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  February 20, 1999



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Bout pure MADness
By BRET "THE HITMAN" HART -- For the Calgary Sun
  It was a sign of good things destined to come for the Calgary Hitmen when coach Dean Clark and Bobby Orr won the CHL Top Prospects Game on Tuesday, with centre Kris Beech named third star.

 Congrats also go to right wing Pavel Brendl, WHL Eastern Conference player of the month.

 They said they had a big surprise for me at Nitro. They said they'd set up a match for me with a really big guy. He wanted to remain a mystery opponent. He wanted to see if I'd live by my word to take on anybody, anytime, anywhere.

 I never duck a good fight.

 They sent me a plane ticket and they sent a limo to meet the plane. I couldn't help but think that since the identity of this mystery challenger is such a closely-guarded secret, this must be really, really big. Did the opponent come from somewhere else? Another federation? After all, Bam Bam Bigelow showed up out of nowhere to challenge Goldberg. Well, in that case it could be anybody.

 I arrived at the arena, in Tampa, and with baited breath, made my way to the production office. They gave me the news.

 It was Will Sasso. Will Sasso?! Yah, you know, the big man from Mad TV.

 Good rib, you guys. OK, joke's over. You can't be serious.

 They were.

 Like I said, I never duck a good fight. But what was good about this?

 I couldn't believe they'd even suggested it to me. Nothing personal against Will Sasso. In fact, it took big kahonas for him to challenge me, a guy with no wrestling experience vs. 'the best there is'.

 But there's a big difference between being brave and being stupid. Sasso was being stupid. More guts than brains, at least in this case.

 I told them fans would say, "hey Bret, pick on somebody your own size..." but, then again, I realized that isn't quite the appropriate metaphor this time.

 They told me it was my contractual obligation to get in the ring with Will Sasso. This is nuts. What's the point?

 OK, I thought, they want a match, Sasso wants a match, I'll give them a match. I still don't know what problem Sasso has with me in the first place. Or is this just his way of acting out some unfulfilled longing, buried deep in the consciousness of his childhood, to be a wrestler? Did he beat up his teddy bear? Stage brawls in his backyard?

 OK, I'll play along. But I doubt his childhood fantasy included pain and punishment so I'm not going to beat the guy up. Well, maybe just a little bit. Enough to let him know he didn't just dream the whole thing.

 I tell you what, Sasso did OK for himself. In fact, he did great. He didn't manage to get in one single offensive move -- but he did great anyway.

 You know who else did great? Debra Wilson. What attitude. What charisma. I wouldn't expect any less from a New York gal, like my mom. If I ever consider having a valet, Debra will be a top contender for the job.

 I hope Sasso has whatever it was out of his system now. As far as I'm concerned, it's all water under the bridge. Let bygones be bygones.

 Otherwise, if he keeps this up, I may have to pay another visit to the set of Mad TV.

 I must take this opportunity to comment on Ric Flair's amazing recuperative powers. Seven or eight masked men beat him up -- or was it nine Marines? No, that was something else. Anyway, it's obvious from the way Flair came out of it, with nary a scratch, he has to be one of the toughest SOBs on the face of the planet.

 Flair booked himself a match with Hogan at SuperBrawl tomorrow.

 Uninjurable vs. Immortal. Interesting.

 Even more so when you take into account that, three days later, Flair turns the big five-oh. Book 'em, Danno ... ere, Ric. Maybe this is one Ric shouldn't have booked. Getting jumped by a gang of goons didn't end Flair's career but it's the timing on that big leg drop he has to look out for. Happy birthday, Ric.

 I leave you this week with a quote from the mind of Vince McMahon. I ask you, how many times, since Montreal, have you heard Vince say that I take the business too personally? That what happened was "just business"?

 "I have a tendency to take the business personally because it IS my life.

 And when people say, 'ah come on, it's just business'. I don't subscribe to that theory.

 I don't think anyone who is successful in business subscribes to that theory. It's personal -- and it's damn personal."

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