A lot of people have written me to ask me about what I think of the Bret Hart rumors. For those of you who haven't checked any wrestling Web pages in the last few days, rumors are everywhere concerning Bret Hart leaving the WWF. As of Thursday afternoon, the most prevalent rumors are that Bret Hart's 20-year contract had a one-year out clause if he wasn't happy. I've seen a number of different versions. One says that the Vince is looking to take the WWF public (i.e. sell stock) and told Bret he may miss a couple paychecks. Another says Bret is unhappy about a number of things: working with Shawn Michaels, the rauchiness of the WWF, and the way Brian Pillman's death was handled, to name a few. I've read that Vince and Bret tore up the contract in an amicable parting of ways. The speculation went completely off the scale when, from what I understand, the WWF officially "acknowledged" on AOL that Bret was given his release and is free to explore other options, but will continue to perform as champion in the meantime. Add to all this the fact that Bret wasn't on RAW last week and Uncle Eric is telling us to expect a "big surprise".
Now, as you all know, I am not an insider. As far as rumors go, I don't have access to any information above and beyond what you get. As such, I don't generally respond to rumors, and certainly not with a mid-week posting. However, as a way to respond to all the e-mail I've been getting, I'm going to go out on a limb and pass along my thoughts. I'm either going to be seen as a genius or a jerk for this theory depending on how it all shakes out. And, given my usual skills in prognostication, I'll probably look like a jerk. But, what the hell, I'm sitting on an airplane with nothing to do anyway.
My theory on all this? No way Bret Hart's going anywhere. When stories like this pop up, I tend to fall back on what I would be feeling if I were in Bret Hart's position. The reasons I don't think Bret Hart is going anywhere:
Now, the next question is whether it's all a work. In my mind, yes. Given my previous theory, Bret Hart doesn't have a whole lot of incentive to do this as a power play. There's not much for him to gain by doing this, what with a 20-year contract. The only thing he could be trying to leverage is maybe getting Shawn Michaels out of the picture. However, although those guys might not like each other, Bret's a businessman, and he realizes that Shawn sells tickets. Thus, the beginnings of all this may be accidental. The rumors started and the WWF tried to capitalize. Or, the WWF started it all themselves.
Anyway, I think it's all a work.