WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 07/06/1997

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Jerry Lawler, Memphis Cowboy

Over the last month, it seems that this blog has become something of a Bret Hart fan site. So as the end nears for the Hitman Book series (finally!), let’s take a look at the all-time high point for the Hart Family and perhaps wrestling in Canada: the July 1997 In Your House from Calgary, which took place in the shadow of the annual Calgary Stampede. Our hosts from the Calgary Saddledome are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Lawler’s ill-fitting cowboy hat that covers his eyes. Meanwhile, Ross is going to drive me insane with the pronunciation of “Sasuke” as “Sass-OOH-kay” instead of “Sass-kay”. Continue reading WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 07/06/1997

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 14 (Owen Edition)

As the year 1999 got rolling, Bret Hart was dealing with some lingering injuries and would take some time off after the angle in Toronto with Goldberg. Things were about to get much worse not only for him, but his entire family.

They were still tearful, and then one of them cracked a tentative smile and said, “Why are we crying? It’s not like somebody died.”

Bret’s Western Hockey League Junior team the Calgary Hitmen had lost in the Memorial Cup in overtime to the Ottawa 67s on Sunday, May 23, 1999. This happened to be the same day that Owen Hart died from the fall in Kansas City. The Calgary players (16-20 year olds) were still upset when one of them had said the above, but nobody in the group knew of Owen’s death at this point. Bret was trying to get to Los Angeles to appear on The Tonight Show. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 14 (Owen Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 13 (WCW Edition)

It’s fitting that as we reach the WCW portion of Bret Hart’s wrestling career that this is part number (unlucky) 13. Things start to move a bit faster and turn very dark in a hurry.

According to the mail I received and the opinions of the fans I ran into in person, they had a hard time following the incoherent storylines—and so did I.

This is so true and is why I rarely have reviewed WCW shows from the late 90s. I can’t figure out what is going on half the time so there is no insight into what happened. Anyone who has reviewed Starrcade 1999 is better than me because I wouldn’t be able to make any sense of what was happening. But WCW was always somewhat dysfunctional from the day Ted Turner bought them and even in the Crockett days. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 13 (WCW Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 12 (Montreal Aftermath Edition)

Now that Bret Hart has been officially screwed, let’s check back in with him from his book Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling.

They’d cut the ring mic, but the cameras were still rolling, so I painted WCW in giant letters in the air for all to see.

This is one of the more peculiar parts of this: why the WWF kept the cameras rolling after the PPV suddenly went off the air about a minute after the match. It wasn’t to catch Bret destroying things so that the could sue him, since the Hitman smashed a bunch of the ringside monitors anyway without repercussion. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 12 (Montreal Aftermath Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 11 (Montreal Edition)

And now what you’ve been waiting for from Bret Hart’s book, passages from the Montreal screwjob. Let’s dive right in:

He glared back at me. “I appreciate that, but I want you to know that I’m not willing to do the same thing for you.” And then he left.

Shawn Michaels said this to Bret in October in the locker room in San Jose, CA only weeks before Survivor Series. At the time, Bret claimed to have no issue with losing to Shawn but it changed in an instant with that comment. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 11 (Montreal Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 10 (1997 Edition)

While that was a perfectly cromulent RAW last night, I know for a fact that I will have to choose between RAW and Smackdown in a month and I will go with the show without JBL. Speaking of commentary, let’s get back to Bret Hart’s book where we are now in the heart of 1997, the greatest year in wrestling.

On April 11 Vader made the mistake of going bonkers on Good Morning Kuwait.

This was the typical “interviewer asks if its fake” deal and Vader looking to protect the business, probably with his vast Japan experience in mind (since they still treated it as sport). For me the best part of this is how the Undertaker is there too in a very rare glimpse of him out of character. When Vader grabs the guy, Taker sits there stonefaced unwilling to move. Unlike the United States and a coalition in 1990, the Undertaker was not willing to defend Kuwait against attack. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 10 (1997 Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 9 (Rocky Edition)

As an old school fan who hates repetitive booking, I’m just glad the stupid MITB briefcase bit is now in the rearview for 2016, even if the new champion is a guy who can’t throw a working punch yet portrays a crazy brawler. But enough about Dean Ambrose, we’re here for Bret Hart and we’re getting even closer to Montreal.

Just after midnight, Jake Roberts stumbled through the front doors whacked out on something with three black prostitutes leading the way.

Jake Roberts living it up in South Africa 1996, everyone! I’m sure he was just preaching the word of God, right? Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 9 (Rocky Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 8 (Kliq Edition)

We’re getting so close to Montreal in Bret Hart’s book, but first he has to deal with the rest of the Kliq: Diesel, Razor, and of course his WrestleMania 12 opponent Shawn Michaels.

Stu loved to talk about the tough guys of the business. In his opinion, Haku, Earthquake and The Steiners were the toughest guys around right now.

Stu Hart might not have been the most eloquent man in history, but he seemed to have a pretty good eye for toughness. Just go ahead and do a search for “Haku stories”. He bit a guy’s nose off! Earthquake (John Tenta) was not one to take crap from anybody, as Koji Kitao memorably found out. And the Steiners had amateur wrestling bonafides, and worked so stiff in the ring that many jobbers refused to work with them in the WWF. So Mike Enos (Blake Beverly) had to serve as a “personal job guy” for the Steiners, working under various masks. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 8 (Kliq Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 7 (Hulkster Edition)

Boy am I glad the Orioles won in Boston last night or I was going to be permanently banned from their games for one year. Today we get a larger look at Hulk Hogan from Bret Hart’s book as he prepares to pass the torch to The Ultimate Warrior….sort of.

He still flew on a Lear jet and had his own limo, and a manservant named Brutus Beefcake who carried his bags.

Hogan was separate from most of the boys in the WWF though he was generally well-liked by other wrestlers because they made more money because of Hulk’s incredible popularity. Beefcake was generally regarded as Hogan’s stooge and at this point had been lifted into the main event of SummerSlam ’89 because of it. But the Barber had his fans too…like me. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 7 (Hulkster Edition)

Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 6

Up to part 6 and Bad News is once again lurking behind the corner.

[Stu Hart] asked me over and over with a huge smirk on his face, “So Vince is actually out of the closet, is he?”

In December 1987, the WWF aired a Slammys special, a parody of award shows. Among the awards given were the Jesse the Body Award, Manager of the Year, and Best Ring Apparel. Wrestlers also sang songs and so did Vince McMahon who did a song called “Stand Back”. This was not a Stevie Nicks cover but rather a middle finger to all rival wrestling promoters. It was quite campy even for the time so it’s easy to see why Stu might be confused. Continue reading Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 6