What If: Bret Hart's 20 year WWE contract

Discussion in 'Old School Wrestling' started by Charismatic Enigma, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. Charismatic Enigma

    Charismatic Enigma Grand Slam Champion

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    In October of 1996 Bret Hart signed a 20 year contract with the WWE, obviously we all know what happened...Vince pulled out of the deal, screwed Bret, he left for WCW for huge money, Owen died, he was concussed and forced to retire, suffered a stroke, and eventually reconciled with vince about 15 years later. BUT!

    What if none of that had played out that way?

    October 1996, Bret signs the contract, and everything works out just fine. His contract would've just expired a few months ago. Where do you think Bret would be in his career at this point, how long do you think he would've continued wrestling for? What do you think his role would've been with WWE in his later years? Trainer, agent, manager, producer, Vince's right hand man? Would he have wrestled past his prime like Flair and Hogan?

    It's a fun thing to speculate on.

    I'd like to think he would've had a good run through the Attitude Era, similar to Undertaker but still would've had a back seat to Austin and Rock. Probably would've retired from active competition around 2003-5, eventually becoming an agent. I think he would've struggled with no longer wrestling, but without the health problems would've been a contributor for sure. Eventually ending up in a role similar to Pat Paterson's now, where he helps to book big matches, acts as an ambassador for the company, etc. Maybe would've become a GM at some point.
     
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  2. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    Hard to say. The big question would be how would Bret feel in the middle of the raunchy, anything-goes Attitude Era where the focus was less on wrestling and more on sex appeal, talking, and general debauchery? Bret was having problems when the WWF was still in the "New Generation" era with Shawn, Sunny, etc...how would he deal with bra and panty matches and "The Boss" pissing all over himself while Stone Cold pointed a gun at his head?

    Bret was fond of bringing his family to his matches. His mom and dad were ringside fixtures during his run in the mid-90's and his son Blade was a presence backstage. I don't think Bret would have felt comfortable subjecting his family to TV-MA rated WWE at the time. Undertaker was different. His character was edgy and became he even edgier in the Attitude Era. 'Taker (as far as I know) had no problem with the direction McMahon was taking the WWF. Bret did. He had a problem with his anti-American gimmick. He still wanted to be "The Man" despite what he says now.

    I don't see where Bret would've fit. His mic skills could not survive in the Attitude Era where so much was done outside the ring. Every character was either sex or violence and Bret didn't fit either. Maybe he continues the Hart Foundation and they feud with DX, NOD etc....but that's the extent of it. He would've had to put over Shawn Michaels (which he REFUSED to do when asked by Vince) so I think he ends up leaving the company sometime in early 1998 mutually with Vince.
     
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  3. comrade_mario

    comrade_mario Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Well Bret's idea was that he'd be retired as a full-time wrestler by about 2000 and would begin transitioning to a backstage role with occasional appearances and matches. He quite obviously admired Pat Patterson's role the most and, given his obvious talent for storytelling, would have been ideal to have been groomed as the next Pat, as in the guy people go to to lay out matches and finishes.

    Wrestling wise, I think he probably would have been done full time by 2000, mostly because the Attitude Era from 1999 to 2002 really wouldn't have suited him and I think he would have wanted to step away. I think if Bret were leaving the plan for his major feuds would have been

    1997 to 1998 - HBK (I would see Bret winning at Survivor Series but losing to Shawn at the Rumble to set up that HBK v Austin match).
    1998 - Team with Austin vs Vince and the Corporation. I'd see Bret putting over The Rock as the top heel at some stage here.
    1999 - Solid upper-midcard slot, used to put over Triple H as the top heel towards the end of the year
    2000/01 - Feuds with the likes of Benoit, Jericho and Angle to round out his full-time career
    2002/03 - Brought back to feud with HBK and possibly nWo Hogan. I'd see him beating Hogan but losing to HBK.

    and that's about it. Hard to tell really, given what happened with Owen, but I'm of the opinion that if Bret had been in the company in 1999 than Owen wouldn't have been booked as the Blue Blazer to begin with.
     
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  4. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    A few things to remember...

    Brett HATED WWE: The direction of the programming, even before it went "full attitude" was a major source of conflict between Vince & Brett

    Brett HATED HBK: Their backstage issues might not have been so bad except Vince kept pushing HBK over Hart, and was transitioning to pushing Austin over him too. It wasnt just two guys that didnt get along, it was Hart losing his spot in the prime of his career to a guy he couldnt stand, who by his own admission routinely disrespected Hart, as Hart was forced to work a style of storyline presentation he hated.

    Hart made a ton of money on a bad deal for Vince he couldnt afford, especially if Brett wasnt in the long term main event plans.

    Hart staying in WWE means remaining on good terms with Vince in the aftermath of Owen's death.


    I dont see how Brett stays in WWE at that point, he & Vince clearly didnt see eye to eye on the programming, he could barely work with HBK, and Vince had to get out of that contract before it became it "the standard" for other top stars. I do think Vince tried to do right with Brett, keeping him on payroll while allowing him to negotiate with WCW, but in the end there is just no way Hart takes a paycut, takes a backseat to Michaels, loses his spot as top guy, and happily plays along with a programming style he hated. Its more likely Hart just quits in 98 or 99 than he continues to make himself miserable.

    Now if Hart COULD have pimped himself out like that, he likely remains in the top tier but not Top Spot through till mid to late 2000s, likely fueds with Angle, Lesnar, Rock, Flair, Orton, and puts over Cena at some point. With his skill level and conditioning if not for injury he easily could have wrestled good matches into his 50s.
     
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  5. George Steele's Barber

    George Steele's Barber Advertise Here $9.95/month

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    WWE would have gone out of business followed by WCW going out of business. Hart would have wrestled in Japan for awhile and then started a small fed in Canada that is doomed to fail. Somewhere in there Vince starts a new WWF which is about 1/100th the size of the current WWE. He runs a cross promotional angle with Hart's failing promotion but both ultimately are out of business by 2017.
     
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  6. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    You're kind of picking and choosing which pieces of history would be altered and which would not. It can be argued that, not only would Bret have talked Owen out of doing that stunt, Owen would not have even been using that gimmick had Bret stayed. Does that make Bret responsible? Of course not. You can't go through life wondering what would have happened if every decision you made went the other way. But, if you are going to speak to what might have happened, you really have to take all things that did happen into consideration.

    John Sterling, a Yankee radio announcer, is guilty of this. He is known for his outrageous homerun calls and his "thaaaa Yankees win!", but he is just as well known for his awful calling of a game that, despite his errors and guesswork, is actually being played right in front of him. Far too often, he will take what has happened earlier in the game and apply it to the current state of the game. An example would be a Yankee getting picked off first base before a homerun in the 1st inning. Then, if they are tied in the 8th inning, he will say something like "If not for the pickoff, the Yankees would be up one now." As if everything that happened from the pickoff forward would have been exactly the same. Same here with Bret. You can't have him stay with WWE and then forgive Vince for Owen's death. Why is Owen the Blue Blazer if Bret stayed? Why is Bret not talking sense into Owen if he is still around? We don't know what would have happened, but you can't assume everything else stays the same once you change a part of history.
     
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  7. rokuma

    rokuma The Legend

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    I don't really know where Bret would be, but I know we'd be watching WCW Monday Nitro last night instead of RAW. I've always looked at Bret Hart's departure as the turning point for the WWF and the Monday Night Wars. WWF chose their course, the realism of the screw job created further interest in the product and simultaneously created the evil Vince McMahon character, and his feud with Steve Austin became the launching point for the Attitude Era. With Bret Hart there, that never happens.

    Vince McMahon had to get out of that contract because it bound him financially. WWF was bleeding money at the time even though they were slowly gaining momentum. Simply put: If Bret Hart stays, WWF could not afford to continue on as they were. Maybe they lose Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, or The Rock to WCW. Maybe they can't afford to take Chris Jericho, The Giant, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Saturn, Dean Malenko, and others away from WCW and hurt their potential growth. Maybe they can't afford to keep RAW as the spectacle it became and continue broadcasting 2 hrs live every week. Maybe they can't afford to create Smackdown!

    I don't think the WWE exists today if Bret Hart never leaves.
     
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  8. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    Mike Tyson at 3 million dollars for a few nights of work disagrees with you.

    I think that the screwjob was fake to this day and was to get heat on both parties. It only worked for Vince tho.

    Wcw was given a goldmine and they were not intelligent to use it.

    Bret's defining moment in wcw?

    Knocking out Goldberg two plus years after the screw job.
     
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  9. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Did you know that it was Bret who told Martha that Owen's death was WWE's fault, and poisoned her against them? Bret did this to make WWE "pay" for what they did to him in Montreal. The story where I read this, one person said that they found it a disgrace that Bret used his brother's death as an excuse to get back at WWE by talking Martha into suing them.

    So, Bret is responsible for why Owen isn't in the HoF, or has no DVD release, as, even when he made up with WWE, Martha still went along with what Bret told her previously, and she has never given permission, even though Bret has tried to change her mind, and they have fallen out over it.
     
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  10. Charismatic Enigma

    Charismatic Enigma Grand Slam Champion

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    I find these perspectives interesting, though I'm not sure I agree. I think that WWF was always run by wrestling minds, in a funny way even though it would've been accused of being style over substance in the territory days, compared to WCW, the WWF was more substance over style. I think they might have gone through some really lean years, maybe had to restructure some deals, maybe sell some equity in the company, but if TNA can stay alive for 15 years after what feels like an endless stream of missteps, I feel like the WWF would've found a way to carry on somehow, and if Bret is really the loyal company guy that he's always portrayed himself to be, than I think he would've stuck it out through the tough times while they regrouped.

    I enjoyed a lot about WCW in the late '90s, but I think by and large, excluding Goldberg and the nWo, WCW's primary strategy was to gobble up all the talent and create a bloated spectacle of a show, and while that worked for a time, it's like eating cake for every meal, after a while the appeal would wear off and you'd get sick. Once the ebb and flow of wrestling caused the rating to drop, Turner would've significantly cut the budget, and I think WCW would've struggled to make a quality product after that, whereas the WWE would've trudged along.

    In a lot of ways, I think Bret was kind of a pawn between the two companies. No doubt he helped to light the fuse of the attitude era, but I still think things would've gotten there regardless, and I think he could've been a good contributor to it. Even if his role was similar to Lance Storm, Molly Holly, Kurt Angle, etc. of being the square to all the debauchery that was happening around him.
     
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  11. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    What would be the point of keeping Bret? It was rather obvious he was not in the WWF's long term plans as any kind of top guy. He even asked Vince what his plans were for him and Vince was non-committal. I don't think the "Screwjob" was a work (there is too much hurt in Bret's eyes even when he talks about it to this day) but it was used for Vince to get out of under the contract. Of course he could pay the contract if he wanted too but Bret's presence was more of a detriment than an asset at that point. His refusal to put over HBK was the last straw for Vince.

    Of course Bret was a pawn in a chess game but he played Vince and Eric ( and even earlier WCW (under Jim Herd) against each other as well. He essentially forced Vince to sign him to the richest contract in WWF history. You think he would've been OK with a Lance Storm/Molly Holly type role? LOL. Again, when he asked Vince what he had planned for him and he found out he was to put over Shawn Michaels he was NOT OK with that and essentially took his ball and went to WCW.
     
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  12. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    I'm sorry, what does this have to do with what I wrote? To answer your question, no I didn't see that story where the unnamed "one person" gave their opinion on Bret's rumored revenge ploy. It sounds fascinating.

    What I said was that when playing "what if", it seems silly to pick and choose which events would still happen, though related events were changed in that same instance.

    Bret may very well be responsible for those random points you mentioned, but that doesn't interest me or pertain to my response.
     
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  13. Charismatic Enigma

    Charismatic Enigma Grand Slam Champion

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    Well, in fairness if you asked Vince what he plans are for anyone at any time, he'd probably be non-committal. But I don't think someone at Bret's level ever would've had to worry that they couldn't find a place for him. I think Bret represented the old guard, not unlike Undertaker (even then), I think Bret would've just had to accept his place in the company, but I think he always would've been treated with respect. I don't think Bret had a problem putting Shawn over, generally speaking, I think the problem was that at that point both Vince and Bret knew he was leaving, and thus Vince thought Bret should do the right thing and drop the title at the PPV. Bret stubbornly bought a little too much into his own character and believed that he shouldn't lose in Canada, but would've done so a Raw the following week, and Vince didn't feel this could be trusted, as he'd been burnt before and thought that maybe it was a ploy to make him look stupid and show up on Nitro with the WWF title. Of course, I don't think Bret ever would've done that to him, but I'm sure tensions were running high at that point in time.

    Also, when I said Bret could play a role similar to Lance Storm/Molly Holly/Kurt Angle I didn't mean his place in the company, I meant a fish out of water type character, where he was one of the last good clean moral characters amongst the rest of the cursing, sex, violence, etc. of the attitude era. He still could've been booked as top performer. I just said that because so many people had mentioned how he didn't agree with the climate of the company at the time, and wouldn't have wanted to go along with those types of angles.
     
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  14. jachba

    jachba Dark Match Jobber

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    If you read Martha Hart's book "Broken Harts: The Life and Death of Owen Hart", it is very apparent that Martha hated wrestling (as one review of the book states, a hate ingrained in her from childhood), had no use for the WWE in particular, had a condescending attitude towards most wrestlers and would have decided to sue them regardless of what Bret thought one way or the other.
     
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  15. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    Not true, if Vince wanted you there he always had a plan, a vision for your character. In fact, it was often the other way around. Vince often promised a very lucrative run for talent he was either trying to keep or woo from another company. He deliberately told Bret something he didn't want to hear. That he was going to put over Shawn Michaels. Vince knew Bret was never going to agree to that and was essentially daring him to go to WCW.

    I think Bret was very worried about his position. He was the highest paid superstar, if he wasn't in the main event where would he be. Vince wasn't going to pay over a million a year for an upper mid carder. Remember, he had seen the "old guard" pushed out before him. He had gone from a 1 or 2 babyface to now a lukewarm heel. The further he dropped on the card the more expendable he became.

    He had a problem dropping it to Shawn. Everyone knows that. He felt Shawn didn't return the favor at WM 13. He felt Shawn was the reason he was being pushed out. He despised Shawn Michaels. It had nothing to do with Canada. He was using that as an excuse. Bret knew creatively it made NO SENSE for him to go over Shawn at the PPV because he was leaving. Shawn was staying. He knew the only reasonable solution was to have Shawn go over but he refused.

    It would not have worked. Fans already saw Bret as a whiny character, that would only enhance it. Bret, as you said, took his character seriously. I don't think he would be OK with playing the goody-two shoes in the era of Stone Cold, DX, and the Rock. He would get lost in the shuffle very quickly.

    Bret Hart in the Attitude Era would not have worked. Maybe in Ruthless Aggression had he stayed healthy enough.
     
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  16. comrade_mario

    comrade_mario Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Do people really think WWF would be out of business if Bret had stayed?

    Two things go against that, Vince McMahon, who would rather had died than gone out of business, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was already earmarked as the next Top Guy and was already well on his way to taking off in the way he did.
     
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  17. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    LOL don't forget Vince also survived the FEDERAL GOVT. If they couldn't put Vince out of business no one could. He played that "broke" card to get out from under the contracts and leverage against paying wrestlers' huge salaries as opposed to WCW to just gave out contracts. Vince was a smart business man that's why he's still in business and WCW is not.
     
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  18. Vanilla Midget

    Vanilla Midget Registered Suplex Offender

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    It stands to reason that Bret would have salted out of WWE anyway, it just would have happened later. Obviously, the screwjob lead to the attitude era, but it's revisionist history to say that the screwjob was the attitude era.

    nWo had been going in WCW for over a year by the time Survivor Series 1997. WWF was not the sole proprietor of more adult based wrestling. WWF went the Jerry Springer route of adult. They got naked and brought out guns in an effort to be edgy. Would renowned prude and wrestling purist Hitman Hart have stuck it out?

    Probably not. Even without the screwjob, Austin was rising, Michaels and Helmsely were becoming DX, New Age Outlaws already existed, so did the Nation of Domination. Mick Foley existed.

    It's not like Hart spat in Vince's face and the women's clothes magically fell off. The attitude era was coming no matter what, when you look at the history tapes, that's jsut the noticeable moment where we roadmarked the changes.

    The truth is the changes were gradual and already taking place. The path may have been different with Bret staying. The idea to have Vince play a character might have already been in place.

    There's always the chance that Survivor Series 97 was a work. You'd think that more people would shoot about it, so I say it's at least unlikely. We can never know within any certainty that Vince wouldn't have come up with the Mr. McMahon character anyway.

    Survivor Series 97 happens as it did, except Bret sticks around. Maybe he's kayfabe fired, but odds are a double turn takes place and Hart becomes a babyface. That may have delayed Austin's push, but I definitely doubt that. Bret would have stayed near the top of the card, but inevitably Bret was a family man and likely would have walked due to the gun play and other saucey segments.

    Maybe Bret influenced Vince to not go for tv-14 angles, and WWF would have folded? Maybe Bret wouldn't have allowed Owen to become the Blue Blazer, or at least kiboshed the ring lowering.

    We can't say anything with any certainty because there are too many variables and insider information required.

    If Bret did manage to stay with WWF during the attitude era though, we would have seen Bret vs Austin in a WWF title feud, Bret vs The Rock, Bret vs Triple H, Bret Vs Angle (there's a dream match), Bret vs Benoit, Bret vs Jericho and others.

    Bret might have even faced Hogan when he showed up in 025. Most likely Bret doesn't suffer the concussion, so he could have wrestled into his 40s. He may have stuck around long enough to face Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista, and John Cena, with Lesnar being the most interesting.

    Hart would have been 50 come 2007. It's most likely he would have retired around 2002 to 2003 anyway. I never saw Bret as being a Hogan or a Flair would could never call it quits.

    It's tough to say, but I disagree completely that Bret staying meant no attitude era. Wrestling was moving that way anyway and WWF would have had to adopt some form of adult storyline to compete.
     
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  19. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

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    Had Bret and Vince stuck out the contract... Vince would have HAD to use Bret in a meaningful way to justify the huge amount of money being paid.

    Just before tensions started to mount... Vince had put forward the idea of Bret losing the belt to Shawn and then winning it back which would have made Hart a 6 time WWE world champion... beating Hogans (then) record.
    We might even have seen Hart drop the world title to Austin at WM14 (which makes sense as its returning the favour from WM13).
    Of course there would be no need for Davey and Neidhart to defect to WCW... so the Hart Foundation could have survived into 1998.
    Getting onto the topic of Owens death... Bret has said several times he might have talked Owen out of performing the fatal stunt.... Bret had enough clout to speak up to Vince/bookers on Owens behalf (ie he talked Vince out of Davey/Owen dropping the tag belts at WM13 to keep the Hart Foundation momentum going).

    Whilst Bret disapproved of the product at the time... he could have survived... I mean he did have a pretty good run through 1997 (before the screwjob) and did some good mic work too when bashing the Americans.

    Hart would have been paid his 1.5M a year contract till late 1999... and would then be on the 2nd phase of his contract which paid him less, so here at the age of 42 his top liner days might be over... as he settles into the role of putting younger talent over.

    As Bret hits is mid 40s... I think that's the time he calls it a day and moves into his role of senior advisor to Vince. He might even bag an onscreen general manager role.
     
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  20. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    See there's one aspect people aren't grasping with all this - some have touched close, but the reality is that Vince really was in last chance saloon financially when he asked Bret to go to WCW. He'd tried everything he knew in his comfort zone to turn the company around and it hadn't work, leaving the raunchy, Attitude direction as in reality, a last throw of the dice. Vince abandoned it and went back to his comfort zone first chance he got... marketing to kids.

    As for Bret and the 20 year deal, I think even then Vince knew the writing was on the wall and the deal would never actually be honored in full. Either the company was gonna go under or Bret would eventually throw his toys from the pram and they'd negotiate a settlement.

    What Vince did was offer Bret a win/win (in his mind) get pretty much the same money as the 20 year deal in a shorter space of time with WCW and it got the increasingly whiny (Wrestling With Shadows watched today shows Bret in a pretty negative light) and intransigent star who would have eventually caused a Montreal situation regardless.

    Had he stayed, I don't think WWE would have been going "under as such" but I think Bret would have inadvertently damaged their success. WWE was able to create at least new main event star EVERY Year for the next decade except for 03 when Goldberg took that slot. Look at the list below... had Bret stayed for any period of that 20 year contract, one or more of those pushes couldn't have happened. He was already protecting his "spot" despite his claims that he'd drop to "anyone but Shawn" in 97... had the issue not been with him it might have been with the greener Rock, or not wanting to lose to Chris Jericho or Triple H who he didn't respect... or he'd have forced them to give Owen that title run at some point.

    98 - Austin & Rock
    99 - Foley & Trips
    00 - Kurt Angle & Big Show
    01 - Chris Jericho
    02 - Brock Lesnar
    04 - Eddie G, Orton, Benoit & JBL
    05 - Cena & Batista
    06 - Edge, RVD, Rey

    There's also the possibility that signings would have been different and people jumping ship would not have done so. Someone like Jericho might have been excited by being able to face Bret in WWE... but they equally might have been wary that they'd be second string and not get the chances if he lived up to his increasing rep.

    Remember word would filter through to WCW about how Bret was via the Kliq... they would only have "one side" of the story perhaps, but much of Bret's actions caught on camera on Wrestling With Shadows would have unnerved some talents on the way in. "Is he gonna power play us like The NWO do..." would have been a factor in some guys not going to WCW or leaving.

    Would Owen be alive? Who knows - Personally, I think had Bret stayed then Owen would have been a one time WWF champion by May 99 and retired, living as the firefighter he planned to be... perhaps Final Destination style luck sees him killed fighting a fire instead?

    SO realistically... it goes like this if Montreal doesn't happen and Bret is staying.

    Bret doesn't drop to Shawn at Survivor Series... he chooses to drop to Taker. Shawn gets pissed and leaves for WCW... dying less than a year later in a drug related incident or car accident.

    Bret gets the belt back at the Rumble to drop to Austin at 14 - but makes sure there is an "out" for himself via Taker interference, rather than letting Austin get the straight revenge and win for the prior year. That devalues Austin as there was no Mike Tyson/McMahon feud to kick off his run.

    The Rock gets held down in the IC division at least another year, and Bret refuses to help elevate him as he feels he hasn't "paid his dues yet". This annoys Vince and the Ano'i/Samoan faction and starts to cause issues between them and the Harts. The Samoans feel Bret owes for Yoko doing him the favor back as Yoko could have legit refused to do so.

    Davey Boy is made to put Rock over instead and buried in the match, souring relations further. We see a Hart Family v Samoan feud with Haku coming back to the WWE and legit making clear to Bret that no more of his games will be tolerated.

    Bret finally refuses to job to Rocky one last time and it causes a severe altercation backstage with Haku, Afa and other members of the Anoi' family. Rocky stays out of it wisely but it's the final straw for Vince who makes plans for life without Bret.

    Screwjob situation occurs at Wrestlemania 15 when Rocky is handed a shock and "screwjob" title win. Bret is without a WCW contract and has to accept reduced terms, but the bad blood with the Samoan/Tongans is even there in WCW with guys like The Barbarian there.

    Owen retires rather than face repercussions (although the Samoans never have an issue with him or Davey, only Bret, Bruce and Neidhart who all stick close to Bret) and the Hart family "splinters" in real life. with Davey staying in the WWF and being pushed - with Rocky dropping the title to him as a receipt for putting him over strong at one of their UK Events... Davey gets to lift the title in the UK and top off his career... he never goes to WCW and gets the back injury... away from Neidhart's influence he cleans himself up and becomes a solid WWE main eventer for the later years of his life, helping the burgeoning UK PPV/RAW events and their TV deal with Channel 4 and later ITV although as with real life - a lot of the damage was done already.

    The controversy helps make the WWF must see again and with Rock and Austin's "Battle Of THe Badasses" it goes over the top... it takes another year to win the war but it's still won... Foley doesn't get the title but Davey does.

    Bret makes it to Mania 15 tops... made REAL enemies that severely limit his options in the business and Shawn is dead...with Davey perhaps still being here, although badly aging. Butterfly Effect perhaps... but VERY likely had he not gone when he did.
     
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  21. rokuma

    rokuma The Legend

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    You forget that the Austin character didn't explode until he was battling the "evil boss." Without Montreal, Vince McMahon doesn't become the evil boss.
     
    #21
  22. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    This is the DUMBEST thing I've ever heard. First of all 'Taker just lost to HBK at Badd Blood. Why would 'Taker then get the title shot?!? HBK was the #1 heel in the company. It all set for him to face Austin at WM 14. HBK knew it. Austin knew it. Bret knew it and most importantly Vince knew it. Shawn had already threatened to go to WCW before but he was locked in a contract. He can't just up and leave. So your scenario about Shawn leaving is asinine also. And why throw in that part about him dying in a car accident? That was lame and in bad taste. You should be ashamed for saying something like that.

    Sorry there is no plausible scenario where Bret stays unless he does EXACTLY what Vince wants and that is to put over Shawn Michaels. You really think Vince would take that kind of blatant disrespect? He let Hogan walk and Hogan was 10x the star Bret was. He suspended Warrior at the prime of his career. Bret was on his way down as a star at that point.

    The MONEY at that point was in Austin HBK and 'Taker/Kane and to lesser extent the "new blood" in Rock, HHH, Mick Foley, the Outlaws etc....there was no room for Bret in that situation.
     
    #22
  23. WWEWrestleFest

    WWEWrestleFest Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Bret was actually a big supporter of both Austin and the Rock. I don't think he'd have had a problem putting either of them over. Michaels on the other hand, while he was friends with Austin, he always had his issues with the Rock. Rock's career would have been hurt more if HBK didn't retire after WM 14 rather than if Bret stuck around.
     
    #23
  24. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

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    This is true. Austin and Bret were friendly... remember Austin inducted Bret into the HOF!
    I'm surprised it too the WWE to take so long to put the world title on Austin, but had it been Austin not Shawn at Survivor series, Bret has said he would have happily dropped the belt to Austin, Foley, Taker... Steve Lombardi... just anyone but Michaels or Hunter.

    As for Rock- he was very respectful of Bret.... I remember when Bret first came on Twitter, Dwayne Johnson... actor/movie star acknowledged Brets arrival on the social media site with a welcome tweet.
    As 'Rocky Maivia' in 1996-97 it was Shawn and Hunter that Rock had the problem with 'the kid doesn't have it'.
    Wasn't Shawn in the doghouse at WM15 when he went to Vince and tried to dissuade him from booking Rock (at Rocks first) in the WM main event?
     
    #24
  25. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    Austin's coronation HAD to come at 'Mania. It marked the beginning of a new era. You don't hot shot something as potentially iconic as that. The build-up was set up perfectly to have Austin win it at WM 14. Unfortunately Shawn's injury took a lot of the air out of the build-up. Could it have been done with Bret? Maybe but Shawn was already in that position. I don't think it could've been anyone BUT Shawn in that position as a former WWF Champion and white hot heel. He also represented the past era of the WWF.

    Rocky was ALWAYS respectful of the business having been the son of Rocky Johnson and grown up around the business. HHH and HBK were definitely resentful of Rocky. They went to Vince and wanted Rocky (as I-C Champ) to put over Bret but Bret nixed that idea. There was that infamous story about HBK lobbying Vince to give HHH the main event spot at 15 but Vince (to his credit) put the kabosh on that.
     
    #25

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