Inside WWEs biggest real moment and the wild love triangle that sparked it
One of the most infamous moments in wrestling history, the Montreal Screwjob in 1997 was the double-crossing of defending then-WWF champion Bret Hart by WWE owner Vince McMahon.
A secret change of the match's finish was reportedly devised by McMahon and discussed with Hart's match opponent, Shawn Michaels.
Match referee Earl Hebner, under orders from McMahon, ended the match as Michaels held Hart in a sharpshooter – which was Bret's move – even though the latter had not submitted.
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Michaels was declared the victor and crowned as the new WWF Champion.
The reason for the now-infamous Montreal Screwjob was said to be Hart's decision to leave McMahon's company for its chief competitor, World Championship Wrestling.
But ever since the moment took place, it has sparked wild conspiracy theories – despite the fact that the (vast majority of) the truth behind the situation has come out in the years since.
The strangest conspiracy theory about the event centres around Vince and Shawn being involved in a strange love affair with each other – and they wanted to get rid of Bret, who turns 65 today.
The theory actually stemmed from a 2014 interview Bret gave with Howard Stern where he made the claim that the two were in a relationship at the time.
It was also a claim cited by WWE Hall of Famer Kamala in recent years.
This was, however, debunked many times – as recently as last year by iconic wrestling announcer Jim Ross.
When asked about it by Conrad Thompson on his podcast, he said: “Are you kidding? I've never even heard that.
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“I swear to God I've never heard that. Are you taking about a sexual relationship?
“As I said earlier Shawn reminded Vince of a young Vince in his perception of himself.
“But I have never heard that story and I think it's laughable as hell.”
Another wild theory about the shocking moment was that Bret Hart was actually in on it and it was one big elaborate storyline to get one over on WCW.
The theory was that Brett had signed a three-year deal with WCW, and that he'd fulfil that contract, only to return to WWE after it as some kind of huge “welcome home” type scenario to boost the ratings and get “justice” over Vince and Shawn.
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If that was true, there was no way it would have happened given that Bret ended his career in WCW because of an injury, and Shawn Michaels had an almost-career ending injury around a similar time in WWE, too.
Another love-based theory, from the mouth of the iconic Jake “The Snake” Roberts claimed that both Shawn and Bret were sleeping with Sunny – better known to Daily Star readers as Tammy Lynn Sytch.
The affairs turned into real life animosity, which spilled over into in-ring realism.
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However, the reality is that Shawn was at one point dating Sunny, but Brett was not – that we know of.
Bret hasn't been shy of talking about the incident in recent years.
Having returned to WWE and made peace with Vince and Shawn – on camera, at least – he appears to have become more open about the situation.
Last year, he said on his own Confessions Of The Hitman podcast: “You know, a lot of people take credit for it.
“I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and tell me that they were involved in it, like, ‘I didn’t want to say anything, but I was in on the whole thing'. It’s bulls**t.
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“I mean, the only guys that were in on it, that I know of, were Vince, Triple H, Shawn of course, and Jerry Brisco – that’s it, period.
“Earl Hebner got pulled in at the last minute when he walked out, but nobody else knew.
“Not even the TV guy, the producer, the guy that does all the – Kevin Dunn.
“Vince’s TV guy didn’t know anything about it until we were in the ring, then I think they told him.”
He called the theories about him being in on it an “insult to my character”.
Well, I guess that settles that then . . . or does it?
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