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. _________________________ 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.