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* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: According to Bret's autobiography, Shawn broke down crying in the locker room after the match. Shawn himself would also later confirm that the screwjob would haunt him in the years afterwards. Even so, Shawn felt that [[IDidWhatIHadToDo what he did was ultimately necessary]].

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* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: MyGodWhatHaveIDone:
**
According to Bret's autobiography, Shawn broke down crying in the locker room after the match. Shawn himself would also later confirm that the screwjob would haunt him in the years afterwards. Even so, Shawn felt that [[IDidWhatIHadToDo what he did was ultimately necessary]].
** Wrestling/JimCornette has spent years rallying against the death of Kayfabe and feels that pulling back the curtain and exposing the business is what led to the downfall of professional wrestling. He said that it occurred to him much later that as the accidental architect (See Unwitting Harbinger of Doom below) of the Montreal Screwjob, he's indirectly responsible for the death of kayfabe.

Added DiffLines:

* AccidentalMisnaming: In the [[UsefulNotes/ProfessionalWrestlingJargon lexicon of pro wrestlng]] the Montreal Screwjob isn't technically a screwjob, it's a double cross. But "Montreal Screwjob" does sound better.


* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Wrestling/JimCornette has stated that he was the first one to suggest a double cross on Bret during a booking meeting. He later said that he meant it jokingly and had no actual hand in the ending, all he asked Vince was if he had a finish. Vince said he did, and that was all Cornette wanted to know; he didn't want to know any details.

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* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Wrestling/JimCornette has stated that he was the first one to suggest a double cross on Bret during a booking meeting. (Cornette first suggested booking Bret with Ken Shamrock, who could have legitimately beaten Bret in a fight if he refused to do the job.) He later said that he meant it jokingly and had no actual hand in the ending, all he asked Vince was if he had a finish. Vince said he did, and that was all Cornette wanted to know; he didn't want to know any details.
** In June, 2019 Cornette detailed on his podcast that he actually came up with the finish. He says he suggested it hypothetically because Vince [=McMahon=] rarely took his suggestions. Cornette didn't know Vince was actually going to use the finish until he saw it live that night.


* BigDamnHeroes: (Wrestling/TheUndertaker) put his career on the line to force [=McMahon=] to apologize, likely saving the WWF from imploding and the number of wrestlers upset from walking out.
* BlatantLies: Wrestling/MichaelCole interviewed [=McMahon=] before the event and when asked who will win, he replied, "I don't know." Michaels suggested a screwjob to [=McMahon=] when Hart refused to lose several weeks before, and [=McMahon=] had said they needed to do it because he couldn't talk Hart around.

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* BigDamnHeroes: (Wrestling/TheUndertaker) Wrestling/TheUndertaker put his career on the line to force [=McMahon=] to apologize, apologize to Hart, likely saving the WWF from imploding and the a number of wrestlers upset from walking out.
* BlatantLies: Wrestling/MichaelCole interviewed [=McMahon=] before the event and when event. When asked who will win, he replied, [=McMahon=] replied "I don't know." Michaels suggested a screwjob to [=McMahon=] when Hart refused to lose several weeks before, and [=McMahon=] had said they needed to do it because he couldn't talk Hart around.



* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Undertaker straight up confronted Vince backstage and Wrestling/MickFoley quit for a day in protest. In his perspective, this is how Vince feels about the event.

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* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Undertaker straight up confronted Vince backstage backstage, and Wrestling/MickFoley quit for a day in protest. In his perspective, this is how Vince feels about the event.



* UnbuiltTrope: The Montreal Screwjob shows what would really happen if a wrestler ever got screwed out of the title. Forget winning the belt back or beating his opponent; Hart was so angry that he attacked [=McMahon=], [[TrashTheSet destroyed WWF equipment in rage]], and left the company for ''decades'' before he came back. Plus, other people backstage almost quit out of anger at management. And yet, it's the Montreal Screwjob that shaped pretty much every similar story that came afterwards.

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* UnbuiltTrope: UnbuiltTrope:
**
The Montreal Screwjob shows what would really happen if a wrestler ever got screwed out of the title. Forget winning the belt back or beating his opponent; Hart was so angry that he attacked [=McMahon=], [[TrashTheSet destroyed WWF equipment in rage]], and left the company for ''decades'' before he came back. Plus, other people backstage almost quit out of anger at management. And yet, it's the Montreal Screwjob that shaped pretty much every similar story that came afterwards.


Well, that's the story [=McMahon=] will tell you, anyway. Wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Eric Bischoff, the head of WCW creative at the time, didn't want Hart to get over if he jumped ship. WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds. The real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with Hart earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation. When Austin and Taker compared themselves to Hart -- the highest paid guy in the WWF -- that's when [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.

to:

Well, that's the story [=McMahon=] will tell you, anyway. Wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Eric Bischoff, the head of WCW creative at the time, didn't want Hart to get over if he jumped ship. WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds. The real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with was money. Up until his departure from the WWF, Hart had been earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation. When Austin and Taker compared themselves to Hart -- then the highest paid guy in the WWF -- that's when [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.
scared. However, whatever the reason might have been -- respect, money, or something else -- [=McMahon=] knew he had to get the belt off of Bret by any means necessary.



Bret Hart left the WWF and spent three years [[DemotedToExtra floundering around in WCW]] thanks to crappy booking and nobody really knowing what to do with him. This is despite Hart being -- at the time -- ''the hottest free agent in professional wrestling'' (something that ''[=McMahon=] himself'' predicted would happen). Thanks to an errant kick by Bill Goldberg during a match in 2000, Hart suffered a career-ending concussion and retired from in-ring action. A stroke suffered after Hart's retirement has ensured that, save for special circumstances where he doesn't have to take a bump, he'll never perform in the ring again. Following his retirement, Hart had very little love lost for WWF -- thanks both to the Screwjob and the death of his brother [[Wrestling/OwenHart Owen]] in 1999 -- but managed to put his animosity aside to help preserve his legacy. He worked with WWE to produce a DVD set that became widely acclaimed as a great retrospective on his career ([[WhatCouldHaveBeen one that WWE initially planned as a smearjob set called ''Screwed'']] until Hart heard about the plans). In 2006, Hart accepted induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, making his first appearance on WWE programming of any kind in nearly a decade to accept the honor. A few years later, Hart signed up again with WWE to ensure a proper and honorable exit from the business (see below).

to:

Bret Hart left the WWF and spent three years [[DemotedToExtra floundering around in WCW]] thanks to crappy booking and nobody really knowing what to do with him. This is despite Hart being -- at the time -- ''the hottest free agent in professional wrestling'' (something that ''[=McMahon=] himself'' predicted would happen). The people pressuring Eric Bischoff, the head of WCW creative at the time, didn't want Hart to get over if he jumped ship. WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds. Thanks to an errant kick by Bill Goldberg during a match in 2000, Hart suffered a career-ending concussion and retired from in-ring action. A stroke suffered after Hart's retirement has ensured that, save for special circumstances where he doesn't have to take a bump, he'll never perform in the ring again. Following his retirement, Hart had very little love lost for WWF -- thanks both to the Screwjob and the death of his brother [[Wrestling/OwenHart Owen]] in 1999 -- but managed to put his animosity aside to help preserve his legacy. He worked with WWE to produce a DVD set that became widely acclaimed as a great retrospective on his career ([[WhatCouldHaveBeen one that WWE initially planned as a smearjob set called ''Screwed'']] until Hart heard about the plans). In 2006, Hart accepted induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, making his first appearance on WWE programming of any kind in nearly a decade to accept the honor. A few years later, Hart signed up again with WWE to ensure a proper and honorable exit from the business (see below).


The Screwjob actually qualifies as HilariousInHindsight when you consider how Hart ''won'' his first title in the WWF. The Hart Foundation (Hart and brother-in-law Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, w/non-relative manager [[Wrestling/JimmyHart "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart]]) defeated the British Bulldogs ([[Wrestling/DynamiteKid The Dynamite Kid]] and cousin Wrestling/DaveyBoySmith -- another brother-in-law, though not acknowledged as such at the time) for the WWF World Tag Team Titles on the 7 February 1987 (taped 26 January) episode of ''WWF Superstars''. Bret and "The Anvil" won due to referee Danny Davis generally ignoring the Harts' constant double-teaming and spending most of the time checking on the injured Dynamite Kid. After the Harts won the match, Davis left with them.

Even before the Screwjob became a running gag, other promotions had ''already'' started to parody it. At Wrestling/{{ECW}}'s ''November to Remember '97'' PPV (held a mere ''three weeks'' later), Wrestling/AlSnow -- in the early months of his carrying around a mannequin head [[TheGimmick gimmick]] -- cut a promo where he said, "I didn't screw the Head. The HEAD SCREWED THE HEAD!" Even ''Creator/ScottKeith'' called it funny.

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The Screwjob actually qualifies as HilariousInHindsight when you consider how Hart ''won'' his first title in the WWF. The Hart Foundation (Hart and brother-in-law Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, w/non-relative manager [[Wrestling/JimmyHart "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart]]) defeated the British Bulldogs ([[Wrestling/DynamiteKid The Dynamite Kid]] and cousin Wrestling/DaveyBoySmith -- another brother-in-law, though not acknowledged as such at the time) for the [[http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwe/wwe-world-t.html WWF World Tag Team Titles Titles]] on the 7 February 1987 (taped 26 January) episode of ''WWF Superstars''. Bret and "The Anvil" won due to referee Danny Davis generally ignoring the Harts' constant double-teaming and spending most of the time checking on the injured Dynamite Kid. After the Harts won the match, Davis left with them.

Even before the Screwjob became a running gag, other promotions had ''already'' started to parody it. At Wrestling/{{ECW}}'s ''November to Remember '97'' PPV (held a mere ''three weeks'' later), Wrestling/AlSnow -- in the early months of his [[CompanionCube carrying around a mannequin head head]] [[TheGimmick gimmick]] -- cut a promo where he said, "I didn't screw the Head. The HEAD SCREWED THE HEAD!" Even ''Creator/ScottKeith'' called it funny.


Added DiffLines:

**An inversion had happened over a decade earlier. On the November 21, 1985 episode of ''WWF on PRISM Network'', there was a match between David Sammartino and Ron Shaw that David had been booked to win. Unexpectedly, David ran off the ropes and jumped into Shaw's arms and "submitted" to a BearHug. It has become known as the "Phantom Submission Match."


The Montreal Screwjob is one of the most important events in the history of [[ProfessionalWrestling professional wrestling]]. And no, that isn't hyperbole.

In 1997, [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} the World Wrestling Federation]] faced its most heated competition ever in the form of [[Wrestling/{{WCW}} World Championship Wrestling]]. The Wrestling/MondayNightWars had hit full swing and the Wrestling/NewWorldOrder angle helped give WCW better ratings than the WWF. Wrestling/VinceMcMahon saw some seriously hard times ahead for his promotion, which forced him to make some tough decisions. One of these decisions involved [[Wrestling/BretHart Bret "The Hitman" Hart]].

Hart had signed an unprecedented twenty-year deal with the WWF in 1996 that would've seen him collect a considerable amount of money for his services. [=McMahon=] felt he would have to breach Hart's contract in order to keep the company alive as WCW ran roughshod over the WWF (though Hart and others have since accused Vince of exaggerating his financial situation at the time). Backstage tension between Hart and fellow performer Wrestling/ShawnMichaels had also reaching a boiling point around this time. Between the desire to get away from Shawn and the promised fiscal security of the WCW contract, Bret saw no other choice but to jump ship. In November 1997, Hart (the then-reigning WWF Champion) signed a contract with WCW for a guaranteed three million dollars per year.

Hart's last contractually-obligated appearance on WWF programming would take place at ''Wrestling/SurvivorSeries 1997'' in Montreal -- he would face off against Shawn Michaels in the main event for the WWF Championship. The WWF hadn't scheduled the show as Hart's last with the company, as his working agreement ran for three weeks after the pay-per-view and WCW gave him verbal approval to work another PPV in early December. This December PPV would have likely seen Bret drop the title in a four-way match to either Michaels (if Michaels agreed to lose at Montreal) or another wrestler who would later lose to Michaels (if Michaels refused to job). Shawn refused to lose the ''Survivor Series'' match to Hart under any circumstances. Bret made it clear that he would not lose to Michaels in Montreal. The exit clause in Hart's aforementioned contract required Bret and Vince come to an agreement on any booking decisions regarding Hart, which left Bret holding all the cards. The pair's mutual stubbornness placed [=McMahon=] between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

The original plan for the match's finish (according to Hart) would have seen Michaels use Hart's famous Sharpshooter submission hold against Hart himself after a ref bump. Once Michaels applied the hold, Hart would reverse it, leading to a few more near-falls. Then, feuding factions Wrestling/DGenerationX (to which Michaels belonged) and the Hart Foundation (to which Hart belonged) would run in, start a huge brawl between the groups, and cause the match to be tossed out on a double-DQ. This ending would leave Hart open to drop the title in the aformentioned four-way match. (Hart briefly discussed simply giving up the title on TV, but at that point, [=McMahon=] had committed to the Screwjob, so he agreed to nearly anything Hart said in order to get Bret to perform at ''Survivor Series''.)

[=McMahon=] still had some leftover anger concerning then-WWF Women's Champion [[Wrestling/{{Madusa}} Alundra Blayze]] tossing the WWF Women's Championship belt in the trash live on ''Monday Nitro''. He reportedly feared Hart would show up on WCW programming with the WWF Championship and toss that belt in the trash (or worse), even though the WWF had filed multiple lawsuits regarding the Blayze incident. (That doesn't even get into an earlier incident with Wrestling/RicFlair taking WCW's World Championship belt with him to the WWF.) Since Hart had refused to drop the belt to Michaels in Canada, [=McMahon=] had to worry about the possibility of Bret jumping ship with the championship belt.

Well, that's the story ''[=McMahon=]'' will tell you, anyway. Wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Bischoff to sign Hart didn't want him to get over -- WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds. The real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with Hart earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation. When Austin and Taker compared themselves to Hart -- the highest paid guy in the WWF -- that's when [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.

And so, Vince hatched a plot on the night of ''Survivor Series''. When Michaels caught Hart in the Sharpshooter as planned, [=McMahon=] ordered referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell as if Hart had submitted to the hold, despite Hart clearly having done no such thing. This ended the match, made Michaels the champion, and screwed Hart on his way out of the WWF without a proper send-off.

This singular moment became one of the most controversial, shocking, and altogether important events in the history of the entire pro wrestling industry. The Screwjob sent Hart packing to WCW on very bad terms with the WWF and destroyed {{kayfabe}} for many fans around the world. Vince -- who had hoped the whole thing would blow over with time -- suddenly found himself as the most hated man in all of pro wrestling once people found out what had really happened. The next night on ''Raw'', [=McMahon=] famously said that "Bret screwed Bret," which served as the launching pad for the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive "Mr. [=McMahon=]" character]]. [=McMahon=] ended up having a much bigger on-screen role than he could ever imagined, playing the role of "evil boss" to the hilt as he feuded with Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin during the Attitude Era. That feud would come to define both the Era itself and the CorruptCorporateExecutive role in pro wrestling for years to come.

to:

The Montreal Screwjob is is, without hyperbole, one of the most important events in the history of [[ProfessionalWrestling professional wrestling]]. And no, that isn't hyperbole.

the entire {{professional wrestling}} industry.

In 1997, [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} the World Wrestling Federation]] faced was facing its most heated competition ever in the form of [[Wrestling/{{WCW}} World Championship Wrestling]]. The Wrestling/MondayNightWars had hit full swing swing, and the Wrestling/NewWorldOrder angle helped give WCW better ratings than the WWF. Wrestling/VinceMcMahon saw some seriously hard times ahead for his promotion, which forced him to make some tough decisions. One of these decisions involved a wrestler named [[Wrestling/BretHart Bret "The Hitman" Hart]].

Hart had signed an unprecedented twenty-year deal with the WWF in 1996 that would've seen him collect a considerable amount of money for his services. [=McMahon=] felt he would have to breach Hart's contract in order to keep the company alive as WCW ran roughshod over the WWF (though Hart and others have since accused Vince of exaggerating his financial situation at the time).WWF. Backstage tension between Hart and fellow performer Wrestling/ShawnMichaels had also reaching a boiling point around this time. The two men infamously didn't get along, and backstage tensions between Hart Michaels were becoming a common sight. Between the desire to get away from Shawn and the promised fiscal security of the WCW contract, Bret saw no other choice but to jump ship.ship to WCW. In November 1997, Hart (the then-reigning WWF Champion) signed a contract with WCW for a guaranteed three million dollars per year.

Hart's last contractually-obligated appearance on WWF programming would take place at ''Wrestling/SurvivorSeries 1997'' in Montreal -- he Montreal. Hart would face off against Shawn Michaels in the main event for with the WWF Championship. Championship on the line. The WWF hadn't scheduled the show as Hart's last with the company, as his working agreement ran for three weeks after the pay-per-view pay-per-view, and WCW gave him verbal approval to work another PPV in early December. This December PPV would have likely seen Bret drop the title in a four-way match to either Michaels (if Michaels agreed to lose at Montreal) or another wrestler who would later lose to Michaels (if Michaels refused to job). Shawn refused to lose the ''Survivor Series'' match to Hart under any circumstances. Bret Hart made it clear that he would not lose to Michaels in Montreal. The exit clause in Hart's aforementioned contract required Bret and Vince come to an agreement on any booking decisions regarding Hart, which left Bret holding all the cards. The pair's Michaels and Hart's mutual stubbornness placed [=McMahon=] between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

The original plan for the match's finish (according to Hart) would have seen Michaels use Hart's famous Sharpshooter submission hold against Hart himself after a ref bump. Once Michaels applied the hold, Hart would reverse it, leading to a few more near-falls. Then, feuding factions Wrestling/DGenerationX (to which Michaels belonged) and the Hart Foundation (to which Hart belonged) would run in, start a huge brawl between the groups, and cause the match to be tossed out on a double-DQ. This ending would leave Hart open to drop the title in the aformentioned aforementioned four-way match. (Hart briefly discussed simply giving up the title on TV, but at that point, [=McMahon=] had committed to the Screwjob, so he agreed to nearly anything Hart said in order to get Bret to perform at ''Survivor Series''.)

However, [=McMahon=] was nervous about sending Hart out of the company as the champion. [=McMahon=] still had some leftover anger concerning then-WWF Women's Champion [[Wrestling/{{Madusa}} Alundra Blayze]] tossing the WWF Women's Championship belt in the trash live on ''Monday ''WCW Monday Nitro''. He [=McMahon=] reportedly feared Hart would show up on WCW programming with the WWF Championship and toss that belt in the trash (or worse), even though the WWF had filed multiple lawsuits regarding the Blayze incident. (That doesn't even get into an earlier incident with Wrestling/RicFlair taking WCW's World Championship belt with him to the WWF.) against WCW. Since Hart had refused to drop the belt to Michaels in Canada, [=McMahon=] had to worry about the possibility of Bret jumping ship with the championship belt.

Well, that's the story ''[=McMahon=]'' [=McMahon=] will tell you, anyway. Wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Bischoff to sign Hart Eric Bischoff, the head of WCW creative at the time, didn't want him Hart to get over -- if he jumped ship. WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds. The real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with Hart earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation. When Austin and Taker compared themselves to Hart -- the highest paid guy in the WWF -- that's when [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.

And so, Vince hatched a plot on the night of ''Survivor Series''. When Michaels caught Hart in the Sharpshooter submission hold as planned, [=McMahon=] ordered referee Earl Hebner to ring the bell as if Hart had submitted to the hold, despite Hart clearly having done no such thing. This ended the match, made Michaels the champion, and screwed Hart on his way out of the WWF without a proper send-off.

This singular moment became one of the most controversial, shocking, and altogether important events in the history of the entire pro wrestling industry. wrestling. The Screwjob sent Hart packing to WCW on very bad terms with the WWF WWF, and destroyed {{kayfabe}} for many fans around the world. Vince -- who had hoped the whole thing would blow over with time -- suddenly found himself as the most hated man in all of pro wrestling once people found out what had really happened. The next night on ''Raw'', [=McMahon=] famously said that "Bret screwed Bret," which Bret." This served as the launching pad for the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive "Mr. [=McMahon=]" character]].character]], an evil boss {{heel}} who would handpick his own champions while screwing babyface wrestlers out of matches. [=McMahon=] ended up having a much bigger on-screen role than he could ever imagined, playing the role of "evil boss" to the hilt as he feuded with Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin during the Attitude Era. That feud would come to define both the Era itself and the CorruptCorporateExecutive role in pro wrestling for years to come.



Bret Hart left the WWF and spent three years [[DemotedToExtra floundering around in WCW]] thanks to crappy booking and nobody really knowing what to do with someone who was -- at the time -- ''the hottest free agent in professional wrestling'' (something that ''[=McMahon=] himself'' predicted would happen). Thanks to an errant kick by Bill Goldberg during a match, Hart suffered a career-ending concussion and retired from in-ring action (a stroke suffered after his retirement has ensured that, save for special circumstances where he doesn't have to take a bump, he'll never perform in the ring again). Following his retirement, Hart had very little love lost for WWF -- thanks both to the Screwjob and the death of his brother [[Wrestling/OwenHart Owen]] in 1999 -- but managed to put his animosity aside to help preserve his legacy. He worked with WWE to produce a DVD set that became widely acclaimed as a great retrospective on his career ([[WhatCouldHaveBeen one that WWE initially planned as a smearjob set called ''Screwed'']] until Hart heard about the plans). In 2006, Hart accepted induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, making his first appearance on WWE programming of any kind in nearly a decade to accept the honor. A few years later, Hart signed up again with WWE to ensure a proper and honorable exit from the business (see below).

to:

Bret Hart left the WWF and spent three years [[DemotedToExtra floundering around in WCW]] thanks to crappy booking and nobody really knowing what to do with someone who was him. This is despite Hart being -- at the time -- ''the hottest free agent in professional wrestling'' (something that ''[=McMahon=] himself'' predicted would happen). Thanks to an errant kick by Bill Goldberg during a match, match in 2000, Hart suffered a career-ending concussion and retired from in-ring action (a action. A stroke suffered after his Hart's retirement has ensured that, save for special circumstances where he doesn't have to take a bump, he'll never perform in the ring again).again. Following his retirement, Hart had very little love lost for WWF -- thanks both to the Screwjob and the death of his brother [[Wrestling/OwenHart Owen]] in 1999 -- but managed to put his animosity aside to help preserve his legacy. He worked with WWE to produce a DVD set that became widely acclaimed as a great retrospective on his career ([[WhatCouldHaveBeen one that WWE initially planned as a smearjob set called ''Screwed'']] until Hart heard about the plans). In 2006, Hart accepted induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, making his first appearance on WWE programming of any kind in nearly a decade to accept the honor. A few years later, Hart signed up again with WWE to ensure a proper and honorable exit from the business (see below).


This singular moment became one of the most controversial, shocking, and altogether important events in the history of the entire pro wrestling industry. The Screwjob sent Hart packing to WCW on very bad terms, played a role in destroying {{kayfabe}} for many fans around the world, and served as the launching pad for the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive "Mr. [=McMahon=]" character]]. Vince -- who famously said the next night on ''Raw'' that "Bret screwed Bret" -- played the role to the hilt as he feuded with Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin during the Attitude Era. That feud would come to define both the Era itself and the CorruptCorporateExecutive role in pro wrestling for years to come.

to:

This singular moment became one of the most controversial, shocking, and altogether important events in the history of the entire pro wrestling industry. The Screwjob sent Hart packing to WCW on very bad terms, played a role in destroying terms with the WWF and destroyed {{kayfabe}} for many fans around the world, and world. Vince -- who had hoped the whole thing would blow over with time -- suddenly found himself as the most hated man in all of pro wrestling once people found out what had really happened. The next night on ''Raw'', [=McMahon=] famously said that "Bret screwed Bret," which served as the launching pad for the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive "Mr. [=McMahon=]" character]]. Vince -- who famously said the next night on ''Raw'' that "Bret screwed Bret" -- played [=McMahon=] ended up having a much bigger on-screen role than he could ever imagined, playing the role of "evil boss" to the hilt as he feuded with Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin during the Attitude Era. That feud would come to define both the Era itself and the CorruptCorporateExecutive role in pro wrestling for years to come.



* BigDamnHeroes: Mark Calaway (Wrestling/TheUndertaker) put his career on the line to force [=McMahon=] to apologize, likely saving the WWF from imploding and the number of wrestlers upset from walking out.

to:

* BigDamnHeroes: Mark Calaway (Wrestling/TheUndertaker) put his career on the line to force [=McMahon=] to apologize, likely saving the WWF from imploding and the number of wrestlers upset from walking out.



* TheConspiracy: A real-life one between [=McMahon=] and Michaels. Wrestling/TripleH also knew of what was going to happen, but there have been conflicting accounts as to the extent of his involvement. Some of them say that HHH suggested the screwjob in the first place, while others say HHH was aware of what was going to happen but did nothing about it. All that said, HHH admitted he still thinks it was the right call years later.



* SecretKeeper: Wrestling/TripleH also knew of what was going to happen in the main event, but there have been conflicting accounts as to the extent of his involvement. Some of them say that HHH suggested the screwjob in the first place, while others say HHH knew what would happen but did nothing about it. All that said, HHH admitted he still thinks it was the right call years later.



* UnbuiltTrope: There had been numerous "management screws the popular guy" storylines in wrestling before this. However, the Montreal Screwjob shows what would really happen if a wrestler ever got screwed out of the title. Forget winning the belt back or beating his opponent; Hart was so angry that he attacked [=McMahon=], [[TrashTheSet destroyed WWF equipment in rage]], and left the company for ''decades'' before he came back. Plus, other people backstage almost quit out of anger at management. And yet, it's the Montreal Screwjob that shaped pretty much every similar story that came afterwards.

to:

* UnbuiltTrope: There had been numerous "management screws the popular guy" storylines in wrestling before this. However, the The Montreal Screwjob shows what would really happen if a wrestler ever got screwed out of the title. Forget winning the belt back or beating his opponent; Hart was so angry that he attacked [=McMahon=], [[TrashTheSet destroyed WWF equipment in rage]], and left the company for ''decades'' before he came back. Plus, other people backstage almost quit out of anger at management. And yet, it's the Montreal Screwjob that shaped pretty much every similar story that came afterwards.


* TheConspiracy: A real-life one between [=McMahon=] and Michaels. Wrestling/TripleH also knew of what was going to happen, but there have been conflicting accounts as to the extent of his involvement. Some of them say that HHH suggested the screwjob in the first place, while others say HHH was aware of what was going to happen but did nothing about it. All that said, HHH admitted he still thinks it was the right call years later.



* SpitefulSpit: Bret spits on Vince out of disgust once Bret realized what was going on. There's even mutliple angles of Bret doing it, along with Vince wiping it off his face.

to:

* SpitefulSpit: Bret spits on Vince out of disgust once Bret realized what was going on. There's even mutliple multiple angles of Bret doing it, along with Vince wiping it off his face.



* UnbuiltTrope: While there had been numerous "management screws the popular guy" storylines in wrestling before this. However, the Screwjob shows what would really happen if a wrestler ever got screwed out of the title. Forget winning the belt back or beating his opponent; Hart was so angry that he attacked [=McMahon=], [[TrashTheSet destroyed WWF equipment in rage]], and left the company for ''decades'' before he came back. Plus, other people backstage almost quit out of anger at management. And yet, it's the Montreal Screwjob that shaped pretty much every similar story that came afterwards.

to:

* UnbuiltTrope: While there There had been numerous "management screws the popular guy" storylines in wrestling before this. However, the Montreal Screwjob shows what would really happen if a wrestler ever got screwed out of the title. Forget winning the belt back or beating his opponent; Hart was so angry that he attacked [=McMahon=], [[TrashTheSet destroyed WWF equipment in rage]], and left the company for ''decades'' before he came back. Plus, other people backstage almost quit out of anger at management. And yet, it's the Montreal Screwjob that shaped pretty much every similar story that came afterwards.



* WhatTheHellHero: The backlash Vince, Earl Hebner, HBK got from this event are ''huge''.

to:

* WhatTheHellHero: The backlash Vince, Earl Hebner, and HBK got from this event are ''huge''.


Well, that's the story ''[=McMahon=]'' will tell you, anyway. Wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Bischoff to sign Hart didn't want him to get over -- WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds. The real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with Hart earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation. When they compared themselves to Hart -- the highest paid guy in the WWF -- that's when [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.

to:

Well, that's the story ''[=McMahon=]'' will tell you, anyway. Wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Bischoff to sign Hart didn't want him to get over -- WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds. The real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with Hart earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation. When they Austin and Taker compared themselves to Hart -- the highest paid guy in the WWF -- that's when [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.



* KickTheDog: They had to show Bret's face in total, right after the bell rung, didn't they?

to:

* KickTheDog: They The camera just had to show Bret's face in total, total right after the bell rung, rang, didn't they?it?



* SpitefulSpit: Bret spits on Vince out of disgust.
* TalkToTheFist: Backstage footage of Bret afterwards showed Bret saying afterwards that "Vince ran into [his] fist."
* TrashTheSet: Bret destroyed several stuff around the ring after the cameras went off-air.
* UnbuiltTrope: At The Main Event in Indianapolis on February 5, 1988, Wrestling/TedDiBiase had been persuading Wrestling/AndreTheGiant to win the championship from Wrestling/HulkHogan with Earl Hebner refereeing the match in place of his twin brother Dave, and Earl made a three count for André even though one of Hulk's shoulders was up, and André would hand the championship over to [=DiBiase=] afterwards, only for WWF president Jack Tunney to declare the title vacant, to be determined by a tournament at [=WrestleMania=] IV, [[spoiler: with Wrestling/RandySavage ultimately winning the title in the final match]].

to:

* SpitefulSpit: Bret spits on Vince out of disgust.
disgust once Bret realized what was going on. There's even mutliple angles of Bret doing it, along with Vince wiping it off his face.
* TalkToTheFist: Backstage footage of Bret afterwards showed Bret saying afterwards that "Vince ran into [his] fist."
* TrashTheSet: Bret destroyed several stuff things around the ring after the cameras went off-air.
off-air. He apparently did the same thing backstage.
* UnbuiltTrope: At The Main Event in Indianapolis on February 5, 1988, Wrestling/TedDiBiase While there had been persuading Wrestling/AndreTheGiant to win numerous "management screws the championship from Wrestling/HulkHogan with Earl Hebner refereeing popular guy" storylines in wrestling before this. However, the match in place of his twin brother Dave, and Earl made a three count for André even though one of Hulk's shoulders was up, and André Screwjob shows what would hand really happen if a wrestler ever got screwed out of the championship over to [=DiBiase=] afterwards, only for WWF president Jack Tunney to declare the title vacant, to be determined by a tournament at [=WrestleMania=] IV, [[spoiler: with Wrestling/RandySavage ultimately title. Forget winning the title belt back or beating his opponent; Hart was so angry that he attacked [=McMahon=], [[TrashTheSet destroyed WWF equipment in rage]], and left the final match]].company for ''decades'' before he came back. Plus, other people backstage almost quit out of anger at management. And yet, it's the Montreal Screwjob that shaped pretty much every similar story that came afterwards.



* WhatTheHellHero: The backlash Vince, Earl Hebner, HBK and HHH got from this event are ''huge''.

to:

* WhatTheHellHero: The backlash Vince, Earl Hebner, HBK and HHH got from this event are ''huge''.''huge''.
** The immediate aftermath saw Mick Foley almost quit, and Undertaker telling [=McMahon=] that he needed to face Hart like a man, or he "wouldn't have a company" the next day.
** The chants of "You screwed Bret!" follow [=McMahon=], Michaels, and even referee Earl Hebner in Canada to this day, more than two decades after the event had passed.


* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Even after Michaels' RealLife HeelFaithTurn, this has been his stance regarding the screwjob. Vince feels very much the same.

to:

* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Even after Michaels' RealLife HeelFaithTurn, this has been his stance regarding the screwjob. Both in kayfabe and in real life, Michaels feels like he did what was necessary to save the WWF, even if he didn't like doing it. Vince feels very much the same.



* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: According to Bret's autobiography, Shawn broke down crying in the locker room after the match. Shawn himself would also later confirm that, while [[IDidWhatIHadToDo he did what he had to do]], the screwjob would haunt him in the years afterwards.

to:

* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: According to Bret's autobiography, Shawn broke down crying in the locker room after the match. Shawn himself would also later confirm that, while [[IDidWhatIHadToDo he did what he had to do]], that the screwjob would haunt him in the years afterwards.afterwards. Even so, Shawn felt that [[IDidWhatIHadToDo what he did was ultimately necessary]].



* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Wrestling/JimCornette has stated that he was the first one to suggest a double cross on Bret during a booking meeting. He later said that he meant it jokingly and had no actual hand in the ending, all he asked Vince was if he had a finish. Vince said he did and that was all Cornette wanted to know, he didn't want to know any details.

to:

* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Wrestling/JimCornette has stated that he was the first one to suggest a double cross on Bret during a booking meeting. He later said that he meant it jokingly and had no actual hand in the ending, all he asked Vince was if he had a finish. Vince said he did did, and that was all Cornette wanted to know, know; he didn't want to know any details.


The original plan for the match's finish (according to Hart) would have seen Michaels use Hart's famous Sharpshooter submission hold against Hart himself after a ref bump. Once Michaels applied the hold, Hart would reverse it, and feuding factions Wrestling/DGenerationX (to which Michaels belonged) and the Hart Foundation (which Hart led) would run in and cause the match to be tossed out. This ending would leave Hart open to drop the title in the aformentioned four-way match (Hart briefly discussed simply giving up the title on TV, but at that point, [=McMahon=] had committed to the Screwjob, so he agreed to nearly anything Hart said in order to get Bret to perform at ''Survivor Series'').

to:

The original plan for the match's finish (according to Hart) would have seen Michaels use Hart's famous Sharpshooter submission hold against Hart himself after a ref bump. Once Michaels applied the hold, Hart would reverse it, and leading to a few more near-falls. Then, feuding factions Wrestling/DGenerationX (to which Michaels belonged) and the Hart Foundation (which (to which Hart led) belonged) would run in in, start a huge brawl between the groups, and cause the match to be tossed out. out on a double-DQ. This ending would leave Hart open to drop the title in the aformentioned four-way match match. (Hart briefly discussed simply giving up the title on TV, but at that point, [=McMahon=] had committed to the Screwjob, so he agreed to nearly anything Hart said in order to get Bret to perform at ''Survivor Series'').
Series''.)



Well, ''[=McMahon=]'' will tell you that story, anyway. More recent analyses by wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Bischoff to sign Hart didn't want him to get over -- WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds -- and the real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with Hart earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation; when they compared themselves to the highest paid guy -- Hart -- [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.

Thus, Vince hatched (and carried out) a plot on the night of ''Survivor Series'': when Shawn caught Bret in the Sharpshooter, [=McMahon=] ran down to the ring and ordered the referee (Earl Hebner) to ring the bell as if Hart had submitted to the hold (despite Hart clearly not submitting in any fashion). This singular moment -- known today as the "Montreal Screwjob" -- became one of the most controversial, shocking, and altogether important events in the history of ''the entire pro wrestling industry''. The Screwjob sent Hart packing to WCW without a real sendoff, played a role in destroying {{kayfabe}} for many fans around the world, and served as the launching pad for the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive "Mr. [=McMahon=]" character]]. Vince -- who famously said the next night on ''Raw'' that "Bret screwed Bret" -- played the role to the hilt as he feuded with Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin during the Attitude Era. That feud would come to define both the Era itself and the CorruptCorporateExecutive role in pro wrestling for years to come.

to:

Well, that's the story ''[=McMahon=]'' will tell you that story, you, anyway. More recent analyses by wrestling Wrestling critics/historians say the people pressuring Bischoff to sign Hart didn't want him to get over -- WCW kept Bret on the shelf for over a month before popping a buyrate with the then-considered-washed-up Flair and being buried in pointless United States Title feuds -- and the feuds. The real reason for the Screwjob on [=McMahon=]'s end had to do with Hart earning just shy of two million dollars per year (compared to Michaels' $750,000 per year). At the time, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/TheUndertaker had new contracts under negotiation; when negotiation. When they compared themselves to Hart -- the highest paid guy in the WWF -- Hart -- that's when [=McMahon=] got ''really'' scared.

Thus, And so, Vince hatched (and carried out) a plot on the night of ''Survivor Series'': when Shawn Series''. When Michaels caught Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter, Sharpshooter as planned, [=McMahon=] ran down to the ring and ordered the referee (Earl Hebner) Earl Hebner to ring the bell as if Hart had submitted to the hold (despite hold, despite Hart clearly not submitting in any fashion). having done no such thing. This ended the match, made Michaels the champion, and screwed Hart on his way out of the WWF without a proper send-off.

This singular moment -- known today as the "Montreal Screwjob" -- became one of the most controversial, shocking, and altogether important events in the history of ''the the entire pro wrestling industry''. industry. The Screwjob sent Hart packing to WCW without a real sendoff, on very bad terms, played a role in destroying {{kayfabe}} for many fans around the world, and served as the launching pad for the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive "Mr. [=McMahon=]" character]]. Vince -- who famously said the next night on ''Raw'' that "Bret screwed Bret" -- played the role to the hilt as he feuded with Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin during the Attitude Era. That feud would come to define both the Era itself and the CorruptCorporateExecutive role in pro wrestling for years to come.

Added DiffLines:

** In 2013, seconds after Daniel Bryan won the championship from Wrestling/JohnCena at [=SummerSlam=] 2013, special guest referee Wrestling/TripleH attacked Bryan with a Pedigree, and Wrestling/RandyOrton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract against Bryan, winning the WWE Championship. Bryan would be branded a "B-list wrestler" struggling to regain the championship as Orton joined forces with Wrestling/TheShield, and after regaining the belt at Night of Champions (2013), he was stripped of the belt a night later when referee Scott Armstrong was accused of making a fast count and conspiring with Bryan, and the feud with Orton would continue into 2014 at [=WrestleMania=], defeating Triple H to qualify for a triple threat match against Randy Orton and Batista, later forfeiting the championship after sustaining injuries at the hands of Wrestling/{{Kane}}.


Added DiffLines:

* UnbuiltTrope: At The Main Event in Indianapolis on February 5, 1988, Wrestling/TedDiBiase had been persuading Wrestling/AndreTheGiant to win the championship from Wrestling/HulkHogan with Earl Hebner refereeing the match in place of his twin brother Dave, and Earl made a three count for André even though one of Hulk's shoulders was up, and André would hand the championship over to [=DiBiase=] afterwards, only for WWF president Jack Tunney to declare the title vacant, to be determined by a tournament at [=WrestleMania=] IV, [[spoiler: with Wrestling/RandySavage ultimately winning the title in the final match]].

Added DiffLines:

* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Wrestling/JimCornette has stated that he was the first one to suggest a double cross on Bret during a booking meeting. He later said that he meant it jokingly and had no actual hand in the ending, all he asked Vince was if he had a finish. Vince said he did and that was all Cornette wanted to know, he didn't want to know any details.


! Tropes associated with the Montreal Screwjob include:

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! !! Tropes associated with the Montreal Screwjob include:

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