By BRET "THE HIT MAN" HART -- For the Calgary Sun
By BRET HART -- For the Calgary Sun
"Come in here dear boy, have a cigar, you're gonna go far, fly high. You're never gonna die, you're gonna make it if you try, they're gonna love you. Well I've always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincerely. The band is just fantastic that is really what I think, oh by the way, which one's Pink? ..."
-- Pink Floyd
A few months ago, I said the wrestling profession has become like a long money hallway, filled with plastic people, pimps, and thieves. Lining the walls, clinging to the fringes of the sports and entertainment worlds, there are two-faced, low-life leeches. The false friends whose only purpose is to manipulate themselves onto the bandwagon so they can feel important by association or bleed you dry. When the deception and exploitation came only from this lunatic fringe, that was to be expected and is one of the down sides to celebrity. But when the backstabbing happens backstage or in your own inner circle, that's a very sad day.
Now chalk one up for the good guys. The Hitman is WCW United States heavyweight champion and the fact that this Canadian has their U.S. title is making them crazy.
I was looking at the collection of championship belts mounted in my rec room and it occurred to me that they don't give me the same satisfaction they once did. It's because the set has become incomplete. I used to feel a tremendous sense of pride knowing that I'd won all the titles of the No. 1 wrestling organization in the world. But now WCW is No. 1 and there was no WCW gold on my wall. Now I want it all. I always said that when I can't pull my weight as a top dog in the No. 1 promotion, it's time to hang it up. I am going to prove to any doubters that The Hitman still has what it takes to be No. 1 in the No. 1 company.
When I first got to the WCW, my goal was to become WCW world heavyweight champion. Now I'm not satisfied with that. I want more. In a few years, when I look at my championship wall, I want to see all the heavyweight straps from the top two promotions. Then I'll feel satisfied that I've done it all and done it best. Has anyone accomplished this feat before? I have to look into that, but if they did, it wasn't when each company was No. 1. For those fans out there who do such an amazing job of collecting statistics, drop me a line and let me know if any guys have won all the heavyweight belts in WWF and WCW. It would make for an interesting discussion in a future column.
By now, most of you reading this know that there's a weekly TV ratings war going on between WWF and WCW. (The top spot constantly shifts back and forth.) There's so much attention paid to who gets the higher rating that it's being overlooked how. The WWF recently had Sable strut around in the ring clad only in a g-string and some black paint in the shape of fingers grasping her naked breasts. Sure that brought a high rating -- but is it wrestling? Is it something you'd take the kids and the grandparents to see? I'm proud that at WCW we don't come down to such a desperate, crass level. When WCW gets the big numbers, it's because of wrestling rather than by sexually exploiting women.
It reminds me of a story that Vince McMahon has told in recent interviews. He says that when Ted Turner bought WCW, he received a call from Ted who said, "Vince, I'm in the rasslin' business now," to which McMahon replied, "Good for you, Ted. You're in the rasslin' business but I'm in the entertainment business." I'm glad McMahon cleared that up for us. If you want to see wrestling, then watch WCW.
Jim Ross expressed his view on the changes in WWF programming in a candid interview for Pro Wrestling Illustrated (October '98 issue). "I would encourage parents that if they are sincerely turned off by what we're doing, that they change the channel and watch something else. If that happens to be WCW, that's certainly the viewer's prerogative." Is it just me or did good ole' J.R. just say that if you're turned off by WWF's mature content, you should turn off the show? A lot of us already have.
"... We've just knocked out. We've heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out. You owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count. Everybody else is just green. Have you seen the chart? It's a hell of a start. It could be made into a monster if we all pull together as a team ... And did we tell you the name of the game, boys? We call it riding the gravy train ..."
-- Pink Floyd
Bret Hart's column runs every Saturday in the Calgary Sun.
You can write to Bret Hart C/O The Sun or email HITMANclub@aol.com