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

Hart missing in SkyDome show


By JOHN POWELL
SLAM! Sports

Thanks For The Memories Bret!
We Love You Hit Man.
Bret Sold Out.
Another Old FHart To The WCW. Bye, Bye, Bret.

- fan's signs held high at tonight's SkyDome event.

 Whatever else they may be, wrestling fans aren't soft spoken. Their opinions coming in loud and clear through loud jeering, cheering or sign waving. Tonight at the WWF's lifeless and dull card at the SkyDome in downtown Toronto, fans poured out their feelings to their squared circle icon and fellow countryman...Bret "The Hit Man" Hart.

Ever since the rumors of Bret Hart leaning towards leaving the WWF for the rival World Championship Wrestling promotion were confirmed, negative and positive reactions were stirred up in fans world-wide but more so in Canada; the land Hart and his family call home. Before, during and after the grudge match main event in which Hart and his brother-in-laws The British Bulldog and Jim "The Anvil" Niedhart teamed against The Undertaker, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Mankind; the majority of fans in attendance implored The Hit Man to change his mind.

"Bret Don't Go! Bret Don't Go!," being the standard plea shouted in overpowering unison.

The Hit Man they saw before them between the ring ropes, metal posts and steel cables wasn't the enthusiastic performer they admire. Something was definitely missing. Something was definitely wrong. The crowd on their feet, Hart stood in the corner waiting beside his Hart Foundation members for the opposing team to walk that aisle. An apparent look of gratefulness for the show of support blended with the intense unease and unhappiness sketched across his familiar face as he stared out at the sea of Canadian flags and hand-written signs facing a turnbuckle; his arms resting on the padded cushion.

Fans turned their bitter disappointment on Austin and company shouting "Austin Sucks! Austin Sucks!" loud enough to rattle the tiles on the Dome's collapsible roof. The completion of the ring entrances saw Bulldog lock horns with Hannibal Lector wannabe, Mankind. The beating The Bulldog leveled on Mick Foley was cut short as the crowd cried out..."We want Bret! We want Bret!". Bulldog willingly obliged tagging the current WWF World Champion in a heartbeat.

Whatever unsettling emotions Hart felt in probably his last Toronto appearance for quite some time dissipated once he accepted the tag and stepped through the ropes. The Hit Man was all business, pounding the living daylights out of Mankind until he was forced to flee. Frustrated, Foley heaved a couple chairs into the ring from the floor. Hart scooped one up whacking Mankind over the head and back. Turning back the clock, Hit Man called in his former tag partner, Jim Niedhart in who wailed on a weakened Foley.

At four minutes and thirty-two seconds, The Undertaker stepped in pointing his finger at The Hit Man standing on the apron. Again, the request was granted. The WWF champ whalloped The Man From The Dark Side backing him into a corner. The Undertaker reversed the offensive lighting quick landing punishing blows. In a sight rarely heard or seen in the WWF, the crowd booed The Undertaker.

Tagged in by The Grim Reaper, Mankind set-up Hart for his submission move, the Mandible Claw. Black gloved fingers rammed down his throat, the Hit Man fought off the hold. Hart hit the canvass hard as a devastating choke slam was applied by the tagged Undertaker. Suddenly, the lights went out replaced by a pale red glow revealing Cain and Paul Bearer in the entrance way. Seeing The Undertaker distracted, Hart and The Bulldog inflicted damage on his knee. Kain and Bearer then hit the road.

"Stone Cold" spending the course of the match interfering clocked Hart in the head as he slapped The Sharp Shooter on The Undertaker. This action brought all six men into the ring. At thirteen minutes and eighteen seconds in, Austin dropped Niedhart using the Stone Cold Stunner scoring the pinfall.

Austin's team headed out leaving Hart alone to thank the fans by shaking their hands around ringside.

The WWF returns to SkyDome on February 21st, 1998.

Too Hot To Handle - SkyDome card results

: The Patriot Vs Niedhart and Owen Hart as part of The Hart Foundation team are dropped due to their respective injuries. Niedhart fills Owen's space on the Hart Foundation team in the main event. A midget bout substitutes for Niedhart match against The Patriot.

Miguel Perez Vs Tiger-Ali-Singh

: Canadian sensation, Singh, brains loud mouth Perez with a top rope flying bulldog. The eye of the tiger rules the ring. Toronto fans loudly cheer and support their hometown favorite.

Winner: Tiger-Ali-Singh at 4 minutes and 36 seconds.

Kama and D-Lo Brown (Nation Of Domination) Vs The Headbangers

: Rocky Maivia is at ringside.
: Thrash holds up a fan's sign that reads "Nation Of Constipation".
: At 10:48, while the ref is easily distracted, Maivia choke slams a Headbanger.

Winners: At 11 minutes, Kama and D-Lo Brown (Nation Of Domination).

Rocky Maivia Vs Ahmed Johnson

: Faarooq cuts off Johnson's music saying..."We are going to kick Ahmed's ass tonight".
: Former CFL football star turned wrestler, Glenn Kulka is in Johnson's corner causing more harm than good arguing with the ref and allowing the Nation to punk Johnson.
: As Kulka keep the Nation's attention, Johnson Pearl River Plunges Maivia.

Winner: Ahmed Johnson at 6 minutes and 43 seconds.

Savio Vega Vs Dustin Rhodes

: Dustin is said to have broken his wrist so he can't fight. Vega taunts him to show his face. Dustin does (minus his Goldust get-up) and is given a severe thrashing but escapes by clubbing Vega with his cast.

Winner: By forfeit...Savio Vega.

The Godwinns (challengers) Vs The Legion Of Doom (champions) Tag Team Title Match

: Henry Godwinn calls Canada a "God forsaken hell hole".
: Hawk responds by saying The Godwinns suck.
: Bored fans head towards the concession stands or smoking areas in droves.
: At ten minutes and forty seconds, Henry misses and bonks Phineas with the steel slop bucket.
: Hawk bashes Henry with the bucket sending him over the top rope.
: Doomsday Device time!!

Winners: ..and still WWF Tag Team Champions...The Legion Of Doom at 10 minutes and 40 seconds.

Faarooq Vs Vader

: Faarooq yells at Vader..."I want you to climb your pale ass into the ring and show me what you got".
: The Nation swarms Vader early on. Vader and Faarooq take turns whipping each other using Faarooq's own belt.
: Vader lands the Bomb but the Nation runs in. The Legion Of Doom, Ken Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson even the odds.

Winner: Via DQ at 3 minutes and 36 seconds, Vader.

Hunter-Hearst Helmsley Vs Ken Shamrock

: HHH "crotch chops" more than Michael Jackson. It gets boring REAL fast.
: As Chyna chats the ref up, HHH misses a flying knee, hits Chyna. Shamrock rolls HHH up for the pin.

Winner: Ken Shamrock at 8 minutes and 19 seconds.

The British Bulldog / Jim "The Anvil" Niedhart / Bret "The Hit Man" Hart Vs Mankind / The Undertaker / "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Winners: Mankind / The Undertaker / "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at 17 minutes and 18 seconds.