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  June 1, 1999

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It's not over yet

By RICK BELL -- Calgary Sun
  You feel the weight of questions unanswered and the heat of rage.
 Then you notice him.
 Vince McMahon.
 Mr. McMahon is not far from the big tent set up outside Stu Hart's house, not far from the plastic cups of orange juice and the sandwiches and the pastries, not far from the hugs and tears of Owen Hart's family and friends.
 But Mr. McMahon stands silently.
 For once, the in-your-face owner of the World Wrestling Federation shows little in his own gaze.
 In time, a bulky wrestler comes up and shakes his hand, the obligatory clasp of the hand of the boss.
 Mr. McMahon half-smiles, looks distracted and adjusts the black armband around his bulging bicep.
 The armband reads one name. OWEN.
 You want to ask Mr. McMahon the only question on your mind.
 The only query on anybody's mind.
 Do you feel in any way responsible for the death of Owen Hart?
 You, Mr. McMahon, and the gaudy game you now peddle as professional wrestling?
 You approach him in all his pumped-up glory.
 You have to do it.
 In a half-hour he'll be whisked away in one of the white funeral stretch limos.
 You shake his hand.
 He has a firm grip, like the guy who tried to break your fingers in high school.
 He nods to acknowledge you.
 You tell him who you are, you ask if you can talk.
 Mr. McMahon looks you straight in the face.
 He doesn't blink.
 For some reason, you notice Mankind, Edge, The Rock, Chyna and Triple H out of the corner of your eye.
 Mr. McMahon speaks in the tone of a guy you don't cheat against if you play pool against him.
 Up close you can see this is the same fella as the one who plays the pushy promoter on the TV screen.
 "Don't say I have no comment. Don't tell the people I said that because I didn't," says Mr. McMahon, raising his finger in your direction.
 "I have a lot to say and I will say it.
 "I promise you that.
 "But this is not the time to do it. Not now. Not today. I'm not here for that.
 "Give me a few days. Give me to the end of the week. Then we'll talk."
 Far from Mr. McMahon, Bret Hart does not wait. He hates Mr. McMahon's world, there is no doubt.
 Hitman's words slam.
 "Wrestling becomes meaningless, all of a sudden.
 "I can't picture going back. Paint me a scenario where I can come back and hold my head high I don't believe it exists.
 "I can't feel like a hero anymore," says Bret.
 Hitman resents McMahon's world as "total garbage" and "awful."
 He says the fans have little in the way of morals or conscience, says the WWF is sleazy and uses women, says wrestlers fear to speak out.
 He speaks of how the "dishonourable" WWF scraped his brother Owen off the mat and put their thirst for dough first, how their tribute to Owen reeked of disrespect.
 "Yes, the so-called tribute where afterwards wrestlers point to their crotches and say: 'Suck it!' It makes me nauseous.
 "I don't want to mention wrestling in the same breath as my brother Owen."
 The rage trails off but there the question remains.
 "Whoever is responsible for what happened to Owen will be held accountable," vows Bret.
 For now, he gets no answer.
 We wait for the silent man's words.
 Call Dinger at 250-4305 or email

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