Posted: Wednesday March 29, 2006 11:00AM; Updated: Wednesday March 29, 2006 6:41PM
"Vince screws me for real and plays it up as a big story line and turns the fortunes of the company around," said Hart, who is in good health now, having recovered most of his mobility within months of being released from the hospital. "After I left, it all came up roses for Vince and everything kind of went to s--- for me. After Survivor Series I was unfortunately hit with a lot of adversity, and I sometimes wonder who I pissed off."
Hart, who never wanted to leave the WWE but was basically told to when McMahon realized the 20-year contract he had given Hart was a bad business deal, still feels a great deal of regret over having to leave the company he had been with for 14 years and believes his life would be drastically different now if that night in Montreal had ended differently.
"The sad truth of it is if that night hadn't happened, I would have found a way to stay with the company," said Hart, who will be joined by several of his family members, including his four children, Jade, Dallas, Alexandra and Blade, at the induction ceremony. "I also believe with a great deal of certainty that my brother Owen's accident would never have happened. I know how we interacted, and Owen used to come to me about every little thing. I know if he would have come to me and said, 'They want to do this thing where they lower me from the ceiling,' I would have said, 'Why would you put your life on the line like that?' and I would have shot it down, because we were terrified of heights. I also wouldn't have been injured by Goldberg in WCW and probably never would've suffered the stroke that followed my concussion, and so many things would be different for me."
In the end, it was the stroke that brought Hart closer to McMahon -- the WWE owner was the first person to contact Hart while he lay motionless inside Unit 58 of the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
"I was in the hospital bed the day after my stroke, still reeling from the whole thing and not really sure what was wrong with me yet, and 30 seconds after they plugged in the phone next time to my bed, it rang and it was Vince," said Hart, who also spoke with Walter Gretzky, the father of Wayne Gretzky and also a stroke survivor, while he was in the hospital. "[McMahon] gave me a nice talk, and I found myself in an emotional state and told him that I didn't want to be forgotten. I didn't want everything I ever did to be buried in a basement somewhere. It was the first time we really talked since I left the company. He talked to me about the Hall of Fame during the call, and I told him it was something I always wanted to do despite everything that had happened."