So it's been 10 years since that November day when the Wrestling World stood still, and started chanting "You Screwed Bret!"
I was 13 at the time, and completely floored when I saw Vince McMahon "ending the match" and awarding Shawn Micheals the title. Jim Ross announcing the infamous line, "you want to talk about controversy!" At the time, the Internet wrestling world was still very new, and I wasn't the "wrestling mark" I am now at 24 years old.
Looking back to that moment (I watched the survivor series live that night), I was always a Bret Hart fan, even when he was cutting promos saying that America was shaped like a toilet, and saying we have no family values.
I also remember how real the fued between the Hart Foundation faction and the new, but still unofficial, "degeneration X" faction became, with backstage brawls, very emotional promos, and of the course the Monday night Raw where Shawn Micheals stuck little Canadian flags in his pants, and stuck the bigger sized flag up his nose (funny, but totally tasteless).
11 Wrestlemanias later, there are still lingering "you screwed bret" chants, Shawn Micheals still catches heat in Canadian Arenas, and the "Mr.McMahon" character still loves chanting "YOU'RE FIRED."
I am a true fan of The Hitman, but a strong believer of that awful saying "Bret screwed Bret"—damn, just agreeing with that saying sends a aura of guilt through my body.
In 1997, the Monday night Wars was destroying the WWF(e). With The Hunkster, Nacho Man, and the Fartsiders making huge waves with the NWO, the Crusierweight division pushing the envelope by letting international superstars display high flying Lucha Libre, and of course the backbone of WCW, Beniot, Guerrero, Konnan, Jericho, and Goldberg—WWE saw themselves feeling something they never did since going national—Raw Jealousy.
Bret Hart, being in his fifth title reign in the WWF, and Evil Eric Bishoff (although a very smart man) working on putting alot of Turner dollars into his pocket—Bret Hart possessed something he never had against Vince McMahon: control of his career.
I can't imagine the feeling and emotions leading into the Montreal Screwjob, but I know one thing—It was done because it had to be done.
We all know how it played out now: WCW bankruptcy (YOU GOTTA GRAB YOUR COMPETITION BY THE THROAT and CHOKE THE LIFE OUT OF IT—Vince McMahon).
Can you picture Bret Hart winning at the survivor series, leaving him in possession of the Eagle-Winged Title? Do we really believe he would have kept his word, and put Austin over the next night on Monday Night Raw?
Hell no, there was WAY too much money on the line, and why wouldn't Hart, already being upset with WWE management due to his bookings and complaining of Michaels, have he NOT done the unthinkable?
Show up to WCW Nitro and holding up the WWF Eagle title in his patented "two step" rope pose...
Bret Hart had no affiliation with the WWE after Survivor Series, WCW would have paid him HUGE for it, and he would have gone down in history as the Benedict Arnold who destroyed this country's No. 1 wrestling organization. Everything was "win-for-win" in Bret's situation.
I love Hart, but letting him keep that title would have given him too much power and responsibility, and seeing how crappy his WCW run was—his head wasn't screwed on the right way (and vision too clouded by Bishoff's paychecks) and he would have done the inevitable.
I couldn't imagine the WCW being able to handle the No. 1 company spot, because no doubt in my mind, the WWF would have gone out of business if the title was brought over to Nitro.
Although it would have been phat television to see Lucha Libre being booked the right way in the United States.
Bret Hart is a true wrestling hero—his sportmanship, his performance smoothness, and of course his "cool" demeanor made his the wrestling superstar of the '90s.
With Vince McMahon screwing him over—it was the right move for the industry. I am a firm believer that without the WWE, professional wrestling would only be seen as side act at ur local state fairs.
And the legacy that Bret Hart is living now would have been tranished by real life treason, selfishness, and greed.
I'd rather see McMahon play that role on TV instead.