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The Biggest Double Cross in the History of Professional Wrestling
By David Meltzer - The Wrestling Observer Newsletter

November 9, 1997 - The Prelude- Imagine the most anticipated match in years and on the day of the show not having any semblance of a finish?

McMahon and Hart met that afternoon and McMahon said something to the effect of: "What do you want to do?" Hart said that he just wanted to leave the building with his head up. Hart said to McMahon, "Let tonight's match end a shomoze (a disqualification) and let me hand you the belt on RAW (the next night in Ottawa). Everyone knows I'm leaving. I'd like to tell the truth on RAW Monday".

At this point the "truth" wouldn't include talking about finances, contract breaches, arguments about finishes, or anything that would make McMahon or the company look bad publicly. McMahon said he agreed, that it was the right thing to do, and the two shook hands on it. Hart and Michaels were dressing together putting together a match. Both were professional with one another and talking about putting on the best match possible in Hart's last hurrah. Agreeing to a DQ finish in about 17:00 after a lengthy brawl before the bell would even sound to start the match. As they were putting their spots together Patterson came in. He had a suggestion for a high spot in the match as a false finish. There would be a referee bump. Michaels would put Hart in his own sharpshooter. Hart would reverse the hold. Hebner would still be down at this point and not see Michaels tap out. Hart would release the hold to revive Hebner. Michaels would hit him when he turned around with the sweet chin music. A second ref, Mike Ciota, would haul ass to the ring and begin the count. A few paces behind Owen Hart and Smith, and possibly Neidhart as well, would run down to the ring. Ciora would count1-2, and whomever got to the ring first, likely Owen, would drag Ciota out of the ring. While they think they've saved the day, on the pin on Bret, suddenly Hebner would recover... 1, 2 - and Bret would kick out. That would set the pace for about five more minutes of near falls before it would end up in a disqualification ending.

Before the show started both Vader, with his Japanese experiences, and Smith told Hart to watch himself. He was warned not to lay down and not to allow himself to be put in a compromising position. He was told to kick out at one, not two, and not to allow himself into any submission holds. Hart recognized the possibility of the situation but his thoughts regarding a double-cross were more along the lines of always protecting himself in case Michaels tried to hit him with a sucker punch when he left himself open. The idea of being put in a submission, or one of the near falls while working spots would be dangerous for him, would be something to worry about normally. But he put it out of his mind because he had Hebner in the ring as the referee.

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HITMAN HART wrestling with shadows
HITMAN HART wrestling with shadows
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