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  #11  
Old 04-25-2017, 08:12 PM
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I find these perspectives interesting, though I'm not sure I agree. I think that WWF was always run by wrestling minds, in a funny way even though it would've been accused of being style over substance in the territory days, compared to WCW, the WWF was more substance over style. I think they might have gone through some really lean years, maybe had to restructure some deals, maybe sell some equity in the company, but if TNA can stay alive for 15 years after what feels like an endless stream of missteps, I feel like the WWF would've found a way to carry on somehow, and if Bret is really the loyal company guy that he's always portrayed himself to be, than I think he would've stuck it out through the tough times while they regrouped.
What would be the point of keeping Bret? It was rather obvious he was not in the WWF's long term plans as any kind of top guy. He even asked Vince what his plans were for him and Vince was non-committal. I don't think the "Screwjob" was a work (there is too much hurt in Bret's eyes even when he talks about it to this day) but it was used for Vince to get out of under the contract. Of course he could pay the contract if he wanted too but Bret's presence was more of a detriment than an asset at that point. His refusal to put over HBK was the last straw for Vince.

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In a lot of ways, I think Bret was kind of a pawn between the two companies. No doubt he helped to light the fuse of the attitude era, but I still think things would've gotten there regardless, and I think he could've been a good contributor to it. Even if his role was similar to Lance Storm, Molly Holly, Kurt Angle, etc. of being the square to all the debauchery that was happening around him.
Of course Bret was a pawn in a chess game but he played Vince and Eric ( and even earlier WCW (under Jim Herd) against each other as well. He essentially forced Vince to sign him to the richest contract in WWF history. You think he would've been OK with a Lance Storm/Molly Holly type role? LOL. Again, when he asked Vince what he had planned for him and he found out he was to put over Shawn Michaels he was NOT OK with that and essentially took his ball and went to WCW.

Last edited by Makaveli31 : 04-25-2017 at 08:13 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #12  
Old 04-25-2017, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by d_henderson1810 View Post
Did you know that it was Bret who told Martha that Owen's death was WWE's fault, and poisoned her against them? Bret did this to make WWE "pay" for what they did to him in Montreal. The story where I read this, one person said that they found it a disgrace that Bret used his brother's death as an excuse to get back at WWE by talking Martha into suing them.

So, Bret is responsible for why Owen isn't in the HoF, or has no DVD release, as, even when he made up with WWE, Martha still went along with what Bret told her previously, and she has never given permission, even though Bret has tried to change her mind, and they have fallen out over it.
I'm sorry, what does this have to do with what I wrote? To answer your question, no I didn't see that story where the unnamed "one person" gave their opinion on Bret's rumored revenge ploy. It sounds fascinating.

What I said was that when playing "what if", it seems silly to pick and choose which events would still happen, though related events were changed in that same instance.

Bret may very well be responsible for those random points you mentioned, but that doesn't interest me or pertain to my response.
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  #13  
Old 04-25-2017, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Makaveli31 View Post
What would be the point of keeping Bret? It was rather obvious he was not in the WWF's long term plans as any kind of top guy. He even asked Vince what his plans were for him and Vince was non-committal. I don't think the "Screwjob" was a work (there is too much hurt in Bret's eyes even when he talks about it to this day) but it was used for Vince to get out of under the contract. Of course he could pay the contract if he wanted too but Bret's presence was more of a detriment than an asset at that point. His refusal to put over HBK was the last straw for Vince.



Of course Bret was a pawn in a chess game but he played Vince and Eric ( and even earlier WCW (under Jim Herd) against each other as well. He essentially forced Vince to sign him to the richest contract in WWF history. You think he would've been OK with a Lance Storm/Molly Holly type role? LOL. Again, when he asked Vince what he had planned for him and he found out he was to put over Shawn Michaels he was NOT OK with that and essentially took his ball and went to WCW.
Well, in fairness if you asked Vince what he plans are for anyone at any time, he'd probably be non-committal. But I don't think someone at Bret's level ever would've had to worry that they couldn't find a place for him. I think Bret represented the old guard, not unlike Undertaker (even then), I think Bret would've just had to accept his place in the company, but I think he always would've been treated with respect. I don't think Bret had a problem putting Shawn over, generally speaking, I think the problem was that at that point both Vince and Bret knew he was leaving, and thus Vince thought Bret should do the right thing and drop the title at the PPV. Bret stubbornly bought a little too much into his own character and believed that he shouldn't lose in Canada, but would've done so a Raw the following week, and Vince didn't feel this could be trusted, as he'd been burnt before and thought that maybe it was a ploy to make him look stupid and show up on Nitro with the WWF title. Of course, I don't think Bret ever would've done that to him, but I'm sure tensions were running high at that point in time.

Also, when I said Bret could play a role similar to Lance Storm/Molly Holly/Kurt Angle I didn't mean his place in the company, I meant a fish out of water type character, where he was one of the last good clean moral characters amongst the rest of the cursing, sex, violence, etc. of the attitude era. He still could've been booked as top performer. I just said that because so many people had mentioned how he didn't agree with the climate of the company at the time, and wouldn't have wanted to go along with those types of angles.
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  #14  
Old 04-25-2017, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by d_henderson1810 View Post
Did you know that it was Bret who told Martha that Owen's death was WWE's fault, and poisoned her against them? Bret did this to make WWE "pay" for what they did to him in Montreal. The story where I read this, one person said that they found it a disgrace that Bret used his brother's death as an excuse to get back at WWE by talking Martha into suing them.

So, Bret is responsible for why Owen isn't in the HoF, or has no DVD release, as, even when he made up with WWE, Martha still went along with what Bret told her previously, and she has never given permission, even though Bret has tried to change her mind, and they have fallen out over it.
If you read Martha Hart's book "Broken Harts: The Life and Death of Owen Hart", it is very apparent that Martha hated wrestling (as one review of the book states, a hate ingrained in her from childhood), had no use for the WWE in particular, had a condescending attitude towards most wrestlers and would have decided to sue them regardless of what Bret thought one way or the other.

Last edited by jachba : 04-25-2017 at 10:27 PM. Reason: Additional material
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  #15  
Old 04-25-2017, 10:35 PM
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Well, in fairness if you asked Vince what he plans are for anyone at any time, he'd probably be non-committal. But I don't think someone at Bret's level ever would've had to worry that they couldn't find a place for him.
Not true, if Vince wanted you there he always had a plan, a vision for your character. In fact, it was often the other way around. Vince often promised a very lucrative run for talent he was either trying to keep or woo from another company. He deliberately told Bret something he didn't want to hear. That he was going to put over Shawn Michaels. Vince knew Bret was never going to agree to that and was essentially daring him to go to WCW.

I think Bret was very worried about his position. He was the highest paid superstar, if he wasn't in the main event where would he be. Vince wasn't going to pay over a million a year for an upper mid carder. Remember, he had seen the "old guard" pushed out before him. He had gone from a 1 or 2 babyface to now a lukewarm heel. The further he dropped on the card the more expendable he became.

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I don't think Bret had a problem putting Shawn over, generally speaking, I think the problem was that at that point both Vince and Bret knew he was leaving, and thus Vince thought Bret should do the right thing and drop the title at the PPV. Bret stubbornly bought a little too much into his own character and believed that he shouldn't lose in Canada, but would've done so a Raw the following week, and Vince didn't feel this could be trusted, as he'd been burnt before and thought that maybe it was a ploy to make him look stupid and show up on Nitro with the WWF title. Of course, I don't think Bret ever would've done that to him, but I'm sure tensions were running high at that point in time.
He had a problem dropping it to Shawn. Everyone knows that. He felt Shawn didn't return the favor at WM 13. He felt Shawn was the reason he was being pushed out. He despised Shawn Michaels. It had nothing to do with Canada. He was using that as an excuse. Bret knew creatively it made NO SENSE for him to go over Shawn at the PPV because he was leaving. Shawn was staying. He knew the only reasonable solution was to have Shawn go over but he refused.

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Also, when I said Bret could play a role similar to Lance Storm/Molly Holly/Kurt Angle I didn't mean his place in the company, I meant a fish out of water type character, where he was one of the last good clean moral characters amongst the rest of the cursing, sex, violence, etc. of the attitude era. He still could've been booked as top performer. I just said that because so many people had mentioned how he didn't agree with the climate of the company at the time, and wouldn't have wanted to go along with those types of angles.
It would not have worked. Fans already saw Bret as a whiny character, that would only enhance it. Bret, as you said, took his character seriously. I don't think he would be OK with playing the goody-two shoes in the era of Stone Cold, DX, and the Rock. He would get lost in the shuffle very quickly.

Bret Hart in the Attitude Era would not have worked. Maybe in Ruthless Aggression had he stayed healthy enough.
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  #16  
Old 04-26-2017, 04:49 AM
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Do people really think WWF would be out of business if Bret had stayed?

Two things go against that, Vince McMahon, who would rather had died than gone out of business, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was already earmarked as the next Top Guy and was already well on his way to taking off in the way he did.
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  #17  
Old 04-26-2017, 10:16 AM
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Do people really think WWF would be out of business if Bret had stayed?
LOL don't forget Vince also survived the FEDERAL GOVT. If they couldn't put Vince out of business no one could. He played that "broke" card to get out from under the contracts and leverage against paying wrestlers' huge salaries as opposed to WCW to just gave out contracts. Vince was a smart business man that's why he's still in business and WCW is not.
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  #18  
Old 04-26-2017, 02:25 PM
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It stands to reason that Bret would have salted out of WWE anyway, it just would have happened later. Obviously, the screwjob lead to the attitude era, but it's revisionist history to say that the screwjob was the attitude era.

nWo had been going in WCW for over a year by the time Survivor Series 1997. WWF was not the sole proprietor of more adult based wrestling. WWF went the Jerry Springer route of adult. They got naked and brought out guns in an effort to be edgy. Would renowned prude and wrestling purist Hitman Hart have stuck it out?

Probably not. Even without the screwjob, Austin was rising, Michaels and Helmsely were becoming DX, New Age Outlaws already existed, so did the Nation of Domination. Mick Foley existed.

It's not like Hart spat in Vince's face and the women's clothes magically fell off. The attitude era was coming no matter what, when you look at the history tapes, that's jsut the noticeable moment where we roadmarked the changes.

The truth is the changes were gradual and already taking place. The path may have been different with Bret staying. The idea to have Vince play a character might have already been in place.

There's always the chance that Survivor Series 97 was a work. You'd think that more people would shoot about it, so I say it's at least unlikely. We can never know within any certainty that Vince wouldn't have come up with the Mr. McMahon character anyway.

Survivor Series 97 happens as it did, except Bret sticks around. Maybe he's kayfabe fired, but odds are a double turn takes place and Hart becomes a babyface. That may have delayed Austin's push, but I definitely doubt that. Bret would have stayed near the top of the card, but inevitably Bret was a family man and likely would have walked due to the gun play and other saucey segments.

Maybe Bret influenced Vince to not go for tv-14 angles, and WWF would have folded? Maybe Bret wouldn't have allowed Owen to become the Blue Blazer, or at least kiboshed the ring lowering.

We can't say anything with any certainty because there are too many variables and insider information required.

If Bret did manage to stay with WWF during the attitude era though, we would have seen Bret vs Austin in a WWF title feud, Bret vs The Rock, Bret vs Triple H, Bret Vs Angle (there's a dream match), Bret vs Benoit, Bret vs Jericho and others.

Bret might have even faced Hogan when he showed up in 025. Most likely Bret doesn't suffer the concussion, so he could have wrestled into his 40s. He may have stuck around long enough to face Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista, and John Cena, with Lesnar being the most interesting.

Hart would have been 50 come 2007. It's most likely he would have retired around 2002 to 2003 anyway. I never saw Bret as being a Hogan or a Flair would could never call it quits.

It's tough to say, but I disagree completely that Bret staying meant no attitude era. Wrestling was moving that way anyway and WWF would have had to adopt some form of adult storyline to compete.
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  #19  
Old 04-27-2017, 02:54 AM
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Had Bret and Vince stuck out the contract... Vince would have HAD to use Bret in a meaningful way to justify the huge amount of money being paid.

Just before tensions started to mount... Vince had put forward the idea of Bret losing the belt to Shawn and then winning it back which would have made Hart a 6 time WWE world champion... beating Hogans (then) record.
We might even have seen Hart drop the world title to Austin at WM14 (which makes sense as its returning the favour from WM13).
Of course there would be no need for Davey and Neidhart to defect to WCW... so the Hart Foundation could have survived into 1998.
Getting onto the topic of Owens death... Bret has said several times he might have talked Owen out of performing the fatal stunt.... Bret had enough clout to speak up to Vince/bookers on Owens behalf (ie he talked Vince out of Davey/Owen dropping the tag belts at WM13 to keep the Hart Foundation momentum going).

Whilst Bret disapproved of the product at the time... he could have survived... I mean he did have a pretty good run through 1997 (before the screwjob) and did some good mic work too when bashing the Americans.

Hart would have been paid his 1.5M a year contract till late 1999... and would then be on the 2nd phase of his contract which paid him less, so here at the age of 42 his top liner days might be over... as he settles into the role of putting younger talent over.

As Bret hits is mid 40s... I think that's the time he calls it a day and moves into his role of senior advisor to Vince. He might even bag an onscreen general manager role.

Last edited by Goldie : 04-27-2017 at 02:58 AM.
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  #20  
Old 04-27-2017, 06:37 AM
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See there's one aspect people aren't grasping with all this - some have touched close, but the reality is that Vince really was in last chance saloon financially when he asked Bret to go to WCW. He'd tried everything he knew in his comfort zone to turn the company around and it hadn't work, leaving the raunchy, Attitude direction as in reality, a last throw of the dice. Vince abandoned it and went back to his comfort zone first chance he got... marketing to kids.

As for Bret and the 20 year deal, I think even then Vince knew the writing was on the wall and the deal would never actually be honored in full. Either the company was gonna go under or Bret would eventually throw his toys from the pram and they'd negotiate a settlement.

What Vince did was offer Bret a win/win (in his mind) get pretty much the same money as the 20 year deal in a shorter space of time with WCW and it got the increasingly whiny (Wrestling With Shadows watched today shows Bret in a pretty negative light) and intransigent star who would have eventually caused a Montreal situation regardless.

Had he stayed, I don't think WWE would have been going "under as such" but I think Bret would have inadvertently damaged their success. WWE was able to create at least new main event star EVERY Year for the next decade except for 03 when Goldberg took that slot. Look at the list below... had Bret stayed for any period of that 20 year contract, one or more of those pushes couldn't have happened. He was already protecting his "spot" despite his claims that he'd drop to "anyone but Shawn" in 97... had the issue not been with him it might have been with the greener Rock, or not wanting to lose to Chris Jericho or Triple H who he didn't respect... or he'd have forced them to give Owen that title run at some point.

98 - Austin & Rock
99 - Foley & Trips
00 - Kurt Angle & Big Show
01 - Chris Jericho
02 - Brock Lesnar
04 - Eddie G, Orton, Benoit & JBL
05 - Cena & Batista
06 - Edge, RVD, Rey

There's also the possibility that signings would have been different and people jumping ship would not have done so. Someone like Jericho might have been excited by being able to face Bret in WWE... but they equally might have been wary that they'd be second string and not get the chances if he lived up to his increasing rep.

Remember word would filter through to WCW about how Bret was via the Kliq... they would only have "one side" of the story perhaps, but much of Bret's actions caught on camera on Wrestling With Shadows would have unnerved some talents on the way in. "Is he gonna power play us like The NWO do..." would have been a factor in some guys not going to WCW or leaving.

Would Owen be alive? Who knows - Personally, I think had Bret stayed then Owen would have been a one time WWF champion by May 99 and retired, living as the firefighter he planned to be... perhaps Final Destination style luck sees him killed fighting a fire instead?

SO realistically... it goes like this if Montreal doesn't happen and Bret is staying.

Bret doesn't drop to Shawn at Survivor Series... he chooses to drop to Taker. Shawn gets pissed and leaves for WCW... dying less than a year later in a drug related incident or car accident.

Bret gets the belt back at the Rumble to drop to Austin at 14 - but makes sure there is an "out" for himself via Taker interference, rather than letting Austin get the straight revenge and win for the prior year. That devalues Austin as there was no Mike Tyson/McMahon feud to kick off his run.

The Rock gets held down in the IC division at least another year, and Bret refuses to help elevate him as he feels he hasn't "paid his dues yet". This annoys Vince and the Ano'i/Samoan faction and starts to cause issues between them and the Harts. The Samoans feel Bret owes for Yoko doing him the favor back as Yoko could have legit refused to do so.

Davey Boy is made to put Rock over instead and buried in the match, souring relations further. We see a Hart Family v Samoan feud with Haku coming back to the WWE and legit making clear to Bret that no more of his games will be tolerated.

Bret finally refuses to job to Rocky one last time and it causes a severe altercation backstage with Haku, Afa and other members of the Anoi' family. Rocky stays out of it wisely but it's the final straw for Vince who makes plans for life without Bret.

Screwjob situation occurs at Wrestlemania 15 when Rocky is handed a shock and "screwjob" title win. Bret is without a WCW contract and has to accept reduced terms, but the bad blood with the Samoan/Tongans is even there in WCW with guys like The Barbarian there.

Owen retires rather than face repercussions (although the Samoans never have an issue with him or Davey, only Bret, Bruce and Neidhart who all stick close to Bret) and the Hart family "splinters" in real life. with Davey staying in the WWF and being pushed - with Rocky dropping the title to him as a receipt for putting him over strong at one of their UK Events... Davey gets to lift the title in the UK and top off his career... he never goes to WCW and gets the back injury... away from Neidhart's influence he cleans himself up and becomes a solid WWE main eventer for the later years of his life, helping the burgeoning UK PPV/RAW events and their TV deal with Channel 4 and later ITV although as with real life - a lot of the damage was done already.

The controversy helps make the WWF must see again and with Rock and Austin's "Battle Of THe Badasses" it goes over the top... it takes another year to win the war but it's still won... Foley doesn't get the title but Davey does.

Bret makes it to Mania 15 tops... made REAL enemies that severely limit his options in the business and Shawn is dead...with Davey perhaps still being here, although badly aging. Butterfly Effect perhaps... but VERY likely had he not gone when he did.
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