AS I SEE IT
WRESTLING WITH THE TRUTH... This weekend brings forth an anniversary. A year ago, one of the most notorious double-crosses in the history of the business occurred, where Bret Hart was apparently doublecrossed by Vince McMahon out of an agreed-upon DQ finish in the main event at Survivor Series, with the WWF Heavyweight Title being put on Shawn Michaels.
Now....Those of us in North America will be watching a filmed documentary version of that incident, called "Wrestling with Shadows". For those few who aren't aware of the film, a documentary film crew followed Bret Hart for a year. It had been originally designed as a look at Bret Hart and the history of the Hart wrestling family.
But the film turned out to have a dramatic ending that filmakers could never have anticipated....an inside look at one of the most controversial incidents in wrestling history; including film footage and comments before and after Survivor Series from a wired for audio Bret Hart.
It should be noted that film director Paul Jay is not merely a "wrestling insider" with a particular viewpoint to put forth or personal ax to grind. In a review of the film, the November 10th Bagpipe Report lists Jay's credentials as: executive-producer of CounterSpin, the main nightly news debate show on CBC Newsworld in Canada, a maker of numerous prize-winning documentary films and as the founder of HOT DOCS!, the national documentary film festival in Canada.
The film itself was produced by The National Film Board of Canada, Telefilm Canada, the A&E Network in the United States, TV Ontario, CTV, and the BBC. Its premiere was selected to open the prestigious Sheffield documentary film festival in England on October 19th. This festival celebrates the best documentary films from around the world.
So unlike the amateurish garbage aired on NBC recently "exposing the business" that Fritz Capp and Dan Moreland have commented on via the PWBTS newsboard, and their columns...this film is a legitimate documentary on the wrestling business, produced by talented filmmakers, and produced by reputable organizations.
Wrestling With Shadows tells the story of some sides of the business that may surprise average fans, as well as aspects of the personalities of members of the Hart family. The most notable of those is of the legendary Stu Hart and his "Dungeon". A sadistic side is shown of Stu Hart, as an audio tape is played of Hart stretching young trainees.
If readers think the Stu Hart we've seen on WWF TV is a frail old man...think again. Especially when you watch 80 year old Stu Hart stretching another trainee. He casually demonstrates, as if talking about the weather "...moving the arm this way lets up on the pressure while moving it back....causes the eyes to pop...see the vein right there on the temple... see that?" All of this as the trainee's lips start to turn blue from lack of oxygen.
Then there's the footage from Survivor Series. After seeing this part of the film, one can understand why Vince McMahon finally had to publicly admit that he lied to Bret Hart.....footage such as that of McMahon confirming the original finish that Bret Hart wanted, with Pat Patterson informing the Hart family of the same.....or the widely reported Shawn Michaels denials of advance knowledge of the double-cross in the locker room.....or Bret Hart's then-wife Julie screaming at Paul (Hunter Hearst Helmsley) Levesque.
This is a film worth watching for any adult wrestling fan...it will give you an uncompromised insight into the business like no other film or program done on the wrestling business. If readers are interested in other information on Wrestling With Shadows, you can find it online at http://www.brethartvideo.com
For PWBTS's Canadian readers, Wrestling with Shadows first airs in Canada on the following dates (thanks to Shujah Agha/Suplex Media):
November 14 at 2:00 pm EST on CFCF(Montreal)
November 14 at 8:00 pm Newfoundland time- ASN (Maritimes)
November 14 at 9:00 pm PST on CIVT (Vancouver Area)
November 15 at 7:00 pm MST on A-Channel (AB)
November 18 at 10:00 pm EST/November 22 at 11:00 pm EST on TV Ontario
November 21 at 8:00 pm EST on Manitoba Television Network (MTN)
For our American readers, Wrestling with Shadows will first air in the United States on December 20th on the A&E Network. Until next time.....
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org