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Bret the midcarder

Hi Scott,
Hope all is well.

I'm running through a lot of 1997 stuff on the network and WWE's stubborn refusal to just put the damn Raw episodes up is leaving me confused about what's going on with Bret and the Hart Foundation around this time. I noticed in your PPV countdown post for the Badd Blood IYH that you suspected some kind of conspiracy was at play to make Bret look like a midcarder, having tag team flag matches against Patriot and Vader, next to Shawn. I assume you were kidding, but it does seem odd that the WWF Champion was given such lame booking just a couple short months after he was the center of the hottest angle in wrestling. Was Bret's heat waning?

Had DX gotten so hot so fast to really steal Bret and the Foundation's heat, and Vince was being lazy with his now #2 heel? 

I know Bret has complained about what happened to his creative direction after Shawn turned heel, and while that should be taken with a grain of salt it wouldn't be the first time Bret floundered in nothing feuds while Shawn and/or other burgeoning top guys were given better spots. I mean even if they'd just gotten lazy with the #2 feud because Shawn and Taker were so hot, it would seem like a no-brainer to book Bret in a title match with Vader, given they were working each other anyway and Vader had just beaten Owen at One Night Only and Davey on Raw.

​There's no doubt in my mind that Vince deliberately sabotaged Bret's run at the end there.  DX was really, really hot as well so there's some justification you can do after the fact, but it was a really weird deal.  To this day I'm still confused about why he even put the World title back on him in the first place given how much we know now.  ​