It's funny how those who complain the loudest always seem to engage in the very type of behavior they criticize.
Roughly a dozen years ago, in one of the many asinine moves that stripped WCW of credibility and viewership, actor/comedian David Arquette somehow found himself wearing the WCW World title. Perhaps the only person more critical of the decision than me at the time was Bret Hart, who used his column in the Calgary Sun to vent long and hard about the insult Arquette's "title reign" represented to all the workers, past and present, who had busted their butts on the indie level and overseas fighting to build a career, but were never given a chance, fairly or otherwise, to wear a belt.
Indeed, Hart climbed on his soapbox and sang his displeaure from the mountaintops ... and I was right there with him voicing mine in the pages of PWI, Inside Wrestling, The Wrestler, and several now-defunct magazines. As a fan I was appalled, and I could only imagine how somebody who took professional wrestling as seriously as Bret Hart did felt about it all. It was a slap in the face to the industry and the hard-working people in it.
However, Bret Hart's brand new U.S. championship win over the Miz on Raw is not far behind it. Not only was it sad to see Bret, who, for all intents and purposes, can no longer even wrestle a full match, take the belt from a young-up-and-comer like The Miz, in one of the most convoluted bouts of all-time, it was insulting to see him celebrate in the ring with The Hart Dynasty as if it were a meaningful accomplishment.
Clearly, WWE wanted to fete "The Hitman" in his "final" WWE appearance, especially since it occured in Canada, and I'm all for restoring some of the good will that went up in smoke over the past 13 years between he and WWE. But the feelgood story of his return has gone on too long when they use a major secondary title to do it.
It was shocking, at least to me, that Bret, who has campaigned so strongly and loudly for preserving the heritage and integrity of the sport would even agree to accept a title match, much less the title belt itself. Celebrating Hart's involement in the business it fine, but they undercut The Miz at the same time.
WWE Smackdown rating: Final numbers for the February 4 episode -
25 minutes ago