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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Hit Man WCW bound


By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun
  Bret (The Hitman) Hart has put the finishing move on his 15-year association with the World Wrestling Federation.

Page Six sources confirmed yesterday the current and five-time WWF champion is upset over the direction that his character and the WWF are going and has signed a deal with the rival World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

When contacted at his Calgary home yesterday, Hart said he couldn't discuss the situation, offering only he was going through "contractual review with both organizations."

It was just over a year ago, the former Stampede wrestler turned down a lucrative offer from the WCW, opting to sign a 20-year deal with the WWF.

However, the contract had an escape clause, which Hart has exercised. Sources said Hart has already given his 30-days notice and will continue to hold his title and wrestle in the WWF no later than month's end.

WCW officials announced Monday they'd be making a major announcement next week, but when contacted at their Atlanta headquarters they refused further comment.

The WWF is equally as tight-lipped.

"I can confirm he's wrestling at Survivor Series (in Montreal Sunday)," said Carl DeMarco, Canadian president of the WWF, and former business manager of Hart's.

"He'll also wrestle in Toronto (Friday)."

Hart is also scheduled to fight in Ottawa on Monday and Cornwall on Tuesday. Since capturing the WWF title for the record-tying fifth time in August, Hart has been portrayed as a bad-guy with his anti-American, pro-Canadian stance.

Not only has he fallen out of favor with American fans, it's been made clear to Hart that WWF officials have also soured on the 40-year-old star. Instead of receiving top-billing as the feature, and final, match of every card -- as is customary with the champion -- Hart has wrestled second-last on the last four pay-per-view events.

Although Hart won't discuss his frustrations with the WWF publicly, in a recent Calgary Sun column of his, he lambasted WWF rival Shawn Michaels for the lewd gestures that have become more prevalent in the circuit of late.

The swearing has also likely become a concern for the Hitman, who has long prided himself as a role model for kids. Since Ted Turner took over what is now known as the WCW five years ago, the upstart circuit has put a huge emphasis on luring the WWF's big stars such as Randy (Macho Man) Savage and Hulk Hogan.

While the WWF continues to draw larger crowds, the WCW's television ratings are better. With the Hart signing, the WCW -- which lacks the international following the WWF has -- is expected to launch its first cross-Canada tour next year.

The stage will soon be set for Hart to face Hogan for the first time. Having wrestling's two greatest champions of all-time in the same ring would likely draw the largest viewing audience in wrestling history.

Hart will appear on TSN's Off the Record on Friday and in his regular column spot in the Saturday Sun, where he may discuss his future.

Rumors will now fly on whether his blood brothers in the Hart Foundation -- brother Owen, brother-in-law's Jim (the Anvil) Neidhart, Davey Boy Smith (a.k.a. The British Bulldog) will join the rival federation.

More on Bret Hart