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  #1  
Old 08-03-2015, 01:38 PM
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Default Rebooking Survivor Series 1997

This thread is all about the infamous Montreal Screwjob and how to avoid it. Although I don't believe either Vince nor Shawn wanted to avoid it, as I feel the intent was to damage the Hitman character so that his stock was as low as possible heading into WCW, but that being said there are ways it could have been avoided.

For starters, the easiest way to avoid the whole thing would have been to simply have Taker retain the title at Summerslam and drop it to Shawn at the Hell In A Cell who could then defend it against Bret at Survivor Series. I'm not sure why Vince put the belt on Bret in the first place considering everything that was swirling around him at the time, but regardless of why the belt was on Bret it was and something has to be done.

First option, and the most obvious, would be to have Bret defend the title against someone other than Shawn. The most logical choice being the jUndertaker who was still owed a rematch against Bret stemming from Summerslam. But that wouldn't work because Taker was selling the attack he suffered at the hands of a debuting Kane a few weeks prior at Badd Blood. So Taker is out.

Austin won't work either because they need to save his first title win for Wrestlemania.

Ken Shamrock would have been a terrific choice. A submission wrestler much like Bret and they did tease something between the two back at Wrestlemania when Bret initially turned heel. Shamrock was the special referee during the famous Bret/Austin match that year. The match could be billed as an I Quit match and the finish would see Bret tapping out to the new submission master of the WWF Ken Shamrock. Shamrock faced Micheals just a month later at the December PPV "d-generation X" so he would make for an ideal transitional champion. Beat Bret in November, then drop it to Shawn in December.

Only problem is then we're deprived of the great rivalry between Bret and Shawn. The feud was terrific and led to many a classic moment on RAW IS WAR. So even though the Shamrock solution works, it wouldn't be nearly as interesting or compelling as the real life feud between Shawn and Bret.

But I think there is a way to still have the Bret/Shawn Survivor Series confrontation while also avoiding the screwjob. And here's how...

At Survivor Series instead of Bret vs Shawn, we have a traditional Survivor Series elimination match main event featuring The Hart Foundation vs D-Generation X. Bret, Owen, Bulldog, Anvil VS Shawn, Hunter, Billy Gunn and Roaddog. The stipulation though is that all title's are on the line. Bret's WWF Title, Owen's IC title, and Shawn's European Title. Rules are fairly simple. If at any point a champion is pinned by any one on the other team then not only are they eliminated but they also lose their title. The man who pins them is now temporarily the new champion. He can only hold on to the title however if he goes on to survive. If he too is eliminated then he too would drop the title. Sort of similar to the Championship Scramble matches they had a few years back.

It comes down to Bret & Owen vs Shawn & Hunter. Bret eliminates Hunter via the sharpshooter, leaving just the three champions meaning no titles have changed hands yet. Shawn is beaten and bloodied in a two on one beatdown at the hands of the Hart Brothers for a good ten minutes. Shawn has nothing left in the tank and it is only a formality at this point. Bret mercifully locks in the sharpshooter and waits for Shawn to tap. But just then Owen smashes Bret across the face with a steel chair. The crowd is stunned. Bret and Shawn are both out cold. Earl Hebnor doesn't know what to do as Owen can't be disqualified because Bret is his own teammate. There is nothing in the rules about shooting yourself in the foot. Owen lays Shawn on top of Bret and the ref counts 3. Shawn is temporarily the new champion. Owen tosses Bret's limp body out of the ring and then proceeds to kick the crap out of an exhausted Shawn Micheals. Owen locks in the sharpshooter and Shawn taps thus making Owen, not only the new WWF Champion but also the new WWF European Champion as well as defending Intercontinental Champion. He is the first man to hold all 3 singles championships at the same time and is the sole survivor, not only of the match, but of the now clearly disbanded Hart Foundation.

The next night on RAW Vince McMahon proudly introduces the new WWF Champion: Owen Hart! Owen brags about finally ridding the WWF of his brother and how he doesn't need his family any more. "These (pointing to his 3 titles) are the only 3 brothers I need from now on. Who needs three brothers watching your back when you've got 3 championships around your waist?"

Vince, Sgt.Slaughter and the rest of the corporate stooges applaud Owen and raise his arms. Owen has betrayed his own family and joined the McMahon corporate family. Owen's new character is that of an ultra-virtuous yet totally disingenuous babyface-heel. An authority suckup. Similar to an early Kurt Angle. But it is also similar to the more recent storyline of Seth Rollins betraying his Shield brothers and joining the Authority. Owen has not only solved Vince's Bret problem but he is also the perfect counter to the rebellious and raunchy hellraisers that have been causing Vince and company so many problems as of late. From Steve Austin stunning every authority figure in sight, to D-X's obnoxious and lewd acts, Vince has had enough and has hand chosen a champion he can trust. And his name is Owen Hart.

Unlike other superstars who have held multiple titles at the same time, Owen does not vacate the two lesser titles. He is going to attempt to hold and defend all 3 titles at once.

At the next ppv Owen will defend the WWF Title against Shawn but before then he defends the European title against Hunter on an episode of RAW that is also the go home show to the ppv. Shawn interferes and costs Owen the title meaning Owen is now down to just two titles. At In Your House D-Generation X Shawn defeats Owen to become the new WWF Champion. Owen is still Intercontinental Champion however, the title he'd held since Summerslam. Owen gets a rematch against Shawn at the Royal Rumble naturally, but comes up short once again.

Shawn actually faced Undertaker at The Rumble that year. That was the match where Shawn screwed up his back when he was backdropped onto Taker's casket outside the ring. After defeating Owen a second time, Shawn then faces Undertaker at No Way Out in February and retains thanks to Kane's interference. After that it is on to Mania where Shawn drops the title to Austin, Taker faces Kane, and Owen meets Helmsley in a title for title IC/Eurpoean unification match. Also, if Shawn avoids facing Taker at the Rumble that year perhaps his career is never shortened the way it was.

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I feel Owen winning at Survivor Series is the perfect compromise for all parties involved. We still get the heated rivalry between Shawn and Bret during the fall of 97, Bret dominates Shawn for the majority of the match, Shawn eliminates Bret, and Bret drops the belt but even though he's pinned by Shawn in reality it's not to put Shawn over it's to put his brother Owen over for the biggest night of his career. And while Owen's reign wouldn't last long, neither did the first title reigns of The Undertaker, Kane or Chris Jericho but it didn't hurt their careers in the end.

In fact Owen would have, and should have, been the perfect opponent for Steve Austin in his first title defense post Wrestlemania. After all Owen was the man who put Austin on the shelf months earlier and he is Vince's right hand man every since Survivor Series when he betrayed his own brother.

I feel this change to Owens character, a precursor to Kurt Angle, would have been enough to keep him in the main event picture for a few years and avoid the Blue Blazer gimmick altogether. Owen would have been the earliest member of the Corporation. In fact he would have been the only member for the better part of a year until The Rock joins and the stable really kicks in to high gear.

Last edited by MMK : 08-03-2015 at 01:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2015, 03:47 PM
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Yeah without the screw job
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2015, 04:03 PM
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I like your idea for the main event of Survivor Series 97. It really is a great way to keep the Bret/Sawn storyline while getting the title off of Bret. I wouldn't even mind taking it a step further and have Owen hold the title until Mania where he would drop it to Austin to complete there story. This would also give the WWE the luxury of holding Austin out until the Rumble which would only help his situation. The biggest roadblock though would be keeping Shawn happy since he would be without the title.
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Old 08-03-2015, 05:19 PM
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If the purpose of the screw job was to destroy the Hitman character, then they screwed up royally. The truth is that the reality of what transpired made Hart white-hot heading into WCW. The failure to capitalize on that momentum is entirely on Hart (due to his bitterness) and WCW (due to their incompetence.) But really, the WWF did everything in their power to make people have to watch Nitro for Hart's debut.

But I digress...

Ya know what - No. I don't. Seriously. The fans are pissed at Vince for what happened. They're just as pissed at Michaels for his perceived involvement. People want to see Hart get his retribution, but he can't get it directly since he no longer works for the company. Instead, he's heading to WCW where Michaels THREE BEST FRIENDS ARE EMPLOYED - Nash, Hall, Waltman. WCW had a ready-made angle wherein Hart could've kept his feud with Michaels alive by systematically taking out his friends. AAAAAAAH. I hate how stupid WCW was... Instead, Hart feuded with the NWO B-team before actually joining the group. What an f'ing joke.

Anyway - This whole thing really got me thinking how much the MITB would've been had it existed at this point in time. You'd still get the Hart/Michaels match that people were desperate to see... Hart could've gotten his retribution on Michaels, just as he wanted. And then someone like Shamrock could've simply cashed-in after the match and defeated Hart. This would've led right into the next pay-per view where Michaels/Shamrock fought for the WWE Title, and nothing short of delaying Michaels title win by a month needed to be changed.

Oh - the what ifs...
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2015, 10:48 PM
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First of all this is pure fantasy because there is no way in hell Shawn was tapping out to ANYONE especially a Hart and on a PPV!! No way no how. The fact that Shawn and Hunter were on the booking committee at the time pretty much cemented the fact that Shawn was not going job to anyone. He might take a beating like Hell in a Cell but he's not tapping. Plus Shawn was the top heel at the time, it wouldn't make sense for Shawn to get sympathy heading into WrestleMania.

It was all about Bret and Shawn at this point. I truly believe when you say Vince, Shawn, HHH, were hell bent on ruining the Hitman character on his way out. Vince felt betrayed and we all know how Shawn and HHH felt. Vince WANTED confrontation, he WANTED controversy, that was the only way he was going to win his war against WCW. Like you said, he could've EASILY had Bret drop it at ANY TIME between SummerSlam and Survivor Series. Heck, even AFTER Survivor Series because Bret's contract wasn't up until Dec. (I believe)

He wanted Hitman to do the job clean at SS in a "passing of the torch" moment (Bret had the man in the early - mid 90's) and now Shawn was going to take the ball (for the second time this time as a heel).

I believe Vince took Bret playing hardball with him personal and wanted to make an example out of Bret. What would've happened if Vince gave in to Bret? It would be anarchy. No one would respect VKM. If Hogan has to lay down on his way out I'm sure McMahon felt Bret MUST lay down also.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:28 AM
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I have to agree with Makaveli here, as good as the OPs extremely creative idea is...you have to take in the massive three headed ego monster into account here. Head one : Vince McMahon, his pride is already hurt because Hitman is leaving, now he's not going to have control at this important PPV over HBK or Hitman ? EFF that...you have to go with the biggest draw if a giant draw is leaving....you have to go with HBK.

Head two : You have The Hitman himself, he's already committed to WCW by signing on , so what makes him think he has ANY pull left at all ? Hell, Vince could've made it a bra and panties match at Survivor Series with a No Hitman Winning stipulation. Its Vince's design , its his company's belt, no matter who's hometown your in. So Hitman , even though Owen Hart ends up with all the belts...might even have a problem with it because of his own blindness...he took it too literally and didn't see the business side of anything.

Head three : HBK...the only draw you have left ...no disrespect to Owen Hart but Vince might have panicked a little when Hitman told him he was leaving. HBK apparently was also an egomaniac who battled demons and wouldn't go for the OPs idea.
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:56 AM
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A couple things I found VERY interesting about the "Screwjob".

1) It has been stated by people in the know and in Vince's inner circle at the time i.e. Bruce Pritchard, Cornette, and even Vince Russo that had Madusa never dropped the Women's title in the trash live on Nitro the Screwjob never would've happened.

Vince's biggest fear was another one of his champions being "bought" by Eric Bischoff (hell it wasn't his money) and going on Nitro and dropping another WWF belt in the trash and there is no strap was bigger than the WWF belt. IF the WWF belt was ever dropped in the trash live on Nitro, Vince would've been done. Close the curtains. There is no coming back from that and it has been stated that he would do WHATEVER it took to keep that from happening. Hence the screwjob.

2) I think Vince's trust in Bret was never the same after the initial WCW overtures in 1996. Bret basically held Vince up for more money the same way Hall and Nash tried to do except Vince HAD to re-sign Bret. I think he took it personal that Bret used those hardball tactics, eventhough he was well within his rights as a free agent at the time, when Vince was having financial problems. I think he held a grudge and never intended on using Bret the way he sold it to him. Giving him one last run as Champion then having him retire as the "Babe Ruth" of the WWF.

The proof is in the pudding. He bascially destroyed the Hitman character in a year. He turned him heel (first time in Bret's career, and an anti-American heel at that) then suddenly turned off his heat just as it was building and gave it to Shawn.
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Old 08-04-2015, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makaveli31 View Post
IF the WWF belt was ever dropped in the trash live on Nitro, Vince would've been done. Close the curtains. There is no coming back from that and it has been stated that he would do WHATEVER it took to keep that from happening. Hence the screwjob.
I don't buy that one bit. Throwing the belt in the garbage just meant the WWF would need a new tournament to crown a new champion. Nothing really to it. I mean Ric Flair went to the WWF with the NWA Championship and WCW was still around for almost another 10 years.

Besides if throwing the garbage possibly meant symbiotically diluting the importance of the WWF title the same could be said about the screwjob doing the same thing. The way the screw job happened really hurt the prestige and importance of the WWF title and that also could have hurt the company (heck I have been on record saying the screw job was worse than the finger poke of doom). Yet WWF recovered from that so I see no reason why WWF could recover Bret Hart throwing the title in the garbage, if he actually was going to that at all.
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
I don't buy that one bit. Throwing the belt in the garbage just meant the WWF would need a new tournament to crown a new champion. Nothing really to it. I mean Ric Flair went to the WWF with the NWA Championship and WCW was still around for almost another 10 years.
Whoa!! Hold on! You don't think having the current WWF Champion SHOW UP on WCW Nitro and dump THE WWF Championship belt (held by Bruno, held by Backlund, held by Superstar Billy Graham, Hogan, Savage etc....) in the trash wouldn't be a death blow to Vince and the WWF? Are you crazy?

First of all, the lineage would be broken. So what if you have a tournament, the guy who dumped the belt in the trash would always be recognized as the WWF Champion because no one ever beat him in the ring. I think it would've destroyed Vince personally and professionally. It would've been a huge for Bischoff and WCW and humiliated Vince and WWF. I don't think they could've ever recovered.

Second, the NWA was dead by the time Flair went to the WWF with the belt. Crockett was the last of territories and was sold to Turner in 1988 so the NWA didn't really exist. WCW leased the NWA's title belt. Plus, no one cared about WCW back then anyway. They were second rate to the WWF BY FAR.

The WCW Champion appearing on WWF TV was no big deal because they didn't even register at the time. WCW was still very much a regional promotion in 1991. It sure as heck wasn't the Monday Night Wars.

Third, yes initially it might've hurt the prestige and importance but the fact is Bret lost the title to Shawn. No matter how you slice it. It was launching point for Vince McMahon as the ruthless owner, screwing people out of titles and title shots. Vince was in control not Bret or Eric Bischoff. Big difference. McMahon was the heel. If Bret had thrown it in the trash, Bischoff's stock would've SOARED. It would've been HUGE for Bischoff and WCW NOT Vince and the WWF.

They would be humiliated. Seriously, how could you let the most prestigious title in the company end up on the competitor's TV and not only that but has it desecrated on live TV. No way was Vince taking that chance.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makaveli31 View Post
Whoa!! Hold on! You don't think having the current WWF Champion SHOW UP on WCW Nitro and dump THE WWF Championship belt (held by Bruno, held by Backlund, held by Superstar Billy Graham, Hogan, Savage etc....) in the trash wouldn't be a death blow to Vince and the WWF? Are you crazy?

First of all, the lineage would be broken. So what if you have a tournament, the guy who dumped the belt in the trash would always be recognized as the WWF Champion because no one ever beat him in the ring. I think it would've destroyed Vince personally and professionally. It would've been a huge for Bischoff and WCW and humiliated Vince and WWF. I don't think they could've ever recovered.
The WWF title has been vacated before and it's not like the championship was hurt because the lineage broke before and after. Would throwing the WWF title boost WCW and hurt WWF? In the short term sure but an angle is just an angle. You just need another angle to make people move on from the previous one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Makaveli31 View Post
Second, the NWA was dead by the time Flair went to the WWF with the belt. Crockett was the last of territories and was sold to Turner in 1988 so the NWA didn't really exist. WCW leased the NWA's title belt. Plus, no one cared about WCW back then anyway. They were second rate to the WWF BY FAR.
And yet WCW lasted for years after. WWF at the time was the #2 company and I am pretty sure it would not have killed the WWF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Makaveli31 View Post
Third, yes initially it might've hurt the prestige and importance but the fact is Bret lost the title to Shawn. No matter how you slice it. It was launching point for Vince McMahon as the ruthless owner, screwing people out of titles and title shots. Vince was in control not Bret or Eric Bischoff. Big difference. McMahon was the heel. If Bret had thrown it in the trash, Bischoff's stock would've SOARED. It would've been HUGE for Bischoff and WCW NOT Vince and the WWF.
It made WWF opportunistic at the moment and the Montreal screwjob could have easily crippled WWF to the point of no recovery. That was a hyped PPV title match and the way it ended cheated many fans who paid for the PPV for a classic Bret vs. Shawn Michaels match. Whose to say WWF couldn't find an opportunity for the WWF to turn Bret defecting the title into an angle?

I guess my point is Vince could have taken a chance to trust Bret Hart in not bringing the title to WCW. Bret was loyal to the WWF and it was only because of WWF's financial situation that caused Bret to jump to WCW.

I am not saying Vince was right or wrong here and I understand the need to protect your assets the Montreal Screw Job was, by no means, the only option in the table.
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