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  July 7, 1997



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Hart and soul of the working class


By RICK BELL -- Calgary Sun

 You can hear the ghosts of Stampede Wrestling rise in the thunder of the 'Dome's standing ovation.

You can feel the approval of every grappler who survived Stu Hart's Dungeon in the crowd's shouts of joy for the Hart Foundation's glorious victory.

You can see all the good guys who ever deserved to win the big one in the eyes of the Hart family, from the smallest ones to Stu himself, as they stood in the centre of the ring. Winners.

The main event last night is a five-man tag. The bad guys include tough guy Ken Shamrock, Goldust, Animal and Hawk from the Legion of Doom and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Standing between them and triumph, in one of the biggest pay-per-view wrestling events of all time, stands our very own Hart Foundation.

From the beginning Austin and his crooked cohorts use every cheap trick in the book. They still can't win.

And then the unthinkable happens. Something even these lowlifes seem incapable of doing.

Austin, the coward who makes Mike Tyson look like a Sunday school teacher and limps to the dressing room once during the bout, attacks the legendary Stu sitting at ringside.

The brawl is on, and the Foundation counters without mercy. Owen Hart comes back after himself limping from the ring in pain. Bret "Hitman" Hart, his knee nowhere near 100% after recent surgery, punishes the opposition.

Davey Boy Smith, the great British Bulldog, comes back time and time again with passion in his eyes and puts the boots to the cowards.

Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart delivers his own brand of terror. And Brian Pillman squares off against Ken Shamrock, showing no fear.

With Stu roughed up, his other boys jump in the ring in their street clothes to teach a few down-home Calgary lessons to the outsiders. Security rushes in, not once but twice, to quell the mayhem.

When the bodies are counted, Stone Cold lies in shame and defeat and then is led off in handcuffs, still managing to deliver a middle finger to the crowd from behind his back. It was a night to remember.

The battle shows us all that when the chips are down, the real people of this town will stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the losers and the backstabbers.

You can hear it when the crowd yells "Bret! Bret! Bret!" and cheers Stu, as they stand in their places.

You can see it in the Canadian flags, many with a red heart in place of the maple leaf.

You can taste it in the popcorn and the cold drinks of every working man, woman and child packing the seats. These people wanted justice and they got it.

Outside the 'Dome, wrestling fan Sal sells shirts on the sidewalk by Stampede Grocery in Victoria Park.

I ask him about the Harts.

"They're the best there was, there is and there will be." Tonight I became a believer.

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