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COVER STORY: Bret Hart decides to leave WWF, join WCW next month
PWTorch Newsletter #465 (11-08-97)

Bret Hart's final date in the WWF is Dec. 7. He joins WCW shortly thereafter. Eric Bischoff plans to announce the signing of Bret this Monday on the Nov. 10 Nitro. Vince McMahon, according to two well-informed sources, is considering taking the WWF public. Bret's departure may be directly related to McMahon wanting to increase the profitability of the WWF so when his financials go public, the company will look more attractive to potential investors.

COVER STORY: McMahon double-crosses Bret in title match
PWTorch Newsletter #466 (11-15-97)

Bret Hart walked into the ring Sunday night at Survivor Series in Montreal expecting to walk out with the WWF Title. Instead, Shawn Michaels did. Vince McMahon, frustrated with his inability to convince Bret to drop the WWF Title before WCW announced their acquisition of Bret on national television, devised a plot to wrest the belt from Bret without his consent. Afterward, because of his anger, Bret punched McMahon in the locker room minutes after the match, giving McMahon a black eye and a sore jaw. The double-cross led to major unrest in the WWF locker room. Family members Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and Jim Neidhart wanted to quit. They no-showed Raw on Monday and the Raw taping on Tuesday. Their status is up in the air. Mick Foley (Mankind) flew home and no-showed Raw on Monday apparently in protest of McMahon's actions, but did fly back for the Tuesday taping.

NEWSWIRE: McMahon issues statement on double-cross, Michaels speaks on Raw
PWTorch Newsletter #466 (11-15-97)

As it has been reported recently on line, part of Bret Hart's decision to pursue other options is "allegedly" due to his concern with the "direction" of the WWF. Whereby each and every individual is entitled to his or her opinion, I take great offense when the issue of the direction of the WWF is raised. In this age of sports-entertainment, the WWF refuses to insult its audience in terms of "babyfaces" and "heels." In 1997, how many people do you truly know who are strictly "good" guys or "bad" guys? WWF programming reflects more of a reality-based product in which life, as well as WWF superstars, are portrayed as they truly are -- in shades of gray... not black or white.

END NOTES by Wade Keller: Alternate Universe Theory
PWTorch Newsletter #466 (11-15-97)

Of course, nothing can happen in wrestling without allegations that "it was a work." That is no different with the finish of the Survivor Series. There are some who believe that because Bret was unable to surprise the world with the announcement of his intentions to join WCW, he wanted to plot another surprise -- by orchestrating a "double-cross" finish with McMahon. One theory circulating was that Shane McMahon gave his father Vince the black eye he was sporting the next day in order for McMahon to gain sympathy from the wrestlers and better get across the idea that "he took a blow for the boys."

READER REAX: Initial reaction to Survivor Series
PWTorch Newsletter #466 (11-15-97)

Just when you think Vince can't be any more sneaky, slimy, or conniving he pulls one of the most underhanded shoot set-ups in wrestling history. Let me get this straight. Bret is jumping to WCW. Bret won't job to Michaels. So they make Bret job without him knowing it. Sneaky, but smart. It looked as if Michaels didn't know anything about it because he gave Vince a, "What do I do now?" kind of look, not to mention how pissed he looked. I am shocked, but not surprised judging from Vince's track record in the past. If this is an angle, which I doubt, they pulled it off really well. Seeing Bret spit in McMahon's face convinced me it wasn't a work.

KELLER'S BBL: Vince McMahon - Devious, but more dignified than Bret
PWTorch Newsletter #467 (11-22-97)

Bret Hart and Vince McMahon both passionately believe they were in the right, and that they were wronged, by the other party. Both can make a pretty strong case for their side of the argument. Who was right? Well, both had poor foresight since the situation could have been avoided had they both looked ahead and seen the potential for conflict and booked a title change in October. But once they reached the final days when it was too late and conflict was inevitable regarding the finish at Survivor Series, who is right and who is wrong comes down to a dispute over the meaning of one word - "reasonable."

COVER STORY: McMahon explains his side of Bret controversy
PWTorch Newsletter #467 (11-22-97)

As expected, the Bret Hart story continued to be the dominant topic of conversation in the week following his announced jump to WCW and the double-cross finish at the Survivor Series that ended his 14 year WWF career. It dominated the Monday night wrestling programs this week as WCW added insult to injury by signing Rick Rude and surprising the WWF and ECW by having him appear on Nitro live, ripping into his former Degeneration X mate Shawn Michaels, and saying that Bret Hart never gave up. What made matters worse for the WWF was that Raw was pre-taped and Rude appeared on their program with Michaels -- after appearing on Nitro live, exposing that Raw was pretaped.

WWF NEWSWIRE: Owen & Bulldog Pulled, Bret Reacts, Double-Cross Notes
PWTorch Newsletter #467 (11-22-97)

British Bulldog and Owen Hart have been pulled from all scheduled appearances for the WWF. In the case of Bulldog, he had a representative fax a letter to the WWF explaining that he suffered a knee injury breaking up the fight between Vince McMahon and Bret Hart. Before intervening, he had removed his knee brace which he wore in order to delay surgery. Because of the damage done, he says he has now been forced to have surgery and will be out more than a month. The WWF is going to have Bulldog meet with Dr. Jim Andrews to see if he really does need knee surgery. If he doesn't, he may return in two weeks. If he does have surgery, he will be out for a while longer.

LETTERS: Diverse reader reaction to controversial WWE Double-Cross of Bret
PWTorch Newsletter #467 (11-22-97)

I believe that Vince McMahon did the right thing by getting the belt off of Bret that way if Bret did not want to do a job to Shawn Michaels. Vince's back was/is against the wall. He was losing the person who has been with his company the longest, a person who to some represents The WWF much the same way that Hulk Hogan did. The WWF would have suffered irreparable damage if their reining champ appeared in WCW. Remember the talk when WCW's world title belt appeared with Bobby Heenan on WWF TV? WCW had to endure months of criticism from their fans with "We want Flair!" chants. We all know that WCW would not have said that Bret Hart was "the champ from another organization" like the WWF said about Flair.

LETTERS: More diverse debate about the WWF Double-Cross of Bret
PWTorch Newsletter #468 (11-29-97)

I disagree with the fan who thought Shawn Michaels was not in on the double-cross against Bret Hart. I have watched the ending in regular speed many times and Michaels clearly looks over as if he expected to see Earl Hebner calling for the bell, then once he saw everything was going as planned, he awkwardly jerked his head the other direction and put on his act that he was just as shocked as Bret. Watch the tape carefully and you can see right through Shawn's act.

COVER STORY: WWF teases a Bret-Michaels confrontation on Raw
PWTorch Newsletter #468 (11-29-97)

On the live Nov. 24 Raw is War, the WWF teased that Bret Hart would appear on the program in the second hour. They succeeded for a few minutes in stirring talk in the wrestling world and having a lot of people on the edge of their seats thinking the whole double-cross situation was actually an angle, or that at least they had reconciled enough so Bret would leave the WWF on better terms and actually fulfill the final week of his contract. In reality, it was a ratings stunt and a way for DX to further establish their deceptive personas.

WWF NEWSWIRE: Bret Hart writes about controversy in Calgary Sun column
PWTorch Newsletter #468 (11-29-97)

Bret Hart's advice for McMahon: "And about this time-honored tradition stuff. What does Shawn Michaels know about honor and tradition, having forfeited more titles than any wrestler alive? Last but not least, what kind of man wants to hold his integrity up to a light when the whole world watched him and his slimy little cohorts conspire and cheat me out of a world title? Please Vince, take this advice, the first rule of holes is: When you're in one, stop digging. I hope I don't need to mention them anymore.

WCW NEWSWIRE: Bischoff comments on Bret Double-Cross
PWTorch Newsletter #468 (11-29-97)

Eric Bischoff regarding whether Bret Hart gave Vince McMahon what he deserved: "In terms of Vince getting what he deserved, I wasn't there and I really don't have any right to have a comment about that. I think if I could go back in time and erase anything that happened, I think for Bret's sake I wish that hadn't happened because it was a negative situation all the way around. At the same time, I can understand. I think what happened to Bret was inexcusable and I know Bret is a fairly emotional individual, and I guess in some ways I can't blame him for the way he acted, but at the end of the day it's still a bad situation and I wish it hadn't happened for Bret's sake. I think the segments on Raw were a joke. I think Vince McMahon really believes...

WWF NEWSWIRE: Michaels and Bret each comments on fallout from controversy
PWTorch Newsletter #469 (12-06-97)

Shawn Michaels on Bret's departure: "The world should know this was not Bret Hart leaving, this was Vince McMahon asking him to leave. He simply didn't feel Bret was giving what he was getting. He was always late. He only did personal appearances in Canada when he felt like it. As WWF champion I did everything. The Undertaker still does everything. Steve Austin does everything. There's a lot of legwork that comes with working in the WWF. Bret didn't want to do any of it. It wasn't convenient for him. He wanted, he wanted, but he wasn't willing to give."

BRUCE MITCHELL: Examining "Wrestling with Shadows" documentary
PWTorch Newsletter #513 (09-25-97)

The long awaited documentary on Bret Hart's final year in the WWF, "Wrestling With Shadows," won't change any minds as to who screwed whom in the most famous finish to a wrestling match in two decades. In fact, the documentary confirms Bret Hart's story - that Vince McMahon wanted out of their twenty year contract and that Hart was torn between loyalties to the WWF, to his Canadian Hero character, and to a three year, $9 million offer from WCW. More importantly, it confirms that Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson, Earl Hebner, and probably Shawn Michaels lied to Hart's face and broke the WWF's contractual agreement to...

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