On a recent edition of his “83 Weeks” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff discussed The Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1993 where Vince McMahon rang the bell while Bret Hart was locked in Shawn Michaels’ Sharpshooter to prevent The Hitman from winning the WWE Title before his WCW departure.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On Vince McMahon screwing Bret Hart at Survivor Series in Montreal: “I agree with Vince. The unfortunate part of this whole story was that Vince was convinced that I was going to somehow convince Bret Hart to bring the belt over to WCW and drop the WWF belt in the trash, just like I had done with Madusa.”
On McMahon’s concerns with Hart dropping the WWE Title in a trash can: “Yeah, no, I don’t blame him for having that concern. What Vince didn’t know was that the Scott Hall/Kevin Nash lawsuit was still ongoing at that point in time. There were so many limitations on what I could and couldn’t do with regard to WWF — trademarks, copyrights, and all that. So I was hogtied and handcuffed in terms of that. There was no way I could have done it, but Vince couldn’t have known that. My reputation precedes me.”
On where Bret went wrong: “It wasn’t going to happen. When Bret and I talked about the situation going into Montreal, and Bret was concerned that Vince was going to ask him to drop the belt in Montreal. And I said, ‘Well. Bret, it doesn’t matter. You’re Bret Hart. You’re not Bret Hart with a WWF belt and some nobody without it. You’re Bret freaking Hart. It doesn’t matter at all to me.’ And I encouraged him to just do business. Not because I was as concerned about the time-honored tradition as this man apparently was, but because he mentioned that, I think, four times in an interview. Yeah, that wasn’t it. It just said it wasn’t an issue for me. I knew number one, I couldn’t do anything with the belt, even if I wanted to. Legal wouldn’t let me. Turner legal would not let me. It was not. And I knew that going in, it was not an issue. And in my heart, it just didn’t matter whether he did the job or not.
“And here’s where Bret screwed Bret. I don’t even think it was about dropping the belt. It was dropping the belt in Montreal because Bret was convinced that he was a Canadian hero of such a significant magnitude that it would have a devastating impact. And I don’t know other than Bret, because Bret’s vision of himself as the Canadian hero was going to be compromised if he did the job in Montreal, which I think is silly. And as I listened to that interview — and look, Vince can be as convincing as anybody I’ve ever met. Yes, he is amazing when he wants to be. And there was a little bit of an unusual charm in Vince McMahon in that sitdown. But I agree with him. Bret should have done what Bret should have done in Montreal. And as J.R. asked, ‘Vince, as a storyteller, how would you have presented it?’ I think listening to that for the very first time would have — that’s something that I would have been excited about seeing. And it would have been the right way for Bret, for his character, and for his legions of Canadian fans. It would have been the right thing to do. It just wasn’t the right thing to do for Bret’s ego at that point in time, and that’s what it was really all about. The other thing I noticed was Vince talking about the situation where Vince offered him a 20-year contract and guaranteed him a lot of money, and then woke up one day and went, ‘I can’t afford it because I’m getting my ass kicked by WCW and have been for the last year and a half’ when he had to get out of the contract. You made it sound like we orchestrated it. There was no orchestration. Vince told Bret that he couldn’t afford him any longer. Bret called me, and I made a deal. And the amount of money that I paid him had nothing to do with where WWE or WWF was at that time.”
On why he wanted to sign with Hart: “I knew what my budget was. I knew what I was facing with the addition of another show in prime time on Turner. So I had three hours of Nitro on Monday, and now I had two hours coming my way on Thursday. I knew I needed somebody to be the face of that show, Thunder. And I was well within my budget to offer Bret what I offered him. It wasn’t a stretch, didn’t have to ask anybody’s permission. Didn’t have to run it up the flagpole. It was an easy deal for me to make, which sounds crazy now at this point, but yeah.”
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The Montreal Screwjob is one of the most controversial and talked-about incidents in professional wrestling history. It took place at Survivor Series 1993 and involved WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. The incident has been the subject of much speculation and debate over the years, and recently, WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff discussed it on his “83 Weeks” podcast.
The Montreal Screwjob refers to the moment when Vince McMahon rang the bell while Bret Hart was locked in Shawn Michaels’ Sharpshooter submission hold. This was done without Bret’s knowledge or consent, and it prevented him from winning the WWE Title before his departure to WCW (World Championship Wrestling).
During the podcast, Bischoff expressed his agreement with Vince McMahon’s decision to screw Bret Hart. He revealed that Vince was concerned that Bischoff would convince Bret to bring the WWE Title to WCW and drop it in the trash, similar to what Bischoff had done with Madusa (Alundra Blayze) and the Women’s Championship. However, Bischoff clarified that he couldn’t have done it due to legal limitations imposed by the ongoing Scott Hall/Kevin Nash lawsuit.
Bischoff also discussed where he believed Bret went wrong in the situation. He stated that Bret was concerned about dropping the belt in Montreal because he believed it would compromise his status as a Canadian hero. Bischoff disagreed with this perspective and emphasized that Bret’s value as a wrestler was not dependent on holding a championship title. He believed that Bret should have focused on doing what was best for his character and his fans.
Regarding his own interest in signing Bret Hart to WCW, Bischoff explained that he wanted him to be the face of the new show called Thunder. He had the budget and authority to offer Bret a deal without seeking permission from anyone else. Bischoff saw value in Bret’s talent and believed he would be a great addition to WCW.
The Montreal Screwjob remains a significant moment in wrestling history, with fans and experts continuing to analyze and discuss its implications. It showcased the power struggle between wrestlers and management, and it forever changed the way professional wrestling storylines and outcomes are handled.
In conclusion, the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1993 is a controversial incident that involved Bret Hart, Vince McMahon, and Shawn Michaels. Eric Bischoff’s recent comments shed light on the situation and provide insight into the motivations and perspectives of those involved. The incident continues to be a topic of interest and debate among wrestling fans and industry insiders.