We all began to suspect it at some point.
The Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1997 is infamous. In a nutshell to save time here: Bret Hart was leaving WWE and wanted to leave with the belt, Vince said okay, and then Vince McMahon had referee Earl Hebner call for the bell early when Shawn Michaels had Hart in his own submission. This meant that Hart lost the belt when he wasn’t told he was going to. All hell broke loose. It wasn’t pretty.
There were backstage antics like Bret reportedly punching Vince McMahon and blacking his eye. Confrontations between the Hart entourage and anyone who didn’t run out the minute they saw what happened on the backstage monitors. It was chaos.
BUT. Was it though or was it like most fans and pro wrestlers think now? Was it pre planned in advance, also known as being ‘a work’?
Earl Hebner was the ref for the event and for many years he had hinted that it was indeed pre planned but only a few inside WWE knew about it including both Vince and Bret. This would have allowed Vince to be introduced properly as the villainous Mr McMahon character and Bret could leave with the sympathy of fans everywhere and a lot of media attention.
Then again Bret went on Canadian radio shows and explained that he really didn’t lose it and inadvertently exposed the business. He told the audiences that he was supposed to win and how he was supposed to do it. This devalued all of what some people thought were real championship victories. Doh.
There are so many aspects that could make you go either way on whether it was real or worked out in advance. YouTube search for “shoots on the Montreal Screwjob” and then find yourself still watching videos this time next week.
Ref Earl Hebner weighs in and he of all people would know since he was the one who called for the bell.
I’ve had my thoughts off and on for 18-19 years and I think both of them knew to be honest with you. Why would you let a man put you in your own finish? I’m not gonna lie about it anymore. I was trying to protect Bret.
There you have it folks. Check out everything else he said on Busted Open Radio.
Work? Or Shoot? You tell us.