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  January 15, 2000



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Gamble just not worth it


By BRET 'THE HITMAN' HART -- Calgary Sun

 Call it bad timing or bad luck.

 Remember last week I told you I felt like I had a concussion? Doctors have confirmed it.

 So, I thought (in the way that you think when you have a concussion), I'll get some rest at home this week, get in a few good workouts and show up in good shape to defend the world title against Sid Vicious at Souled Out tomorrow.

 Wrong. The doctor didn't see things quite that way. "You're not going anywhere," he said. "You're not even getting on a plane. No lifting heavy things and most of all, no wrestling."

 No wrestling!? That means no medical clearance. Without clearance, WCW won't let me fight. Not in the ring, not backstage, not even in the parking lot.

 I looked for loopholes, but the truth is, I know the doctor is right and I'd be taking way too big a risk to fight. I have no idea what will happen at Souled Out. I've only missed two matches my entire career and that took an act of God -- blizzards that grounded planes. Last weekend, I was supposed to be home but someone got hurt and WCW asked me to wrestle three shows. I did. I've been working hurt since Starrcade on Dec. 19. I just thought it would get better, but it just got worse.

 It's not surprising I have Excedrin headache 2000, when you consider that Bill Goldberg, this immensely powerful, bull of a guy, hauled off and kicked me in the head as hard as he could with the heel of his boot. I'm sure Bill didn't mean to do it -- any more than Malenko meant to rip my groin in two. I take pride in knowing that in my entire career, I've never hurt anybody, yet in the past year or so I've been seriously injured twice. Wrestling isn't supposed to be like that.

 Which brings me to Mick Foley's book. I finished it. I was looking forward to reading about the good ol' days (anything that happened prior to two years, two months ago) and as much as I loved the book and Mick is a great guy and storyteller, and some of the stories in his book are absolutely hilarious, in my opinion Mick missed the point. Great wrestling is not about how many bones you break, or how many teeth you lose, or being set on fire, or walking back to the dressing room with tacks in your back. That's what Mick did and he's proud of it and happy with it, and I'm happy for him.

 But that's not what most other wrestlers do. That's not what I do. I'm happy for Mick that his book reached No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list, but the thing is that people who read it have the wrong idea of what it means to be a wrestler. The pride used to come from not hurting anybody and not getting hurt yourself. Mick Foley knows as well as I do that the artistry of wrestling is supposed to be scripted realism.

 Yet, as outspoken as I've been against the current trends in wrestling, I still get letters from people who feel that I'm some sort of a fallen hero. They put it all on me like somehow it's my responsibility to clean it up. One letter was from Shelley, mother of Ryan, 8, and Samantha, 10. I don't know Shelley. I've never met her -- or Dan, her man, for that matter. She sent me the family Christmas photo with little arrows drawn on it telling me who everybody is.

 Shelley enclosed a letter with the photo and she is quite upset with me. They'd had a Christmas family outing to the wrestling matches and left early because the show wasn't suited for kids and she was embarrassed to have taken her mother.

 She said I ruined Christmas! Me? I wasn't even there. Her letter was about a WWF show. It's obvious she hasn't watched wrestling in at least two years (when I joined WCW), so don't point the finger at me if you don't check out what your kids are watching.

 Hey, I've said it before and I'll say it again. Wrestling is not for kids any more and no one is more heartbroken about that than I am. My kids don't watch wrestling any more.

 They don't want to. And if they did, as a parent, I wouldn't let them.

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