Bret Hart on Montreal screw job conspiracy theories

Sep 21, 2020 - by James Walsh

On the latest episode of Confessions of the Hitman, Bret Hart looked back at one of the defining moments in his career in the Montreal Screwjob. That infamous moment, in which Vince McMahon conspired to take the title off Hart without Hart’s knowledge as he was about to exit WWE, remains one of the most talked-about wrestling stories in history and Hart was bound to have to get around to it on the show. You can see highlights from Hart’s comments below (per Wrestling Inc):

On who was involved in planning the Screwjob to his knowledge: “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. 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.”

On conspiracy theories that he was involved: “I just can’t see the point or the value [in being involved]. I mean, I would stand up for real things, and if you know me, if anybody really knows me, they would know it’s not the kind of thing I would lie about. And there was a lot of real bad blood about it for a real long time. And it’s just an insult to my character that I would be a part of something like that.”

On losing faith in McMahon leading up to the incident: “I believe that leading into everything, the integrity of Vince in particular, his integrity started to really wane. There were a lot of things where I’d go, ‘this guy’s not being straight with me.’ And everything from Vince saying he couldn’t pay me, to then Vince saying he would even negotiate my [WCW] contract, that he was giving me all this information so I could leave, so I could be the first one to get out because it was a sinking ship. They were all things – when he told me these things, I’m trying to believe him. I did have a very trusting relationship with Vince, and I’d like to think I was a guy who went to bat for him for a lot of things.”

On feeling betrayed by McMahon before he left WWE: “I trusted Vince but there were things leading up to the Screwjob that I just couldn’t trust. It was just getting very hard to believe anything he said, and again, I tried not to leave. I didn’t want to leave, and I kind of got pushed out, and I kind of felt even before the Screwjob happened that I felt betrayed. Everything I had delivered for him – I really delivered for him and gave him so much, and I really felt that he didn’t come through. [McMahon’s] integrity was pretty shoddy.”

On agreeing to take on less than he was offered from WCW to stay: “Especially when I won the title, as an example, I had so much pride and respect for what [McMahon] was doing for me, appreciation. And I would have jumped in front of a moving train for Vince McMahon and probably would have up until those last few months. The truth is, I took a $1.5 million salary over a $2.8 million salary. Oh, I think maybe the first offer was $2.5 [million], but that’s a considerable amount of money. I said, ‘no, I’m going to stay loyal with you.’ And you only have so many years to make whatever I could make, and for them to try and ruin me and tear me down based off of that I cost more or I’m making more money? Shawn and Triple H, all I can say about what they did with me was clearly they were offended that I made more money than them. And it’s like, is Triple H offended when Brock Lesnar is making more money than him? Does that give them the right to go screw him too? To mess with somebody else’s [livelihood]? So, you can kind of see the frustration of A) why I would be offended by this and B) why I got so mad when it happened?”

On his punching McMahon out: “The Undertaker had a take on it. His take on it a few months ago – and they always say stuff like, ‘Vince probably said before he walked in that he was going to let me take a shot at him.’ I don’t remember that ever happening and I don’t remember Vince saying anything like that to me in my dressing room that he’s going to let me take one shot at him. There was no one shot [offer]. I took my own shot. I doubt that’s the case. [McMahon] never saw it coming.”

On Vince approaching him in his dressing room: “I think I knew Vince pretty well, especially at the time. What really was happening, I think, was a case of Vince trying to save face with his talent. I don’t know if he expected there to be such an uproar. There was a real uproar with the wrestlers and the talent where they were probably wondering how many wrestlers were going to show up in the dressing room the next day. That kind of thing. So, it was a grandstand moment for him to confront me in the dressing room and sort of look to my better nature. I’m a pretty easy going guy. I think Vince gambled that I was going to take the high road and say a few words to him, and then I would walk out or grab my stuff, and leave the dressing room, and that would be the end of it, and he could say, ‘at least I confronted him.’”

On Jim Neidhart’s recollection of the punch: “I remember Jim Neidhart talking, one time, to somebody else who was talking about The Screwjob when we were in the room, and Jim’s memory of it, which was the opposite of The Undertaker but similar in the sense that people have these different memories of what happened, Jim was right there in the room, as was The Undertaker. But I remember Jim telling somebody I got on top of Vince and just wham, wham, I’m beating the crap out of him. And it’s like, I remember going to Jim, like, ‘I didn’t do that! What are you talking about? I hit him one time!’ And Jim was like, ‘really? One time?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, one time!’”

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