“The Montreal Screwjob” turns 18 [Occurred November 9th, 1997]
If you were born on November 9th, 1997, congratulations. You are now a legal adult. 18 years ago, you were born, but there was a controversy taking place in pro wrestling that would forever change wrestling history.
The WWF Champion at the time was Bret “Hit Man” Hart. Once a beloved fixture in the WWF, Hart’s championship reign took place during the downfall of a hero, as Hart had turned his back on the American audience. Although the fans hated Bret in America, they loved the Hit Man in Canada, which is where the now-infamous “Montreal Screwjob” took place.
Hart had plans to leave the WWF and retire from the company as its champion, but having been burned by former WWF Women’s Champion Madusa (who famously trashed the title belt on WCW Nitro), WWF Chairman Vince McMahon was nervous that Hart might do the same and soil the reputation of the company even further. Had that taken place, had Hart arrived at WCW and publicly destroyed the WWF Championship, the Monday Night Wars may have gone significantly different and Hart’s career may have lasted several years after. It’s also possible that Bret’s brother Owen may have jumped ship, and thus, wouldn’t have appeared at the Over The Edge event where his tragic death took place.
Instead, at the annual WWF Survivor Series pay per view, Hart’s championship reign came to an abrupt end. Depending on who you ask, someone (Michaels, Gerry Brisco, Vince Russo, Triple H, or a short list of others) came to Vince McMahon with an idea: to end the match in favor of Hart’s opponent and long time rival, Shawn Michaels, when the Heartbreak Kid applied Hart’s signature finishing maneuver, The Sharpshooter, to the champion. Business went as it typically did between Hart and Michaels, as the two had a strong disdain for one another, but when the hold was applied, referee Earl Hebner called for the title, and immediately fled the scene. For years after, in Montreal and several parts of Canada, Hebner, Michaels, and McMahon would receive “You screwed Bret!” chants.
Following the match’s end, Hart was visibly upset. Vince McMahon, who was standing ringside, acted puzzled at the decision, but Hart suspected an issue and immediately spat in the face of the WWF Chairman. It was because of the incident that the Mr. McMahon character was born, thus building a character that would play off of Stone Cold Steve Austin and add some extra gusto to the rising superstar. Shawn Michaels was escorted to the back and feigned irritance, though he later admitted that he knew the plan from the get-go. Hart began destroying televisions and expensive equipment at ringside, turning to the hard camera and spelling “WCW” with his fingers, signaling that fans of Hart would have to tune into Nitro to see the superstar any further.
Backstage, Hart asked Michaels if he had any idea what happened was going to happen. Michaels lied and said he didn’t, and told The Undertaker the same thing. When McMahon and Hart came face to face, Hart slugged McMahon in the face and a brief altercation happened between McMahon’s son Shane and Bret’s Hart Foundation brethren and brother in law, The British Bulldog. Following the incident, The British Bulldog would soon leave the WWF, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart was soon to follow, and the last remaining member of The Hart Foundation, Owen Hart, would continue to be employed for the next two years.
Bret Hart wouldn’t return to the WWE for over a decade. The only time the Hit Man would resurface at all was in late 2005, when a DVD documentary was released about him, and at the 2006 Hall Of Fame where he was inducted as a member of the Class Of 2006. Four years later, Hart would return to WWE Raw in the first episode of 2010, coming face to face with Shawn Michaels and shaking his hand in a famous moment that shocked wrestling fans worldwide.
The reaction Bret gets when he steps out onto the stage brings a tear to my eye. The reaction of the fans during the entire conversation, and its conclusion, is so appropriate. Fans were seeing a moment take place that by any definition was monumental. It was a conversation that could have occurred in private, but one that was a real treat for fans who followed the careers of both men, both before and after the Montreal Screwjob. Michaels and Hart burying the hatchet but to bed a long staked rivalry between fans, both of their work and some who believed one side was right over the other.
As it stands today, The Montreal Screwjob is the most infamous moment in pro wrestling history, and for a number of reasons. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels are arguably the two biggest stars of the 1990′s, and definitely the best that the WWF had for their era. To see or have heard of either brings a gleam to the eye of fans who haven’t even watched wrestling since either man’s heyday, and a smile to the face of fans who still watch today.
Superstar Seminars presents The Bill DeMott Tryout Training Camp 
Superstar Seminars, in conjunction with GXW Wrestling and The Bill DeMott Experience, are proud to present the Bill DeMott Tryout Training Camp! This camp will give aspiring pro wrestlers a chance to be trained by one of the worlds most renowned trainers.
Bill DeMott has over 25 years experience in the wrestling business,
wrestling for ECW, WCW and WWE. Bill is well known as the former head
trainer for many WWE Developmental programs, including NXT. As a member
of the team who devised the testing and tryout process by which a
current WWE hopeful is evaluated, Bill’s knowledge and expertise are
incredibly valuable to anyone serious about making it in the business.
This camp will give students an authentic experience of the tryout
process, and Bill will teach all enrollees every aspect of how to be a
better performer and provide the qualities that the big companies are
Assisting at the camp will be former WWE Womens, WWE Divas, and TNA
Knockouts Champion Mickie James; Nick Aldis, former TNA World
Heavyweight Champion, IWGP Tag Team Champion, and GHC Tag Team Champion;
and legendary senior referee Earl Hebner.
The camp will take place at the GXW-TNT Arena in Richmond, Virginia, a
multi-purpose facility featuring a full-size ring, classrooms, green
screen video room for promos/interviews, and changing/restroom
facilities. With easy access from major highways I-64, I-95 and I-295
and just 5 minutes from Richmond International Airport, the Academy is
easily accessible for students from all over the US or Worldwide. Given
the nature of the camp, we require that anyone wishing to attend must be
at least 18 years of age with a minimum of 1 year experience in
wrestling. Exceptions may be considered for applicants with a
significant athletic background. Proper wrestling training attire is
required. All enrollees will receive detailed instructions and
information via email as well as video footage of their training for
future reference upon completion of the camp.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be trained by the man who knows
what the big leagues are looking for! Enrollment is $250. To apply,
please fill out the application form below. If accepted, enrollment fee
is required in full to secure your place. Enrollments are limited to a
maximum of 30. Apply now to get your spot!
Yeeeeeeah, that sounds… I mean, perfect. All these allegations from credible sources and for only $250?! Fuck yeah, why not, right?!
I’m serious. Who the fuck is signing up for this? Who uses the internet to look up information about pro wrestling, sees all the shit about Bill DeMott’s training tactics and punishing regimen, and says, “Finally!”