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Mario Perez




I had the opportunity of a lifetime on Saturday to meet Bret "The Hitman" Hart at an autograph session in Hayward, California. Big Time Wrestling, which promotes independent shows in Northern and Central California hosted the signing.

I arrived 30 minutes before the scheduled signing and there were already 50 people lined up and ready. Many wore Hitman t-shirts and brought memorabilia to have signed. I was in line behind some ladies who have followed his career very closely. From what I can gather, they don't follow wrestling much anymore now that the Hitman is gone. As a true mark for wrestling and a huge fan of the Hitman, it made me kind of sad that they were missing out on a very important part of wrestling history. I listened to them talk about wrestling history and they knew what they were talking about so they weren't merely Hitman marks. But their dedication and loyalty to the man who was "The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be" was huge.

Big Time Wrestling had a ring set up in the middle of the mall where the signing took place. Imagine the mark out moment I had as I stepped through the ropes to face the former heavyweight champion of the world!!! He was seated at a table and I had visions of climbing the ropes and elbow-smashing him onto the table.

Bret was very cordial to all of his fans and took the time to talk and smile and make moments that each fan would never forget. Here's hoping we someday see Bret back in the ring to show why he was truly the best there ever is.

On to Invasion, what should have been a mark's wet dreams. Note to wife: please don't schedule a bbq on a day's notice and tell me the morning of Invasion that you are having non-wrestling fans over shortly before the PPV is set to begin. Just kidding. I think Rob is now a wrestling fan thanks to the bra and panties match...

Edge and Christian defeated Lance Storm and Mike Awesome
I'm a huge fan of Edge, Christian and Lance (Mike's not so bad either) so I was glad to see this kick of the PPV. Wasn't a bad match once they got into a groove and the brother's awesome pulled out the victory when Christian speared Awesome while he was going for a running powerbomb on Edge, who landed on top of Awesome for the victory.

Earl Hebner defeated Nick Patrick with Mick Foley as special referee
Seems like Earl has been paying attention out there as he displayed a decent arsenal of moves for an old guy. After the bout, which luckily didn't last too long, Mick Foley brought back Mr. Socko for Nick Patrick.

The Acolytes defeated Chuck Polumbo and Sean O'Haire
The tag team champs from each entity went at it in this brawl of the big men. Can somebody please tell me why O'Haire and Mark Jindrak broke up? Was it merely a stupid move by Russo? I really liked those two together. Anyway, Bradshaw destroyed Polumbo with the clothesline from hell. I for one, cannot wait to see Bradshaw as a singles wrestler. He's going to be quite a force as long as he receives a decent push.

Billy Kidman defeated X-Pac sucks
I wonder how X-Pac feels to be the only WWF wrestler to receive boos in matches pitting WWF against WECW. Might as well have him be the next to switch teams so that he can continue to get heat. Kidman won it with what I feel is one of the most impressive moves in wrestling, the Shooting Star Press. The fans weren't really into Kidman much until he busted that move out for the pin. I can't wait until he does it to a wrestler who's outside the ring. Fans will really mark out for that one.

Raven defeated William Regal
This match was quite awkward and the fans really never got into it. I don't know if these two were uncomfortable with each other or what, but they never really got into a good groove. Tazz came out to deliver a Tazzplex on Regal, which allowed Raven to finish him with the DDT for the victory. Hopefully this feud will not come back because no one was into it. Maybe the lack of buildup killed it I don't know. I have not been impressed with Raven in the WWF or WCW. I missed most of his ECW run but it sounds like that's where he made a name for himself and I've been trying to give him a chance but I'm about to give up.

Chris Kanyon, Sean Stasiak and Hugh Morrus defeated Big Slob, Billy Gunn and Albert
I was expecting this to continue as filler but I actually thought it was a pretty decent showing. When the WWF trio simultaneously gorilla pressed the WCW trio, everyone seemed to get into it. This is probably the first time I can remember being impressed with the Big Slob. His chokeslam looked legitimately painful for once and I hope he can follow-up on this. You know you're in trouble when Jim Ross acknowledged that both Slob and Ass were underachievers. Did anyone catch the ending where Stasiak and Morrus both were trying to pin Gunn? Seemed like neither were going to budge before Stasiak finally got a clue and rolled out of the ring.

Tajiri defeated Tazz
A decent little match, as I am a big mark for both guys ringwork. Tajiri's stiff kicks were awesome and he continues to get the backing of WWF fans. He did the tarantula, which is quite a sight, but I don't think is too effective. I'd love to see him do it in a tag match and then his partner deliver punishment to the wrestler who is stuck in the move. Tajiri stole the win with the evil green mist and a head ringing kick to the head.

Rob Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy
This was my favorite match of the night and I was surprised that RVD was getting over more than Jeff Hardy. Mr. PPV was cocky as ever but he definitely backed up tonight. There were some decent bumps and for the first time that I have seen or can remember, Jeff Hardy was cut open. RVD showed that ECW knows more about Hardcore than WWF and he finished it off with a Five Star Frog Splash with the Hardcore Title on Jeff's stomach. New champion and hopefully a feud that will continue to get RVD over.

Trish Stratus and Lita defeated Tori Wilson and Stacy Keibler
Bras and panties match right before the main event. Gotta love it!! Mick Foley was once again the special guest referee (lucky bastard). Wasn't that bad of a little match as you know the crowd was going to be into this one. The WWF women were able to strip WCW down while only having to strip down to their own bras. This is about where my buddy Rob decided he was a wrestling fan and that we should get tickets to Summer Slam being held in San Jose next month!!!

Team WECW defeated team WWF
A couple notes. First off, if anyone out there has looked at Sara Undertaker above the neck, does that nose remind you of HHH at all? Secondly, did anyone catch the dance that Stephanie was doing when Booker T came out? I haven't seen a dance like that since Elaine on Seinfeld. That's the third McMahon to prove that white people have no rhythm. And before you even think about it, please don't show us Linda's moves. Next thing you know they'll be having a 3-way dance-off. Please don't!!

Stone Cold sold out in the main even to join Team WECW. He stunnered Kurt Angle to allow Booger T (as my 3 year old calls him) to get the pin. Minutes before Stone Cold was pretending to have a serious knee injury. It was played up well, as everyone seemed to be lost as to what to do next. Even the cameras seemed to be making it seem like something wasn't right. By the way it was going, I got the feeling they were just going to change the finish on the fly and get the injured taken care of as soon as possible. But it was all a swerve as Stone Cold turned and then celebrated in the ring with Shane, Stephanie, Paul and Budweiser.

I personally enjoyed the show as I chose to be a mark and not try to overanalyze the card. Sure I would have loved to see The Rock or Ric Flair run in or whatever, but sometimes you have to put the fantasy booker hat down and just mark out. Its much more enjoyable that way.

Mark on,

Mario Perez

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