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Montreal Screwjob – What actually went down

10 months ago By Sports Desk

In the annals of professional wrestling history, few events have sparked as much controversy and intrigue as the infamous Montreal Screwjob of 1997. This incident, involving WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Bret “The Hitman” Hart, unfolded during the live broadcast of the Survivor Series pay-per-view and sent shockwaves throughout the industry, forever altering the course of wrestling history.

Montreal Screwjob – What actually went down

Setting the Stage

The Montreal Screwjob was set in motion when Bret Hart, the reigning WWE Champion, signed a lucrative contract with rival wrestling promotion WCW. Faced with financial struggles, WWE was unable to retain Hart on their roster, leading to negotiations for his departure. However, disagreements emerged regarding how Hart would relinquish the championship belt before his exit.

Vince McMahon, determined to prevent the title from falling into WCW’s hands, devised a plan for Hart to lose the championship to his bitter rival, Shawn Michaels. Hart, however, was adamant about not losing the title to Michaels, setting the stage for a contentious showdown. Behind closed doors, McMahon and a select few crafted a scheme to double-cross Hart and secure the championship for Michaels.

The Night of Betrayal

The fateful night arrived at Survivor Series 1997, held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada – Hart’s home country. The match unfolded as planned, with Hart and Michaels engaged in a fierce battle for the WWE Championship. Everything appeared to be proceeding normally until Michaels trapped Hart in his own signature move, the Sharpshooter.

Without warning, referee Earl Hebner unexpectedly called for the bell to ring, abruptly ending the match. Confusion and disbelief washed over the crowd as Hart, visibly stunned, tried to comprehend what had just occurred. Unbeknownst to him, McMahon had instructed Hebner to execute the double-cross meticulously orchestrated behind the scenes. Michaels and Hebner swiftly retreated to the backstage area.

Confronting the Fallout

As the magnitude of the betrayal sank in, Hart confronted McMahon in the ring, expressing his outrage by spitting in his face. The Hitman’s anger escalated backstage, resulting in a heated argument with McMahon. In an act of defiance, Hart even delivered a punch to the chairman’s face.

The Montreal Screwjob left a lasting legacy. Bret Hart departed for WCW, carrying his grudges and painful memories. Within the wrestling community, fans criticized Vince McMahon, questioning the veracity of the incident. This event fueled the rivalry between WWE and WCW, escalating the intensity of the ongoing “Monday Night Wars.”

Conclusion

The Montreal Screwjob stands as one of the most contentious and talked-about incidents in professional wrestling history. It laid bare the complexities and power struggles that exist behind the scenes of the industry while forever shaping the careers of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Vince McMahon. The legacy of this event serves as a reminder of the blurred lines between scripted entertainment and real-life drama, leaving an indelible mark on the wrestling landscape and reminding fans that even the most shocking events can unfold within the squared circle.

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