The main event of Survivor Series 1997 is part great wrestling match, part chaos and part mythical event the like of which has never been seen since. In a paranoid bid to try and maintain control of the WWF Championship, Vince McMahon concocted a plan which which sent shockwaves through the wrestling industry.
With McMahon fearing that Bret Hart wouldn’t drop the WWF Championship, he set about making sure he left Montreal without it. During the match involving Hart and Shawn Michaels, HBK had The Hitman locked in the Sharpshooter and McMahon signalled to referee Earl Hebner to call for the bell, this was despite Hart not tapping out. Realising what had happened, Hart went berserk at ringside smashing monitors and spat in McMahon’s face.
Bret Hart Claims He “Did The Right Thing” In Standing Up To Vince McMahon
Unsurprisingly, the drama continued backstage as McMahon decided that he would go and see Hart to discuss what had just taken place. The WWE Hall of Famer warned McMahon against coming into the locker room, but the now-former Chairman entered anyway. The end result of the confrontation saw Hart punch McMahon in the face.
“I know I did [the right thing]. I’d rather have done what I did than anything else. To me, it would be a total sellout of yourself and everything you’ve ever worked for and everything you ever believed in. You’d be totally selling yourself out.
“When Vince came into the room and basically confronted me, I told him it was a dumb move. I warned him before he came in. I said, ‘I’m not in a friendly mood and this is not going to go well and you need to go right now’. And he stayed. And I always think whatever happened that day defined me as a person. And it was probably the greatest thing I ever did, in the sense that I stood up for myself like no other wrestler ever stood up for themselves”.
While much of that night is shrouded in as much mystery as fact, the damage caused by Hart’s punch was evident when McMahon delivered his famous ‘Bret Screwed Bret’ interview while sporting a black eye.
H/t to Cultaholic