Earl Hebner Discusses The Match He Was Most Stressed About Refereeing

Brian Pillman Mick Foley Earl Hebner

While speaking at a recent virtual fan event, Earl Hebner has revealed the match he was most stressed about refereeing.

The Montreal Screwjob is to this date perhaps one of the most controversial moments to ever take place inside a wrestling ring. On November 9, 1997, at the annual Survivor Series PPV, then WWF Champion Bret Hart was set to defend his title against long-time on and off-screen rival Shawn Michaels in Hart’s home country of Canada.

Hart’s WWF contract had expired and he was set to leave for WCW the following month, but he was less than impressed about losing the title in his home nation Hence, Vince McMahon decided without Hart’s knowledge, that Michaels would win the title at Survivor Series. The finish of the match saw referee Earl Hebner ring the bell even though the Hitman did not tap out to Michaels’ Sharpshooter.

Earl Hebner recently recalled the momentous event while appearing at a virtual sign-it-live with “K & S WrestleFest“, discussing how nervous he felt before the bout and that it was the most stressful match the legend had ever officiated:

“Well, from 1-10, I’m going to double it; 20 [rating his nervousness],…When I was walking to the ring, and if it was 100 feet, it felt like 10 miles walking to that ring for that match. Never been so tensed and stressed in my whole life. In all the matches I’ve been in, that was the toughest one of my life.”

Hebner also stated that he probably would have been fired by Vince McMahon had he refused to make the controversial call, before stating that he wasn’t the owner’s first choice for the match:

“There was no other referee that would really stand up to do it…Tim White was asked to do it and he wouldn’t do it, and I don’t think the rest of them would’ve done it.”

The TNA Hall of Famer made his most recent in-ring appearance at this year’s Impact Wrestling Slammiversary, where he helped team Impact Originals pick up the win over Honor No More. This was also Hebner’s son, Brian Hebner’s last match as a full-time referee.

H/t to Wrestling Inc