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  November 27, 1999



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Dream come true
By BRET 'THE HITMAN' HART -- Calgary Sun

 In kid's dreams, we see ourselves as astronauts, music stars, sports stars -- world champions.

 As a young boy, my toy soldiers fought epic main event match-ups, I drew pictures of myself as the world champion of an imaginary wrestling federation.

 Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd really be champion one day. And I never, ever thought I'd be unified champion of the world.

 As far back as I can remember, wrestling fans and sometimes wrestlers and promoters have envisioned what it would be like to have the ultimate inter-federation feud culminating in the the crowning of one man who would be champion of champions. I don't think anyone ever imagined that dreams could turn out to be a nightmare, the result of something so underhanded that even the darkest underbelly of the wrestling business had never been that dirty before.

 I am referring to what went down at my last match in the WWF. (If you don't know the facts, I recommend viewing the two-time Gemini award winning documentary Wrestling with Shadows.

 Fact is, I walked into the ring in Montreal five-time champion of the world and I didn't lose the match, but I lost the belt.

 I left the WWF as champion without a belt.

 Now, after two rocky years filled with false promises of a title shot from WCW, after they dropped the ball on what to do with me after I got there, I've won the WCW world title in Toronto last Sunday.

 That I had to fight my way through a title tournament and then through Sting and Benoit -- two of the best wrestlers in the WCW, both in the same night, only means the win is respected.

 Wrestlers came up to me after the match and congratulated me. That may not sound unusual, except that I haven't seen much of that sort of thing lately when other guys win matches. They took my win more seriously because they know that I take it seriously, which ironically, is what I was criticized for only two short years ago.

 The wrestling business has lost a lot of its dignity in the past couple of years, and in my view, it's because too many wrestlers didn't take it seriously enough.

 Everyone knew the double-cross in Montreal would go down in history, but I don't think anyone realized the profound effect it would have on wrestling's future.

 World title matches often aren't even the main event taking a back seat to the soap opera scene of the week.

 It strikes me very sad that I somehow ended up being the last WWF champion to carry the belt with honour, the last in a long line of distinguished title holders. Sadly, it seems that a lot of wrestling fans today don't appreciate that legacy.

 Lately, fans have written to me pointing out that in their view I'm a hypocrite because when the WWF went down the toilet, I'm outspoken against it, but I've not spoken out against the WCW's new attitude.

 Times have changed and so have I.

 I tried as best as I could to rally everyone together to save wrestling, as something you could take the whole family to. I spoke about what I believe in and asked all those who believe the same to stand up and be counted. Unfortunately, the only things being counted are the bucks.

 I think sometimes some of you want me to speak out against the same stuff you tune in and enjoy watching. Time after time, you they tell me they don't like the lewd and crude direction that wrestling has gone and in the same breath they give me a blow-by-blow description of everything happening on the shows. Now who's being hypocritical?

 I've made my opinions known, my side clear and now it's time for fan to decide what they want.

 I'll do the best that I can to keep my head up, but I have no control over what happens other than when I'm in the ring -- and sometimes not even then. Nitro is a perfect example.

 At Nitro, I received a rude awakening from my so-called buddy, Jeff Jarrett, who clubbed me over the head with that stupid guitar. Oh yeah, I forgot there are no rules, trust no one -- here we go again. Time to do whatever it takes to win.

 I will do the best that I can to be a great WCW champion and to bring back meaning to the world title -- but in the end it's all up to the power that be. If they want me to go out there and do something stupid, then we've come full circle.

 Don't get me wrong. I'm honoured to be WCW champion. It's a privilege to be able to tell my kids and grand kids (one day) that I reached the top of the two biggest territories in the world.

 Speaking of my kids, after watching the title victory celebration in the ring, lots of people have commented that they didn't know I have that many kids. Along with my own kids, Wayne Gretzky's family joined in the festivities. Gretzky and I both had our dreams come true last weekend in Toronto.

 His place of honour is assured in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

 As for my dream of being WCW champion, we can only hope it doesn't turn out to be a nightmare.

 One thing that didn't turn out like I thought it would, was Dynamite Kid's book.

 As great a wrestler as he was, I'm saddened to realize that in addition to injuring his elbows, knees, shoulders and back, he's broken his brain, too.

 So much for the good old days.

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