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

Hart's Calgary career may be on the mat


By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

  Bret Hart's decision to part ways with the WWF likely means he has wrestled in Calgary for the last time.

As Page Six sources confirmed in yesterday's Sun, Calgary's famous grappler has become bitterly disappointed with the direction of the WWF and has signed a deal with rival World Championship Wrestling.

Although he intends to honor his bookings in Toronto Friday and Montreal Sunday for the Survivor Series, Hart's decision to leave for the Ted Turner-owned circuit may even mean he'll never wrestle in Canada again.

The Atlanta-based WCW has only ventured into Canada once in its history and although Hart's signing would lead many to believe that will all change, the WWF is working hard on getting exclusivity deals with all the major venues across Canada.

"There has been interest on the WWF's part in maintaining their position in the market," said the Saddledome's acting GM Libby Raines.

"We've had a long and really positive relationship with the WWF and they've really been the only game in town -- the WCW has not been a player here."

Try as it might, the WCW may be shut out of the big venues.

One year ago, Hart rejected a lucrative offer from the WCW to jump ship, deciding instead to stay loyal and appease his international fans which have been cultivated as a result of the WWF's worldwide touring.

Hart is undoubtedly upset at having to let go of his huge followings in places like Germany, England and India by signing with the American-only WCW.

Hart was at his northwest Calgary home yesterday being flooded with phone calls and faxes from fans, friends, media and fellow-wrestlers who wanted to know more about the report of his signing in the Sun.

"It's nice to see so many people care about my future," said Hart, who would only say he is going through "contractual reviews with both organizations."

"I wish I could discuss my future with them but it could affect the outcome of my negotiations."

Two of the people that tried to reach Hart were his brother-in-laws Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart and the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith.

"I didn't get a chance to talk to either one of them yet," said Hart.

As part of the close-knit Hart Foundation, Hart's move will affect their futures one way or another.

The WWF confirmed the 40-year-old Hart has exercised the escape clause on his recently-inked 20-year WWF deal.

Sources said he gave his 30-days notice due to his concern over the inappropriate adult nature of several wrestlers' actions and language as well as the fact he hasn't received the top-billing of late the WWF usually provides its champion.

Hart said he'll stay mum on the subject while on TSN's Off the Record tomorrow, but will address his fans in his column in Saturday's Sun.

More on Bret Hart