17 years after Bret Hart's exile from WWE, the infamous "Montreal Screwjob" remains a hot topic within wrestling. As Survivor Series approaches, tales from the event find themselves grabbing the attention of mainstream media. This week Hart spoke to Sports Illustrated about the iconic situation.
Hart was being followed by a film crew, recording content for his widely-acclaimed "Wrestling With Shadows" documentary. By the time Survivor Series 1997 rolled around, filming had largely wrapped. Hart, however had other plans.
"I said to the camera crew, 'I want you to film my last match in Canada next week,'" Hart told SI. "They scrambled to see if their passes from WWE were still effective – and it turned out they were good for the whole year. So that whole camera crew shows up through the back door with me at the Survivor Series, and it totally caught Vince off-guard. He didn't know they were still shooting or that they'd even be there."
Hart said only Vince McMahon, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Jerry Brisco and eventually Earl Hebner knew about the double-crossing and Hebner's job was threatened if he didn't go through with it. Hart said that was probably a good idea, because if he were tipped off by Hebner, he would have taken matters into his own hands.
"I would have choked Shawn out in the middle of the ring," he said. "I would have front-face locked him and ended the match. Before I went in the ring, I told myself I'd never let them put a submission hold on me. But because I had Earl as the referee, and I trusted that he wouldn't screw me, I wasn't too worried about that any more. That was my big mistake," Hart said.
Hart also said that he asked Michaels about his knowledge of the screwjob, and Michaels denied any involvement (which can be seen on Wrestling With Shadows). He said that Vince's lying didn't stop with the screwjob itself, either.
"Vince said straight to me, 'This is the first time I ever had to lie to one of my talent.' I said, 'Are you kidding me?'" said Hart. "Then I rattled off on every finger about ten different lies he'd told me in the last week. Vince told me, 'What I did to you today won't hurt you. You'll still get all the money you're supposed to get from WCW.'"
His WCW run didn't go as expected, however. As it turns out, Bret Hart later discovered Hulk Hogan nixed many of his storyline ideas and pushes. He had been told by Steve Austin that he'd never entertain the idea of going back to WCW and quickly learned why.
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