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Hitman Hospitalized, and Other 
Weekend News...
June 28, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


  • In an disturbing turn of events, Bret Hart has been hospitalized, apparently following a stroke.
    I had heard that Hart had taken a tumble off his bike on Monday, and some sites played up the accident due to Hart's medical history (he's retired from wrestling only because of a serious concussion suffered in 1999) and the fact that he apparently hit his head as part of the fall.
    Well, I didn't even bother mentioning it, since Hart himself released a statement on Tuesday that downplayed the entire incident and which assured fans he was fine.  He said doctors were checking him over as a "precautionary measure" only, and further said that there were exaggerated versions of the story going around and that he didn't want anyone to be "unnecessarily alarmed."
    Well, turns out Bret is the master of understatement, and that I should have mentioned the incident sooner.  In truth, Hart remains hospitalized, and an item in today's Calgary Sun reveals the severity of Hart's condition:  he suffered a mild stroke either immediately before or immediately after his bike accident, and has had use of the left side of his body limited as a result.
    Hart maintains that it was a pothole that caused the accident, and the accident that must have triggered the stroke.  But the Sun piece notes that doctors now theorize that it's likely the the stroke preceded (and caused) Hart's fall.
    Numbness on the left side of Hart's face has diminished to the point where Bret can speak normally, but use of his left arm and leg remain very impaired.  Though the Sun article says Hart is making progress every day, he's trying to work back from almost complete paralysis of the left side of his body.  The prognosis is good for a 100% recovery, but it will take a lot of time and work.
    In the past, I've kind of scoffed at the idea of the Harts being cursed (a lot of their problems do seem to have been self-made), but this is different.  You don't see very many 44 year-old men suffering debilitating strokes.  
    I'm sure I'm joined by all of you when I wish Bret Hart the best of luck for a full and fast recovery.
  • And now onto some more typical Friday business...
    Last night's SmackDown was the first I've gotten to see in "real time" in a damned long time, and it turned out to be a good one.  Starting with a very effective debut of Jon Cena and ending with a highly entertaining Hogan/Jericho match (punctuated by Edge's return), SD! took care of business last night.
    Quick bit of catch-up on Cena:  he's wrestled previously as "The Prototype" (not-so-affectionately dubbed "The Homotype" by fans at least one time I saw him wrestle live at a Pillman show), and was also on the UPN show "Manhunt" for all 4 or 5 episodes it lasted.  If last night is any indication, I think he'll be around for more than 4 or 5 matches... it's not often that you can make a big impact by losing, but in Cena's match against Kurt Angle, that's exactly what was accomplished.
    I'm not exactly clear on where they are going with the Undertaker, and specifically with him and Angle.  The Fed's short on viable top-level heels (especially on the RAW brand), so the apparent tweener status of Taker is perplexing.  But what's clear is this:  next week is shaping up to be a bitch for Taker.  First, he's defending against Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Match on RAW.  Then, he's gotta put the title on the line against Angle on SD.  If I didn't know better, I'd say that the Taker was trying to lead by example or something.
    In the main event, Jericho went a different direction from the last time he had a good match with Hogan:  they went totally old school, right down to the Hulking up and everything.  CRZ got it right, too...  Jericho's facial expressions were spot on, and made it seem plausible that a guy who knew exactly what was about to happen still walked directly into it.  Edge's return was about as hot as you could hope for, too.  Don't know if people have just honestly bought into Edge as a top star, or if it was the rub from Hogan, but we shall see soon enough...
    In between, there was some other good stuff, too.  I really liked the Cruiserweight tag match, though I run the risk of sounding like a broken record when I say something along the lines of "it was good, but too short."  And the whole bit with the Canadians closing ranks?  I like it.  A lot.  Maybe it's been done before, but it's tried and true, so why not recycle?  Anything that puts Lance Storm in a more prominent position is cool with me.
    One gripe:  they could have a field day if somebody just remembered Test's immunity.  It would have give a bit more context to his screwing with Chioda during his match, and it'd give the Canadians a useful trump card once they formalize their faction.  And then when Test loses his "immunity" at Survivor Series, you could even have a ton of fun with THAT part of the story.  But nobody seems to remember it...
    I'm sure there are other parts of SD! that I'm not remembering, though... which is why we've got CRZ's SmackDown! Recap all ready for you to read if you want full details from last night.
  • The overnight rating for SD! came in at 4.6.  That's up two tenths from last week's overnight number, which might be a good sign.  But last week's overnight dipped down to one of SD!'s worst ratings, ever.  So maybe two tenths better than "terrible" isn't so good, afterall?
  • Here's a funny story:  production on Tough Enough 3 has been halted.  Because of Frasier.
    TE3 was going to house its competitors in a house in an exclusive Malibu neighborhood, but residents -- led by "Frasier" himself, Kelsey Grammar -- objected.  They took their complaints to the City Council, who voted unanimously to enforce a law that limits filming in the city to a maximum of 14 days.
    Tough Enough was scheduled to film for 60 days.
    An article in "Variety" says MTV and WWE had already spent into six figures in pre-production, which is money and effort that will now be wasted.  TE3 was slated to begin full-on production in two weeks, but now, will no doubt be delayed substantially as a new location will have to be scouted and prepped.
    I don't know whether to be happy or sad.  On one hand, I am not exactly the biggest fan of the "Tough Enough" concept...  but on the other, I don't have a warm spot in my heart for Malibu snobs, either.
  • The last vestiges of "WWF" are drying up...  unless you count the fact that you could clearly see the old WWF logo on Taker's title belt during his promo last night, anyway.
    World Wrestling Entertainment has officially announced that, effective Monday, they company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WWE.  For the past two months since the "Get the F Out" campaign started, the company had still been trading under "WWF."
  • The WWA tour of Europe that I mentioned was cancelled on Wednesday is supposedly just being postponed.  In an official statement, WWA did not once mention "poor ticket sales" as a motivating factor, but instead say that the July tour dates have been pushed back to November to coincide with an already planned UK tour.
  • Let's see, there's no Austin walking out... no Michaels coming back...  no DDP retiring...  so WWE is left with not a lot of provocative and news-worthy options for "Confidential" this week.  The preview for the show says they are going to be doing a segment reprising the "This is your life, Rocky" segment from RAW 3 years ago.
    That's right, the segment that turned out to be about the highest rated ever on a wrestling show lives again.  For me, personally, the skit was funny for about 15 minutes, but grew less tolerable as it stretched on.  And on.  And on.  And on.
    At least people who tune in on Saturday night will have a carrot at the end of the stick:  if they make it through "This is your life, Rocky," there are hot broads in thongs waiting!  [On the rescheduled "Divas Undressed" special that was apparently too hot for prime time.]
  • It's looking like I may be a regular guest on Worcester, MA, radio.  Specifically WORC 1310AM.
    Every Friday night, Doc and the Gang do a segment called "Marking Out," which amounts to an extended wrestling discussion in the middle of the otherwise intelligent discourse of the program.  I joined them last week, and I'm invited back again tonight.
    I think I've got them locked down to doing this in the 7pm hour.  And I mention it not just to seduce my half dozen (if I'm lucky) Worcester area readers into listening, but also because if you've got nothing better to do, you can catch the live audio stream on WORC website:  www.worconline.com
  • Last thing for today is just a big time suggestion that you check out Jeb Lund's "Whither, Stone Cold?" if you somehow missed it or took a pass on it yesterday.  If the truth is to be told, I actually decided I wanted to run it as a guest column before I even finished reading it...  I was sold at "Any of them could headline a main event in France."
    If you don't know what I'm talking about, then just click here and read up!
  • Enjoy your weekends...  and we'll see you again on Monday, with RAW preview and other news from around the rasslin' world! 


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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