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

November 8, 1997 - The WWF ran a house show in Detroit at Cobo Arena for what would turn out to be Bret Hart's final match in the United States as a wrestler for the World Wrestling Federation. Tensions were really high and the prospect of a double-cross were looming by this time in many of the more paranoid types. But really this was 1997 and this was the World Wrestling Federation. That's stuff from the 20's where the real bad guy low-lifes were running the business. The days of making Lou Thesz world champion because you needed someone who could handle himself in the case of a double-cross had been over for more than three decades. That day Hart went to the one Earl Hebner, 'I swear on my kids lives that I'd quit my job before double-crossing you.' member of the front office he knew he could trust: Earl Hebner. While there are what you call a lot of good acquaintances in this business, Hart and Hebner were genuine close friends for years. Hart said he'd use his influence to get Hebner to referee the match because he wanted someone in the ring that he could trust. Hebner said he understood the situation and told Hart, "I swear on my kids lives that I'd quit my job before double-crossing you." On a personal basis a little more than 24 hours later, remembrance of that conversation crushed him more than anything.

At about the same time, the WWF brain trust was in Montreal one day early. Vince McMahon held a meeting at the hotel with Jim Ross, Jim Cornette, Pat Patterson and Michaels. Reports are that at least two of the aforementioned names looked extremely uncomfortable leaving the meeting. Ross on the WWF 900 line filed a report saying due to the tension between Hart and Michaels that there would be armed security backstage and the two would dress as far apart from each other as possible. That was a total work since Michaels and Hart actually dressed together and were on professional terms the next afternoon. He also said that McMahon wasn't going to announce the show and instead would be handling any last minute problems backstage. Ross also hinted that it could be Hartís final match in the World Wrestling Federation - something Hart at that point wasn't aware of.

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