Montreal Screwjob

29 05 2009

In mid nineties, the competition between WWE & WCW has turned into ‘Monday night wars’. The quest for the highest ratings was on an all time high. Vince McMahon’s worst nightmare was coming true; WCW was beating WWE each and every week.

WWE’s biggest superstar ‘Bret “The Hit Man” Hart’ received a phone call from WCW’s Eric Bichoff. Bichoff wanted Hart to switch to WCW from WWE and offered him a whooping 9 million dollars per year contract, plus a creative control of his character. Hart at that time was getting much less from what he was offered, but being a through gentleman he is he amicably turned down the offer. Vince on the other hand could not see his biggest draw leaving the company and offered him a 20 year deal with WWE, which Hart accepted.

As the ‘Monday Night Wars’ became more and more intense WWE was incurring heavy losses on all its bookings, hence financials of the company were getting bad from worse. Vince felt that he cannot pay Hart what was originally offered to him and asked him to settle down for much less. Hart already compromised allot on the offerings could not do it anymore and refused to do it. Vince suggested as he cannot pay him that much Hart should seriously consider rival WCW’s offer. Hart was completely shattered, he considered Vince as a father like figure, but he was just a shrewd businessman doing business the way it should be done.

Vince was in turmoil, he knew the business was going down and there were other upcoming stars like- Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin who might also ask for the some package what Hart was getting and he might not be able to oblige them, thereby opening an exit door for these superstars who may switch to rival WCW for more lucrative deals.

Vince suggested coming survivor series in Montreal Canada, Hart should lose the championship to Shawn Michaels as it would be Hart’s last match in WWE before leaving for WCW. Hart was a bit reluctant to lose his championship belt in front of his home crowd which considers him an icon. Instead Hart suggested he will win the match at Survivor series in Montreal but will lose the belt to Shawn Michael in the next ‘Raw’ broadcasting. Vince was a bit apprehensive about this plan because he cannot take risk of letting his Champion switch to his rival WCW with a WWE Championship belt on his shoulder.

Vince knew he had to do something and prepared a plan in which Shawn Michaels during the course of the match would put Hart to his own submission move (Sharpshooter) and Vince will order the referee (Earl Hebner) to ring the bell and award the match to Shawn Michaels. But the story line referred to Hart was that, he will successfully move out of the submission move and will put Shawn Michaels on to the submission, where he will submit and thus the match will be awarded to Hart.

Vince did what he had to and he never regrets what he has done. According to him it was in favor of his business and he had to take the decision. After the match was completed, Hart was shown decimating everything in and around the ring. His brother ‘Owen’ with friend ‘Nied Hart’ are seen in the ring consoling him. Hart in his rage could not do anything thing because he knew he got screwed, screwed in front of his home crowd and by his own mentor ,for whom he did everything and anything. Past fourteen years in wrestling business just went passed him in a flash. He could not say or do anything, but when he saw Vince standing besides the ring Hart went near him and spitted on his face and made a sign to public signifying WCW. Vince knew he has done something terrible and never retaliated. He was ready for all the blames thrown at him because he knew what he has done is in favor of his business.

Backstage, in locker room Hart could be seen talking to Shawn Michaels and asking him “Shawn did you knew about this?” Shawn on the other hand denied it completely and said he had no idea that it’s going to end this way. Although years later, Shawn Michaels said in an interview that he knew about the finish. Hart’s wife is also seen walking through the locker room corridor and asking family friend ‘HHH’ (who at that time was a member of Shawn Michaels group DX in WWE) “Hunter did you knew about this?” to which he also replied “I am sorry but I had no idea”. Vince along with his son Shane went to Hart to console him knowing the fact that Hart might turn violent but he was ready to take the risk. Hart inside his locker room attacked Vince as soon as he entered for apology and punched him in the forehead. Vince received multiple injuries as a result of that punch and hurt his knee as well. Vince came out of Hart’s locker room limping and holding his head. Vince knew in his heart he deserved the treatment meted out to him by Hart.

Soon Hart went to the rival WCW and started a new career thereby ending the legacy created by him in WWE. Though Hart left WWE in a bitter taste but promised to himself that he will return the day WWE will admit him to the ‘Hall of Fame’ and truly he returned and accepted the honor in the 2006 class of ‘Hall of Fame’. Hart was inducted by none other than ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin’ who remained Hart’s worst enemy throughout his wrestling life and gave us many memorable matches.

We can argue for days, months and years that who was right and who was wrong. Whether Hart got really screwed or whatever Vince did was a perfect business decision. At the end of the time it’s your own inner conscience which has to decide and take a side. I will leave it to you guys because in my opinion neither of the parties actually got affected by this, Hart went to WCW with a lucrative contract while WWE’s rating soared day by day. The only party who got affected are the fans who never got to see the same rivalries ever again, rivalries which immortalized Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and ‘The Excellence of Execution Bret “The Hit man” Hart’.


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4 responses

1 06 2009
Links for May 2009 « Dr. Darin Davis

[…] Wrestling Fan: Montreal Screwjob. A recounting of the incident in Montreal between Vince McMahon and Bret […]

1 06 2009
Links for May 2009 | WWE Fan

[…] Wrestling Fan: Montreal Screwjob. A recounting of the incident in Montreal between Vince McMahon and Bret […]

8 06 2009
Sajid

Great post Ankur. The story is spellbinding, no words for the information you have thrown open here.

Keep it up buddy…

11 06 2009
kanchan sharma

good effort, keep it up.

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