What was the Montreal Screwjob?

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Montreal Screwjob was an infamous incident that occurred in the Wrestling World. But what was it?

WWE has always been known for many infamous incidents, and it is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing infamous unscripted professional wrestling incidents that occurred on November 9, 1997. 

Wrestling's Montreal Screwjob may have been one big fakeout - Sports  Illustrated
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1997 (SI)

The incident happened at the Survivor Series PPV at the Molson Centre. Vince McMahon and his employees manipulated the match’s outcome between Bret Hart, the reigning WWF Champion and Shawn Michaels

Manipulation was called a “shoot screwjob” in professional wrestling terms. It occurred without Hart’s knowledge. As a result, he lost the title to Michaels in his last WWF match before departing for WCW. The “screwjob”: is believed to be an off-screen betrayal of Hart, one of the longest-tenured and most popular performers of all time. 

Hart won the WWF Championship at SummerSlam in August 1997 and was supposed to join WCW in December 1997. McMahon tried his best to prevent Hart from leaving the company as the champion, but Hart didn’t want to drop the title to Michaels. All three McMahon, Michaels and Hart agreed that the match would end with a disqualification which would result in Hart retaining the title. 

However, later McMahon decided that Michaels would win the title at Survivor Series without Hart’s knowledge. The plan was executed when match referee Earl Hebner on direct orders from McMahon, ended the match as Michaels put in the Sharpshooter submission. Even though Hart didn’t tap out, Michaels was declared the winner by submission.

Shawn Michaels reflects on the Montreal Screwjob incident.

After 20 years of the incident, Shawn Michaels did an interview with ESPN and recalled the incident, how it all happened and how the plan was executed.

Shawn Michaels Royal Rumble
Shawn Michaels is one of the legends in the world of wrestling (Image credit: Getty)

“I just recall, up to that point, there being big scuttlebutt all over like ‘Dun dun dun — what’s going to happen with Bret leaving?'” Michaels said to ESPN.com, recalling the lead-up to Survivor Series 1997. “And then, of course, was, I guess, an infamous phone call between myself and Hunter and Vince — I want to say it was just the week before.

“There was certainly no talk of it, for me, one way or another, until that phone call the week before Survivor Series.”

However, Hart and McMahon later reconciled, and the former was inducted into the WWE Hall of Famer on April 1, 2006.

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