What if the Montreal Screwjob didn't happen?
The Montreal Screwjob was the single-most significant moment in modern wrestling history. It was the catalyst that brought about the departure of one-time WWE locker room leader Bret Hart and brought the power of Vince McMahon to the public eye for the first time.
It has been referenced, re-hashed and reused several times over the years, most recently at Payback 2016 in a match between Bret Hart’s niece Natalya and Charlotte Flair.Hart, and brought the power of Vince McMahon to the public eye for the first time. It has been referenced, re-hashed and reused several times over the years, most recently at Payback 2016 in a match between Bret Hart’s niece Natalya and Charlotte Flair.
It was also a critical moment that launched WWE into the stratosphere with the single-most popular wrestling storyline of all time, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin vs. Mr McMahon. By channelling the legitimate hatred fans had towards Vince for how he treated Bret, Mr McMahon became the evil boss character that served as the perfect arch-nemesis for Austin as well as many other babyfaces.
Indeed, the Montreal Screwjob was a major turning point in wrestling history, as it helped pave the way for the Austin Era, which allowed WWE to win the Monday Night Wars once and for all.
But what if it had never occurred? What if Bret Hart actually did win the match against Shawn Michaels in Montreal, and instead departed WWE amicably, without any shock? Where would this have led WWE in terms of company direction and booking?
WWE would look like a very different place, one that we’re going to look at here. For this hypothetical situation, we’ll need to assume a few key facts. First, we assume that Bret keeps the WWF/E Championship at Survivor Series 1997, only to drop it the following night on RAW because he vowed he’d never drop the title to Shawn Michaels in Canada.
#1 Bret would still have gone to WCW
Even if Bret hadn’t been screwed by Vince McMahon and his criminal committee on that fateful night, Bret Hart would’ve still gone to WCW. The events of Montreal weren’t the direct reason for Hart’s departure, but a consequence of it; Bret left WWE because Vince McMahon reneged on a previously-agreed-upon contract that would see Bret becoming ‘the Babe Ruth of WWF/E’.
Whether the Montreal Screwjob happened or not wouldn’t have had an impact on that.
The only difference that would exist in this regard is that Bret would probably have arrived in WCW with less fanfare. There was considerable interest in his WCW debut at first, but a lot of this was due to the direct results of the Montreal Screwjob. Had Bret left WWE on his own terms, sans screwjob, there probably wouldn’t have been as much high-profile as interest as there really was.