The connection between World Championship Wrestling stars and the National Broadcating Company continued late Thursday night when Bret “Hitman” Hart appeared on the NBC late night talk show Later.
The Hitman presented himself very well with an informative down to earth conversation with host Rita Sever. While Hart did crack a couple of jokes involving WCW stars Diamond Dallas Page and Sting, he also gave an informative explination on why he quit the Atlanta, Georgia-based wrestling company.
The show started with a little comedy skit, as Sever was upset with having another wrestler as a guest. (Her last wrestling guest was DDP.) Hart busts through a wall, knocks an actor down, and demands to see the host. Sever and Hart introduce themselves to each other, then Sever pulls out a mike and gives a wrestling-style statement, saying that people need to respect Hart and give him anything he wants.
After the show’s introduction, Sever walks out onto the set and presents a second comedy skit on defending yourself at home from intruders before introducing Hart. The fans in the audience cheered as the five-time World Wrestling Federation champ walked out, prompting Hart to say that he “had the best fans in the world.”
The first topic discussed was why Hart took the cheap shot at Goldberg on the March, 29, 1999 WCW Monday Nitro, wearing a metal plate underneath a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey and letting the former WCW champ spear him. Hart rattled off a comment, saying that there are no good guys or bad guys in wrestling, and that the only thing that matters is who wins the match.
The clip where Goldberg speared Hart on the recent Nitro from Toronto was then shown, which also showed Hart pinning Goldberg and yelling “I quit!”. After a commercial break, highlights of Hart’s Halloween Havoc match with Sting is shown, where the Hitman was using a bat on the Stinger, who was draped over the top rope.
The first words out of Hart’s mouth in this portion of the show was directed at the decision to bring DDP in as a guest on a previous show.
“I just want to know how you can have Dallas Page on this show when you could have real first-rate wrestlers,” said Hart. “I mean, lets face it, he looks like an irish elkhound or something like that.”
No new ground was immediately covered as the two talked about subjects like the World Wrestling Federation, WWF owner Vince McMahon, Hart’s large family, and “The Dungeon”.
This was what Hart told Sever about McMahon, his former boss.
“He was a guy that I worked under for 14 years,” said Hart. “I gave everything to him. . . In the end, he proved to me that he is basically a liar, a cheater, and a dishonest guy to work for.”
Hart went on to say that McMahon treated all of his wrestlers “like circus animals” and that he is proud of punching the WWF owner following the 1997 Survivor Series.
“I can take pride in that I stood my ground and knocked him (McMahon) out cold,” said Hart, who got cheers from the audience after making the statement.
Sever drew a long, interesting statement from Hart when she asked him if he really did quit WCW.
“Yeah, I’m toast with WCW,” said Hart. “I’m finished. I refuse to work for a company that can’t utilize me. I was told, funny enough, by Vince McMahon, that the WCW wouldn’t know what to do with a Bret Hart if they ever got him. And he was right about that. They haven’t known what to do with me since I got there.
“I really don’t need to do this for a living anymore. I can go home. I had a point I wanted to prove when I came to the WCW, having left the WWF under such circumstances. I really had something that I wanted to prove, and I’ve been continually sort of misled and held back. Just when I’m told I’m not wrestling, all of a sudden, I’m putting my boots on.
“It’s been a really hard year for me to be prepared and to go out there. I’ve had to wrestle under really odd circumstances on a week-to-week basis. It’s really hard for me to find a footing, in order to sort of like, show what I could do or be the best. And after a while, I’ve just reached the point where I don’t have to prove that I’m the best wrestler.”
The show cut to a commercial break, and upon its return, showed a clip of the Hitman placing a victim in the sharpshooter, his trademark finisher. This segment of the show was where Hart demonstrated a couple of wrestling moves, including the crossface chickenwing, the sharpshooter and the clothesline. The moves were performed on a wrestler named “Fallen Angel”, the actor knocked down by Hart in the opening skit.
Prior to demonstrating the sharpshooter, Hart took a stab at Sting.
“This is the move that Sting stole from me,” said Hart. “I was doing this when I was a small kid when Sting was running around, dressing up as a halloween monster.”
After the final commercial break, Sever showed an action figure of the Hitman, and then asked Hart if he had any final words for WCW. Hitman gave a response that was directed to both the WWF and WCW.
“It’s a crying shame what the WWF did to me, but it’s also a crying shame what the WCW didn’t do with me.”
NOTE: Devin Shultz, aka ‘The Penguin’, is from Zanesville, Ohio — and get this — he’s a big Penguins fan. (Too bad the Leafs will whip ’em in the playoffs!) He can be emailed at [email protected]
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