Hit Man's future at stake
By BILL KAUFMANN -- Calgary Sun
Calgary's Bret Hart is hoping to upset the U.S. wrestling applecart to become a five-time lord of the WWF ring today in SummerSlam '97.
And his family will be watching every moment of the brawny tussle from pay-per-view comfort in Calgary.
"It'll be nice to see him get it and I think he will," said Hart's oldest sister, Ellie Hart-Neidhart.
"It'll be a first -- it'll be a world record."
The event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Calgary time at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.
Hart, Canada's reigning professional wrestling superstar and a Calgary Sun columnist, is pitting national pride against current World Wrestling Federation champion and American, The Undertaker.
But Hart-Neidhart, wife of U.S. WWF wrestler Jim `The Anvil' Neidhart, hopes the rivalry doesn't get out of hand.
"I don't know what to make of that -- my mother's American and so is my husband and I've lived for years in the States," she said.
"But this rivalry thing is Bret's prerogative."
The match will be officiated by Hart's arch-nemesis, the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, an added wild card Hart-Neidhart expects to cause some fireworks.
"Bret's got a bone to pick with Shawn Michaels," she said.
The stakes are high for Hart, who vows a loss today would mean the end of an era for him and the WWF.
"If I lose at SummerSlam, I will never again wrestle on American soil," he said.
That may be so, but Hart's sister is skeptical her brother will hang up his wrestling trunks for good any time soon, something the four-time WWF champ has threatened to do in the past.
"(Wrestling) is like sawdust in your veins, it's in his blood," she said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he kept at it for another 10 or 15 years."
Win or lose, fans can greet Hart when he returns to Calgary on Tuesday aboard Air Canada Flight 121 at 3:04 p.m.