So, if you’re in the forums, or follow me on Twitter (and you should do both!!!), then you already know that I finished the latest Rewriting The Book. If you don’t, well, here’s the deal; of all the RTB’s I’ve personally written, this is the one that I’ve probably talked about more than any other, mainly because it’s been my Chinese Democracy, my Duke Nukem Forever. It’s “what if Bret Hart lost at Summerslam ’97?”, and I’ve been working on it for, quite literally, years. I wanna say five years? It’s been a damned long haul. Presently, I just got it back from former RTB writer Neil Cathan, who acts as my editor/fact-checker/quality control analyst. He gave it the once-over, and now I need to apply the corrections, so that it’s the best story it can possibly be. After that, my ever so patient friends … then, it’s on. Game time. The drought ends and you get new RTB installments for the next few weeks.
Like I did for the story about Goldberg’s streak, I’m gonna do an “aftershow” edition (Re-Talking The Book? Apologies to Chris Hardwick). I’ll answer questions sent to me via the email, Tweeted at me (used the hashtag RTBQandA), or posted in the comments, and delve a little more into backstory, where my head was at, what took so damned long, etcetera. I also have some surprises to announce, as next year is, if I did the math right, my tenth year here at Wrestlecrap. I’d like to make that tenth year a little special, and I have some ideas how … but that’s for then. And I also have news on what the next edition of RTB will be. Well, the next edition penned by me, at any rate. I got an idea about a month ago, and it’s just fun. Just ridiculous fun. And that’s what RTB should be, right? All I will tell you right now is that it’ll take us to the indies in the mid-2000’s and turn one of the biggest angles to ever hit the American indie scene on its ear.
Some thank-you’s to do ahead of time: to the fans who’ve written in, posted on comments or in the forums, or reached out to me on Twitter, with your kind words and your “when is a new column dropping?” and whatnot … many, many thanks for your patience and your readership. It’s been a while since the last one, and a very long time for this particular story to have taken. Once you read it, I think all will be forgiven. I hope. As difficult as this was to get together, it was also a lot of fun.
Thanks be to RD for showing the utmost patience and not kicking me off the website for going dormant for lord knows how long. You’d always been a big supporter, from the day I emailed you a question while researching a column about the Fingerpoke Of Doom, up to now. I still feel honored to have been invited to join the family.
And thank you to Neil for being a great friend and a great editor. Your tenure enriched RTB and lit a fire under me to hit the bar you set. Yes, I think you set the bar higher than I did. I know what you’re thinking, so shut up and take the compliment.
Before we begin (this time next week), you need to get in the right frame of mind, so … if you watched back then, let your mind float back to the summer of 1997. Remember the Nation Of Domination and Ahmed Johnson and their long, bloody war of hatred and rasicm. Remember Stone Cold Steve Austin being sidelined with a neck injury, and the questions surrounding his career and the two championships he held at the time. Remember Shawn Michaels, playful antagonist of everyone, who was slowly chipping away at the patience of Bret Hart, and whose presence in the main event of Summerslam raised a few eyebrows. Remember The Undertaker, who had finally gotten a run as WWF Champion, but was trying to push away the black cloud that was Paul Bearer and his whispers of murder and a brother thought dead (murdered?). Remember Bret Hart, proud Canadian and fierce champion of what he believed to be the traditions and values of professional wrestling, railing against a system he believed corrupted and biased. And remember the stipulations that came with the epic confrontation between Undertaker and Bret Hart: if Bret lost, he would be banned from wrestling in the United States … and if Shawn showed favoritism against Bret, he would be banned from wrestling in the United States.
Remember all that … but forget what you know about what came next. That’s what I’m here for. To show you what might have been.
And if you didn’t watch then, you got a week to catch up. Train leaves in seven.