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  February 13, 1999



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Thanks for being my valentine
By BRET "The Hitman" HART -- For The Calgary Sun
  The saying goes that you can't have too much heart, but I beg to disagree. Just because my name is Hart, my female fans send me hearts of all shapes and sizes. Just when I'm sure I must be the only person in the world to have received every greeting card in existence with a heart on it, then comes Valentine's Day. You can't even imagine it -- mountains of hearts.

 Your hearts are in the right place and I thank you from the bottom of my heart but you don't really want me to eat all this yummy chocolate, do you?

 I'd look like Homer Simpson or even like big Will Sasso, from Mad TV?

 What's his problem anyway? What did I ever do to him? Both times that I had the pleasure to guest star on the show, I did what they asked me to do and everybody had fun with it. At least, that's what I thought until Will Sasso made me lose the U.S. heavyweight title to Roddy Piper. I can't even believe he did that. Someone needs to tell him this isn't funny. I was U.S. heavyweight champion and now I'm not. That is real. That's not like some script on Mad TV.

 When I spotted Sasso at ringside, I helped him over the rail because I thought he was there to watch my back, not stab me in it. How many fans get to stand by the ring and watch the action close up? I gave him the privilege of doing that and he paid me back by grabbing the ref's ankle so he couldn't count when I had the match won.

 I chased Sasso through the crowd 'cause I wanted to give him a chance to explain but he had a hefty head start. Plus fans kept jumping in front of me to pat me on the back and high-five me. Thanks but your timing was way off.

 Sasso had a car waiting, with a driver and the motor running, to make his getaway.

 They didn't bother showing that part on TV because they thought it was more important to show Piper gloating with the U.S. heavyweight belt. Good!

 You all got to see how proud Piper was of his cheap win.

 How the heck did I end up defending against Piper on Nitro anyway?

 Flair set it up so Hall and Benoit would fight it out to challenge me at Superbrawl on Feb. 21. Hall won. It seems really unfair to Hall that Piper had been MIA for months and yet Flair gave him a shot before Hall.

 What's with Ric Flair? My groin was practically ripped in two and he thinks that's phony but Dean Malenko was out with a bum ankle for how long?

 Randy Savage's shoulder has been sore for how long? Where's Sting? I don't know what to think about Flair anymore.

 If I don't get a rematch with Piper at Superbrawl, I'm thinking about where I want to go from here. Is this a case where looking back will hold me back?

 I'm looking forward to WCW's long-awaited return to Canada, on March 29. To my fans here in Calgary, you and I will have to wait a little bit longer (they are working on it), but WCW Nitro is honoured to debut in Toronto's brand-new Air Canada Centre. So many great fans from Toronto took the time to write and tell me they're eager to see me that I decided to show up there when tickets went on sale yesterday, just to let everyone know the feeling is mutual.

 Mixed in with the excitement, old-time fans spoke of memories from Maple Leaf Gardens. For me, that brought to mind the great matches I've had and seen there. Epic matches of all time -- from another time. Hart Foundation vs. 'anyone you want to name.' Bulldogs, Killer Bees, Hitman vs. Hennig. I also remember having some of my not-so-greatest moments at MLG in the days when I was still listed on the card as `and others.' I sat in the wings, a fan, mesmerized by legends like Whipper Billy Watson, Sweet Daddy Siki -- and my dad, Stu.

 If MLG feels familiar because it has character, it's because we sure are a bunch of characters, aren't we? We'll bring that spirit with us to the Air Canada Centre, and, I suspect, more than a few ghosts of Carlton St., too.

 I heard Allen Abel is doing a special feature on Section 92, the west greys, where many of the inhabitants have been regulars for years. That got me to thinking that maybe I'll write a column about wrestling's regulars, who are anything but 'regular.' You know who you are ... and so do I. Fear not my pen for if I weren't in the ring I'd surely have a seat with my name on it, too.

 That's how it is with me and hockey. I wonder what would have happened if I could have afforded a good pair of skates when I was a kid. When I was in Toronto, the big talk from people in the know was that they're trying really hard to get Theoren Fleury over there. Being one of the Flames who was here for the Stanley Cup and based on the way we're holding our collective breath to see where Fleury is going, I'm sure you all won't mind if I use this opportunity to let Theo know the hearts of Calgary will follow him wherever he goes.

 If you saw me there on Wednesday night, when The Hitmen trounced Kootenay 6-1, and you're wondering who my friends were, that was my new buddy Dong, 8, who came to Calgary from China for a special operation to remove a tumour. He had a great time at his first hockey game and meeting all the players. On Valentine's Day, let's keep Dong in our hearts and prayers.

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