Monday, April 01, 2019

The Montreal Screwjob #RAW

On Sunday I finally finished watching the Survivor Series in 1997 and finished the main event of that infamous evening that aired on PPV in November 1997. It's something that perhaps I've only seen bits and pieces of. In addition probably have read as much about it. Since I never witnessed it then I couldn't really explain it. All I knew is that Bret "The Hitman" Hart got screwed out of his title and accolades and possibly his job.

With that said, I watched the PPV and see some suspicious things. For example why was Vince McMahon and his on-screen WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter at ringside? And what was Earl Hebner doing, he may have been the most uncomfortable element of this whole "Montreal Screwjob". In the below video go all the way to the 29 min mark. [VIDEO]

I also know that in the years after this Hart remained bitter and I do believe took part in interviews where he trashed his former employers at WWF. Of course times change and Hart had returned to the WWF now WWE and is enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He's being recognized for his many accomplishments as a WWE Superstar and rightfully so.

He's mended his fences with Vince McMahon and then real-life rival Shawn Michaels (The Heartbreak Kid). I do recall during the 5 year anniversary of the WWE Network there was a program that had Jim Ross as the interviewer where he talked to both Hart and Michaels where they talked about their rivalry and how they mended their fences. [VIDEO]

What's still amazing after over 20 years later that there is still a debate is it a shoot (unscripted) or is it a work (scripted). How long in advance did McMahon and company plan this and how many knew. I believe it was a shoot, and that The Hitman had legitimately been screwed out of his title. And another side of this argument had been The Hitman had put himself above the title and was unwilling to do business and drop the title.

Also, since The Hitman was expected to leave WWF soon that McMahon had a genuine fear that Hart would take the belt with him to WCW TV. The championship is a true symbol of the company and the last time a WWF belt was taken onto WCW TV it was thrown in the belt. Madusa upon leaving WWF had dumped her women's championship into a trash can live on Monday Nitro. [VIDEO]

Also with that fear in mind WWF as they entered into their attitude era had yet to turn the tide against the rating success of WCW. The Hitman was leaving because the contract he had McMahon realized he just couldn't afford it. Of course it also helped that WWF was planning a new creative direction for the company.

So either way, as I heard from a clip of Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson's podcast on this subject what happened with The Hitman wasn't revolutionary. In the wacky world of pro-wrestling something like this has happened before. Also if this wasn't a work, I'll believe the word of someone who's part of that inner circle. [VIDEO]
Perhaps one day I'll fully screen & review the Wrestling with Shadows documentary. It records the moments after the screw job. You see The Hitman spit on McMahon on the PPV and you see it in documentary to. Back in 1998 or 1999 when I saw this film on the A & E network this informed me a lot back then of what happened behind the scenes not just in the context of a wrestling storyline. Bruce Prichard in the video above made some reference to the documentary and it's apparent he's not a fan. [VIDEO]
Now admittedly I talked about this in passing last summer.

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