“I had to do what I had to do”- Vince McMahon recalls the ‘Montreal Screwjob’
Vince McMahon is the chairman and C.E.O. of WWE. Every major booking decision in WWE is made by Vince McMahon himself, even when the performers might not be completely content with it.
In the past, there have been many intriguing incidents involving Vince McMahon using his authority. Only a few match the notoriety that surrounds the Montreal Screwjob.
The Montreal Screwjob, to this day, remains one of the most controversial events in WWE history. It took place at Survivor Series 1997 during a match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Vince McMahon ordered referee Earl Hebner to call for the bell and give Michaels the win even though there was no decisive finish to the action in the ring.
In the recent A&E Biography on Bret Hart, Vince McMahon opened up on the Montreal Screwjob and shared his thoughts regarding the incident:
“I didn’t want him to go to WCW with our championship. So the request for Bret would be, ‘Okay, let’s drop this championship back to someone in WWE where it belongs’ and that didn’t happen so I had to do what I had to do.
“It’s no different than an actor in a television series who at the end of it refuses to die or refuses to do the job so to speak. What do you do?
“When, as you call it, the Montreal Screwjob occurred, I wanted to make sure that Bret saw me out at ringside and know that what I did was the right thing to do at least from my standpoint. He’s really good at spitting [chuckles], I’m sorry to say.” Vince McMahon added, “I could have hid, I could have not gone out to the ring at all, I could have left the building and I could have done a lot of things. [Bret] gave me one [punch]. Right to the temple on the left side.”
Bret Hart and Vince McMahon later reconciled
After Survivor Series 1997, Bret Hart left for WCW as planned, where he wrestled for the next few years. Strong feelings existed between Vince and Hart after the Montreal Screwjob and Hart had no intention of returning to WWE for some time.
Hart ended his full-time wrestling career in WCW. But in the mid 2000s, McMahon and Hart set their differences aside and decided to move past the Montreal Screwjob.
Bret and Vince even worked their past rivalry into a storyline at WrestleMania 26 where Bret picked up the win over Mr. McMahon in a No Holds Barred match.
Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice. Once in 2006 as a singles wrestler and the second time in 2019 as part of The Hart Foundation.