Tuesday, October 5, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Fans ruined Hart vs Benoit
I was one of the many wrestling fans who watched the match put on by Bret Hart and Chris Benoit this past Monday, and I have to say that I was also one of the many who enjoyed it. I felt that the match itself was a very fitting tribute to Owen Hart, however I felt that the response it received from the WCW fans that night was appalling. The fact of the matter is despite the incredible effort that Bret Hart and Chris Benoit gave, the apparent lack of interest by the fans in attendance somewhat taints the whole thing.
It's sad. It really is. In today's world of professional wrestling, it seems that the only thing that satisfies some fans is profanity, sexual innuendo, and having a bad ass attitude. But there's more to professional wrestling than gimmicks and controversial behavior. Or least I thought there was. As I remember it, there was once a time when putting on a well executed, well paced wrestling exhibition was the focal point of the industry. What Bret Hart and Chris Benoit did on Nitro was put on a great wrestling exhibition. It was a match that showcased technical wrestling and stellar in-ring ability. Yet somehow the fans in Kansas City didn't seem to care.
Apparently some fans don't know good wrestling when they see it anymore. That's really a shame considering how little good wrestling is shown on TV these days. Granted, I like the WWF and their version of "sports-entertainment" just as much as any of today's wrestling fans, but the quality of the matches themselves often leave much to be desired. That's why when I see a match like the one "The Hitman" and "The Crippler" put on, I take notice.
I heard on the internet today that Bret Hart was very disappointed with the fan response to the match and was wondering if there was still a place for him in pro wrestling.
As a life long wrestling fan I hope that there is still a place in the wrestling business for "The Hitman." He's given us all so many great performances over the years and he truly seems passionate about what he does. Once again, this only my opinion but I also feel there is still a place in pro wrestling for the style of matches that men like Bret Hart, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and other technical grappelers put on. But ultimately, it is up to us, the fans, to decide whether or not this is true. We will give our response with our cheers or with our apathy.
And if it is the response to the Hitman/Benoit performance is what causes Bret Hart to retire from the sport, then we may have truly lost "the best there is, the best there was, and the best that ever will be."
Andy Bloeser is from Sturgeon Bay, Wi, and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.