November 24, 1999
It's finally over for Bret
Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre, World Championship Wrestling made every Canadian's wildest dream come true: Bret Hart defeated Chris Benoit in a 20 minute match to decide the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion in what was about as clean a finish as you'll find in a world title match these days, and on Canadian soil to boot.
Benoit deserves a medal for meritorious conduct for AGAIN putting someone over by not "going to the pay windah" himself. At least this time it was a dignified loss to a true talent instead of jobbing to Sid. Here's hoping that Hart doesn't forget it.
But for all the showing of respect that the WCW top talent did for one another last night, the true significance of Hart's victory at Mayhem 1999 night is that the wrestling world finally has closure on the infamous 1997 Survivor Series. The stage setting for mocking the 1997 PPV was too blatant to ignore:
- Mayhem took place in Canada>
- It was a week removed from Survivor Series 1999>
- Bret was obviously the odds-on favourite to win the world title
The irony was just too thick. Any smark worth his salt was thinking that the finish to this PPV would HAVE to mimic the infamous "screw-job heard round the world." These facts couple with the recent additions to the WCW creative team of Russo & Ferrera and the blatant WWF mockery that's gone on in the past few weeks in the forms of "Oklahoma" and "The Promoter" it seemed foolish to bet against the CERTAINTY that Survivor Series 1997 would be played on.
But it didn't happen. Hart won the title without so much as a whiff of Montreal two years ago. And for that I thank WCW. Admittedly, among my own little pack of wrestling "droogies" I was openly critical of the constant references to Survivor Series 1997 by EVERYONE, whether it was Bret rehashing the past, McMahon riding Hart down on TSN, or the WWF playing off the infamous finish like they did last year at Survivor Series. The door for Hart/WCW was WIDE open for cheap shots, jokes, and anything else they wanted to do to make the WWF "pay."
In an industry that is openly and admittedly cut-throat and in a time when making the competition look bad is more important than making yourself look good, WCW took the high road and allowed the Hitman to finally get the albatross from around his neck that was Survivor Series 1997. By winning the title the way he did, the Hitman now has completely, in this writer's eyes, moved on and is truly a hero.
Chris W. Engler lives in North York, Ontario and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. He wrote for us once before on June 8, 1999: Sable too big for her bra. He's also the webmaster for the AWF web site.