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12/25/1998 12:21:28 PM

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Review
the end to this two-hour story is a shocker


( St. Louis Post-Dispatch )

* A&E; documentary explores wrestler's career, rise of the WCW.

The A&E; network jumped into the world of professional wrestling in April with "The Unreal Story
of Professional Wrestling," an insightful and informational look at the history of the squared circle.

Paul Jay might have the upper hand with his production of "Hitman Hart, Wrestling With Shadows,"
the story of one wrestlers career and his problems with the World Wrestling Federation and owner
Vince McMahon.
The two-hour documentary airs at 8 p.m. Sunday. The show was produced by High Road
Productions with the help of A&E.; Jay directed the story and served as executive producer with
Amy Briamonte of A&E.;
While the April show dealt with the history, popularity, philosophy and background of wrestling,
Sunday's story gives viewers a perfect look at wrestling as entertainment and, as Bret Hart found
out, a cold business.
Hart, who will be in St. Louis on Monday as part of the WCW Monday Night Nitro show shown on
TNT live from the TWA Dome, was selected by A&E; for a one-year study of his work with the
WWF. Jay wanted to learn about the WWF from its champion and possibly its most popular figure.
Hart had the perfect background for a pro career, and the show documents his story well. He was
raised in Calgary, one of 12 children born to Stu and Helen Hart. Stu Hart was raised in a foster
home and was taken into a band of shooters, a group of pros who experimented their moves on him.
Stu wrestled and operated Stampede Wrestling in Canada and talked Bret and his other seven
sons into wrestling for a living. Stu sold his territory to McMahon, beginning Bret's 14-year
relationship with the WWF.
As Bret Hart's career started to blossom and he won the title, WCW started to give McMahon and
the WWF competition. Hart was offered a $9 million contract for three years to jump ship, but he
remained loyal to the WWF and signed a 20-year deal with McMahon for less money.
The show then documents the rise of WCW and the change of the WWF from family-oriented
entertainment to wrestling with sexual overtones and bad language.
Hart, like a true team player, changes from his good guy role to the bad guy, at the request of
McMahon to gain better ratings. The move doesn't work, signalling the end of Hart's career in the
Like a good promoter, the end to this two-hour story is a shocker, but like famous St. Louis
promoters Sam Muchnick and Larry Matysik, you'll have to tune in to find out the results.

Copyright © 1998, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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