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20 years later: 5 reasons why some believe the Montreal Screwjob was a work

Daniel Crump
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11.05K   //    15 Nov 2017, 19:31 IST

Work or shoot?
Work or shoot?

A quick disclaimer before we start - this article is not an attempt to fully validate the claim that the Montreal Screwjob was a work, merely a collection of arguments that have been presented over the years to suggest it might be.

When we look back over the years of professional wrestling, nothing stands out quite like the Montreal Screwjob. We've seen big moments involving title changes, heel turns and iconic matchups, but none of those things changed the landscape of the business both in terms of the in-ring action and the backstage politics in the way the main event of Survivor Series 1997 did.

Now, after 20 years has passed, and with another highly anticipated Survivor Series on the horizon, we look back at the moment wrestling was transformed forever, assessing whether or not the Montreal Screwjob really was an evil plot to undermine a WWE legend or one of the greatest works ever put together:

#1 Bret was given the WWF Championship despite all the uncertainty around his contract

Why was Bret given the belt?
Why was Bret given the belt?

One of the most compelling arguments in favour of the Montreal Screwjob being a work is that the entire situation could so easily have been avoided. Bret gained the WWF Championship from The Undertaker at Summerslam 1997 despite there already being a genuine possibility that he would be leaving the company to go to WCW.

Not only this but Bret also had full creative control at the time, meaning he had the final say over how his matches were booked. The sensible question here would be - why would Vince have decided to make Bret his champion in such an uncertain climate?

One of the big drivers of the screwjob itself was Vince's fears that Bret would leave the WWF, go to WCW and do something similar to the Alundra Blayze incident where the female star literally dropped her WWF Women's Championship in the bin live on Monday Nitro.

The fact that the WWF found themselves in this exact situation by the time Survivor Series 97 came around leaves open two possibilities - either Vince really is that incompetent and short-sighted (which seems unlikely given the amount of success he has had over the years), or the whole thing was planned from the start.

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Daniel Crump
Life long WWE fan and recent convert to NJPW. I mainly write feature pieces, giving my opinions on WWE's past, present and future. Follow me on Twitter for more!
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