WWE News WWE News: Bret Hart goes deep, in-depth on his WWE return - "They didn't come to me; I came to them"
Mar 11, 2010 - 11:53:17 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart covered in-depth a number of questions, concerns, and skepticism on his WWE return, specifically working with Vince McMahon again, in an interview with Michael Landsberg on TSN's "Off the Record" in Canada today. (Read Part 2 on HBK, Hunter, Flair, Hogan.)
The top story coming out of Hart's interview was Hart saying he approached WWE to make his return, as he felt the time was right to "turn a negative into a positive" after sitting on bitter feelings toward WWE for 12 years.
"I feel that when I initially approached them about it - I mean they didn't come to me; I came to them - I basically talked about trying to turn a negative into a positive and making it a better ending than the one I had at the end," Hart said. "The truth is, I thought it would be fun. I thought I needed a little adventure. I had some time where I found I was doing nothing, so I thought, 'why not?' I kept taking the 'why nots' against the 'why's' and in the end, I couldn't come up with enough reasons why not."
Hart was asked if there were additional motivations for returning, either financially or because he couldn't walk away from the wrestling business like many of his peers.
"I didn't go back because I had to have it or needed it. I don't have the schedule that the wrestlers have and just to have a bit part on the show," Hart said. "Hopefully I'll make some money, but it was never really about the money. Even when I talked to him (Vince McMahon), we didn't bicker about what I was going to be paid. It was more what they would do with me and how we could make it fun. It was a big negative thinking about it for 13 years and being angry about what happened, and trying to take something negative and turn it into a positive."
Hart also said he sensed from Vince McMahon some sadness on his part over what happened at Survivor Series 1997 and especially with Owen Hart's death in 1999. Hart said he almost felt like it was an opportunity to relieve McMahon of his burdens from the situation.
"I found myself all these years later saying, 'If I could go back on my own terms and have fun and almost make light of what happened. Clearly what happened with my brother Owen was an accident. I don't think anyone refutes that much anymore. I think WWE and Vince McMahon carried around a lot of heartache because I don't think anyone felt good about that," Hart said.
"I do think there's a bit of conscience aspect to all this. I think Vince, in his own little small way, felt bad about what happened to me. And then the Owen tragedy heaped on top of it and the family problems and all the stuff that's happened over the years, I've sensed in my own little way - which is why I did come forward - that Vince has been looking for a little peace."
Hart recalled McMahon reaching out to him previously, specifically when he was in the hospital in 2002 after suffering a stroke. Hart said he was torn on whether to slam the phone down or listen to what McMahon had to say.
"When I had my stroke, he called me in the hospital within two or three days. I was in a bad state. When the phone rang, I remember picking it up and it was Vince's voice. There was a part of me that wanted to slam the phone down and there was another part of me that said, 'Talk to him.' I think in those fragile moments - people think now, 'Why would you go back? - those are all part of the process of repairing a friendship," Hart said. "I think in a lot of ways, Vince has always tried to make it to me. I just sensed the time was right - it was an open wound that everyone was better off putting a big band-aid on."
As for their singles match at WrestleMania 26, Hart said he doesn't anticipate a similar screwjob. If it does happen, he said he'll just shake his head at WWE. Hart also described his physical limitations in the ring, while adding his head is the most important part of his body to protect in the ring.
"I think I've come back with an open mind. If something bad happened again, I would just have to shake my head and go, 'Well, you asked for it, I guess.' I don't know what the benefit would be for either one of us to take that route again," Hart said before describing the expected physical aspect of their match.
"I'm at risk to a certain degree. I have limitations on what I can do physically, but I've taken every kind of precaution that I can take physically. I can't get hurt. I have to be really careful with my head. My head's worth all the money in the world," Hart said. "People see me and they assume, 'Oh, he can do lots of stuff.' And I'm sure I could do lots of things that I used to do, but anyone with the illusion that the Bret Hart they're going to watch at WrestleMania this year is going to be the Bret Hart of yesterday is not going to be the same thing. But, I will say that anyone who watches me wrestle will be entertaining by it. I've gone into this knowing I can at least satisfy my fans."
Caldwell's Analysis: Simply put, it's a must-listen-to interview. Michael Landsberg built a reputation on asking the right questions getting deeper into a subject, and this was no exception. Hart's OTR interview and post-OTR interview are available on the OTR Podcast webpage.
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