We WWE faithfuls shared goosebumps hearing the possible return of the legendary, Bret "The Hitman" Hart. It was talk that appeared to be merely a rumor. However, after a long awaited twelve years, Bret Hart made his return to the WWE.
The "Excellence of Execution" served as special guest host of "Monday Night Raw."
The show opened with the sound of "electric guitars" and a display of hot pink fireworks. Bret stepped out into a sea of applause, old mercandise, and fan-made "welcome back" signs.
In his opening statement, Hart thanked the WWE fans for their neverending support.
However, Hart clearly had one word on his mind- Closure.
Let's revisit November 9, 1997, Survivor Series, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Bret Hart defended his WWF Championship against "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels.
Prior to the pay per view, Vince McMahon (WWE owner) and Hart debated over contract negotiations. McMahon informed Hart that he would not continue to be paid the same rate of pay under his new twenty year contract.
Clearly Bret was unhappy with this, so McMahon allowed the contact to breached. Vince gave his consent to Bret to begin negotiating with World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
The WWF contract gave Bret "creative control" during his last thirty days with the company. Bret remained adamant in his request that he should not lose the match in front of his home crowd. However, McMahon believed that Bret should not have championship gold, while WCW announces Bret as their newest acquisition.
McMahon, along with other various co-conspirators, devised a plan to "screw" Bret during the main event of the Survivor Series. This event is known to the world as "The Montreal Screwjob."
Both Shawn Michaels and senior referee Earl Hebner executed McMahon's orders. In the home of Hart's Canadian fans, Michaels placed Hart in the Sharpshooter, Bret's signature submission finishing move. Hebner called for the bell, even though Bret did not submit.
The title changed hands that night. Michaels began his new reign as WWF Champion, while Hart's special requests were thrown out the window. Arguably, both
McMahon and Hart threw the rulebooks out of the window in their decision making.
This brings us to January 4, 2010 and the return of "The Hitman." In his quest for closure, Hart called Michaels down to the middle of the ring. The arena heard Michaels' entrance music hit instantly.
Shawn joined Hart in the center of the WWE Universe. They exchanged honest communication, both citing that they can agree to disagree, both citing that they longed for closure. Hart extended a hand to seal the deal, while Michael extended his open arms as his way of sealing the deal.
Mission accomplished for one; however, there was still one major participant in "The Montreal Screwjob" that needed to be addressed- Vince McMahon.
McMahon stated he would speak to Bret on his own terms. Nearing the end of the program, McMahon did just that.
Again, both Hart and McMahon agreed to disagree. McMahon showered Hart with thanks and recognition, even naming Bret's father, Stu Hart, as one of the 2010 inductees in the WWE Hall of Fame.
McMahon brought up past memories, memories he said he would never forget. McMahon admitted that the "screwjob" hurt him to his core as well, as he was like a father to Bret in most respects.
McMahon called for a "toast" by raising Bret's hands victoriously. A toast to the legend that graced us with his presence.
Just as we thought McMahon would end this celebration with class and dignity, he gave Hart a low-blow kick to the groin, dropping Hart to his knees. McMahon didn't think twice as Hart looked on in agony.
What does the future hold for the McMahon/Hart saga? Will we see a Wrestlemania main event match? A match where we can leave it all on the mat. After all, the mat is the birthplace of professional wrestling. The place where all feuds begin and end.
The night may not have ended in storybook fashion; nevertheless, Hart's legacy is a storybook. Thanks to closure, Hart no longer has to wrestle with shadows.