Minute By Minute Breakdown Of The Montreal Screw Job

By Maurice D. Proffit
Photo Courtesy Of ChiCitySportsFan.com


Historically, people (who were around) will never forget where they where the day when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. People will never forget where they were when the Berlin Wall was taken down. People will never forget where they were when they found out about the death of Osama Bin Laden. Those historical events will stay with us for the rest of days as men and women as we continue to live. As those are examples of events that will be indelibly sketched into the addles of time. Similar to the “never forget” feelings that we have of those events, wrestling fans around the world share the same feeling when it come to n ever forgetting our ages, our whereabouts and our reaction to one of the most controversial moments in not only survivor series history, but in professional wrestling all together. If you haven’t figured it out now, I’m talk about The Montreal Screw Job.

The following is a time table reliving the most infamous event.


November 9th 1997

11th Annual Survivor Series

Molsen Center

Montreal Quebec Canada

Bret “The Hitman Hart” (Champion) Vs “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels for the World Wrestling Federation Championship

(all times will be in central standard time)

9:16pm: The last video advertisement for the next WWF PPV just ended and we fade into a shot of D-Generation X members Ravishing Rick Rude, Hunter Hearst Helmsely and Chyna, waiting outside the doors of the WWF European Champion, Shawn Michaels. Michaels comes through the doors and the camp heads down the hall, backstage to the Gorilla position on the way to the ring.

9:18pm: The theme music of Shawn Michaels “Sexy Boy” blasts through the speakers of the arena as the Molsen Center is immediately filled with overly emotions cheers and jeers as (arguably) the most hated man on Canadian soil is just steps directly in front of them. Michales takes it upon himself to disrespect the Canadian national flag by using it as a handkerchief, DX cross chopping it, making sexual jesters to the flag and also a cloth to clean his groin area.

9:21pm: Similar to Shawn’s entrance, we now see the WWF Champion, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, walking with The British Bulldog, Jim The Anvil Neidhart and Bret’s son (I believe “Cody”) walking through the back stage area to Gorilla position where it is now time for Bret to make (what may be) his last entrance into a WWF ring for competition.

9:24pm: Shawn is ringside taunting the Canadian fans. Bret looks out into the crowd and Shawn with great tension.

9:25pm: Bret Hart (literally) kisses the belt goodbye. Immediately after, Shawn attacks Bret, unable to start the match in a championship neutral position. Referee Earl Hebner never has a chance to ring the bell.

9:26pm: Both Bret and Shawn are now in row 5 ringside within the sea of fans. We immediately see both Commissioner Slaughter and Vince McMahon at ringside, pleading with the wrestlers to get into the ring, along with many WWF refs.

9:27pm: Bret and Shawn are on the other side of the ring, front row, knocking Bret into the steel barrier. The match still has yet to start.

9:28pm: Both men are in the ring aisle. Shawn attempts a pile driver on the floor, Bret just reverses it with a back body drop, followed by a suplex on concrete.

9:31: Bret is using a fire extinguisher as offense on Shawn as they are near the Gorilla position. Bret knocks Shawn around the entrance way and knocks out referee Jack Doan and for a second,  it looked like he would take out Vince too.

9:32: Bret continues to punish Shawn outside the ring.

9:33pm: Bret finally throws Shawn in the ring and the bell rings, indicating the start of the match.

9:33pm: Bret immediately chokes Shawn with the Montreal Flag. Shortly later, in a desperate attempt to gain offense, when Shawn is bounced on the ropes, Shawn connects with a flying forearm to Bret, changing the tide.

9:34pm: Shawn connects with a couple of boots to Bret’s face, and now Shawn chokes Bret with the Quebec flag. Shawn taunts the crowd and is now in control

9:35pm: Shawn’s taunts are getting the best of the fans as the fans in the first row resemble raging dogs wanting to get loose to go after their prey. Shawn purposely throws Bret right in front of said fans and continues to insult the fans.

9:36pm: Shawn attempts a suplex on the outside to Bret, but gives him a face first suplex.  He takes time to break the Canadian flag in half and using the flag pole as a weapon on Bret.

9:37pm: Shawn continues the offense with a closed fist and brings Bret back into the ring. He follows up with a double axe handle. The first submission (rest) hold is applied as Shawn gives Bret a front face lock.

9:38pm: The front face-lock continues and Bret shows life as he looks to escape, and escape he does. Bret counters and starts working the leg, but is short lived via a rig to the face from Shawn.

9:39pm: Shawn gives Bret an Irish Whip and Bret attacks, but once again, Shawn with the face rig. Shawn gives Bret a scoop slam and goes to the top for a cross-body block, however Bret reverse for a pin, but its a two count.

9:40pm: Bret goes back to working the leg and knocks Shawn’s leg into the ring, followed by the hanging figure four leg lock on the ring post from the outside, adding damage to the leg.

9:41pm:  Bret continues to work the leg with fists to the leg and its very noticeable how no one is sitting in the ringside area. Bret does more work to the leg, as we are all anticipating the Sharp Shooter, but it is very noticeable, the crowd chanting “Bret Sold Out.” Once again showing how divided this audience is, when it comes to the future of their country hero. Bret locks Shawn in the figure four leg lock.

9:42: Shawn in screaming in agony and is dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure and pain. The ref is asking HBK if he gives, Shawn fights to turn it. He gets it, but Bret gets the ropes.

9:43pm: Shawn nurses his leg and Bret hammers him in the corner and drives him into the other corner followed by a side Russian leg sweep. For fan of Bret, we know what is coming shortly. Bret hits Shawn with a suplex.

9:44pm: Bret gives Shawn a back breaker. Following that, oddly enough, Bret goes to the top rope (which we never see), and as Bret comes down with a double ax-handle, Shawn pulls Earl Hebner in front of him, taking the hit from Bret. All three men are down temporarily. Shawn riggs Brets face again, sending Bret down. Shawn goes for Bret’s leg to put on the Sharpshooter, the crowd begins to buzz as this is a very odd and uncharacteristic thing you see.

9:45: Shawn turns Bret around in “The Sharpshooter”. Referee Eatl Hebner is up and acst as if he is asking Bret what he says. Immediately Earl signals for the bell. There is no bell sound coming from the time keeper until you hear Vince McMahon telling the time keeper, “Ring The {expletive} Bell!”

9:45pm: The World Of Professional Wrestling Official Goes Dark.

9:45pm: Every eye in the crowd widens, every chair is suddenly not being used. Both Bret and “Shawn” have puzzled looks on their faces and both looks immediately to Vince McMahon, while “Sexy Boy” plays through their loud speakers in the arena. Bret spits on the owner of the company. Shawn immediately grabs the WWF Championship and walks out with Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Gerald Briscoe telling him to get the out out from ringside. In addition, Referee Earl Hebner was long gone.

9:46pm: The last image we see if Shawn jumping in victory, “selling” his championship win.


We all have our opinions of this situation and we all know the reasoning behind it. Whether we agree with the decision or not, it happened and there will always be two sides of the story. However, what cannot be denied was the face of the WWF was changed. Was it right making Bret the sacrificial lamb? Maybe not. But even after these two made amends back in Jan 2010, I wonder if the hatchet really is buried.


Maurice D. Proffit is a Writer For Rant Sports

You May Also Like