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Sheer Hart attack at Dome
Hit Man hits out at WWF, then drives fans wild at SkyDome extravaganza



By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun
The man who drew the biggest pop from the crowd last night likely won't be wrestling at the SkyDome for a while.

And they wouldn't even let him win before his Canadian fans.

Canadian wrestling icon Bret Hart, the five-time World Wrestling Federation champion, was given a royal welcome by the crowd, many of whom were shocked when they learned this week that Hart had exercised a clause in his contract to pursue other wrestling opportunities.

And the crowd went home a touch unhappy because the Hit Man's three-man Hart Foundation team lost when Steve Austin laid the stunner on Jim Neidhardt to win the match. And Hart took a pounding in the process.

For legal reasons, Hart would not confirm that he was joining WCW, though strong hints were there.

"Right now, I am under contractual review with both the WCW and WWF," Hart said on TSN's Off The Record last night, confirming he had given the WWF his 30-day notice. "I'm leaning strongly to going one way (read WCW). It would not be wise for me to say which one yet. For legal reasons I have to be careful what I say.

"This is not a money issue. A number of people have misconstrued that. I'm not looking for more money as much as I am looking for more respect."

SECOND BANANA

Hart, who became the WWF heavyweight champion for the fifth time on Aug. 3, when he defeated the Undertaker, has not enjoyed his reign. He has been playing second banana to his arch-enemy Shawn Michaels on the past four pay-per-view cards.

"I think some of the content of the shows goes against my belief of what wrestling should be," Hart said.

He seemed particularly incensed that he and his fellow Hart Foundation members had been depicted as racists after the dressing room of the Nation of Domination was trashed.

Hart was upset that he never was consulted on the angle, that someone in the WWF decided to go ahead with the idea.

"It's obviously a promotional direction," Hart said. "That's a poor concept. You have to be very careful when you start messing around with racial things.

"I hope that my fans who say they love me will love me for whatever decision I make," Hart said.

Hart's departure leaves a huge void in the WWF's Canadian talent roster. And if the speculation that his brother Owen is WCW-bound is true, the WWF becomes a lesser attraction for Canadian wrestling aficionados.

Hart is expected to join the WCW by Jan. 8, when that federation begins a new two-hour TV show on WTBS which will be available in the Toronto market. The WCW is also planning a 1998 tour.