The question has been answered and we now know when Bret Hart will return to World Wrestling Entertainment TV. Vince McMahon officially announced that Hart will make his return next Monday as a WWE Guest Host. This will mark the beginning of a Hart storyline that is expected to culminate at WrestleMania 26.
The news leaked last week of Hart signing a contract with the WWE. However, while his January 4 debut was expected it was never confirmed. Some speculated that the WWE may hold off Hart’s return for a few weeks and begin a slow build. Others like myself speculated that it would be a given that Hart would appear on January 4. The WWE finally announced Hart’s return and he will be running the show on the first WWE RAW of the new decade.
The news came in a Vince McMahon promo and angle on this week’s WWE RAW. The promotion around the show centered around Vince McMahon addressing the Bret Hart rumors. McMahon came out and teased the crowd by coming close to announcing Hart, but changing his mind. Hart’s rival, Shawn Michaels came out and told McMahon that, “Good things will happen” if McMahon brought Bret back. McMahon pondered Michaels’ words and then officially announced that Bret Hart will be next week’s WWE Guest Host.
[adinserter block=”1″]The WWE also did a good job of re-introducing Bret Hart to their audience. Remember, the WWE’s target audience is kids. Bret Hart hasn’t been a part of the WWE in over a decade. During Vince’s promo, he played a Bret Hart video compilation that showed the best of the Hitman from his days in the WWE. In the end the crowd was chanting, “We want Bret” so it looks like there won’t be too much of a disconnect between the two generations of wrestling fans.
Off the top, the move tells me something more than Vince McMahon cares to admit. Vince McMahon and the WWE are sweating TNA Wrestling. The company line from the WWE is that they don’t see TNA as competition and would proceed with business as usual. This is hardly business as usual. This is one of the biggest shots that the WWE could fire and having Hart on WWE on January 04 while TNA Wrestling is live is anything but a coincidence.
Bret Hart’s last appearance on WWE RAW was November 03, 1997, prior to the Survivor Series. To put this into perspective, Bret Hart hasn’t appeared on WWE television in over decade, and not once in the new century. Hart will be returning as the Guest Host for the night and will run the show. It will be interesting to see Hart interact with the RAW roster. More specifically, it will be most interesting to see what Shawn Michaels and Triple H’s roles will be that night. As the undisputed champions and up against TNA Wrestling, I would be shocked not to see them involved in the show. At the same time with Hart as G.M. I would find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t interact with them from a logic standpoint at some point as well.
At this point TNA Wrestling looks like a dead company promoting. Any hopes that TNA Wrestling had of making a dent in the WWE’s audience are gone. Scott Hall reportedly signed a deal to return to TNA last week. It looks as if TNA will answer with yet another N.W.O. reunion. Hall and Nash have reunited before in TNA and it meant nothing. Yes they have Hogan in the mix this time which certainly means more. But in the end you have an N.W.O. reunion which has already been done against another chapter in one of the most memorable pro wrestling stories of the last twenty-years.
[adinserter block=”2″]Judging from my website traffic that the Bret Hart stories have generated, I think his return is going to be bigger than people expect. I have gotten more of a reaction from people who don’t watch the WWE anymore, but will tune in. That is the key here. Both of these companies have their loyal fan base, but they need new fans to tip the scales. The indication I get through emails and traffic is that a lot of people who haven’t watched pro wrestling in years will be checking out WWE RAW that night.
As for TNA, well there’s always Thursday.
Order the WWE DVD WWE – Bret “Hitman” Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be by clicking here.
Read more about Bret Hart in his autobiography – Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling by clicking here.