I have decided to start writing some articles which focus on what the landscape of wrestling might be like today if certain events either never happened or simply happened differently.
For my first entry, I have decided to write about Bret Hart and the career that could have been.
Any wrestling fan knows how Bret Hart left the ring for good.
He was given a botched mule kick by Bill Goldberg, which caused a serious concussion, thus ending the career of "The Hitman."
Bret has gone on record saying that he doesn't blame Bill for what happened and that he knew the dangers of pro wrestling a long time ago.
But I can't help but wonder what might have happened if this tragic incident never occurred.
Bret was World Heavyweight Champion of WCW when the injury forced him to leave the ring.
He was one of WCW’s most popular wrestlers, and he was sure to have many more years in him at that point.
Now, no one will argue that Bret’s time in WCW was a complete waste and that the company never fully utilized him to his fullest potential.
Granted, he was a two-time world champ in WCW, but that was after he was mistakenly put into the U.S. title hunt by Bischoff.
Both Vince McMahon and Bret himself have said that WCW had no idea how to use a guy like him.
Instead, they threw him into matches with his old opponents from the '90s, like Flair, Henning, and Piper.
These were horrible choices by the WCW team, and they resulted in Bret being overshadowed by the same guys we had seen at the top for a long time at that point.
Goldberg ended Bret’s career on Dec. 19, 1999, only two years before the WWE would buy out WCW.
A lot of people will say that his career ended on Sept. 6, 2000, but it is well known that his post-concussion syndrome was started during the match with Goldberg.
What If Goldberg never hit Bret, and he never suffered multiple concussions?
Would Bret have gone to the WWE during the Invasion?
Would he have quit wrestling altogether?
Would we being seeing him in TNA right now?
The sad thing is that no one knows the answers to these questions, because we were robbed of these possibilities by an inexperienced wrestler, who was pushed to the top too fast, only to fall from glory a few years later.
I personally don’t blame Goldberg, but I know a lot of people do. And that’s fine, those people are welcome to their opinion.
So, If Bret had never had to retire, would he have gone back to WWE during the buyout?
He still, to this day, says some negative things about Vince and, at the point of the buyout, had not made up with him yet.
I know that Bret is in the HOF, but that happened only a couple years ago and almost didn’t happen.
He only recently expressed an interest in doing anything with WWE again, so a return at that time would have been unlikely.
The fact remains, we don’t know what would have happened.
It is possible he would have returned to WWE, but only Bret knows what would have happened.
Would Bret have retired when WCW went under?
I think that is even less likely than him going back to the WWE.
Bret is a born wrestler, and he would never have stopped just because his company went out of business.
He was at the top of his game and could have worked anywhere in the world for any wrestling company he wanted.
I think he would have ended up in Japan for awhile after WCW, if he had been able to.
Would Bret be in TNA right now?
This is one that I can’t decide on.
He has said many times that he respects what TNA has done for the business, but, because of their fledgling status up until this past year, I think this most likely would not have happened either.
He could have begun making appearances around now, since TNA is growing at a quick rate.
Unlike Sting, I don’t think Bret would have gone to TNA so early in their development.
He was a huge star and would have been too big for the tiny company.
The possibilities are all there, but, unfortunately, no one will ever know what would have happened.
What do you think would have become of "The Hitman" had he never been forced to retire due to injury?