For the record, McMahon was totally in the wrong at Montreal. Talk all you want about honor, trust and doing the right thing, but those words should never be mentioned in connection with pro wrestling. Babble on about Vince owning the belt but the truth is, at that moment, he didn’t.
Hart’s contract gave him creative control. That gave him the legal right to veto losing to anybody, or at all. The traditions of wrestling do not supersede contract law. It’s not a debatable topic.
Same thing with Bash at the Beach 2000. At the time, I supported Vince Russo double-crossing Hulk Hogan and embarrassing him on live TV. But Hogan had creative control. Russo had no right to do what he did. (This, of course, assumes that what happened was a shoot, which I’m still not sure about. I’m not 100 percent certain about Montreal, either.)
If you want to blame anybody, blame the dolts that give egomaniacal pro wrestlers creative control. In Hart’s case, that was McMahon.
I felt terrible that Hart was used so badly in WCW. He got sucked into the political vortex, then spat out. I pitched an idea to Eric Bischoff that had Ric Flair invite Hart to join the Four Horsemen, declaring him the “real world champion.” This would have capitalized on Hart “never losing” the WWE belt and on Flair’s WWE stint as “real world champion.” I even wanted to digitize Bret’s belt on TV the same way Flair’s had been.
Hart liked it. Flair liked it. Bischoff REALLY liked it. Despite seemingly unanimous approval, though, it never got done.
I learned later that Bischoff nixed it because DDMe had a feud coming up with Hart, and turning Hart babyface would have negated that. DDMe whined until he got his way. You have NO IDEA how pervasive DDMe’s influence was in WCW, or how much his selfishness hurt the company.
I like Bret. I hope he doesn’t come back. I’m sure McMahon would have him return in Canada, and the massive pop would be cool. But do you really think McMahon wants Hart back to do right by Bret? McMahon suckered Hart once. He could, and would, do it again.
On Nov. 9, 1997, Hart trusted McMahon. How stupid can you get? Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Don’t get fooled again.
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