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Ottawa fans get raw WWF deal


Tuesday, November 11, 1997
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun
  They showed up at the Corel Centre last night by the thousands to give a heartfelt goodbye to their main man of matdom, only to find the World Wrestling Federation is already Hart-less.

Bret "The Hitman" Hart, the Calgary-based five-time champ of the WWF and one of its most popular bigger-than-life heroes, bolted the WWF yesterday and left thousands of fans broken hearted last night when he was a no show for the RAW IS WAR card at the Corel Centre.

The real-life parting of the ways between Hart and the WWF took some of the steam out of the Corel Centre event last night.

Hart, who had handed in his 30-day notice to the WWF last week and prematurely ended his WWF reign after brawling with honcho Vince McMahon after Sunday's night's fiasco in Montreal, was supposed to be one of the headliners at the Corel Centre last night as part of the Border War 4-on-4.

In a blurring of the lines between what's real and the scripted existence of the WWF, Hart, who had been one of the highest-profile and most popular WWF figures, was hardly mentioned.

He said yesterday he's headed for the Ted Turner-backed World Championship Wrestling.

"The WWF isn't big enough for (Hart) and Shawn Michaels, so I put a sharpshooter on him and ran his ass down south with the rest of those dinosaurs," said Michaels, who took Hart's title in Montreal with The Hitman's own trade mark move.

"I've got some friends down there who aren't dinosaurs and they're going to beat the hell out of (Hart) whether you like it or not."

There was also no sign last night of Hart's brother, Owen, who was supposed to team up with Bret, Jim Neidhart and the British Bulldog in the Border War against Undertaker, Vader, Dude Love and another crowd favorite, Steve Austin.

Many fans showed up at the Corel Centre last night carrying or draped in Canadian flags only to find their Canadian hero was nowhere to be seen.

One fan hoisted a sign saying "Bret, Don't Go" but it appears the Hart transplant is already well under way.

There has been talk is Hart was becoming increasingly disturbed by the direction the World Wrestling Federation was taking and the growing endorsement of the tasteless (even for wrestling) antics of DeGeneration X, consisting of Chyna, Michaels, Hunter Hurst Helmsley and front man Ravishing Rick Rude.

But the Calgary Sun reports today Hart said he was asked to leave the World Wrestling Federation by McMahon and complied.

In what might have been a last-minute change to the script in light of Hart's sudden departure for Calgary yesterday morning, most of the fireworks involving DeGeneration X last night centred around the foursome and Ken Shamrock, the so-called World's Most Dangerous Man.

WWF commissioner Sargeant Slaughter decreed Helmsley should take on Shamrock.

With Hart now out of the picture and the WWF title in the hands of Michaels and DeGeneration X, the guys who where the blacks hats in the WWF, it remains to be seen who is going to emerge as Michaels' foil and a crowd favorite in Hart's place.

The Hart intrigue added yet another bizarre aspect to the already ear-pounding, eye-filling WWF experience which is part sporting event, part rock concert, part carnival and, if you got an eyeful of Sunny's get-up in her video last night, part day at the beach on a very hot day.

One of the few high points for the fans last night in Hart's absence was former Ottawa Rough Rider Glenn Kulka winning his WWF debut, walking into the ring in a silver vest and black pants with silver stars down the side.

That was one of the few moments when the fans got a chance to wave their Canadian flags.

More on Bret Hart