Bret Hart left WWE in controversial circumstances after Survivor Series 1997. One of his closest friends in the business at the time, Ken Shamrock, believes his own WWE future was affected after The Hitman's jump to WCW.
Shamrock looked set to become one of WWE's top main-eventers after successfully transitioning from mixed martial arts to sports entertainment. However, following the Montreal Screwjob incident, the MMA great struggled to make it to the next level as a WWE Superstar.
In an interview on VladTV, the 58-year-old explained why Hart's WWE departure might have inadvertently caused his push to end:
"The Screwjob happened and, from that point on, we started going downhill from there," Shamrock said. "I believe it was because I trained with Bret. I went to Calgary and worked out with them at Stu's [Bret's father] place, and I became close to that group." [1:41 – 1:58]
WCW-bound Bret Hart refused to lose to Shawn Michaels in his home country of Canada at Survivor Series 1997.
Then-WWE Chairman Vince McMahon initially decided to book Michaels as the winner via disqualification, meaning Hart would retain the WWE Championship. Without The Hitman knowing, McMahon changed his mind and told referee Earl Hebner to award the win and title to The Heartbreak Kid.
Ken Shamrock on Bret Hart and Vince McMahon's backstage altercation
Moments after Shawn Michaels' unexpected title win, Bret Hart spat in Vince McMahon's face at ringside. He also drew the initials "WCW" with his finger in full view of the WWE camera.
Ken Shamrock reflected on Bret Hart famously punching McMahon in the face after the show:
"Bret came into the locker room, and I was in there with all those guys. Of course, when Vince went in there, he told everybody to leave, and of course we all left, but that's when Bret hit Vince. All that stuff happened, so I think I was kind of lumped in with the Canada connection, and they didn't trust where we were going from that point in time." [2:00 – 2:28]
Shamrock appeared in WWE between February 1997 and September 1999. He later returned to MMA and wrestled for other wrestling promotions, including IMPACT/TNA and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
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