This past Monday was declared Bret Hart Day in the lovely city of Calgary, Alberta.
It was also Bret Hart Appreciation Night on Monday Night Raw and it was something to behold.
I always try to make it to wrestling when it comes to Calgary, which is seldom. It was two years ago that the WWE was in the great city and I had to go. The last few times that Bret was in attendance, I missed it. He was the reason I was at Monday Night Raw in the first place. The rest of the show was awesome but Bret was what I was waiting for.
The three-hour broadcast seemed to take forever and when it was over, it was finally time to celebrate one of the greatest sports entertainers in history. I got up by the barricade, ready with my sign, and anxiously waiting. They showed a very touching tribute video that highlighted the journey that Bret had during his career. It brought me to tears. Here I was, a kid who grew up on the Hart’s, finally getting to see the man who I idolized. Bret Hart may just be a wrestler to some, but to his fans he truly is a special individual. I love him because he is someone who represents the greatness of the wrestling business, sportsmanship, and taking pride in what you do.
Some (okay, most) of my wrestling memories involve the Hitman in some way. When he shook the hand of the 1-2-3 Kid after their match, the iron man match at Wrestlemania XII, wrestling Owen at Wrestlemania X, I can’t even go on because I will be here all day typing away. He has been such an integral part of my life and the fact that I got to even be in the same building as him still blows my mind. When his music hit and he came down that ramp, you couldn’t hear yourself think. I was screaming at the top of my lungs and holding my sign high in the air. It makes me proud as a wrestling fan, as an Albertan, as a Canadian, to cheer for someone like Bret.
The sentiment extended to the people who interacted with Bret along his journey in the WWE, they admire and respect him as much as the fans do. It was so touching and hilarious to hear the stories they told about him, but the best moment came when the crowd started to chant ‘Owen’. You could see that Bret was so appreciative that the fans did not forget his brother and he wished so badly that he could share that moment with him. Same with Stu and Davey. Canadian wrestling fans are some of the most fiercely loyal fans in the world, they stand by their heroes through anything. Did I mention that we are also a tad bit crazy? It was such a great experience to be with all of those people, showing our love.
The appreciation night will never pay back the debt that the fans owe to him for all of the years of entertainment and awesome memories that he has given us but it was a nice start.
Thank you Hitman.