If there's one piece of footage that every wrestling fan has seen, it is the replay of the Montreal Screwjob that took place November 9, 1997. However, many people still may not know the entire backstory as to why this all took place.
After Wrestlemania 12, and many conflicts with the backstage posse known as The Kliq (consisting of Triple H, Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman), Bret "Hitman" Hart took a seven month hiatus from the WWE, then WWF.
Bret had two offers on the table during this time. He could have accepted a 9 million dollar offer from WCW, or a 20-year deal from Vince McMahon. Bret went with the 20-year deal, making him the highest paid wrestler in WWE at the time. This meant that Bret would be employed by WWE until the year 2017, when he would be 60 years old.
Soon after, WCW became the number one promotion in the world, and Vince McMahon soon fell into financial trouble while trying to compete with WCW. His first order of business was to minimize all long-term contracts. This meant that Bret's 20-year deal would definitely have to go.
Vince proceeded to encourage Hart, the WWE Champion, to seek employment in WCW, and Bret took Vince up on his offer.
Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have never liked each other. Bret once said that he would drop the belt to Shawn Michaels. Shawn Michaels then responded that he would never lose to Bret Hart. Upon hearing this, Bret became angry. That's why Bret was less than excited when the writers booked Hart to lose the title to HBK at Survivor Series in his home country of Canada.
Bret Hart is a man of his word. Vince McMahon isn't. Bret told Vince that he didn't want to drop the belt in Canada to Shawn, but was willing to lose it the next night to anyone on the roster. This means you could have embarrassed him and let him lose the belt to say...Goldust or D'lo Brown. Better yet, he could have dropped the belt to his brother Owen. Vince then agreed to let Bret lose the belt to Ken Shamrock the next night.
Despite this agreement, he screwed him over and let him lose to the one man on the roster that he said he wouldn't drop the belt to. Bret intended to go to Nitro the Monday after Survivor Series, however, he still had four weeks left on his contract giving him the opportunity to stay with the company long enough to lose the belt to anyone on the roster, other than Shawn, and outside of Canada.
Vince McMahon being paranoid as he is, formulates a plan with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, two very immature men at the time, on how to prevent Bret Hart taking the title to WCW. Years earlier, Alundra Blayze had taken the Women's Title to WCW and thrown it in the trash on national televison, although i doubt Bret would do this.
With the main event coming to a close, Michaels puts Hart in his own finisher, the sharpshooter. Without hesitation, referee Earl Hebner, Bret's supposed friend who had sworn on his children that he would not screw Bret, called for the bell without Bret Hart submitting.
Shawn Michaels and Triple H rushed backstage, and McMahon stood there long enough for Bret to spit in his face. Bret than threw a tantrum before the audience, and spelled out W-C-W for the fans as they cheered and he made his exit.
When, watching the video of Hart's arrival backstage, you here him saying,"The bastard's locked himself in his office." If you're Vince sitting in your office, ask yourself why you are hiding from Bret. Is it because you just screwed over a man who gave you his word that he would not disgrace the WWE belt by taking it to WCW? It turns out that the only man able to force McMahon to come out of hiding that night, and explain himslef was, surprise, surprise, The Undertaker.
So really Vince, what was the point of a 20-year contract, because that really is what started the whole vendetta. What did you really think that you would accomplish with a 60 year old Bret Hart? Maybe a five year offer with the same amount of money per year? That means less money would be allocated to man who's already nearing the last couple of years of his career. Bret signed that deal proving his loyalty to you, and that's what he got in return? I'd hate to see how you would treat your worst enemy.
Ten years down the road, Vince and Bret have reconciled. Shawn Michaels, however, is another story. Bret has stated many times that he would never forgive Shawn. If anyone wondered why he didn't show up at Wrestlmania the day after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, it was because Shawn was scheduled to wrestle that night, and he did not want to be anywhere near him.
Bret Hart is a man of his word who did not deserve the sending off that WWE gave him. It is a shame that WWE would treat one of the greatest wrestlers of all time the way they did.
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