INDUCTION: Bret vs. Vince – A 13 Year War Comes to a Craptastic Climax!

70 Submitted by on Thu, 26 March 2015, 19:00

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WWE, 2010

I don’t think it’s any great secret that my love for today’s professional wrestling has taken a hit over the last decade or so.  What used to be an obsession has now become more of a common fandom, wherein I watch a bit of Raw every Monday night then read or listen to recaps to see what I should go out of my way to review on the DVR.  While some may point to my getting older, having a family, and other activities taking precedence on my available free time, rest assured I still do watch plenty of wrestling.

It’s just old stuff on the WWE Network.

Prime TimeTNT, old Nitros…that’s where my wrestling time is spent.  I feel…actually more KNOW…I am now no longer in the target demographic.  More and more, I feel I am morphing into one of those guys who wrote into the old Apter mags bemoaning the fact that Vince had turned wrestling into a circus, longing for ‘the good old days’ that had long since past.  These geezers (and I can call them that because I now am amongst their kind) would generally point to specific incidents that caused them to throw up their hands in defeat.

What I am writing about today is one of the main causes for my waving the white flag.

For pretty much the entire decade of the 1990s, Bret Hart was my favorite wrestler.  From his run as IC champ back when it meant something (there’s my old timer coming out!) to his first WWF title run to his awesome, AWESOME feud with Steve Austin, I always loved watching Bret in action.  When Montreal happened (and if you want the full details on that, I strongly urge you to pick up The Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary Edition as we spent several pages documenting the whole thing), I was of course livid.  And when WCW was, well, WCW with Bret, I wasn’t any happier.

But it wasn’t until 2010 when things really went south.  Because that’s when Bret decided that a return to the company that he had railed against since that fateful night in Canada was in his best interest.  Maybe it was.  But part of me wanted to believe this man who said that he would never return, that he had been wronged too badly, too personally, and he would not forget that.  I wanted to be that mark, I wanted to be that fan, I wanted to be that guy who said “It’s still real to me.”  I wanted that part of my younger innocence to remain forever.

But it didn’t.  And a large part of my wrestling love died.

Look, I get why Bret did it.  They were going to create a Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior hatchet job DVD release and he didn’t want to be remembered that way.  I understand that.  But it doesn’t mean that I liked it.  In fact, I pretty much hated his coming back.

And that was BEFORE anything happened on screen, which was a real tragedy.

Tragedy in this case meaning THE WWE CREATIVE CREW.

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It all started on the first Raw of 2010, as Bret returned after a 12 year absence from the show.  He came out to a huge ovation of course, and immediately began to thank the fans for their undying support.  He noted that he had wanted to come back for years, but Vince had always blocked him from doing so.

Ok, faux pas number one right there: everyone knew Bret HATED Vince.  Why on earth would he want to come back?  And why would Vince prevent him from doing so?  Vince didn’t hate Bret; he just felt that Bret made a bad business decision in not doing the ‘right thing’, and thus, the famous line about Bret screwing Bret.

The other guy in the equation was Shawn Michaels.  So it was no surprise when the first guy Bret asked to come out and see him was the Heartbreak Kid.  However, Bret wasn’t there to kick Shawn’s ass…he was there to kiss it.

Really, the first words out of Bret’s mouth were that he wanted to bury the hatchet.

Um, ok.  That makes no sense.

So Shawn comes out and that he thought Bret was a royal pain and thus he deserved what happened in Montreal.  On top of that, he didn’t regret at all what he did to assist in the double-cross.

See, now Shawn, I believe.

Newer fans might not realize this, but prior to his departure following his loss to Steve Austin, Shawn was arguably the biggest prima donna crybaby the business had ever known.  When it was time for him to drop a title, something would always come up wherein he’d somehow been unable to do so.  With that in mind, you may have a good idea why it felt so very weird to type that I believe Shawn more than Bret.

Regardless, they wind up having a love fest, talking about how great their Iron Match.  That’s what Shawn called it – IRON MATCH.  Guess he didn’t like the term “Man.”  As noted, I love Bret, and I always thought Shawn was pretty awesome.  But I remember watching that match live with friends and by about the 30 minute mark, we all knew there would be zero falls and we all kinda waited impatiently for the clock to wind down to zero. So while some may consider that a great match, I’ve always thought it was pretty disappointing.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the hand shakes and hugs.

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And yeah, they shake hands as the fans basically boo before offering a bit of polite applause.  If you think WWE just started booking stupid stuff in the last 18 months or so, yeah, you’re wrong.  You had two guys who for over a decade talked absolute trash about each other, and when they finally are on the same show, they shake hands and then hug.

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What is it with this company not liking to use storylines real life literally hands to them?

The sole saving grace of this segment is a moment as Shawn is leaving, where he pauses ever so slightly, teasing a super kick.

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Not enough to save this idiocy, but I’m nothing if not a fair man so I do need to mention it.

Shawn leaves the ring, so next Bret calls out Vince…who promptly no shows.

Until the end of the show, that is.

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Vince appears in the ring two hours later and notes that since Shawn and Bret hugged, he considers Montreal history and then starts blah blahing about nothing until Bret comes out for the big confrontation.  With Bret in his face, Vince again says that Bret screwed Bret, and that he would never forget Bret spitting in his face and then ‘sucker punching’ him.  He notes that he hopes that Bret starts his blah blahing with two words; “I’m sorry.”   Bret notes that his two words would be very different than Vince’s.

I’d like to think they were “storyline sucks.”

Well, that’s mine at least.

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Instead, Bret talks about how he is here for closure, to put it all behind him, and be FRIENDS with everyone.  Egads.  Hearing him out, Vince notes that maybe Bret was right and they should just shake hands.

Which they do, and Vince raises his hands in the air.

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And then promptly kicks Bret in the sack.

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It would be over a month before Bret appeared on WWE television, so that shot to the nads must have really, REALLY hurt.  In his absence, everyone from John Cena to the Undertaker showed up to tell Vince that when The Hitman returned, he was going to kick his fanny.  And Vince would generally do his patented ‘big gulp’ at the thought.

SPEAKING OF BIG GULPS…why did we never get that cross promotion?

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A (hopefully lenticular) picture on Vince on the side of one of these would have made the guy a trillionaire.

After such a build, you’d expect Vince to be cowering when Bret’s testicles healed up enough to allow him to return to Raw in February…but this is Vince McMahon we’s talkin’ ’bout!

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He just got right up in Bret’s face!

So, NO FEAR VINCE basically goes nose to nose with Bret, talking about how Hart has no charisma, can’t speak English, he looks like an old hound dog, how he’s not a hero, he’s dressed like a hobo.  Bret’s response?

He stands by politely, randomly asking, “Are you finished?”

I’m really concerned I am going to break this keyboard as I am typing so angrily as I recap all this stupidity.  My once hero, now just a complete mamby pamby geek.

Bret takes it all in, does nothing, finally snapping when Vince notes Stu doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.  Sadly he doesn’t point out “the same Hall of Fame that has Koko B. Ware in it.”

You know, just to really stick it to him.

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So Bret attacks with a kick to Vince’s genitals, and…wait, there’s something I have to point out here.

Despite the fact that these guys were clearly kicking groins in such a manner that would have Homer Simpson howling, the announcers kept talking about how they were kicking each other in the gut.  Why?  Absolutely no idea.

In the interest of education, I’d like to help these guys out with pictures:

THIS IS THE GUT:

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THIS IS THE GROIN:

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I’dd also point out the man in the picture above appears to have his weiner removed, but that kinda goes without saying.

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Following Bret’s shot to Vince’s groin/gut/whatever, Batista makes the save.  Since Vince is a Mighty McMahon, he gets right back up (damaging his grapefruits wouldn’t keep him out for a month!) and pummels away, eventually spitting right in Bret’s hound dog face.

The weeks go by and we get more stuff like this, with Vince saying he’ll take a match with Bret at WrestleMania and then saying no he won’t.  Finally, Bret realizes that with no WrestleMania match in the offering, it ain’t worth sticking around this stupid place no mo so he says good bye to the fans and hops in his limo to go back to Calgary.

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Unfortunately for Bret, as he’s getting into the limo, another car rams into it, trapping his leg and doing severe damage.

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This would lead to a few weeks of Vince now wanting a match with Bret, since he’s incapacitated. And then Bret explaining how he couldn’t have a match, since he was hurt.

And now a pansy.

But yes, this goes where you expect it to go…

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…with Bret revealing that he faked the injury just so Vince would accept the match, a no holds barred match.

To be fair, this part was actually a logical storyline and I’m sure on paper, it seemed fine.  And of course, both Vince and Bret are two of the best ever in their ability to manipulate the crowd so the payoff was admittedly fun.  Why they felt the need to do all this when they could have just shown footage week after week of what actually happened or maybe get some clips from Wrestling with Shadows and probably done a lot better can certainly be debated, but you know what, I’m nothing if not a fair man and I will say this was not really induction worthy.

But the match itself?

That’s why we’re really here today.

After all the real life drama and storyline BS, we finally got Vince vs. Bret on the grandest stage of them all: WrestleMania.

How could this possibly go wrong?

Answer: in pretty much every way imaginable.

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So Bret comes out, getting a nice enough reaction from the hardcores in the crowd.  Next Vince starts down the aisle.  Now you’d think that Bret, after 13 years of waiting to strangle McMahon, would run down the aisle and beat him to a pulp.  Instead, he waits by silently as Vince monologues, noting that he is going to give Bret a WrestleMania-sized screwing.  You see, because Mr. McMahon went out and purchased a ‘whole bunch’ of lumberjacks!

In the form of the entire Hart family!

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As in Natalya and the Hart Dynasty!

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As in BRUCE!

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As in DIANA!

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As in a bunch of others that even I, one of Bret’s biggest fans who can recite half his autobiography word for word, have zero idea who they were!

You know what will add a lot more interest to a real life feud that’s been ongoing for thirteen years?

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THIS WOMAN putting the chops to Bret if he falls out of the ring!

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And we get SUPER PUDGY BRUCE as the special guest referee!

If he keeps the sunglasses on the entire match, I will delete everything I’ve written here today and induct, I don’t know, The Miller Light Catfight Girls match instead.  (Note to self: induct that next year.)

Before the match can truly get started, Bret asks his family if they got paid up front, if they’ve already cashed the checks.  Nodding follows.  So Bret informs Vince since he’d already paid them, that was fine.

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Because Bret had heard about Vince’s little plan, and therefore, tonight was going to see another double cross…as the Harts stand united against the evil Mister McMahon!

And yes, this follows that announcement.

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Seriously, I can’t believe they didn’t do that.  GAZILLIONS left on the table.

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And Bret starts beating on Vince.

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And beating on Vince.

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And beating on Vince.

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And beating on Vince…this time with a tire iron.

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And when Bret got tuckered out from beating on Vince, the other Harts beat on Vince.

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Say what you will about McMahon, but when it’s time for him to take a beating, he takes it like a champ.

Take note, Steph.

It’s ok to look like a loser some times.

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After all the punishment, Bret decides to go for the Sharpshooter…

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…but instead lets go of it and gets the tire iron back to beat on Vince some more.

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And then kicks him in the gut/groin/I’vealreadyusedthisjokebefore/whatever again.

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And then beats on him with a chair for three or four minutes.

And the crowd goes mild.

Really.  They were getting kinda bored by this point.

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Finally, FINALLY, Bret puts Vince in the Sharpshooter and the match comes to a merciful end.

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As the Hart family stands triumphant, the evil Mr. McMahon is vanquished.

The real comedy here, though, is what the idea was behind the scenes in putting the match together.

Get this: apparently, Vince was wanting a horrific beating, a savage beating, not to pay off the blood feud between himself and Bret, but so the crowd would actually feel sorry for him and turn him babyface.

You know, like happened in Bret’s last WrestleMania match?

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Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Sorry, Vince.

This is usually where I write some zippy one-liner to end on a happy note, but sorry, I just can’t with this one, because this is one I won’t ever forget…for all the wrong reasons.

Enjoy WrestleMania this weekend, kids.

 

 

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70 Responses to "INDUCTION: Bret vs. Vince – A 13 Year War Comes to a Craptastic Climax!"
  1. Scrooge McSuck says:

    I hated this whole feud and match. Hated, HATED, HAAAAAAAAATED it. Well worthy of induction.

  2. Iron Smark Tyson says:

    “For pretty much the entire decade of the 1990s, Bret Hart was my favorite wrestler.”

    I stopped there on this induction. I thought the buildup and the match were great. What do you expect a five star match for a 60 something year old and a man who had a stroke?

    As for Hart, let’s cut the revisionist crap. He was a horrible face of the WWF. When he and HBK were on top of the WWF, WCW was kicking their ass. He was boring and the ratings and PPV buys at that time showed it.

    Why do you think Vince had to get rid of Hart to begin with.

    • CP says:

      You are aware that Bret had been on top from 1992 onward,.right? And that WCW didn’t start hitting its stride until late 1995, and that it wasn’t until mid-1996 when the streak started?

      Facts, man.

  3. Time Lord Soundwave says:

    U mad, bro? LOL!

    Seriously though, this angle never bothered me. I knew the match wouldn’t be a scientific classic. All I expected was a one sided beating, and that’s exactly what it was. I suppose it could have been a bit shorter, but overall, I was satisfied.

    So sorry RD, but I just don’t think this was worth getting all bent out of shape over. Just my opinion.

  4. Erich says:

    If the match had ended in half the time, or if it had been a complete mugging with the entire family kicking the crap out of Vince the entire time, maybe we would look back fondly on this.

    But instead it was a lackluster, slllllloooooooooowwwww, meandering ‘fight’ between a guy who didn’t look like he really wanted to fight, and a guy who suffered a stroke and can’t wrestle anymore and boy was that obvious while watching him.

  5. The Million Cent Man says:

    I don’t think the angle and match were all that bad. The purpose was for Bret to finally get his chance to beat Vince to a pulp and for the door to be shut on Montreal. It accomplished both of those.

    • Time Lord Soundwave says:

      Exactly. I think RD’s just being a grump. Like that time he pouted because Trish Stratus stopped dyeing her hair blond.

  6. Alexandru says:

    Yeah While the build -up was ‘meh” but it wasn’t terrible. Plus Hart was older/had health issues and Mcmahon in his 60’s it wasn’t going to be even a two star match. Only bad thing was that the match it did go on for far too long. Also doesn’t help that the Montreal Screwjob story has been told too death. People’s expectations for this were delusional/over the top

  7. Cameron A. says:

    This part of Bret Hart’s 2010 run didn’t bother me that much, as the Montreal Screwjob had been used for/alluded to in storylines so often that it was a cliché by then. Bret Hart winning the WWE United States Championship from The Miz annoyed me more – a secondary title going to someone who wasn’t medically cleared to do much, just to ease The Miz into upper-card storylines.

    • E-Squared says:

      Well, I remember reading some stuff in the past how Bret was offered to appear at Wrestlemania X8 to attack Vince for revenge, but he turned it down. Plus, let’s not forget that the whole buildup of Shawn Michaels vs. Vince back in 2006, which started at the tail-end of 2005 with those two talking about the Montreal Screwjob. Also, let’s not forget how Vince probably wanted Bret involved in the match with Shawn and himself at Wrestlemania 22, because Bret was being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the time. Man, has it been almost 10 years already?

  8. Aram says:

    I was a huge Bret Hart mark growing up. I thought this feud and “match” (if I can use that word) buried Bret’s legacy and Bret himself beyond redemption.

  9. Andy says:

    i think its the fact that bret’s health held it back from actually being a match. He couldn’t take any bumps, so there was nothing left but to have him beat him down i guess. eh.

  10. Mister Forth says:

    You forgot the line “Worst night in Bret Hart’s life”.

    I only give the match a pass given Bret’s limitations, but it should’ve been more.

  11. tim says:

    this match should of taken place in 99 all in all i was excited to see bret and him whooping mcmahons ass they should had micheals interfere and and had vince win and vince shoud of helped shawn win against the undertaker but nope u have lesnar beat the streak

  12. Raven7309 says:

    Count me among the others who had no problem whatsoever with this feud. It led to Bret getting his long awaited beatdown on Vince, 3 quality dvd releases: “Hart and Soul: The Hart Family Anthology”, “Greatest Rivalries: Shawn vs. Bret”, and “Bret Hart: The Dungeon Collection”. Let’s not forget Stu’s induction into the WWE HOF, although I can’t remember if that was part of the angle or not, and Bret working for WWE as a legend/ambassador. I’m also of the opinion that even the densest mark “knew” that the match would stink, but given Bret was able to literally beat out his frustration and anger on Vince, overall, people were relatively satisfied.

  13. Greg says:

    Here’s the way I’ve always seen the Screwjob. Bret should have dropped the title. Simple. The thing is that he didn’t want to lose in front of his countrymen, blah blah, whatever, but he could have lost it and still looked amazing. Him and Shawn could have gone an hour, with 2 counts galore. Kicking out of the Superkick. Shawn breaking the Sharpshooter, etc. Both guys bleeding like hell, amazing spots all over the place. In the end, Shawn wins it, but juuuuuust barely, as Bret gets his shoulder up a fraction of a second too late. The belt changes hands, Bret raises Shawn’s hand in victory, and goes off to his cushy paycheck in WCW. See? Simple. Nobody looks like a loser. Bret gave it his all, as did Shawn, and he’s still a hero in the eyes of the crowd. But, Bret’s ego (and let’s not mince words here, his ego was every BIT as huge as Shawn’s was) got in the way. I really can’t blame Vince for doing this (and I’m someone who thinks Vince McMahon is akin to the devil), because he was kind of forced into it. Everyone involved could have handled it better, sure, but in the end, I agree with Vince. Bret screwed Bret. I actually was a huge fan of his until I found out about all this, and lost a lot of respect for him because of it.

    • CP says:

      But that was never going to happen, ever. You say that like there wasn’t years of bad blood built up between the two men. Like Shawn didn’t refuse to lose to Bret after Bret said he would’ve been willing to do so if necessary. Vince wasn’t forced into anything, he overreacted. And not because of Bret not wanting to lose, but because of his fear of what Eric Bischoff might do on Nitro the next night.

      • Adam says:

        Even the Bishoff thing was a cop-out, for Vince. They were still heavily suing WCW over copyright issues, so Eric wouldn’t have gone near it to avoid making things worse.

        Also, of course, the whole “Bret still had a month on his contract” part everyone likes to forget about. No, he wasn’t going to show up on Nitro. Can we stop repeating that as fact?

        • CP says:

          Dress it up however you want, I think we can agree that whatever Vince did was motivated purely by paranoia, nothing else.

          • Adam says:

            Maybe… I’m still leaning to the “because he could” side of it. Vince going from ‘oh we can’t afford it’ to suddenly being able to pay Tyson a month later leaves me suspicious.

    • Mariano Fernandez says:

      Total and utter bullshit. The only reason Vince did the screwjob was because he was scared Bret would show up at Nitro and throw the title in the trash.

      And Bret would have never done that.

      • Greg says:

        Good thing you’re the absolute wrestling expert then and know every single thing about everything, eh? Fact is Bret was being a total little asswipe here, same as Shawn, same as Vince. Get over your hard-on for Hart and realize that this was handled badly by ALL parties involved.

  14. raging_demons says:

    The Miller Lite Girls Catfight Match?

    I’ll be good, I promise

  15. Down With OPC says:

    This match would have worked had it occurred a decade prior. Once Bret had his stroke though, that was pretty much it.

    That said, I think this match could have been more enjoyable had it spilled out into the crowd, if Bret and Vince were capable of doing that.

  16. Sir Thomas says:

    I have to agree with the not-crap crowd. Sure, the beatdown could’ve been shorter, or maybe it could’ve been done differently (IE, have the entire family whomp on Vince and let Bret get the sharpshooter in as salt in the wound or something), but honestly, I’ve seen worse.

  17. Piper's Armpit says:

    Team RD on this one – if only because someone in creative thought it was a good idea to put a guy paying insurance through the nose because of a stroke in a wrestling ring. At the biggest event of the year.

    On a similar note, can we add an epilogue to this induction, where Bret Hart and his incapacity to wrestle went on to win the United States title off The Miz and also feature in the main event of Summerslam?
    They didn’t learn.

  18. John C says:

    The match should have been Bret managing someone against Vince managing someone they tussle on the floor and factor into Bret’s surrogate winning the match in his honor. It was real painful to watch and their was the grossness of the other Hart’s involvment and their being greedy storyline/truth made it more uncomfortable. And really look at that picture of Bruce Hart is that not someone who should be hit in the face with a brick on a daily basis. The only positive was Bret coming back to the fold and giving everyone a chance to cheer him again like he deserved to be.

  19. Rob Hill says:

    Yep, chalk another one up for the Not-Crappers. I think RD has some rose tinted spectacles on when it comes to Bret. Possibly even the kind that Bret used to hand out himself tot he kids at ringside.

  20. Mariano Fernandez says:

    I too believe this isn’t as bad as RD makes it out to be. It really does no justice to Bret Hart that people beat on him for this angle.

  21. Mariano Fernandez says:

    And also, Bret didn’t screw Bret. Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels did.

    • Gack says:

      Overly simplistic way of looking at a far more complicated event than you’d like to believe.

      • Mariano Fernandez says:

        There is absolutely nothing complicated about it. Bret was leaving, he didn’t want to lose in his hometown (he was perfectly willing to do it the day after), and Vince overreacted after the Madusa Miceli incident. And Shawn knew it.

        Bret didn’t screw Bret. Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels screwed Bret.

  22. Mr. Stanek says:

    A one-sided beatdown could have happened on Brett’s first re-appearance on Raw. No need to drag it out for weeks and waste time on it at a Mania.

  23. The House says:

    I enjoyed the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels meeting in the center of the ring. According to … somewhere, some interview I read, or maybe that Shawn/Bret DVD … other than a quick talk in catering, that moment was their first time talking about it, and was non-scripted. It was just a moment. And for one guy well-beyond retirement, and one only a year or so away, the moment was what they wanted. Yeah, would have been cool if Shawn’s super-kick tease was played out more, but I liked the hug he replaced it with.

  24. Jerm says:

    This was made even worse by comparison when Bret’s contemporary, Shawn himself, stole the show in the main event with his own final match. The two could not be more different, and…hey…maybe that was Vince’s final screwjob…

  25. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    This absolutely belongs. They have one of the simplest feuds ever and they ruined it. Everything was REAL, and the second they did the stupid car accident angle, they lost me.

    To be fair, I think most people realized the match wouldn’t be amazing considering Bret couldn’t take a bump, but most were hoping for a good smoke and mirrors thing. Instead we got a boring beatdown and booking that went against standard psychology. There was no story to the match, no reason for the fans to get involved. It was a beatdown, plain and simple.

    Why not have the family do the pretense, have Bret against the ropes, then a few minutes in have Vince go for the kill, then have Bruce stop him. Bruce and Bret hug, then the family demolish Vince and minutes later you have Bret standing victorious.

    I will note that I had no problem with Bret and Shawn hugging. Shawn was on his way out anyway, and I think fans were happy to see the two have some closure.

  26. FriscoKTank says:

    RD, Love ya man but I gotta agree with the masses. This was definitely not crap. I think this article was a bit of a reach. I was there live for this Mania and the crowd ate up this match. Vince getting pummeled like this was EXACTLY what the crowd wanted to see. They were worried that Bret was gonna try to have a real match and were concerned for him because of his stroke history and whatnot. So when it turned to an absolute squash beatdown, the crowd loved it.

  27. Nick Nutter says:

    Besides Cole VS Lawler, this was the worst Wrestlemania match of all time. If you can’t induct that, then what the hell CAN you induct?

  28. Johnny Polo says:

    Oh come on this wasn’t THAT bad. And I don’t see why burying the hatchet with HBK makes no sense. What is he supposed to be bitter forever? I see where you’re coming from….but this isn’t one of the better wrestlecrap inductions.

    • Jerichoholic Ninja says:

      You are aware that Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart the wrestling characters are separate from Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart the real people, right? RD wasn’t saying the two shouldn’t have made up. That was good. What he was saying was that they could have come to terms backstage but still had a feud together. Then they could have had their public burying of the hatchet.

      • Johnny Polo says:

        “You are aware that Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart the wrestling characters are separate from Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart the real people, right?”

        Well yeah but kinda here….no. I mean, the whole segment with Shawn and subsequent angle with Vince is based on what we know from real life: that Bret Hart (derrrrr.. the real person) hated Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon. So that burying of the hatchet was fine. But to suggest Bret Hart and Shawn Micahels (derrrrrrrrr….the wrestling characters) should have feuded is beyond moronic. How could they feud when Bret couldn’t wrestle anymore and Shawn was en route to the Wrestlemania main-event? Come on, man.

  29. Carl zayas says:

    Every time Bret hit Vince with the chair, I kept going back to Homer slamming Barneys head in the car door and Barney going…Ow…Ow…Ow!

  30. Drew says:

    Think maybe there’s any chance that Bret can show up at this weekend’s Mania and teach Reigns how to wrestle?

  31. John Q Occupier says:

    If Vince had bled, I’d have given the match a 4/10.

  32. MWeyer says:

    I remember in the new edition of “Death of WCW,” you mention this with “the point was to make Vince a sympathetic babyface.” No, the point was to let Bret do what fans had wanted for year, beat the hell out of McMahon and that’s what we wanted. I get it, it was slow and plodding but given Bret’s condition, be grateful how it worked.

    Also, on the Bret/HBK stuff, you really should watch that “Rivals” DVD they put out with the two talking together, amazing stuff:

    *Bret being diplomatic about the Rockers but Shawn straight up saying they should have been fired so many times for their behavior.

    *Both bitter about the Rockers/Foundation tag title switch not happening.

    *That so much of their supposed “heat” in 1996 was all faked to lure folks in.

    *Bret saying Shawn gets a raw deal for “not drawing as champ” as no matter who was on top, the NWO would have pushed WCW to winning.

    *Really in-depth to their talk about ’97 with the build to Montreal and Bret summing it all up: “We worked ourselves into a shoot.”

    The fact is, this was just Bret finally putting it all to rest so we can all move on finally and not sure it deserves the absolute hate it gets here.

  33. TerrierChad says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. I don’t think the build up was that bad. I actually really liked Bret and Shawn making up. It just felt the right thing to do and I’m glad they put it behind them. As for the match, well, it was pretty pants but then again I expected it to be so I wasn’t annoyed or disappointed with it. Bret getting revenge and closure was the main thing at the end of the day.

    For the record, Bret is my all time favourite wrestler.

  34. Gack says:

    The match was awful, yes. But criticising the genuine Bret/Shawn interaction because you wanted them to hate each other forever? I’m sorry, you’re just wrong on that. It was one of the most heartwarming moments in wrestling for the last decade or more, and the fact they’ve remained friends since just makes it all the more sincere and enjoyable.

  35. Mav says:

    I’ve been watching Bret Hart wrestle since 1987. His book is by far the best wrestling biography I’ve ever read. By a mile. I respected the heck out of Bret and still do but this return to WWE was very disappointing. He had spent a decade railing against Vince and his evil product and here he was returning to the scene of the crime. He didn’t need to do this. He should have been above it. I could see returning with a Hall of Fame induction. He could have made amends there. To enter into a worked feud with Vince based on a decade of real-life animosity…just a real-life letdown.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Nice induction all around. I 100% agree that the angle ideally shouldn’t have even happened at all.

  37. dennett316 says:

    Bret made an effort to let the past go, for his own mental well being more than anything else. Yes, the match was too long, but the build was fine. It might be time to emulate your hero a little and let the past go. It’s kind of weird that you want him to be bitter and pissed off forever.

  38. Deathedge says:

    Pretty decent induction, though I disagree about Bret forgiving Shawn being bad (though I do think they could have led into Bret saying he wanted to bury the hatchet a bit better) I agree with everything else. Build up was pretty solid, but nothing to write home about, and the match was terrible due to it’s length

    Wasn’t aware of the behind the scenes standpoint, though at least now I understand that bit in the book better, and I have to say, if true, they REALLY dropped the ball on that one. Not that there is anyway for that idea to work mind you, but the execution of said idea is terrible as well.

  39. MistaMaddog says:

    I know the storyline is suppose to conclude something from the AE but Creative trying to imitate Russo style booking with the double swerves? Not cool…

  40. Conquistador #3 says:

    Bret screwed Bret by being loyal to Vince, who felt zero loyalty in return. History shows that Bret should have left for WCW after Wrestlemania 12. Not only could he have been one of the original NWO, but Steve Austin would have had to have been pushed differently as well. Would it have changed anything? Perhaps not, but then the need for this Wrestlemania snooze-fest would have disappeared.

  41. SCFNL says:

    Not sure why a number of the above comments are getting into detail about the Montreal Screwjob and whether Vince / Bret was in the right… whatever your thoughts, the build up and the actual match here ended up being one of the worst in Wrestlemania history.

    When you look at how great the build up was for Vince v Hogan and how much they managed to get the fans into that one (e.g. one of the best pre-match promo packages in Wrestlemania history), Bret’s post-stroke wrestling ability shouldn’t have been a factor – the fact of the matter is that they barely attempted to explain to the current generation of fans the significance of the Bret v Vince feud – would the younger fans in the crowd really have known who Bret Hart was? The match was just… ugh, uncomfortable viewing and I think it resulted from a really really lazy build up.

    Similarly, Vince v Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania was an example of how seeing Vince get destroyed in a one way match could work, as they managed it fine there with the crowd being right into it and really wanting to see Vince get his come uppance.

    Normally I’d have a go at the site for taking more of a smark approach in criticising booking etc, but I do think Vince v Bret is one of the worst matches in Wrestlemania history (MINUS … FIVE… STARS) and therefore merits the induction.

  42. Bobby says:

    Agree with the induction, it was a total fuck up. Reminds me of the inVasion angle; when handed a simple storyline that could have written itself ‘Creative’ spewed out an utter waste.

  43. BoWmEn says:

    Reading this induction felt like I was reading pages from my diary (if I had one). The only part I would disagree with was the Iron Man match, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps without the time clock an hour match could’ve been more dramatic and less predictable for some.

    For me, Bret became my favorite wrestler when he was with The Anvil during the 80s. Being a spoiled kid I had quite a few of those WWF bars of soap — I mean LJN action figures. I found Bret to be the most “rad” of the bunch. Witnessing him move up the ranks only further solidified that this is my favorite wrestler of all time. Even when he was doing his Pro-Canadian angle only proved it was destiny since I myself am Canadian. I couldn’t have been more proud to feel like Frenchy Martin.

    After the whole ‘Montreal Screw Job’ fiasco, part of my love for wrestling went down the elimination chamber. My intuition informed me Bret wasn’t going to be a good fit in WCW before he arrived, but never imagined it would be as bad as it was.

    Fortunately the THQ N64 wrestling games kept my interest afloat, which lasted approximately until the infamous Invasion angle literally drained my love for wrestling 100%. Without the Internet I would have literally fell off the deep end never to return. Instead I grew a love for Internet wrestling shows like GIR and was swerved to cross over into a fellow crapper in 2005, which has been my #1 source for what goes on in wrestling ever since!

    But getting back on track, I too never wanted Bret to return once he left. Not only for the principal of what they did to him, but more for what the WWF (now WWE) had become. Vince has a tendency of bringing back talent from yesteryear and tarnishing their legacy for quick cash; thus we have our induction, eh?

    Good read RD, keep it up!

  44. John says:

    In the last 18 years, I’m pretty sure I recall hearing 2 different answers in regards to Bret dropping the title. The first I heard was he did not want to drop it in Canada since that’s the last place he’s still a hero. The 2nd was he was willing to drop the title to anybody BUT Shawn Michaels, nothing about location was mentioned. I wish I remember the sources because I’m very sure I heard both replies at one point or another. Which of the 2 was revealed to be the main reason for Bret’s reluctance to drop the title at SS?

  45. Rob says:

    Sting’s handling at Wrestlemania makes this entry a step above wrestlecrap.

  46. Forest George says:

    I’m sorry RD, but that introduction was not that good.

  47. Justin says:

    Meanwhile Punk vs. Mysterio got a whopping six minutes on that show.

  48. James S says:

    I’ve been waiting for this one for awhile now. The next Brett Hart related thing that should be inducted is Brett Hart: The WCW years.

  49. Idi 'Big Daddy' Amin says:

    Here’s something else that’s Wrestlecrap: the fact that after decades of seeing it written down, and right after reading a lengthy article featuring it, so many people still manage to misspell Bret Hart’s first name.

    Christ, even Foley spelled it wrong in his book.

    • Kaminty says:

      I agree with the mispelling of Bret’s name. It makes me cringe every time.

      But to the defense of those who mispell his name, the first few times Bret was on WWF Superstars, his was mispelled on screen. Surely there are some proff of that on youtube but I’m too lazy to search.

      Ok, now I’m depressed… that makes me feel very old… I saw that “live” on TV at the time !

  50. Matt says:

    I didn’t think this feud was that horrible. As for the match yes it was bad but you knew it would be bad right off the bat. Bret suffered a concussion and a stroke years before this and this match just went way too long. The thing that bugs me is when people say Bret turned into a heel for destroying Vince that night. How does that make any sense? Brets brother died in Vince’s ring and he was being humiliated for weeks before this match. At least the Hart Dynasty got a rub in the Bret vs Vince match. As bad as Bret vs Vince was it was still better than the horrible embarrassing 10 divas tag match that happened later in the evening. I loved seeing Bret Hart return not only because he was my favourite but because he made peace with Shawn and Vince!

  51. Unknown says:

    Another reason why trying to turn Vince face didn’t work was because, for almost all of the time between the Montreal Screwjob and this match, Vince had acted like a HUGE asshole to EVERYONE, and fans really loved seeing him getting his ass kicked.

    With regards to the Screwjob, the best way to avoid it is to not have Shawn Michaels deliver the “Sunny Days” promo that implied that Bret was having an affair with Sunny; that REALLY pissed Bret off (not to mention his wife; this is ironic if you read his book Hitman) and turned him against Michaels for a LONG time…

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