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Fed-up Hitman stuns wrestling world by quitting WCW

By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun
  He had the Air Canada Crowd chanting his name for the better part of two hours.

Then he had them wondering if he meant what he said.

What Bret (Hitman) Hart told the 17,000-plus on hand and a U.S. national television audience was, "That's it WCW, Eric Bischoff -- I quit."

And while there are those who feel that Hart just wants to take a break to heal an ailing groin, Hart seemed sincere and Bischoff, the real WCW president, visibly was upset after Hart's revelation and threatened legal action.

"For whatever reason, Bret has been frustrated since he has been (in the WCW),"Bischoff said. "I don't know if it is because of the way he left the last company he worked for (World Wrestling Federation). He thought for things would be so great for him."

For whatever reason, Hart never enjoyed the popularity in the WCW that he had as five-time heavyweight champion in the WWF.

"I've been here for a year and they really haven't done anything with me," said Hart, who joined the WCW in December 1997, three weeks after storming out of the WWF because of a disputed loss to Shawn Michaels in a title bout at Survivor Series in Montreal.

"I don't think things are going to get any better, I really don't."

Hart expressed those feelings to the crowd, which was cheering wildly as the Hitman removed his Calgary Hitmen hockey jersey, unveiling a replica Maple Leafs sweater with Tie Domi's name and No. 28 on the back.

"Clearly (Hart) was out there tonight freelancing and he said things he never should have,"Bischoff said. (Hart referred twice to WWF champion Stone Cold Steve Austin during his rant). "He has a contract with this company. He can't just quit. Clearly this thing is going to end up in litigation."

Hart, who left the arena with friends, said the final straw was the way he had been used by the WCW in the past two weeks.

"There is a lack of consistency and continuity with anything they do with me," Hart said. "They put me in with some really lame guys."

Told he had shocked the crowd, Hart said, "I wanted to. There was a lot of thought that went into this."