Jim Ross has revealed a surprisingly good-hearted side of Vince McMahon amidst the turmoil of “Montreal”.
November 9th, 1997 is perhaps the most infamous date in pro-wrestling history. It was the night that Bret Hart was ‘screwed’ out of the WWE Title under orders from Vince McMahon at Survivor Series 1997. The Screwjob caused immediate upheaval in WWE and changed the course of wrestling history.
Much has already been written and said of the Montreal Screwjob, yet some rumors and conspiracy theories still remain. Some people still think it’s all an elaborate ruse, while others question who knew and who didn’t.
One person that didn’t know was Jim Ross, who was WWE’s Head of Talent Relations at the time and also on commentary that night. He, like everyone save for a select few in Vince McMahon’s inner circle, knew nothing of the planned Screwjob. And his lack of knowledge on the matter came up on a recent episode of his Grilling With JR Podcast.
On that podcast, Jim Ross revealed that Vince McMahon didn’t inform JR of his plans because he didn’t want JR’s name dragged through the mud along with his.
“After the show, I was confused, I was upset. I said [to Vince], ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ He said, ‘Because I want the talent to always know the truth and that is you didn’t have, you were not a party to, this deal. This is not your idea. You didn’t endorse it. You’ll always be loyal to the talent and if you’d have known … [Ross] could have prevented it.’ I couldn’t prevent it. It was a done deal.”
The Montreal Screwjob had enormous repercussions. Bret left WWE for WCW. Vince McMahon exploited all the attention this event garnered and became the on-screen Mr. McMahon character. And “Stone Cold” Steve Austin became the hero WWE needed in Bret’s absence.
That Austin/McMahon feud turned the side of the Monday Night Wars in WWE’s favor once and for all.
h/t WrestlingInc for the transcription