Thursday, July 8, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Hitman shows his "Morals"
Morals. What are morals? Are morals values and the refusal to back down on your stance regarding issues that you know are wrong? Are morals preaching for years about the lack of morals in professional wrestling and then shilling out to a company for ratings and the allmighty dollar?
Bret 'Hitman' Hart for years preached about the loss of morals in wrestling and in a a way he was right. Profanity is thrown around without a care, Scantily clad women prance around showing their surgically enhanced "Puppies" and storylines involve homosexuals, dominatrixes, pimps and prostitutes. Bret pointed out that the world of wrestling, once a sport that relied on physical abilities more or as much as out of ring acting ability had been transformed into a world of vulgarity just to garner a few higher-ups with some extra cash.
This year we realized possibly how right Bret was. His own brother was tragically killed in an in-ring accident. An accident that resulted from some high-tech antics that went bad. Stuff you wouldn't see in Bret's world, where wrestling didn't revolve around ratings. We began to see that maybe Bret was the only one right all along.
On Monday night Bret showed his "morals". For the first time following his brother's death -- described by his own family as a "Sacrifice for the ratings" -- Bret would speak out. His company, WCW, had belittled the WWF for milking Owen's death for ratings and now Bret would speak out. In the Georgia Dome Bret's music hit and out came The Hitman. At 8:57 Eastern Time.
What happens at 9:00 Eastern Time? Why the WCW's competition comes on the air. The same company accused of milking a man's death for ratings. Bret Hart's return was going to be the highest rated segment of the night. WCW knew it, Bret knew it. But "Mr. Morals" would shill out, and air his segment at the exact time WCW usually loses its audience. It was all for the ratings, Bret could have refused the time slot and maybe taken a fine or suspension but it would be worth it for morals, right Hitman?
Bret Hart, the man I respected -- as did millions of others -- had sold out on his morals. Money for the ratings, no matter what the cost. Bret, we thought you were different, we thought you were a hero, we thought you had "Morals".
Mike Harris is from S. Berwick, ME and can be reached by e-mail at OHart32@aol.com.