WWE Bret Hart Appreciation Night Report – May 27, 2013
After Raw went off the air, WWE broadcast the Bret Hart Appreciation Night via The Score in Canada and their App.
The special opened with the traditional WWE open followed by a special opening for the Appreciation Night. Jerry Lawler, in the ring, welcomed everyone tuning in and then sent it to a video on Hart’s legacy.
Lawler then brought out the “guest of honor” Bret Hart, who received a monster reaction in his hometown of Calgary, Alberta Canada. Hart was limping slightly thanks to his most recent knee surgery. He did his signature pose. The crowd chanted “Thank you Bret.”
Lawler read a proclamation from the city of Calgary, announcing that it was Bret Hart Day in the city. They recapped all of Hart’s championships in the wrestling business, noting he held 32 titles and was the first man to hold the WWF and WCW triple crown.
Hart took the mic and said he hasn’t received something like this in a long time and it’s a huge honor. He said that he could feel his father, Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith watching. That led to a huge “Owen” chant. Hart said it was as proud a day as he could ever have and he would remember every fan that came today. He said it was something more genuine than wearing belts because it came from the city. He said he could feel the presence of his family members who were there and were gone.
Hart said he wanted to thank his children for having patience with him while he spent so many years away being a hero to everyone else. He said they made the sacrifice. They showed his kids in the crowd and a lot of them were crying.
Hart talked about when he first started in the business and namechecked Ed Whalen, JR Foley and Dr D. David Schultz. He said that when he came to WWE, a lot of the fans didn’t know where Calgary was but after ten years, they knew. He praised Mr. Perfect and Davey Boy Smith for having great matches with him and said he’d like to thank everyone he ever got into the ring with, even if it was one time.
Hart thanked his wife Stephanie for all she’s done for him over the last few years. He then thanked Jerry Lawler, noting he was one of the best adversaries he ever had ever. He told a story of how Owen Hart once got angry over what Lawler would say while knocking Stu and Helen Hart, so Bret asked Jerry to lay off a little, then he went home and found out his mom just loved it all and actually became a fan. Hart said that if you ever met his Mom, you’d know how amazing that was.
Hart said that he was thankful he got to show the world that the Calgary guys could wrestle but never got to wrestle here enough once he got to WWE.
Lawler said that there are a lot of people in the back who love Hart and want to show their love. They introduced Pat Patterson, who came to the ring and hugged Hart. Patterson had tears in his eyes. He said he’s been in the business for 55 years and is a Canadian. He said Hart was the best wrestling Canadian of all time. He bowed down before Hart on one knee. Hart said when Patterson goes to his knees, he gets scared.
Lawler then introduced another great Canadian wrestler who said Hart had a huge impact on his life. Out came Chris Jericho to his theme song. Jericho said it was cool to stand in the ring one on one with Hart, finally, for the first time in his career, but he’s wrestled Hart in his mind millions of times. Jericho said when he grew up in Winnipeg, he just wanted to get to WWE to be like his heroes Bret and Owen Hart. He said he came to Calgary to train with Stu. Jericho told the story of the Stu Hart Birthday Show in Calgary in 1995. Hart was there to pay tribute to Stu and Jericho was backstage visiting. Hart was listening to the boys’ suggestions for finishes for a PPV bout against Davey Boy. Jericho suggested the La Magistral and they ended up using it. Jericho said he thought it was so classy that the WWF champion used the suggestion of a nobody and it gave Jericho inspiration to continue in the business and work at being the best he was. Jericho said he hopes to continue to be half the man Bret was and praised him.
Lawler said a big part of Hart’s legacy will be the Survivor Series in 1997. The crowd booed. Lawler noted that there’s been a lot of time and they’ve buried the hatchet, then introduced Shawn Michaels. Michaels received a nice pop for his entrance. Michaels joked he was expecting “a lot worse” tonight. Michaels said that every great hero needed an arch-enemy. He said he was honored to be Lex Luthor to Bret Hart’s Superman. He congratulated Hart on a stellar career and there’s never been a more deserving person on a more deserving night. They hugged.
Lawler then introduced Vince McMahon, who got one of the biggest pops of either Raw or this broadcast. He came out doing the Vince strut. Vince said it was fitting that Hart was being honored in the same place he started. He said that Bret’s family was involved in Stampede Wrestling and they are all here tonight. He said that Bret had his own era and brought a legitimacy that was never there before. He said that Hart brought a certain skill and that was overlooked at times by the promotion. He said that Hart became the WWF champion because he earned it the old fashioned way. He said Hart was the Excellence of Execution because everyone he stepped into the ring with became better for it. He said Hart was being rightfully celebrated for being the Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will be. Vince then ribbed Calgary, asking Bret when he was going to leave this “cow dung” town. The crowd booed and he said he was joking. He said this may be in Calgary but there are fans all over the world who say thank you.
Hart said he gets asked all the time about his relations with Vince and WWE. Hart said they had a shaky ending but he had so many great years and great wrestlers he worked with. He said that no one would know who Bret was if it wasn’t for WWE. He really loves what his life has become and for being a Calgarian hero. He thanked Vince, saying it was due to him. He thanked Shawn Michaels for coming, saying it re-enforces the bond they created a few years ago. He thanked everyone for coming and thanked everyone who was in the ring for being with him in different places around the world. He said he would continue being the best ‘old hero’ in Calgary that he could be.
Hart joked there were 20,000 Calgarians there and they could “get” Vince and Shawn now if they wanted. He then said he would never let Calgary down and thanked everyone for their support.
Hart hugged everyone in the ring.
The WWE locker room came out on the stage as Tyson Kidd and Natalya entered the ring to embrace Hart. Hart had a massive smile on his face. The show ended with replays of Hart shaking hands with Jericho, Michaels and Vince McMahon.
(Report by Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com)