestle (or at least shouldn't) there isn't much good that can come of this.

If you want to see the kind of in ring action we are likely to get, wind back the tape of Bret refereeing the match between Larry Z and Bischoff in WCW, 11 or 12 years ago and dropping Bischoff with one punch after he used a loaded boot to try to win.

WCW (with Hogan) and the WWE (with Hart) really are heading in the wrong direction right now.

Maybe the one good thing that could come out of this would be if Vince, Bret and Shawn could all demonstrate some maturity, shake hands and put this old feud behind them. But that might be expecting too much.

Wow Eck, you sound very civil and mature here for an HBK mark.

Sorry. Someone had to make that joke!!!!

I don't think Bret Hart can get the Hart Dynasty over. Only a thriving tag division can do that. The WWE needs at least six stable teams, and it needs to feel like anyone can defeat anyone. It doesn't seem like any team is going to be able to compete with DX.

Kev, I have one question. Being that I wasn't a fan during Bret's prime, I've only seen so many highlights of him. How was he on the mic?

Otherwise, its a big move for WWE. I like it.

RESPONSE FROM KE: During the mid-to-late 90s he became really good on the mic.

Imagine DX walking into Little People's Court. The camera pans the jury box. It's full of "little people." All the bailiffs are "little people." DX's court appointed attorney is a "little person." A bailiff announces "all rise." The judge is not a "little person" but none other than Brett Hart. Talk about an opportunity to screw Shawn Michaels.

If they are in court, will DX have to go by Michael Hickenbottom and Paul Levesque?

Ever since TNA said about going up against Raw on Jan 4th, everybodies been speculating about how WWE are going to respond - the latest favourite option being for Bret to host Raw.

The option nobody has written about, and the option which I immediately thought was the obvious one WWE would go with, is for them to do absolutely nothing.

I don't think WWE are concerned about TNA stealing their ratings, and the best way for the to display their lack of concern is to have a standard 2 hour Raw. They'd still beat TNA and would prove that they are still a long way from providing any real competition.

WWE are more likely to be concerned about UFC, especially with them running a ppv Wrestlemania weekend.

"Only good that can come from this...OWEN HART WWE Hall Of Fame 2010!"


Maybe Hart and Mcmahon will feud with each other and they may choose their representatives to face off at WM26.Maybe vince will choose HHH & Bret will reluctantly choose HBK...Then you will have ur long awaited HBK VS HHH match as well as mcmahon-hart feud...wht do u think Kev?

What if Bret screws WWE this time 'round by showing up on TNA on Jan 4th??
Now that would be supercooool. Monday Night wars in whole another level. LOL

I have no reason to not beleive Shawn is a born again Christian. If so then he and Bret can work out their differences.

How about if Bret becomes Raw's General Manager?

It would put an end to the Raw Guest Host nonsense and would put Bret in a recurring role on tv with Triple H and Shawn Michaels and not have him inside the ring risking his health.

I agree with Richard. I predict HHH vs. HBK at WM26 and Bret as the referee. Remember HHH was right next the HBK in Montreal and knew that about te screwjob. The storyline will be whether Bret is partial to HBK or HHH as a ref.
Although if they somehow pulled off HBK vs. Hart at WM, it would be the best selling PPV of all time. I know I'd buy it.
I am still conflicted because it will be great to see this storyline but I still think that WWE needs to move forward. When you go to the well once too often (Gorilla Monsoon quote) like WCW did and get past wrestlers you mortgage your future.
By the way, Hogan should quit now or change the date of TNA's 3-hr show. Wth Hart back, their ratings that night will be worse than a typical Thursday night show. I love it.

As a wrestling fan this could turn out to be one of the best angles in a long long time.

I see a sharpshooter in Shawn Michaels' future.

It won't be applied by Bret Hart. But The Hitman will ring the bell and The Hart Dynasty will be the new unified WWE Tag Team Champions. RAW is WAR begins anew.

Great blog. Would I be naive to think that maybe he is just coming back fo the Ben Franklins? He is probably getting some good coin and will just put up with any stuff for a few months and head back to Calgary.

RESPONSE FROM KE: What other reason would he come back for?

I think this is great for WWE. It's nice to have a familar face return and spice things up. Now if only WWE would get rid of the PG rating, I would be totally satisfied

Kev you act like Bret has not been on WWE programming since the Montreal incident you should have known it was only gonna be a matter of time before he came back with somewhat of a major role. that being said hopefully him coming back will do 2 things finally get owen into the hall of fame & his own DVD. Also for everyone thinking this was done to spite TNA this deal has been years in the making bret just finally said yes not the other way around so there. I have the biggest question I really don't know why to bring Bret I would think the majority of WWE's current fanbase doesn't know who Bret is because the core fanbase is from 8 to 25 so most of them would not remember him and just look at him like he was Jim Duggan or Sgt Slaughter. That being said I will still probably end up watching TNA. because you can always catch Raw or Universal on Saturdays if you have it.

RESPONSE FROM KE: Yes, Bret has been on WWE TV since Montreal, but unless I'm missing something, it was just for his Hall of Fame induction and one taped video when Vince McMahon was "blown up." The point is that he has not appeared as a TV character on a regular basis. It's also true that WWE has been trying to get Bret to return for years, but I it's naive not to think that Hart coming now is to counter Hogan's TNA debut. If Hart does not appear on the Jan. 4 show, then I will stand corrected.

Kev, the reason your area is going to get 20 inches of snow this weekend is because "hell has frozen over!" Bret Hart in the WWE ? You have got to be kidding me...apparently new hot young wives need plenty of moola - Stu Hart is probably giving someone a headlock in heaven as soon as he heard about this one

Kevin, Seems to me that Bret hart was also on WWE TV in an interview to promote his book a few years ago.

kev you made a couple of era on your response to me you been reading my post to long because my speed typing is catching up with you look at your last 2 sentences & Bret doesn't live in Calgary anymore he lives primarily in hawaii now. I think that this is just timing and even if not it is WWE who agreed to what terms were made when the start date would be probably not Bret not saying that he didn't have some input about when he wanted to start but I think it was more on Vince.

RESPONSE FROM KE: Thanks for the alert on the typos. Must have been from reading Lady Trucker's Comment of the Week again.

Omly moroms make typos, Kevim ... ... ... err ... uhm ... Hey! What's that! *runs away*

This is scripted wrestling. The same genre where you're given the championship belt based on what writers feel they can do with you.

Let's keep it real here....if Bret Hart wants to sit down and write out some story lines about him in WWE, then have at it!

I don't think Bret is in it for the money. He's doing this for 4 reasons:
1. The rumored Hart Foundation DVD.
2. Possibly for Owen Hart to be inducted in the 2010 Hall Of Fame.
3. Closure from the "Montreal Screwjob."
4. To help push the Hart Dynasty.

Bret wasn't much of a "showman," but he was the best in-ring technical wrestler ever, and very popular. His matches were gold. And I don't think he wants Survivor Series '97 to be his lasting memory in WWE. He wants to be sent off the RIGHT way, like a legend at his level should. This is his 'farewell run."

Considering his age and physical condition, I don't think he'll have a last match. But I can picture Vince getting the Sharp Shooter. I hope at 'Mania - with the entire world watching, that Bret and HBK can shake hands in a truce and finally put the past behind them. The fans will respect them both for that.

In addition, a few interactions with Melina would only be icing on the Hitman's cake...

I respect Bret more than i do any other wrestler in the world, but of course such a move would be hypocritical.

It would also be a good healing tool for Bret, who still carries around so much mental baggage (some justified, some not).

Another aspect is that it shows that despite their protestations, WWE obviously do see TNA as a threat, however minor that threat may be.

I'll never understand all of the negativity for TNA by the various commentors. The in-ring product is so superior to most of what WWE is putting on today. TNA trying to re-ignite the Monday Night Wars may be the equivalent of the USFL trying to leave its niche back in the 80's versus the NFL, i.e. not a good idea, but at least they are trying to entertain. Do I hope that I never see Hogan in the ring? Yes, but I have little faith that he will stay out. Now all of the WWE lovers want Bret in the ring? Are you kidding me? WWE must be feeling the TNA heat if they pull that stunt. Mark me down for TNA on January 4th.

Great blog as always Kevin. Any commentary on Thursday night's TNA episode?

Damn it. I was going to stop watching Raw because Jericho is off it. Vince is pretty good at keeping those IWC Nielsen numbers it would seem.

I guess the reason they moved Jericho off Raw was so that he doesn't go all Kevin Eck on Bret Hart.

I never understood the fuss about Bret Hart. Personally I thought he was a phony and a crybaby. Worst of all his matches were boring, unless he had someone like Michaels to carry him. Even his finishing move, the Sharpshooter was stolen from Sting. Personally even on his best day, I don't think he was half as entertaining in the ring, as HBK, Flair, or Angle

Everyone is entitled to their opinion about who is entertaining and who isn't, but here is one of my favorite Bret Hart moments. For some reason, the match gets overlooked in the Bret Hart Canon, maybe because there's no title at stake:

I don't know if money is the only reason why he's coming back. A big part of me believes that he came back because he craves being in the spotlight again. I think he's afraid that some fans might forget him.

Correction: that was indeed a title match.

I always had a belief that Bret Hart would return to the WWE. He is a great performer in the way that he sells a storyline. I think Bret saw this as the perfect opportunity to help mentor his niece and nephew. Natalia Neidhart, Harry Smith and TJ Wilson have a chance to be really good as The Hart Dynasty. But I think Bret needs to help sell the group because they haven't mastered the mic as of yet.

Steve, you are obviously [dumb].

Bret coming back to WWE is just amazing no matter what the storyline is. what all of you dont seem to know is that Bret has been doing small wrestling gigs. He is in shape and good health since his stroke. i was 4 when the montreal screwjob happened. Itd be nice to see Hart take on DX. Itd also be nice to see him take on vince or become GM. Owen Hart going in the HOF? Great way to start off the decade! i havent watched raw in about a year and I'm ready for it! Thanks for the news on the contract!

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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