In 1997, Bret Hart appeared on MADtv, taking part in a sketch where he stood up against bullying. The sketch "got out of hand" as cast member Will Sasso picked up Hart and spun him around a bit.
One year later, Hart returned to the show, and got his revenge on Sasso, in a sketch that "turned into a shoot."
The storyline led to Sasso and Hart wrestling on a February 1999 episode of WCW Nitro.
Appearing on Casual Conversations, Sasso reflected on working with Bret.
"That was all real [sarcasm]. After he attacked me on MADtv during the sketch, we had a couple of interviews lined up that publicity did through the show with like Access Hollywood and, I can't remember if it was CNN or MSNBC, this little clip and I was like, 'Yeah, I'm gonna sue him.' They're like, '....really?'" recalled Sasso.
Sasso continued, going back to the first sketch where Bret appeared. "It started in our bit. There's this writer/producer, Canadian, from Winnipeg, wrote on Kids in the Hall, Brian Hartt, he was co-executive producer on MADtv and the first head writer. He was a big wrestling fan. We had Bret Hart come in in 97, right before the screwjob, and we did a sketch. At the end of the second take, Brian goes, 'Go back in,' it was all about this family bullying the son and now I'm friends with Bret Hart, so they can't bully him anymore. At the end of the bit, Bret leaves and we go back to razzing the son, and Bret comes back through the door. This is the take they use. He comes in, starts messing around with me. Like a dumbshit, I'm like a 400 pound 20-something, I pick him up on my shoulder and spin him around a bit, which Bret didn't have a problem with because I'm a big looking guy and he's a nice guy. We're not in his world at this point, maybe it pissed him off, I don't know. We come up with this idea to have him come back the next year and be pissed at me."
One year later, Bret was in WCW when he returned to MADtv. The sketch Bret appeared in had him playing a bodyguard for Sasso's Jesse Venture character. As Bret started to subdue unruly cast members, the sketch stopped being a sketch and Bret began to "shoot" on Sasso.
"Here's the thing, only a handful of people knew that was going to happen, when he attacked me. It was mostly the actors in the sketch and a couple of stunt performers who were dressed as set PAs with headsets. It was not a good idea in some ways because people were like, 'what the fuck.' We had like a stunt pad on my knee, so he could wail off on my knee and put me in the sharpshooter. The first thing he was going to do was hit me in the back. In the sketch, I'm playing the Governor Jesse Venture and it's, 'Here's my new Minister of Defense, Bret Hart.' Bret comes out, he's cutting a promo on the press, he gets a little rowdy with some of the cast, and he hits me in the back with a chair, in the sketch. Before we go out there he goes, 'You want me to pull back on the chair shot?' I'm delighted to say that Bret Hart and I are pals at this point. I go, 'Nah, go for it. It's just a chair, you can't hurt me.' You want it to look good. I'm telling you, there were raised welts on my back for like a week. He hit me so fucking hard. It wasn't even a metal chair, it was a metal-framed plastic chair. He hit me so fucking hard, but right in the meaty area, Bret has never hurt anybody. I did ask for it. Then we went on with the storyline," said Sasso.
It all led to Bret vs. Sasso on Nitro in February 1999.
Speaking about the match, Sasso said, "We did it in Tampa, it was a Nitro, and he goes, 'Let's go to the ring and feel it out.' The first thing he does is a Russian leg sweep. 'Oh, that's fucking fun, cool.' The ring has a little bit of give. He goes, 'You horse around, do physical comedy, and played football. You get it. You watch this.' 'No, I don't, Bret. I don't get it.' The reason he's saying that is he's the Excellence of Execution, he can have a match with a sack of potatoes. That's what he did that night. For me, it was no offense. The whole point was Bret Hart is looking at this like, 'What the fuck is this?' Brian Hartt and I, we hate it when you see Jay Leno put Hulk Hogan in a headlock. Fuck that. if you respect this art form, this should be a joke. Bret was happy to hear that. He gets in there, looking at the crowd, looking at the ref. 'What am I supposed to do with this? What the fuck?' He slaps me around, beats the shit out of me, and goes off. We go for a test of strength, he kicks me in the nuts, does a clothesline, and that should be it. He goes, 'Don't move, I will move you whenever I want to do something.' I can't wait to sell the shit out of it because I love physical comedy. 'Please throw me around.' At the end of it, just throws me in the sharpshooter. At the end of it, I'm fine. He's stomping me in the corner and his boot is moving so fast, then it just stops. It was like being in a dream and I got to experience just what makes him, in my opinion, the best."
Sasso praised Bret for being safe, even protecting him on the quick leg drop, which was requested by Brian Hartt, where Sasso turned the wrong way.
Sasso would stay involved in wrestling over the years, making appearances on WWE programming, including a time when he impersonated Steve Austin.
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