With all of the myth, legend and drama that surrounded the Montreal Screwjob, it’s easy to forget that there was actually a match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels taking place in the ring when Earl Hebner began what is one of the most infamous moments in wrestling folklore.
With 12 minutes on the clock in the clash between the two greats, Vince McMahon gave the signal to referee Earl Hebner and the match came to a halt as the timekeeper rang the bell. At the time Michaels had Hart locked in the Sharpshooter, but importantly The Hitman had never submitted. It later came to light that the events were laid out in advance to ensure that Hart was without the WWF Championship when he arrived in WCW.
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The incident which was quickly dubbed the ‘Montreal Screwjob’ sparked a near riot in the stands, Hart went berserk at ringside and later punched Vince McMahon in the face backstage.
Speaking in a new interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Bret Hart has opened up about the plans for the match had it not been waved off. The WWE Hall of Famer stated that the bout was set to run for another 25 minutes and would have really kicked into gear when he reversed the Sharpshooter.
“We had another 25 minutes, The match was already good, and we hadn’t even hit our stride. Even when we didn’t get along, Shawn and I always had great chemistry together in the ring. When we worked together, we wanted to be flawless, and we didn’t get along, and that added to the intensity. When I clothesline Shawn over the top rope and we brawl and fight outside the ring, I could tell it was going to be a really special match.
It was very competitive. That match was just starting. All the brawling was done just to set up the actual match. It was going to really get going after I reversed his sharpshooter. We pictured the crowd standing up and going crazy. That was going to be the moment when it took off.”
On a recent episode of his Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross, who was calling the action from ringside that night revealed that Bret Hart didn’t speak to him for years after the incident, despite him not being involved.