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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Time to Move On
January 27, 2005 by Eric James Taylor


To whom it may concern: I have gotten the vibe in the past from your website that many of your columnists are Canadians. This article is in no way meant to slander their country or origin, and I respect most Canadian athletes, especially the wrestlers. This is also in no way meant to demean the legacy of Brett Hart. However, it is meant to express my opinion, and the opinion of other fans I'm sure, of how sick I am of the whole subject and hearing about it again and again. I hope you will see fit to print this article to show a different point of view than what seems to be the majority of your other columnists. Thank you in advance.

I apologize if this article makes you angry, or if it is seen as blasphemy by Canadian wrestling fans, but this subject has officially gotten stale and needs to be forgotten. The subject: Survivor Series 1997. More specifically, what you people refer to as "The Screwjob". Now...we all know Vince screwed Brett. I'm of the opinion that Brett tried to screw him right back, but I'll get to that in a minute. We all also know that Shawn was somehow in on it, and lied to Brett. Shawn has since tried to make amends, but you people are petty and bitter and show him tremendous amounts of disrespect every time he steps on Canadian soil. I cannot overstate how disgusted it makes me when there are angles going on, and despite whatever is happening in the wrestling world, you people single him out because you're hero got screwed 7 years ago. SEVEN YEARS AGO!!! Get over yourselves. Brett was not the be-all end-all in this business. Was he good" Yes. Was He great" Yes. At one time he was my favorite wrestler, but he got boring, and refused to believe that besides the Canadian wrestling fans who seem to like redundancy, no one else really cared enough to watch him anymore (If I'm wrong, why didn't WCW's ratings soar when he came aboard"). So, he decided to be stubborn and tell his boss he would not perform a certain aspect of his job (refusing to drop the belt in Montreal to Shawn). His boss did not like this, and repremanded him publicly (the screwjob). So, he punched his boss, and they parted ways. No lawsuits, no Court hearings...they just let it go at that. However, it's the leeches that still chant "You screwed Brett" everytime Shawn or Earl Hebner come out that can't let it go. I would like to think that you are making Brett ashamed, but I'm sure he's loving every minute of it, because realistically, it's part of his legacy. If part of your legacy is disrespecting someone that gave you everything (his refusal to Vince of dropping the belt), then that makes you pretty lame. Owen (God rest his soul) still worked for Vince after the screwjob, but no one ever chanted "you sold out" at him. It just makes me really sad to hear that chant and it makes Canadian wrestling fans look really pathetic whenever it goes up. Give it up already. Everyone else has.

P.S. Next time I go to a wrestling event and Shawn comes out, I'm going to start a "Brett Screwed Brett" chant at him just to spite you folks.

by Eric James Taylor ..


Kirsty Quested wrote:
Well, if you've read my previous columns this feedback will come as no surprise to you. However, while everyone's entitled to their opinion, I feel I should point out a few facts of which you are in error. Firstly, it's Bret, not Brett. I'm not one for spelling flames but if you're going to comment on one of the most historic moments in wrestling history you should attempt to get the main player's name right. Secondly, if no-one cared to watch him anymore, why are the Canadian fans still outraged" Referring to the WCW's ratings after Bret came on board is not justification of this comment. The Screwjob left Bret with a rather large cloud hanging over him, not to mention some pretty hefty baggage, which, in a world of THEATRE, had crossed the line into reality and left him in limbo. Thirdly, Owen Hart tried his very best to get out of his contract with the (then) WWF and move to the WCW with Bret, but Vince refused to let him go. He even threatened Owen, Bret and their advisors with legal action if they continued to try to break Owen's contract. So the fact that he remained Vince McMahon's employee is incidental, irrelevant, and the result of a meglomaniac who after screwing over one brother, kept the other locked down out of spite. Now to the opinion part of this. I actually agree with you about the fans jeering at Shawn and Earl Hebner. They were both in an untenable position of being forced to take centre stage in an event that would mean they would forever be the bad guys. They were under orders and they followed them and it's my opinion that Vince should be ashamed not only of what he did to Bret, but the impact it had on both Shawn Michaels and Earl Hebner. The only person who should be jeered at in Canada, I believe, is Vince McMahon since the entire incident was his doing. However, I would also like to point out that Bret is a Canadian hero. He was voted 39th in their top 50 Greatest Canadians Of All Time. Not just wrestling. OF ALL TIME. You don't treat a national hero like that and get away with it. The Canadian fans have EARNED the right to hold a grudge. And Bret himself" Let's not forget that he gave Vince McMahon 14 years of loyal service. He never once refused to put anyone over, never once said No. His request, that he be allowed to drop the belt outside of Canada (let's not forget, he had agreed to drop it to anyone, at any time, just not in Canada) was a modest one when you consider everything that the Hitman gave to Vince and to the WWF. For Vince to refuse this request was ridiculous and it benefitted no-one. To say nothing of the fact that Bret never wanted to leave. Vince forced him out by breaking their contract, then humiliated him in front of thousands of Canadian fans. Add to that that Bret believes (rightly or wrongly) that Vince McMahon is responsible for the death of his brother. So Eric, let me ask you this. If you had worked your tail off for 14 years, turned down three times the money from another company to stay with the one you loved, only to have the boss force you out anyway and THEN humiliate you in public, would YOU forgive and forget that easily" If you want to start up a chant "just to spite you folks" as you said, then that makes you even sadder than those you speak of.
Eric James Taylor wrote:
I apologize for making the typo in Bret Hart's name. For someone who knows so much about wrestling (I dare say few know as much as I do), that that was unexcusable. Also, to reply to Kirsty's comments, I do think that Bret was still in the wrong. Who gave him every opportunity he ever had in the old WWF" Who gave him the opportunity to become a Canadian national hero" Who put the food in his family's mouths and the clothes on their backs for fourteen years" There's an old expression that goes a little something like this: "Don't bite the hand that feeds you". Bret did just that when he refused to job to Shawn on Canadian soil. However, there is also a fable of a man that nurses a snake back to health and when the snake bites him and he asks the snake why, the snake replys "Fool...you knew I was a snake." Bret should have expected something fishy from Vince, who had a history of this sort of thing, regardless of who you were and how long you'd worked for him. I think both Vince and Bret were wrong, by the way. I just think Bret could have been a bigger person and did what he was asked to do. His star-power was already falling outside Canada at that point anyways. Why else would he have been stuck in a fued with The Patriot for two months prior to The Screwjob" My whole point of the article and this rebuttal is that it's been 7 years since this incident. "I will admit to being horrified and pissed off when I first found out about the whole situation being a total shoot, which was basically five hours after the event that night. I am of the opinion, as I stated, that both sides are at fault, and I think it's time to stop blaming Shawn and Earl, like Kirsty agreed. Blame Vince. He'd get off on it anyways.

I meant to offend no one in this rebuttal, especially Kirsty, whose work I hold in the highest regard.

To explain further on my spelling error with Bret Hart's name, I actually have a friend name Brett Hart. So, I tend to get a little punchy, and forget who's who. That, and sometimes I get a little punchy.
Curtis Mcmullen wrote:
Amen, sister.
Morpheus wrote:
First of all, I've had this argument with Kirsty before, and it's nice to see I am not the only one who feels less-than-sympathetic toward Bret. However, Eric, you go a little bit too far the other way. My stance" Bret was screwed by Vince, sure enough. However, his stubbornness is what got him screwed. Should Bret get over it" Probably, but he likely won't, at least not as long as I'm alive. He may get that much-needed apology from Vince, but he'll never forgive and forget.

Now, where I agree with you, the Canadian fans need to give it a rest already. These people actually chant "Your Dad Screwed Bret" at Brian Hebner for god's sake. I'm all for having a good time and such, especially at a live wrestling event, but if Canadian Fans really have nothing better to do than hold this kind of grudge for this long, I really do wonder why their economy hasn't crashed yet.

Thus endeth the voice of the middle ground. We now return to your regularly scheduled Verbal barbs.
Brad Dykens wrote:
While I don't 100% agree with EJT's column, I want to say that I am Canadian and I think the Hitman was definitly 'in the wrong' the night Vince McMahon screwed him out of the WWF title. Yes, Vince (and all his accomplices) screwed Bret, but they had every right to do it, he's the BOSS! The only person to be blamed here is Bret; If he had just dropped the belt to Shawn Michaels that night imagine how different the wrestling world would be right now. On the flip side, WWE is the one who needs to "move on" and forget. They constantly cater to the fans who still want to remember. Hell, send the Hebner's home on Canadian tours; Don't job your Canadian stars to the sharpshooter in Canada; Don't mention it in interviews (ahem Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair). Why do they mention it on every show (Televised and Non-Television) then" Cause it's heat. A pack of Rabid Canadian fans looks good on TV that's why. WWE hasn't been able to realize that there is good heat, and bad heat.
Rhey wrote:
I thought I was the ONLY person who felt that way!!!!!! Bret sucked...plain and simple. And thats coming from a CANADIAN. Every time the "You Screwed Bret" chants start up, I always start either a "Bret Scrwed Bret" or "Get Over It" or even a "Bret Sucks" chant...he was a pretty good wrestler, but DEFINATLEY not the best there is, best there was, or best there will ever be. He was a whiney greaseball. Shawn Michaels always was, and always will be LEAGUES above him...HBK deserves respect in Canada, and around the world,for being a TRUE legend in the sport...and Bret, AND the fans, need to realize this and to just GET OVER IT!!-
Kirsty Quested wrote:
Sorry folks, but some of this is just too good to pass up. As Brad would say - "I Gotta Say This" :)

Firstly, let's begin with a small disclaimer. To those of you who know me personally (Morpheus, Brad) you know I love ya both and what I'm about to say has no bearing on you guys as people. OK" OK. To Eric - I think you're wonderfully eloquent. Truly. So what I'm about to say to you is said with respect because I think you handled my initial feedback very gracefully and I applaud you.

Eric - I agree that Vince McMahon gave Bret everything he had. But I ask you this: is it the prerogative of the boss to treat a loyal employee so viciously" I'd like to remind you - and everyone who may be overlooking these small but significant details - Bret turned down $9 million dollars to remain with Vince for half the money. That's loyalty. But Vince decided he couldn't afford even that, so he told Bret to go back to WCW. Now look - Bret may have refused to job to Shawn in Montreal, but after 14 years of doing everything he'd ever been asked, was it REALLY too much to ask that he drop the strap ANYWHERE else" I mean, what possible difference could it make to Vince WHERE he dropped it" NONE. But it made a difference to Bret. I believe that his request was a modest one given all he had done for Vince and the WWF. But lets say, hypothetically, that it made a difference to Vince. Lets say it was important Bret job for Shawn in Canada. Why keep Bret in the dark" Why tell him that the DQ finish was fine, then screw him over" He's the boss - as you've all said - so why didn't he put his foot down and say "Sorry Bret, but it's my call and you WILL drop the belt tonight." Why did he have to be so sneaky about it" Why did Bret have to be humiliated" Can anyone answer that"

Morpheus - honey, see above. You say Bret's stubbornness got him screwed. Again I must reiterate - why did Vince have to do what he did" He was still Bret's boss and he could still have said - "It's my bat, and my ball, and you'll play the game my way." Bret would not have been happy, but he would have at least KNOWN what was going down.

Brad - my darling boss - I must ask you especially to read the above and then tell me WHY Vince had the RIGHT, as you say, to screw Bret. Why couldn't he just put his foot down and tell Bret that like it or not, the belt was going to Shawn, end of story" Why tell Bret, to his face, that the DQ finish was OK, then screw him" WHY"

Rhey - say what you want about Bret and his role in the Screwjob but you can't say - nor can anyone else - that he sucked. Hell, even people who despised the Hitman character own up to the fact that technically, Bret Hart was one of the best wrestlers of all time. But that's not the argument here.

Maybe the Canadian fans should get over it. That's not for me to say - I'm arguing Bret's case (and I'm not Canadian) so I'll always see their point of view. What I don't agree with - and as I've said - are the fans jeering Earl Hebner, Brian Hebner and Shawn Michaels, because I believe that in their ways, they were screwed by Vince as badly as Bret was. They continue to have to live with it, but Bret doesn't - he's retired. Vince McMahon should be ashamed not only of what he did to Bret, but the "bad heat" (as you said Brad) that the Screwjob generated for those three.

Phew. Well that was fun. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Thank you, drive through :)
Willis Smith wrote:
I'm sure that most of you have watched Wrestling With Shadows. If you haven't, you should. You wouldn't be arguing this point. Yes, Vince employed Bret for a very large time, but who exactly was carrying the WWF at that time" Or did you enjoy hockey goons, plumbers, garbage men, and pig farmers as your wrestling talent" Shoot, why don't we start a 'Doink for World Heavyweight Champion' petition" When Vince was getting hammered by the media and the government for 'roided-up talent, he went and let Bret run with the ball. And he wrestled his ass off. He didn't attack people giving interviews, he didn't hit people with chairs, he didn't try to make catch phrases to sell on t-shirts. He wrestled, and nobody was as good and as consistently as he did. I don't care what Flair says about making others look good. To me, if you've watched one Flair match, you have watched them all. Yes, Bret had the same finishing sequence, but to me, it was like a game plan that any other athlete in any other sport would try and accomplish. Maybe that's it. Maybe I'm looking for athletes instead of guys with quick one-liners and the ability to hit their opponent with an object.

Even during his negotiations, he tried to do anything to stay with Vince. He was willing to turn down money to stay! Not only that, Michaels flat out told Bret that he would not do the job for him or respect what he was trying to accomplish. How many times have I heard a wrestler say that one of the most important things in a good match is being able to trust and respect your opponent for your own safety" I thought respect was a big deal to wrestlers" How many wrestlers have been buried for not respecting the business" That's what was behind HHH's bury after celebrating with the Kliq. You want to talk about stealing money, I could go on forever about that group of spares. You want to know who HBK is" He is a modern-day Ricky Morton who can talk better and has the ear of an owner.

Last thing, sorry I got on my soap box, about this WCW thing. If the guys making the angles are complete morons, it doesn't matter if it's Bret Hart or Bob Newhart (tried). This is the same company who screwed up with Austin, Foley, Douglas, Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko, Mysterio, Chavo, and countless others. That's not Bret's fault. That's some fool's fault in a suit, or probably some other wrestler who decided he knew how to book and create a story. Or even worse-Vince Russo.

I don't think Bret is upset because his match was screwed with. I think he's mad because of all the time he whatever he could to make Vince and WWF look good, and then in an instant, Vince tried to erase all of it. And since, he and others have tried to make money out of making him look bad. I think I'd be pretty mad, wouldn't you" What if someone went with Vince's blessing to try and legit hurt or take out Flair or Michaels- so called icons of this sport. What if they tried to discredit everything they had given to the fans as far as their effort, and then continued to make money on it. You don't think American wrestling fans would be upset" And I'm not some upset Canadian, I'm from Dallas, Texas-please forgive me-so you can't chalk it up to national pride. It's just the truth.
Rhey wrote:
Wow...I sound like a total bastard...mabey I was just writing from rage. Let me just say that I NEVER trashed his wrestling ability; if you read my article carefully enough, you'll see that I say he was a pretty good wrestler (granted, I'd never say he was one of the best of all time, but that might just be the rage thing again). I just said he sucked...and I meant as a person, not a wrestler. I'm just sick of Canadians whining about Bret, chanting "You Screwed Bret" to HBK and Hebner, and just overall refusing to get over it (I mean, I can see Calgary, but all of Canada"), and I'm still trying to find out why they put that greaseball, and not Jericho or Benoit, on the nominations for the greatest Canadian list (granted, Jericho is American born, but still, you don't include Bret just because he got most Canadians all riled up about the Screwjob and ignore the legacy that is Benoit and Jericho). Just as an afterthough, I, in no way ment to offend Canadians (being one myself, that'd be pretty damn embarassing), and I in NO WAY ment to trample the Hart legacy, especially Owen (RIP) and Stu (RIP).
Anthony Mcmullen wrote:
look, Bret and Vince agreed that Bret looses the match by DQ, thus Bret keeps the title. also, Bret did not refuse to loose the title. also, why should Bret loose in Canada. that means not only did the fans get screwed, the screw happens infront of there eyes, plus its not that of a homecoming is it. (when i said amen sister, i was responding to Kristy's comments.)
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