Bret Hart spoke in a recent interview about his return to WWE, noting that when he walked back into the ring it felt as though he had only been away from the national wrestling scene for a few months rather than a decade. He mentioned that his return was not motivated by financial need as his savings have held up well despite the recent economic downturn. Instead, he was hopeful of just gaining some closure and showing that he had let go of his bitterness about the Montreal Screwjob. Vince McMahon had wanted to do this angle in 2006 when Bret was inducted into the Hall of Fame, yet this time around it had been Bret who initiated the deal. â€œIn 2006, I wasnâ€™t quite ready for it. It didnâ€™t seem right at the time. I feel comfortable, it feels the like itâ€™s the right time to get a sense of closure. I want to finally put the thing to bed.â€ He first contacted WWE in February 2009 about returning. His girlfriend was moving to Calgary to study criminal justice at Mount Royal University, which meant that he would be based there for a couple of years rather than in Hawaii. He had been thinking of going to school at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles but the costs of maintaining a third residence, on top of tuition fees and living expenses, made him decide not to do it. Discussions with WWE picked up in September, although at the time Vince was still uncertain about it going ahead as he was planning a match with The Undertaker for WrestleMania 26 and had started screwing with him in the Smackdown storylines. Now the current plan is a Street Fight between Bret and Vince instead, although things in WWE now are rarely 100% certain this far in advance. After his concussions and stroke Bret cannot take a traditional flat back bump in the ring. He had to change the original script for the 4th January show as it called for Vince to slap him in the face. Instead they went with a kick to the stomach but it turned out to be a kick to the groin instead, although Vince did not hurt him with it. Both Bret and Vince have veto power over the minor details of the storyline, although the major details of the whole angle have been agreed upon. Bret is scheduled to return to Raw on 18th January and be a regular star throughout February. He spent a few days in Stamford, CT, this month working on the new Hart Family DVD. WWE also contacted his brothers Smith and Bruce, as well as sisters-in-law Diana and Ellie, who had been on bad terms with Bret following their reactions to the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against WWE after Owen’s death. It will be released in the spring to include Bret’s induction speech for Stu at the Hall of Fame ceremony. On the 4th January he met with Shawn Michaels in the dressing room before the show and they made amends with one another for real. Michaels was said to be friendlier and more apologetic about their history than in the past. Michaels, Mark Henry and Triple H, who is said to be the one person against this entire angle, were the only people in the Raw locker room from when Bret was last in it. A lot of the younger wrestlers there had been big Hitman fans in the past and treated his return as a huge deal. Many of the Smackdown wrestlers were said to be upset that they could not be there for his first appearance. Bret spent a lot of time talking with MVP, who studied tapes of Bret when he first started training, and Ted Dibiase and Randy Orton, who he had last seen when they were children. Bret’s contract expires in April but he is open to ideas if they want to discuss a more long-term arrangement, or perhaps even for one-off appearances while he is living in Calgary. His stroke is going to be incorporated into the storyline, although not his concussions as this is a sensitive issue for WWE at the moment. Bret had a knee replacement done not too long ago and was having nerve pain in his back on the flight over from Hawaii, yet this cleared up after a rest. WWE did have a “We Want Bret” chant on tape that they could pipe in during the show if needed, although the crowd was hot for Bret and it was not used.
Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, 18th January 2010 (subscribe here)
Tags: Bret Hart, Raw, shawn michaels, vince mcmahon, wrestlemania, WWE