If you've never heard of the "Montreal Screwjob" from WWE Survivor Series 1997, you're either too young, an amnesiac, or simply not a wrestling fan. And, even then, there's still a good chance you know about it. It's one of pro wrestling's most infamous moments and has spawned numerous articles, documentaries, and actual wrestling angles.
And it happened 24 years ago today.
If you're not familiar with the actual incident, well, it would take an entire article just to explain it. And we're already working on this one, so perhaps consider this page to get you caught up.
As we said, it's been almost a quarter-century since "Bret screwed Bret," Vince McMahon became the greatest villain in WWE history, and the subject of millions of articles like this one was spawned. A lot can happen in that amount of time -- and people can change.
So, let's take a look at some of the major players in this WWE drama and where they are today.
Let's start at the top.
#6. WWE Hall of Famer Bret 'Hitman' Hart
One of the things that made the situation going into Survivor Series 1997 so complicated was that it was being held in the home country of the WWE Champion at the time, Bret Hart.
Normally, that wouldn't be an issue for the 'Hitman', who was widely regarded backstage as a guy who was willing to do business. But this was Canada and he was facing Shawn Michaels - and Hart was not willing to lose his championship to Michaels in Canada.
The night following Survivor Series, WCW President Eric Bischoff appeared on Nitro and gleefully announced that Hart was indeed coming to World Championship Wrestling -- and as part of the New World Order faction.
When Hart eventually debuted in the promotion -- and keep in mind he was the hottest commodity in wrestling right then -- he was brought in... as a special guest referee... in a match between Bischoff and announcer Larry Zybsko (no offense to "Larry Legend", but come on).
Hart would eventually go on to win numerous titles in WCW, including their world title, but was never really used there to his full potential. A stiff kick to the head during a match with Goldberg caused a concussion that was the start of the end of his career.
Hart would eventually mend fences with WWE, even being inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2006. Nowadays, Hart is enjoying retirement, making appearances for both WWE and AEW every so often. He will occasionally make headlines in regards to comments he makes about other stars, past and current.
#5. WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels
If there was one thing about WWE that really propelled the Montreal Screwjob into happening, it's this: Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels hated each other. Hated. They've since reconciled and both have gone on record as saying their own individual egos caused real-life tension and animosity between them.
By the time of the 1997 Survivor Series, Michaels was already a two-time WWE Champion. He had defeated Bret for that very title in a classic Ironman match at WrestleMania XII, but when it came time to return the favor the next year, Michaels claimed a knee injury and a "lost smile," relinquishing the belt instead.
All of this real-life animosity turned into real-life violence when they had a real-life fight before a house show in Stamford, CT.
Michaels would retire from wrestling due to a severe back injury after WrestleMania XIV, but would return in 2002.
In between those years, he would kick addiction, become a born-again Christian, get married, and start his own wrestling academy -- a school that would even begin the training of a young Bryan Danielson. In 2010, he eventually retired for a second time following a WrestleMania XXVI match with the Undertaker -- a match widely regarded as one of the best of all time.
Nowadays, when Michaels isn't spending time with his family, he's helping to train the next generation of wrestlers at the WWE Performance Center and producing television for NXT. He had a one-night only return to the ring at a Saudi Arabia show in 2018, but let's not talk about that.
#4. WWE Hall of Famers Triple H & Chyna
The Game and the Ninth Wonder of the World -- WWE Hall of Famers Triple H and Chyna, respectively -- made up the faction D-Generation X, alongside Shawn Michaels, frequently interjecting themselves in The Heartbreak Kid's matches. In fact, they were supposed to do just that during the main event of the 1997 Survivor Series. Things, as we all know, went differently.
When Michaels lost to Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV, Triple H would take over leadership of DX, adding X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws to the group. He would eventually have numerous runs as WWE and World Heavyweight Champion and become one of the company's marquee stars. Currently, he holds an executive position in the company and founded NXT.
This past September, Triple H was admitted to the hospital and underwent a successful procedure following a "cardiac event." He's expected to make a full recovery.
Chyna would go on to have a pretty incredible career of her own. She became the first woman to compete in a Royal Rumble match and, more importantly, the first woman to ever hold the Intercontinental Championship. Sadly, the woman born Joanie Laurer passed away in April of 2016. She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame along with the rest of D-Generation X in 2019.
#3. Former WWE referee Earl Hebner
It's hard to find a classic WWE moment from the 80s and 90s that didn't involve former WWE referee Earl Hebner (or his identical twin brother, Dave).
Hebner made his WWE debut as the ref for the WrestleMania III rematch between WWE Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Originally thought to be his twin brother (already a ref for the company), Earl was paid off by Ted DiBiase to rig the match for Andre, who would go on to sell the title to the Million Dollar Man.
Despite this notorious beginning, Hebner stayed with the company for nearly ten more years before the Montreal Screwjob. Earl was the referee for that match, calling for the bell and handing the WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels. In a way, it was kind of fitting.
Hebner's WWE career came to an abrupt end in 2005 when he and his brother were let go following the revelation that they were selling unlicensed WWE merchandise in a store they partially owned in St. Louis.
Following his WWE departure, Hebner went go on to work for TNA/Impact Wrestling, along with his son, Brian. He was inducted into the Impact Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2019, Hebner was interviewed for an episode of Vice TV's Dark Side of the Ring about the Screwjob.
#2. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon may have famously declared that "Bret screwed Bret" when it came to what happened at Survivor Series twenty-four years ago, but the fact remains - it was his call to pull it off in the end.
Of course, following those events in 1997, McMahon would go on to become one of the greatest villains in wrestling history -- maybe even entertainment history. By establishing that he was willing to do anything to succeed, Mr. McMahon became the perfect foil to the company's new major star, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Maybe you've heard of him?
It was this feud, as well as making new stars out of the likes of Mankind, The Rock, Triple H, and the Big Show (just to name a few), WWE was able to regain their position on top of the wrestling world, and eventually win the Monday Night War, as it were.
These days, Vince McMahon is still running the ship. As it always has been, every business and creative decision goes through "the boss" (no, not Bruce Springsteen, although that would be weird), and he doesn't really seem ready to call it a day any time soon.
#1. The announce team at WWE Survivor Series 1997
Sitting behind the announce desk that fateful night were the two men who always called the action at major WWE events at the time: Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jim Ross.
Over the years, Ross has explicitly denied having any beforehand knowledge of what was to transpire. He also insisted that his broadcast partner Lawler didn't either.
Jim Ross is currently the lead announcer for AEW Dynamite after a nearly 25-year career with WWE. He also runs a BBQ sauce/beef jerky company (both of which actually taste pretty darn good) and hosts a successful podcast, Grilling JR.
Jerry Lawler has worked on and off with the company since Survivor Series 1997. Nowadays, his appearances with WWE are sporadic, but he still appears on the independent circuit from time to time.
Many others were involved that night, a number of whom have sadly passed away -- including Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, and Pat Patterson.
Do you remember the Montreal Screwjob? How much of what happened affects pro wrestling today? Share your comments down below in the comments.
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