1. Home
  2. Columns
  3. AS I SEE IT – Remembering 1997

AS I SEE IT – Remembering 1997

Bob Magee

Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets


Editor’s note – We could not publish this column on Monday like we normally do because of technical difficulties.

Well, with fall coming to the Northeast (along with tornadoes in New York City)…it appears hell is about to freeze over tomorrow night…twice.

Anyone remember 1997?

There are very few wrestling fans who have not either seen or heard about the events of November 9, 1997 in Montreal; where Bret Hart was apparently double-crossed by Vince McMahon out of an agreed-upon DQ finish in the main event at Survivor Series, with the WWF Heavyweight Title being put on Shawn Michaels. It would appear that Michaels may well not have known of the double-cross, judging from reports and observation of the aftermath of the match.

The aftermath of the match showed Michaels visibly swearing at McMahon, looks of shocked amazement on the faces Paul (Hunter Hearst Helmsley) Levesque, Michaels, and others, obviously including Hart. This was followed by Vince McMahon being spit upon by Hart, Hart’s destruction of ringside TV equipment; and reports of a physical altercation backstage where McMahon was either pushed or punched, landing on the floor backstage.

In my opinion, Vince McMahon has cut off his nose to spite his face. If the idea behind this was to get the belt off of Bret Hart before he left, that’s understandable. But to do so in Hart’s OWN home country, and to put it directly on a man that Hart has such genuine personal distaste for, AFTER an agreed upon finish by both Michaels and Hart; is an utter disgrace.

Bret Hart has been a man who has been a loyal company soldier to Titan Sports, the World Wrestling Federation, and Vince McMahon for years. Such treatment of Hart may result in others leaving Titan Sports at the first opportunity contractually possible. Both Bob Ryder and the Calgary Sun reported that several wrestlers had threatened to boycott the November 10 RAW the next night. It was clear that Owen Hart and Davey Smith were nowhere to be seen on RAW.

Obviously that was written the morning after Montreal took place. We all know now the particulars of what DID really happen in 1997…in detail. If there’s anyone who still hasn’t read Bret Hart’s biography, put it on your holiday shopping list, as it should be required reading.

Well, tonight…Bret Hart returns to a WWE ring in Montreal for the first time since that November night in Montreal all those years ago.

No one, least of all Bret Hart, ever thought he’d be back in WWE. But one truth in wrestling seems to be never say never. Time seems to heal many wounds, and Hart did in fact return on January 4, 2010. He was even able to make a genuine peace with Shawn Michaels that night in front of the camera, and behind the scenes.

If that isn’t enough, it appears we’re getting Paul Heyman as a fulltime character on WWE TV…something he long ago said he had no interest in. For anyone who missed it… in the last 15 seconds of last week’s RAW…CM Punk mugged John Cena backstage and pulled out in a car…driven by Paul Heyman, seen in the last shot of the show.

Tonight should be a really interesting night.

Until next time….

— Bob Magee