Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

As I write this on Sunday before Wrestlemania 26, it seems that tonight’s PPV will make a fitting and happy ending that real life (let alone wrestling) don’t often give us. The two old warriors, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels will walk off, at least for awhile, into the sunset.

They’ve been paired together since the mid-1990s, but were cemented together in the minds of most in November 1997 with the infamous Montreal screwjob and the ‘Wrestling with Shadows” movie that followed documenting the incident in a way that Vince McMahon could never have foreseen when he gave permission for the project long before Montreal.

Last night’s Hall of Fame Dinner continued the real life healing process with the honoring of Stu Hart. it was especially moving to listen to the sweet, heartfelt tribute from Bret Hart and most of his surviving family last night.

Tonight, Bret Hart will get his storyline revenge against Vince McMahon for 1997 and the infamous Montreal Screwjob. It won’t be the Bret Hart of old. He’s 14 years older, plus one severe concussion and one stroke later. But tonight wi’ll give us the windup in storyline to what seems like the longest unresolved saga in wrestling history… Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart and the Montreal Screwjob.

Tonight…a lot of fans assume tonight’s match ends with HHH somehow screwing Shawn Michaels, and setting up the possibility for a final HHH-Shawn Michaels months down the road, setting up a classic wrestling story of jealousy, revenge..and more important, a big crowd to see it. Assuming this happens, Shawn Michaels will walk off into the sunset…at least for awhile, after a long career. It’s no secret both he and Undertaker need to take time off, with Undertaker working through injuries for months. So matter what happens tonight, these two will be off WWE television for awhile.

But most importantly for these two old warriors, the two men’s real-life and storyline relationship has been able to finally heal.

Shawn Michaels has described the healing of his relationship with Bret Hart in an interview with the Baltimore Sun:

“….As [Bret] has mentioned, it was pretty brief as far as what we wanted to do out there. That was very brief because we did want it to be as real and as fresh as it could be. In addition to talking to one another about that, it was very open and very honest, and I certainly have to say from my perspective, nice. It was important to me to talk to him face to face.

All you can do is sort of bare your soul in front of somebody and let it go from there, and that’s certainly what I did. I remember way back when I first came to WWE and how we used to get along, and it was nice and it was pleasant. And to have that now is nice. I know for a lot of people it may seem strange, but for he and I it’s a nice place to be. I look back on my return in 2002 and so many things have gone full circle, and to be where he and I are at now, it’s one of those things where you say, ?Man, second chances are really nice.? Everybody doesn?t always get them. You know me, I?m a little deep and a little goofy about that stuff, but it’s important. In a strange business and in a business that, heaven forbid, you show your heart, you?re going to be called a bunch of stuff and made fun of constantly, but for me…

For Bret Hart, he finally resolves Montreal and its aftermath.

As he put it in a Calgary Herald interview this past week:

“I remember standing in the ring, telling myself that I would never do what I’m doing… Swearing it to myself, and standing by it for all these years, that I would never, ever work for this man or this company ever again, no matter how desperate I get, how much they ever offered me, I would never come back.”

But tonight, he will.

These two have been so much a part of WWE’s history in storyline and as a company that it’ll be hard to imagine them…especially Shawn Michaels not being a part of it.

Until next time…

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