Tyson Kidd recently detailed the night he sat with members of the Hart family and watched the infamous Montreal Screwjob unfold, live on pay-per-view.
Kidd, one of the last performers to be trained in the famous Hart Dungeon, recently appeared on an episode of ‘The Angle Podcast’. Discussing Survivor Series 1997, which saw Bret Hart lose the WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels in arguably the most controversial ending to a match of all time. Kidd recalls that although he was only 17 at the time, he understood the magnitude of what was happening:
“I understood a part of it at the time, I understood the betrayal of it. I understood certain things and as I’ve gotten older I have a pretty good relationship with Bret. So I’ve gotten to understand a lot. I wouldn’t say I understand everything because I don’t, but I understand a lot of the details about that show, and about that match, and about that decision.”
Although The Montreal Screwjob took place over two decades ago, it remains one of the most talked about moments in professional wrestling history. Though agreeing with Vince McMahon that he would win in Canada, WWE Champion Bret Hart would lose the match and the Championship to Shawn Michaels when referee Earl Hebner would call for the bell during the match. To add insult to injury, the bell would ring when Michaels had Hart in a Sharpshooter, Bret’s signature move.
The fallout from the match would see Bret punch Vince McMahon backstage, knocking him unconscious. Hart would depart for WCW, and would remain absent from WWE until his Hall of Fame induction, in 2006.
Following Survivor Series, Vince McMahon would appear on Raw and famously declare that “Bret screwed Bret”. The segment would not only fully out Vince as the owner of the company, but would create one of the biggest heel characters of all time, Mr McMahon.
Remembering that fateful night in 1997, Tyson Kidd recalls watching the show with Harry Smith and Diana Hart, at the home of Davey Boy Smith.
“I remember watching on pay-per-view at Harry’s house with his Mom. You know, the family was over. And, it’s funny because instantly we all know, we don’t know exactly what’s up but we see a Sharpshooter. Bret’s in a Sharpshooter, the bell rings, Shawn’s the champion, the pay-per-view ends very quickly. And you see Vince is out there and it’s one of the first times he’s out there like that, not on commentary…
At first we didn’t really think anything of it so much, until Davey called home. And said, like ‘That was not supposed to happen at all’. He talked about the fight after and he just said that, I believe Davey and Owen were supposed to run out as part of the finish and that obviously doesn’t happen. So, obviously they’re [there] live, and we’ve seen footage now so you can see all the chaos that’s kind of going on. But, at home, I think we were getting ready to go over to Sunday dinner so we didn’t really know what exactly had happened.”
Shawn Michaels would deny any prior knowledge of the plan for years to come following the event. However, he would later admit to knowing the outcome prior to entering the squared circle. Michaels and Hart became estranged in the fallout after the match, but have since reconciled.