August 2, 2003
Kudos to new kings of the ring
By BRET HART

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with my fingers locked together dreaming I had Kurt Angle in a side headlock.

Just before I came out of it, I can remember focusing on a patch of blue canvas much like I used to do every night. When I did snap out of it, I sat up with a smile and said out loud: \"Wow! I just had my first ever dream about returning to wrestling!\"

I often wonder if my departure from the WWF and subsequent concussion and stroke had turned out differently, whether I might still be lugging my wrestling bag into dressing rooms all over the world to go out there and play hero for millions of fans. I certainly don\'t begrudge name wrestlers such as Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan or even Mick Foley for still needing wrestling as much as wrestling needs them.

I remember from the earliest days of my career telling myself I would never overstay my welcome and hang on too long. The choice was taken away from me, so I\'ll never really know how I would have felt. But there\'s a part of me that will always be a fan.

Every now and again, I watch wrestling to see who impresses me and if there\'s anyone else who I might find myself twisting in a headlock while I sleep. The wrestlers who most impress me today are, of course, Chris Benoit, who gave me my last dream matches for real, and Chris Jericho, who I regret I never had the opportunity to put in a sharpshooter.

I think, pound for pound, Rey Mysterio, is the greatest high-flying wrestler I\'ve ever seen.

Rhyno is another wrestler with a solid, hard-hitting style who has impressed me.

When I used to wrestle, I liked grapplers who really threw you into the ropes and who weren\'t afraid to lay it in. He seems to be one of those.

I know I\'m partial but I can\'t help but sing the praises of the Canadian wrestlers.

Two standouts who come to mind are Edge and Lance Storm. Storm was a prodigy of my brother Keith and I like to think Edge was a prodigy of mine.

There are many wrestlers who my dad would have referred to as \"magnificent specimens\" -- Superstar Billy Graham, Hogan and Psycho Sid -- but the wrestler who fits the bill now with the most impressive physique and athletic wrestling style is Brock Lesnar. Now there\'s a head I would like to have squeezed!

One of the best wrestling matches I\'ve seen in years was the classic bout between Angle and Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XIX.

My impression at the time was the WWE was finally going back to wrestling and getting away from far-fetched storylines .

Wrestling\'s best when it\'s portrayed as believable, where the title belts not only mean something to the fans but to the wrestlers themselves.

I tip my hat to many of today\'s young stars who are working hard to restore realism and storytelling to the matches in an industry that, at least for a while anyway, forgot where it came from.


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