What Happened After RAW Went Off The Air: Bret Hart Appreciation Night, HBK, Jericho, Vince
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WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler introduced Bret, who came to the ring. Lawler presented Hart with a plaque, with the mayor of Calgary declaring May 27th "Bret Hart Day."
Bret said he was honored, and that he could feel his father, Owen and The British Bulldog watching him. The crowd erupted into an "Owen" chant. Hart said that it was about as proud a day as he could have, and it meant more than wrestling titles because it came from the people of Calgary.
Bret thanked his kids for putting up with him while he was on the road. He choked up a little, and thanked them again for their sacrifice. He said that he was always proud to be from Canada and his career in Stampede Wrestling, which led to his WWE career. He said that when he first started with WWE, most people didn't know where Calgary was, but they did 10 years later.
Hart named Mr. Perfect and The British Bulldog as wrestlers who contributed to his success, and thanked every wrestler he faced. He also thanked Lawler, who he called one of his greatest adversaries. He brought up Lawler ripping on his parents during their feud, and said that while Owen was irate over it, his mom loved it and became a wrestling fan. Hart called Lawler one of the greatest villains he's ever worked with and thanked him again.
Hart said that he wished that he had more matches in Calgary. Lawler said that Calgary loves Bret "The Hitman" Hart, and that there are others who love him as well. He then introduced the first-ever WWE Intercontinental Champion, Pat Patterson.
Patterson admitted that Hart was one of the great Canadian wrestlers of all time. Hart said that he gets nervous when Patterson gets down to one knee. Wow. Lawler tried to play the joke off, as did Patterson. Lawler then introduced Chris Jericho.
Jericho said that he never wrestled Bret, but that he had a thousand times in his mind. He said he always wanted to be like his two heroes, Owen and Bret. Jericho always wanted to wrestle Bret, and noted that there was a Stu Hart birthday show in 1995 and that Bret was there, and was working with Davey Boy in a couple of days. Bret was looking for a move that wasn't a sharpshooter, and demonstrated a roll up, which Bret ended up using. Jericho said that it was so classy that Bret would use that movie and take advice from a rookie. Jericho thanked Bret, and said that he was one of the top 2 wrestlers of all time, and that he deserved this night. Lawler then noted that part of Bret's legacy would always be defined by the Survivor Series, and that he was always linked to two men. Lawler then introduced Shawn Michaels.
HBK took the mic and thanked the crowd for their reaction, noting that he was expecting worse. Michaels said that every great hero needed an arch-enemy, and that he was honored to be Bret's. HBK congratulated Bret and shook his hand, and said the there is probably not a more deserving person on a more deserving night. Lawler then introduced Vince McMahon.
Vince struts to the ring and shakes Bret's hand when he enters. Vince said that it was fitting that he started in Calgary, and now he's being honored there. Vince said that he started the Bret Hart era in WWE which brought a legitimacy to WWE that wasn't there before. Vince noted that Bret became WWE Champion the old fashioned way -- he earned it. He said that everyone learned a great deal wrestling Bret, and that tonight he is being rightfully honored as "the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be." Vince then asked when he was going to leave this cow-dung smelling town of Calgary. Vince said he was just ribbing, but that he would be leaving in 30 minutes on his private jet. Vince said that it wasn't just about Calgary since there are millions watching, and they all have two words for Bret -- "thank you."
Bret took the mic again and said that while they had a shaky ending, no one would have known who Bret Hart was if it wasn't for WWE. Bret said that he is very thankful for what his life has become, and that he owes all of it to Vince. Bret said that it means a lot that Vince and Shawn are there, and that it reinforces the bond he made with Shawn a couple of years ago. Bret said that these are the great moments that you take with you forever, and that he was very proud to be a Calgarian and a Canadian.
Lawler asked the fans to give it up for Bret again, and Bret embraced everyone in the ring. Most of the WWE stars walked to the ramp and clapped, including John Cena, Fandango and others. No Shield though. Natalya and Tyson Kidd entered the ring and gave Bret a hug. Bret soaked in the cheers from the crowd and that was the end of the celebration.