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  February 21, 1998



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Ric's my man
By BRET "THE HIT MAN" HART -- For the Calgary Sun

  Woooooooooo! Sign me up as a member of Ric Flair's fan club.

 Wednesday, on Nitro, Flair proved that no matter what rivalries there are between The Nature Boy and The Hitman, Ric Flair and Bret Hart have a lot more similarities than differences.

 Right now the biggest common denominator is that we both can't stand the NWO. I don't know how Flair and the rest of the WCW guys have tolerated the NWO's invasion for this long. I've only been in WCW for a few months and I've already had it up to here with the NWO -- and with Hollywood Hulk Hogan.

 It isn't that Hogan is the head instigator and ring leader of the NWO that bugs me. That doesn't even surprise me.

 Let me tell you about Mr. Hollywood. It's April, 1993, and I'm defending the World title against Yokozuna. Mr. Fuji knew I was about to win the match so he threw salt in my eyes and Yoko took the title.

 Out ran Hulk Hogan -- who had taken time off to make that blockbuster of a movie, "Mr. Nanny". The so-called great American hero was there to make a stand for justice, right? He'd just point out to the referee that Fuji interfered and Yoko would lose by DQ or at least the match would continue, right?

 Wrong.

 Somehow there was an impromptu, non-sanctioned "match" between Hogan and Yoko. Reasoning that two wrongs make a right, Hogan threw salt at Yoko, hit him with the big leg, and took my title. I never understood how that was legal but now it makes perfect sense considering Earl Hebner was the referee!

 The 30-day title defence rule went out the window so Hogan could be champion while he promoted his mega-blockbuster movie. For me, that's what earned him the nickname "Hollywood". You didn't think it was his acting ability, did you?

 They finally gave me a shot at Hogan four months later. We verbally agreed to the bout and, while the lawyers drew up the contracts, we even took promotional pictures. If you're wondering why you have no recollection of the epic battle between Hulk Hogan and The Hitman, it's because it never happened. Hogan walked out on the match and the company. He said I didn't know the whole story.

 Five years and four World Titles later I've come to WCW to find justice and retribution. To settle the score with Hollywood. Now the only story he's telling is that it's my fault he's not champion. Hey, what goes around comes around. How does it feel, Hollywood?

 When Hollywood challenged me on Thunder, it could have gone a long way in the minds of millions of Hitman fans who are still waiting for Hogan to show an ounce of integrity. That he was only baiting me so his NWO boys could jump me when I accepted his challenge only goes to show that five years wasn't enough time for Hollywood to find his guts.

 I said I'd root for Sting to beat Hogan for the vacated WCW heavyweight title at the SuperBrawl pay-per-view tomorrow 'cause I'd rather have a clean match with Sting than have to watch my back for the whole NWO if Hogan wins. Now ,with Flair watching my back, I might actually cheer Hollywood on!

 It's funny about me and Flair. No matter what we said about each other in the past, we never lost mutual respect. Besides hating the arrogant time honored tradition "get out of the way" attitude of the NWO, another thing Flair and I have in common is that we both believe we're the best there is.

 It's no secret why Flair is watching my back. He wants The Hitman to be WCW champion so that he can try to take the strap away. To be the best you have to beat the best -- and there can be only one.

 Yeah, he'll watch my back just long enough to see gold around my waist and then Slick Ric will be the first to sneak up behind me. That's okay, I'd do the same thing.

 SuperBrawl is a big card with six titles on the line! And I'll be there watching Hogan vs. Sting.

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