WWE Classic of the Week: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1997

Justin LaBar@@JustinLaBar Featured ColumnistOctober 29, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com

Most matches can't be vividly remembered by just the participants, the month and the year. Bret Hart versus Shawn Michaels in November of 1997 at the Survivor Series isn't like most matches. 

What became famously known as the Montreal Screwjob is a match that has spawned years of controversy, books and DVD's.

Professional wrestling will constantly get knocked by critics for being pre-determined or the moves being too fake. This was a night where two of the greatest professionals ironically engaged in an industry classic that was anything but fake.

The ratings war with WCW was in full speed. WWE was about to lose Hart to their competition. He had been carrying the flag of the WWE for years. He was going into his final WWE pay-per-view event as the WWE Champion, but there was concern of Hart leaving the event still possessing WWE's title as they knew he was potentially just days away from appearing on WCW television.

The planned finish, or at least as told to Hart, would have Michaels apply the Sharpshooter, Hart would reverse it and win the match.

When the end of the match came, as soon as Michaels got the submission hold on, the match was abruptly ended and a Montreal riot abruptly began.

The match gets so much attention for the ending. If you watch it, the match itself was designed perfectly to the story being told between the participants. A brawl took place around the arena minutes before the bell would ever ring and officially start the match.

With all the controversy surrounding the match and situation, the two professionals still couldn't resist their natural gift of providing an exciting professional wrestling match.

However, what I find the most interesting is looking at how much spawned off from this event. I think about how much could have changed and been different if Hart didn't leave the company on the terms he did.

I outline the cause and effects in this video I made a few years ago.

The birth of the Mr. McMahon character on television. It was this incident that pulled the curtain back and let the fans see McMahon as the evil owner in many of their opinions.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon working on-camera together which led to their real marriage. If Mr. McMahon doesn't become a figure on-camera, I don't think we ever see the rest of his family become so involved in storylines.

Shawn Michaels and the future of DX. This added to the raunchy, rebel attitude that was the foundation for DX's success and popularity.

The death of Owen Hart. If Bret Hart never leaves WWE on these terms, I don't think it would have necessarily resulted in Owen Hart's somewhat embarrassing booking over the next two years which ultimately led to him as the Blue Blazer again. No Blue Blazer means no entrance from the rafters in May of 1999.

Bret Hart's wrestling future. Hart leaves WWE and goes on to WCW which didn't do well for his legacy. Poor booking and an injury in a match with Goldberg that forever changed his life.

All can be traced back to having something to do with the events that took place in Montreal on November 9, 1997.