Shawn Michaels is sitting at a table speaking into a microphone. The cop is now wearing slacks, a Shawn Michaels t-shirt, a tweed jacket and a pair of glasses. He is the moderator, sitting down at the table which has three chairs. Shawn looks annoyed.
Shawn: Look sir, if you had a group of good friends that you enjoyed working with, wouldn’t you want to work with them as much as you could? Shane Douglas was a good wrestler but he was a complete jerk backstage. I feel badly he never made it to the heights of professional wrestling, but the guy got steady work and did okay for himself. Are there any more questions?
Bret is standing behind the audience. He raises his hand.
Moderator: I believe I see a hand in the back. Your question sir?
Bret: Yeah, I have a question. How’s your groin?
Shawn: Hey. Hey! It’s better. I think it was a strain, not a pull. How’s your stomach?
Bret: You didn’t hurt me Shawn.
Shawn: I saw you double over.
Moderator: Sorry, no follow ups. Next question? I believe I see a…
Shawn: Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to my most infamous opponent and also my greatest. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bret Hart.
Gasps followed by applause is heard as Bret makes his way to the stage. The moderator stands and applauds along with the sound effects.
Moderator: My God! Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels on the same stage! This is a historic moment!
Bret reaches the stage and offers his hand to Shawn. They shake. The applause gets louder.
Moderator: What a moment! Please sir, please take a seat.
Bret: Nah, I just wanted to…
Moderator: I insist! Ladies and gentleman, who else wants Bret Hart to join us?
The canned applause shoots up a notch. Shawn pulls out the chair for Bret. Bret looks a little uncomfortable, but he sits down. The applause dies out.
Moderator: Bret, let me first say what an honor it is to have you with us.
Bret: Thank you. That’s very kind of you.
Moderator: We got more than a few questions today about the Montreal incident, and maybe we could get your side of the story?
Bret: Shawn told a side of the story?
Shawn: Heh! No, I mean, I said I did what I thought was best for business and we’re both okay with it now.
Bret: Well, that might be exaggerating just a bit…
Shawn: Me and you, we’re okay.
Bret: Absolutely. (Canned applause.) Last night, Shawn apologized for the Montreal incident and we’re okay now.
Shawn: Well, I apologized for the way you felt after the incident. I mean, I still feel it was the right move for business.
Bret: Debatable, but Shawn apologized and we’re okay.
Shawn: We’re closer to acquaintances than enemies. It’s a big step.
Moderator: That’s fantastic to hear. Any chance the two of you might get into the ring one last time?
Bret: For a match?
Moderator: I think the fans would love that!
Shawn: I actually spoke to Shane about it today. We’re going to have the first ever dentures on a pole match!
Bret: Yeah, and just when I’m about to grab the dentures the pole is going to rise another two feet. Screwed again!
Shawn: Hah! I thought you might feel that way, so we also proposed a wheel chair chicken match.
Bret: That’s a thought, but I bet I’d go a few feet and my chair would be rigged so one of the wheels falls off. Screwed again!
Shawn: Screwed again, cute. How about we have a hold on to the past match?
Moderator: How would that work?
Shawn: This is genius. We’d both grab a hold of the past and see who could hold on the longest in spite of apologies and expressed regrets. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t screw Bret out of winning that match.
Bret: Don’t be so modest. You’d find a way. How about we have a drinking contest? Wait, sorry, I forgot. Jesus and all…
Shawn: For God’s sake Bret.
Bret: What? Just kidding around!
Moderator: Does anyone have a question for Bret?
Shawn: Yeah, I have one. What is this, I apologize but you’re still going to rub it in my face for the rest of my life?
Bret: No! All is forgiven. I’m joshing you. Hey, when is this session supposed to be over?
Moderator: In half an hour. Why?
Bret: It’s nothing. Just a little nervous that you might suddenly end it early and declare Shawn the winner. Am I right people?
Shawn: There’s nothing to win Bret.
Bret: Of course not. Nothing to make me look foolish either, right?
Shawn: You are a paranoid old bastard.
Bret: Amazing how I got this way. You thought you could just apologize and everything would be okay?
Shawn: Not everything, but I didn’t think it would make you into an even bigger prick.
Bret: I do feel freer with my comments, I’ll give you that.
Moderator: Well, it’s great to see at least a dialogue is open.
Shawn: I invite you to my Q and A and you make me look like a jackass?
Bret: It’s not difficult Shawn. Am I right people?
Shawn: You’re making them feel uncomfortable.
Bret: Everybody relax! I’m just joking around up here. I spent about eight hours with Shawn last night and he couldn’t stop joking around!
Shawn: I apologized for what happened last night.
Bret: This guy apologizes for everything!
Moderator: Okay, we’re going to take more questions from…
Shawn: Are you drunk?
Bret: Nah, I’m fine. Hey, instead of a Q and A, who’d like to see a debate? Bret versus Shawn one more time!
Shawn: What would you like to debate?
Shawn: It’s finished!
Bret: That was private. Let’s talk about this for the world to see. Somebody is filming this, right?
Shawn: I want to make something very clear to this audience. I have done everything Bret asked of me to resolve this issue, and I invited him to this session thinking we could go public with the end of our feud. I did not expect to be sandbagged like this…
Bret: I feel terribly. I mean, you expected something and instead something else happened and you’re flustered and thrown off…
Shawn: Well at least I’m not destroying the set and punching the moderator.
Moderator: I had no part in…
Bret: What would you have done? A little dance maybe?
Shawn: I wouldn’t have behaved like a child.
Bret: Please! That’s the only way you behaved.
Shawn: You want to debate this?
Bret: I actually only wanted to shake your hand for a photo op and get the hell away from you, but yeah, I’m feeling up for a little debate at the moment.
Shawn: Fine. You were a selfish jackass who decided to hold a grudge far too long and that resulted in Montreal.
Bret: Except for the last part, yes. Look, I wasn’t perfect and God knows I hated Shawn. However, our entire feud boils down to the fact that I did a job for him and he didn’t do one for me in return. Were there underlying reasons for him to refuse to lose me? Of course there were, but in my opinion he was a bit paranoid.
Shawn: YOU are calling me paranoid?
Bret: I don’t want to bore you folks with details, but Shawn and I had a little private debate last night. His big point was that every time I lost the title I had to look like I was cheated out it, and it made the champion appear weak. Shawn, I was the company’s top good guy. They were protecting me. Stone Cold got screwed out of the title just as much as I did. Being that you and me were both faces, was it necessary for me make people feel as though you got lucky when you beat me at Wrestlemania?
Shawn: No. It wasn’t.
Bret: But it didn’t matter! You weren’t seen as a weak champion. Nobody made snide comments about the legitimacy of title around your waist. People still consider you one of the best wrestlers of all time. Am I right people? (Canned Applause) So you harbored a grudge against me for something that didn’t even hurt you.
Shawn: It hurt.
Bret: Inside? Did you cry inside? Do you need a hug?
Shawn: Go to hell Bret.
Bret: Been there.
Shawn: Go back.
Bret: No thanks. So the fact that I didn’t lose to you cleanly bruised your ego while not hurting your career?
Shawn: You can say that.
Bret: So why not request that you drop the title to me in a similar fashion? You think I would have said no? I expected the match to end the same way.
Shawn: You never won the title via screwjob.
Bret: Well we’ll never know because you never gave me the chance to prove it.
Shawn: You see this people? Last night after we shook hands I went back to my hotel and went to bed. Bret here went back to his hotel and dissected every point I made and came up with arguments to refute them. He’s a bitter old man with nothing but hate to cling to.
Bret: He banged Sunny.
Shawn: You banged Sunny!
Bret: If you truly believe that then you willingly hopped on her as sloppy seconds.
Shawn: Why don’t we call Sunny in here and ask her who was better in bed?
Bret: See! He admits it!
Shawn: He wore pink! What kind of grown man walks around in pink tights?
Bret: I’m comfortable with my masculinity. We’re getting off topic, aren’t we?
Shawn: I’m sick of talking about Montreal! You know I couldn’t go back there for two decades without fearing for my life because of your whining?
Bret: That and you wiped your crotch with the Canadian flag. That can hardly be endearing to the crowd.
Shawn: I was just being a heel. They didn’t hate me for the next two decades because of that.
Bret: Someone told me you went up there and were baiting the crowd and my music played. The crowd went nuts and then you laughed your ass off. Then you ended the show by putting… was it Hogan?
Bret: Hey, we’re back to Hogan! Everything from last night is coming up again. Anyway, you ended the show by putting Hogan in the sharpshooter. Boy, you sure wanted them to forget about Montreal, huh?
Shawn: We had to play off of the reaction we knew we were going to get.
Bret: And now you want me to show up on WWE television with you so our kids can, what, get a rub from our heat? The only people who still care about our feud are in this room.
Shawn: There are plenty of people…
Bret: It’s finished Shawn! For years I had to listen to you and the McMahons telling me how I should get over it. Yet here we are decades later when there isn’t a penny left to shake in the till and you guys STILL want to shake it.
Shawn: You see this guy? He refuses to help his kid!
Bret: Dallas and Cameron are doing fine. This is about you wanting to appear in the spotlight one last time and Shane topping his dad by being the McMahon to get me back in the fold. I’m sure this video is going to find its way into his hands, so let me say this to Shane. I’ve got nothing against you, I never did, and I truly appreciate what you’ve done for Dallas. You’re already twice the man your father was, and I’m not saying that to insult his memory, I’m saying it to honor his memory. You don’t need us anymore.
Shawn: You might not have anything left to contribute, but I do.
Bret: You want to be a commissioner? You want a little silly role to play on television every week? You want me to show up here and, how did you so eloquently put it, blow you so we can have our moment? Our moment is finished. Nobody cares if we reconcile.
Moderator: I hate to interrupt Bret but I have to say that all of us here were very excited to see you and Shawn shaking hands.
Bret: But does it matter? Really, at the end of the day, God knows I’m close to the end of mine, does a hand shake between two enemies do anything for the fans? I honestly appreciated you apologizing Shawn, and I came here with every intention of shaking your hand and leaving. I didn’t need that to close the door on our situation, I consider it closed, but I did it because you seemed so excited by the prospect. As you insisted I sit down and speak to this audience, it suddenly occurred to me just how lucky I truly am.
Shawn: You’re not lucky! You’re a miserable old fart!
Bret: Maybe so. I might have lost too much and dwelled on the past for too long to ever be truly happy. But for all of my wants and needs and regrets, for all of my desire to protect my legacy, I don’t need the limelight. I don’t have all that much to live for…
Shawn: Damn straight.
Bret: But I live nevertheless. Despite everything that has happened to me, I manage to get out of bed everyday and do what I need to. For all of your cockiness and your devotion to God, I’m reasonably sure that if you lost the limelight you’d curl in to a ball and die.
Shawn: That’s crap.
Bret: No. You have a pole in your back. When you got it, doctors told you if you ever wrestled again you could be paralyzed for life.
Shawn: But Jesus…
Bret: Jesus didn’t tell you it was okay to wrestle again. He didn’t say he’d make sure you didn’t get hurt. You risked your life and the livelihood of your family for stardom. When I got hurt, I was able to walk away.
Shawn: That just proves who cared more about the business.
Bret: No. Shawn, you’re just a little kid who wants people to watch him as he does his stupid trick. You might as well have gotten ‘Look at me’ tattooed on your forehead. It’s not about the rush of the crowd cheering for you, it’s not about the dance. For me, first it was about my dad, but after I got over my daddy issues everything I did was for the fans. With you, it’s always been about you.
Bret: No. No more buts. You know I’m right, but luckily it doesn’t make you wrong or bad. It just makes you a little selfish and a little pathetic. It’s time to let go Shawn. It’s time for the showstopper to stop the show.
Shawn: These people, our audience, they came to see me. It gave them a thrill to see the two of us together.
Shawn: We, not me, we did this. We can still do this. We don’t have to work for Shane, I know you won’t do that, but we can keep going to conventions like this. We can keep their memories alive.
Bret: Sure we could. Or we can just wait for the video from this event to show up on the Internet. It won’t take more than a day or two.
Shawn: But that’ll draw in the crowds. It’ll draw in more crowds! It will create new fans!
Bret: No thanks.
Shawn: We can do it one more time. This is our chance.
Bret: I’m fine.
Shawn: You want to die in your little shack in Italy…
Bret: My mansion?
Shawn: Shut up! If you want die irrelevant and alone, you go ahead! We could have made so much money together. We could have been a part of something bigger than wrestling. You kept saying no. You turned it down! You kept us from immortality!
Bret: Even if I had agreed to come back and fight you, we would still be forgotten eventually. Maybe even sooner. Maybe the reason they still remember is that there was no blow off. Maybe our handshake today ruined your chance to be remembered.
Bret: No they won’t. Soon they physically won’t be able to anymore. Hey, look at it this way. Your merchandise is probably worth a lot of money if you kept it in pristine condition. I just sold an action figure for fifty thousand dollars. (Bret stands up.) People, I have a ceremony tonight in the East Ballroom, tickets still available, all profits going to Hart Foundation for Pediatric Cancer. I hope to see some of you there. Thank you very much for indulging two old has-beens, but I have to go get ready.
Shawn: You’re a son of a bitch.
Bret: My mom was a saint. Have a good day Shawn.
Bret walks offstage and heads for the back of the theater.
Shawn: I take back my apology!
Bret: Too late.
Shawn: I wish we could do Montreal five million more times! I hope you die a slow, lonely death! You shit head! You mother f*cker! FUCK YOU BRET HART! FUCK YOU!
Shawn: YOU PIECE OF… YOU… Heh. Heh. See, that got rid of him! Just playing another prank on… on Bret.
Shawn: It was funny! Seeing me get all… he accused me of not being able to let go. Bret Hart accused Shawn Michaels of not being able to let go.
Moderator: You still call yourself by your wrestling name in public?
Shawn: Come on. Anybody have any other questions? Anyone? Come on, somebody ask me something. I’ve got great stories about ECW icon Test, Mick Foley, did you know I worked with Senator Dinsmore a few times? I did! Ask me stuff. Please.
There is silence as the lights fade out.
Shawn is back in the bar. He is drinking a beer. The bartender is behind the bar listening to him.
Shawn: And then he says I’m the one holding on to the past.
Bartender: What a jerk.
Bret enters. He is holding a plaque.
Bret: Before you say anything, I’m just here to apologize for last night. I’m prepared to pay for all… Shawn!
Bartender: Oh no.
Shawn: Go away.
Bret: Whatever he’s drinking, I’m buying!
Shawn: GO AWAY!
Bret: Non-alcoholic beer?
Bartender: Sir, please leave.
Bret takes out a wad of cash and places it on the bar.
Bret: Five hundred dollars gonna change your mind?
Bartender: Have a seat sir!
Bret: Don’t mind if I do.
Shawn: You gonna bitch some more? You want to fight again?
Bret: Nah. Look, I was a little harsh on you during you Q and A. My apologies.
Shawn: Go f*ck yourself.
Bret: Shawn, I’m never going to feel right about this until you accept my apology.
Shawn: Bite me in hell.
Bret: Fine. You deserved it for what you did to me in Montreal, what you did to my marriage, and what you did to me last night in jail.
Bartender: What did he do to you?
Bret: A gentleman never tells. Shawn, I feel better than I have in a number of decades. Thank you for that. Honestly, thank you. I forgive everything you’ve done to me, and I hope you can do the same.
Bret: Shake my hand.
Bret: The Bartender will tell this story to other people if you shake my hand. If not, he’ll forget about it.
Shawn thinks about this for a moment. He turns to Bret and shakes his hand.
Shawn: Nice seeing you again shithead.
Bret: The pleasure was all mine. Hey, I’ve been rethinking the whole Dallas and Cameron angle with us in their corners…
Shawn: I never want to see you again.
Bartender: Would you like a whiskey sir? On the house.
Bret: You mind if I sit down and have a drink? We don’t need to talk or anything.
Shawn: Do what you have to.
Bret sits down next to Shawn as the bartender places the glass of whiskey in front of him. Bret raises the glass to Shawn.
Bret: To our children. May they be wiser than their fathers.
Shawn smirks a bit, then picks up his beer and clinks Bret’s glass. The lights go out.
This play is dedicated to both Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, two men who carried the WWE during a period when fans were deserting the product in droves. For all their flaws, when you strip away the egos and the underlying truths and the lies and the whining, they were simply two damn good entertainers, and I wish them nothing but the absolute best.