About a year or two before he retired, I read Shawn Michaels’ autobiography Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story. Then when WWE made the announcement of a WWE’s Greatest Rivalry: Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart Blu-ray set, which would include an in-depth sitdown interview conducted by Hall of Fame Jim Ross, I knew I had to read Bret Hart’s autobiography Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling.
With such a heated rivalry, Shawn’s and Bret’s fans have always been split especially when it came to the Montreal Screwjob. Bret Hart wasn’t being a company man, he had to lose on the way out; Bret Hart would’ve dropped the belt the following night, they shouldn’t have done that to him in his home country.
So as to have an impartial view on WWE’s Greatest Rivalry–both on and off screen–it was important to get Shawn’s and Bret’s viewpoints prior to their reconciliation.
Though it took a better part of a year, Hitman made me side with Bret Hart over Michaels. The animosity felt through those pages made me forget all about the hachet buried on RAW. For a moment I too hated Shawn Michaels. How could that smug arrogant bastard do that to a man in his own home country? How could that gyrating pretty boy do that to one of the boys? (So much for being impartial.)
In Shawn vs Bret, Jim Ross doesn’t hold back in asking the tough questions. Shawn is confronted with telling Bret to get out of the ring because he was stealing his spotlight at WrestleMania; the Montreal Screwjob is discussed in depth; and the actions that put into question pride and trust were hashed out.
Shawn vs Bret is a powerful interview to watch, you can feel the emotions emanating from both men. You can see Bret choking back tears, and Shawn, though he doesn’t recall much of his earlier days because of his demons, owns up to his arrogance and immaturity. We also get to understand what was real, what was scripted, and what was a blurred line between the two.
Sure, it took twelve years to get to this point, and fans may still hold reserve over trusting the other, but by the end of Shawn vs Bret you’ll learn that it’s okay to love both because they’ve learned to forgive one another.
Shawn vs Bret Blu-ray is easily a must-own for any wrestling fan, especially to those who lived through the rivalry. I say Blu-ray because of the exclusive extras available only on the Blu-ray set: promos, interviews, and (you guessed it) Bret vs Shawn at Survivor Series 1997.
WWE’s Greatest Rivalry: Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart [Blu-ray]
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