The match known as the Montreal Screwjob is one of the most famous matches in pro wrestling history and Bret Hart is not happy with the opinions expressed by the referee of the match.
It was a match that has been very well documented over the last 25 years with Bret Hart going into Survivor Series 1997 as the WWE (then known as WWF) Champion defending the title against his rival Shawn Michaels in Montreal.
In the weeks leading up to the match, Bret signed a deal with World Championship Wrestling that would pay him more than what WWE offered him. Bret also had a deal with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon that he would have creative control over the final 30 days of his run in WWE.
There is a famous story that Bret has told many times that he didn’t have a problem with putting Shawn over a match even though they had a lot of backstage issues in 1997 and even got into a fight at one point. Shawn replied that he wouldn’t put Bret over, so that made Bret upset. Bret also didn’t want to lose the title in Canada since he was a Canadian hero/anti-American character. Bret had the right to say since he had creative control over his contract.
On the day of Survivor Series 1997, Bret wore a device to record his conversation with Vince. They agreed to have a “schmoz” finish where Bret’s brother Owen and brothers-in-law the British Bulldog & Jim Neidhart would cause a disqualification. They would then figure out another time for Bret to lose to the title perhaps on Raw or the next pay-per-view event in December.
All of this was well documented in a documentary called “Wrestling With Shadows” that started filming Bret in the summer of 1997 long before he knew he was leaving WWE. It covered the Montreal Screwjob very well.
The referee of the match was longtime veteran Earl Hebner, who refereed many matches of Bret and Shawn in their career including their Ironman Match at WrestleMania 12 as well. Bret specifically asked Earl to referee the match since he trusted him.
At the end of the Michaels/Hart Survivor Series 1997 match, Vince was at ringside calling for the bell while Hebner called for the bell as Michaels tried to apply his own version of the Sharpshooter, which Hart was countering, but the bell rang. Hebner quickly left the building and jumped into a car waiting outside the building since he was scared about what might happen.
Bret recently took part in a virtual autograph signing with K&S Wrestle Fest. During the signing, he was told that Hebner claimed that he was the one that was screwed while saying that Vince, Bret and Shawn were all in on the plot and that the whole thing was a work (meaning it was all a plan/storyline). Bret was not happy about it.
“That’s not true. He should know better about that. I was well under the understanding that they were going to try and screw me that day somehow. I was just determined not to let it happen.”
“Earl is a victim of being a coward. I told Earl the night before. I said, ‘They’re going to ask you to screw me tomorrow.'”
Earl isn’t the only Hebner to believe it was a work because his son Brian recently said he thought it was a work as well.
The story was most likely not a work and it took Bret and Shawn 13 years to reconcile their friendship by sharing a hug on WWE Monday Night Raw in January 2010.
H/t Wrestling Inc