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Rumours that Bret Hart might return to the WWE...


Guest John O'Neill
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Guest John O'Neill

There have been rumours circulating around the IWC that Bret Hart might make a return to the WWE to be involved in some storylines. Personally I'm not sure if I believe that, but the prospect of Bret returning should provide a platform for plenty of discussion. Here are some questions that should provide some food for thought...

 

- After years of saying he'd never return to the WWE after what they did to him - a stance many people respected him for, does this influence how you think of Bret? I know a lot of die hard Bret Hart fans have said in the past that Bret Hart has too much integrity to return to the WWE. There are lots of fans who believe in Bret for that reason, will this affect their opinions? I wonder if Bret returned whether he'd still be the martyed hero to his throngs of fans?

 

- Considering that the short term returns of the Rock or Steve Austin over the years haven't spiked ratings, do you think Bret could have much of an affect on WWE ratings? Personally I think ratings would go up for a week or two, but then once it becomes transparent he's just partaking in another WWE storyline and not doing anything shocking, I think things would go back to normal.

 

- Is it plausible to believe that Bret would return to the WWE when he hasn't made peace with HBK? Bret has said some stinging things about Shawn in recent times, and said he'd walk out on the HOF if Shawn was present in the crowd.

 

Personally I don't believe the rumours, but if they are true and Bret returns, then there are going to be interesting developments I think.

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This week's Wrestling Observer newsletter confirmed that Bret has been in informal talks to return to the promotion as a weekly storyline character, so there is substance to these rumours. Given that they've already started rehashing Montreal, I wouldn't be surprised if Bret gets cold feet when he finds out what storylines the creative team have planned for him. Really I don't see the point of bringing him back in a full time role. Due to the affects of his stroke, he can't work a match and may be unable to deliver an effective scripted promo. The GM role, his likely spot, is already played out and Bret wasn't anything special in similar roles in the past. Also, Bret means nothing to their target audience of kids and teenagers; whatever money there was to be made in a storyline playing off Montreal has largely evaporated over the years. I can see the benefit of using him in one-off angles at WrestleMania and major shows in Canada, but I don't think it really benefits either side him being a full time TV performer again.

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I agree with the above. And yes, I think it might tarnish his legacy in some fans' eyes but it's not like Flair returning to the ring probably isn't a bigger deal to some people and I would assume he would only consider doing this for similar reasons. And all of this pales in comparison to what happened in June 2007 and what that did to the fanbase's thoughts on a certain worker's career.

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I suppose I could see him coming in to give some rub to the Harts. They should really have Jim Neidhart in their corner already anyway, in the Bob Orton, Sr. Chavo Classic, Larry The Axe Hennig role. I think he'd be really effective, especially because he's not that tall. Nattie isn't exactly a great talker.

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I agree, and that would be my personal reason for not wanting to see him return.

 

Bret had more charisma than he was generally given credit for, but usually the retired wrestlers who work well as seconds are guys who were a little more over the top. Bret would have to be a babyface, and being a second to another babyface would just weaken that babyface.

 

He would not be a good announcer. The GM role is played out.

 

If WWE wanted to use him, their best bet would be to have him replace John Laurinitis or take over the old Pat Patterson role.

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It's pretty much the nature of the business for Bret to return. But he should only be use in an extraordinary, one or two deal shot, for Wrestlemania or SummerSlam as a legendary figure. I don't see Bret being any good at managing (especially in this day and age), announcing or any other regular TV role.

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I suppose they could always ask Bret Hart to be a guest host on Raw, but otherwise, there really isn't any way for Bret to contribute in a permanent on-camera role. And I'd absolutely agree that a permanent on-camera role would be a bad thing for Bret to do, as it would smack of him just trying to regain past glory.

 

A behind-the-scenes role for Bret as a road agent, though, would be a good fit for him.

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Bret needs to stay off of TV so I can continue to have fond thoughts. I would hate for it to be another Foley situation where the return ends up killing what positive memories remain.

 

Honestly, Bret's WCW run ended up doing that for me. Yeah, you can blame the booking but that conveniently ignores the fact that a lot of the times he was out there mailing it in more than anyone not named Kevin Nash.

 

It was like as soon as he set foot in WCW he realized what a mistake it was.

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I remember reading somewhere that he wanted to film a movie but he didn't have the money to fund it himself. That may be why he's coming back. On one hand I like Bret but his appeal came more from his actions than his words. I don't know if he would be a good Guest Host but he couldn't be any worse than some of the guys they've had. The only bad thing is that they'll spend time rehashing Montreal yet again and it may end up like the returns of Foley and Austin where they just seem like watered-down versions of themselves.

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I suspect that Cinzia got *some* money from him. A prenup for $0.00 is pretty rare given the circumstances. But I agree with what you're meaning: she likely didn't take him to the cleaners. Bret has historically been one of the smarter guys with contracts and more prudent with money in the business.

 

I do suspect Julie got a reasonable amount back in 2002, probably the Canadian equiv of "half + child support". Only Dallas was around 18 at that time. Their youngest turned 19 this year according to Wiki, so ongoing child support probably has declined.

 

I don't recall ever seeing anything that Bret was hard up for $$$.

 

John

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I was half joking, but it seems such a weird decision from somebody who seemed to have completely moved on from wrestling, that you have to wonder whether he needs the money. Maybe he's pining for the spotlight, worried that by being off TV for so long that his legacy is being forgotten. I invoked Flair and Hogan, because just like their recent tour of Australia came across a little sad, so does Bret returning to the lion's den to work a match with Vince at Mania over Montreal, after being so adament about never doing such a thing and doing so when such a feud is years past its sell by date and he's in no fit state to work a proper match.

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The whole thing is so strange. Who knows what the motivation is. Stuff happens when people get old. Maybe he's bored. Maybe he's worried about his legacy. Maybe he sees it as a final step towards closing the door on all of the hard feelings caused by Montreal. Maybe he thinks it will be fun. Maybe he's in solid financial shape but a Wrestlemania paycheck still sounds pretty good.

 

The timing is what's really weird. I don't know how much of the current audience is aware of the backstory. Too bad there aren't any upcoming RAWs in places like Canada, NYC, or Chicago where this could probably still get crazy heat.

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The whole thing is so strange. Who knows what the motivation is. Stuff happens when people get old. Maybe he's bored. Maybe he's worried about his legacy. Maybe he sees it as a final step towards closing the door on all of the hard feelings caused by Montreal. Maybe he thinks it will be fun. Maybe he's in solid financial shape but a Wrestlemania paycheck still sounds pretty good.

 

The timing is what's really weird. I don't know how much of the current audience is aware of the backstory. Too bad there aren't any upcoming RAWs in places like Canada, NYC, or Chicago where this could probably still get crazy heat.

I'm not sure if the Internet is a good representation, but I've seen younger fans talk about Montreal though they generally believe the WWE's side of things.

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I guess. Current WWE fans have been raised in a WWE only environment, which is why they can be fed so much shit, in term of the supposed history of wrest.... pardon me, sports entertainment, and in term of product, since there's no alternative (TNA, yeah, right...).

 

Anyway, Bret signing back with the WWE is kinda surreal to me. It's been 12 years since Montreal, 10 since Owen died. I feel old... No idea what Bret can do. Maybe works something with the young Hart generation. Bret was really the hero of my young mark days in the early and mid 90's. Yeah, makes me feel kinda old.

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Maybe he's realised that as far as the casual audience goes (outside of Canada), he is largely a forgotten man, on top of an era that has been disregarded as a low point following the scandals and loss of mainstream popularity after the Hulkamania era and before the Attitude era, an era that was irrelevant as far as the mainstream and pop culture go. The history books skip from Hogan to Austin and The Rock as the big stars which must piss him off given his ego and how important his legacy appears to be to him, as well as the fact that Shawn has come back and become known to this new audience as a "legend" whereas Bret is that guy that got screwed in Montreal many, many years ago by Mr McMahon. I can't blame the guy because it does seem to be important to him so all the best to the man.

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It's probably bugged Bret for years that he went off on such a low note, basically he suffered the head injury in WCW, got fired, and that was that, never to be seen again. The combination of a nice payday and the chance to finally go out on a high note was probably the impetus behind this.

 

I do think it says something about Vince that he's been working so hard to get Bret back. Bret is probably forgotten at this point, it's been 12 years since Montreal, and the business potential probably isn't there. Heck, they aren't even doing any TV in Canada between now and Mania. I think on Vince's end, it's more the chance of bringing Bret back means, in his mind, that he no longer did anything wrong and can absolve himself of any guilt, because hey, if Bret came back, then it must not have been that bad. Probably why he keeps trying to get Bruno to come back, only to be rebuffed time and time again; Bruno is more stubborn than Bret or Vince.

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