Something to Wrestle
Episode 5: The Montreal Screwjob
Release Date: September 2, 2016
Recap By: Andrew Soucek, PWPodcasts.com Editor
Survivor Series 1997 took place on November 9th of that year. It remains one of the most infamous nights in the history of the business. While the subject has been covered to death over the years, this episode presents a unique take as Bruce Prichard witnessed what went down firsthand.
As usual, the hosts talk about lead up to the show and a variety of events surrounding the company at the time. Here are 26 interesting items of note from the episode, presented in chronological order:
1. Bruce once caught hell from Vince McMahon for saying “good match, brother” to Bret Hart.
2. In 1997, Bret took some time off to heal up and pursue outside acting ventures. However, he didn’t tell the locker room this. He wanted to “work the boys” and leave them wondering what was going on.
3. Just months after the NWO angle began, Hulk Hogan’s deal was coming up in WCW and he put out feelers to the WWF to see what their interest level was. Vince even flew out to Denver to meet with Hogan in-person.
4. Vince initially suggested that the two meet in a hotel room to keep things private. Hogan wanted to meet Vince in a restaurant so people could see them and it would give him negotiating leverage with WCW.
5. Vince wouldn’t pay what Hogan was asking for and they decided to go with Bret instead for their big money signing.
6. When Bret announced he was staying with the WWF on-air, he didn’t show up to the arena until an hour before the show started. They didn’t know what he was going to say during his promo.
7. Bret had negotiated with WCW years earlier in 1991 but couldn’t get out of his WWF deal.
8. Shawn Michaels getting booed against Sid Vicious at Survivor Series ‘97 was looked at as an aberration and didn’t change their plans going forward.
9. Before Shawn lost his smile, the plans were for him to lose the belt to Sid in a short match. Shawn didn’t want to do that. He forfeit the title instead. His reasoning was that fans expected him to put on great performances. If he couldn’t, he didn’t want to compete. Other wrestlers were skeptical of his excuse.
10. Management didn’t know Shawn was going to say he lost his smile until he said it on-air. They assumed he was going to say he was giving up the belt due to injury.
11. At WrestleMania 13 in the Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin match, the blood was not planned. They went into business for themselves.
12. Bret Hart and Michaels once got into a fight backstage, grabbed each other’s hair and crashed through an interview wall. HBK later went into Vince’s office holding some of his hair in his hand and claimed it was an unsafe work environment. Vince sent them both home.
13. One early idea tossed around for ‘Mania 14 was for Bret to drop the title to Austin at the show.
14. Another early idea was to run with Hogan vs. Austin at ‘Mania 14.
15. Jim Cornette, Triple H, and Bruce himself all pitched screwing Bret out of the title if he wouldn’t agree to drop it.
16. The rumor of Shawn Michaels asking Gerald Brisco to show him some defense moves in case Bret got into a real fight with him after the Screwjob is true.
17. Bruce didn’t know the Screwjob was coming and was confused by what he saw. He was in Gorilla with Owen Hart, Bulldog, and Jim Neidhart when it happened. Bulldog reportedly stated “they f***ed him.”
18. Undertaker sat in Gorilla the entire night next to Bruce until the main event. They were going to film entrances backstage so ‘Taker went into Vince’s office to avoid being seen on-air. After the show, he was standing outside of Vince’s office, looking like he was guarding the door. Bruce and ‘Taker each suspected the other knew the Screwjob was going to go down. They later cleared the air.
19. The Hart Family (not the wrestlers) spit on Bruce, Vince, and management as they walked by to go talk to Bret in the locker room.
20. Ken Shamrock wanted to stay in the locker room during the Bret/Vince confrontation. He was asked to leave.
21. Bret informed Vince that he was going to finish his shower, get dressed, and then knock him out. He did exactly that.
22. Mick Foley didn’t show up for Raw the next night. He was the only wrestler who didn’t appear that was asked to (the Hart Family was told not to come). He later apologized for it.
23. Owen Hart got a raise to stick with the WWF after the Screwjob. Management felt he was more valuable at that point in time since he became the most important Hart left in the company.
24. Stu Hart later called on the behalf of Jim Neidhart (who he called “Rhino”) to get him back in the company.
25. Vince went into the “Bret Screwed Bret” interview without the intention of becoming a character or a heel.
26. Pat Patterson was the agent of the match and didn’t know the ending. He was upset with what happened.