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81sidewinder
Sep 8, 2014

Buying stocks on the day of the crash

WWE network did an episode on Bret Hart, and focused a significant portion of it on the Montreal Screwjob. Link

Big Dave recently posted his response to what he says is

quote:

I saw the Monday Night War episode on Bret Hart that aired on 9/16 just because I wanted to see how the thing was portrayed. The funny thing is the real story is far more interesting than the version portrayed. They wanted to portray it simply as Bret Hart was leaving and refused to do the job on the way out, and Vince did what he had to do. In time, that simplistic version has taken over as the reality, since itís easy to digest and paints McMahon as completely in the right.

Iíd seen other episodes and as someone who lived through it and through the entire evolution of the business, the entire narrative of evil Ted vs. undermanned but smarter Vince was annoying just because in a free enterprise world, evil Ted did nothing Vince didnít do, and really did far less in the 80s. Plus, the overemphasis on Ted Turner, who may have spent five minutes a year thinking about the wrestling business, and underplaying of Eric Bischoff has, if anything, gotten even worse over time. If Turner really wanted to beat Vince McMahon as bad as they said, he could have done so in 1989 by simply raiding every top star Vince had when their deals were up. In reality, WCW was put on a small budget and told to make money.

Every idea, from going live in prime time, or late going head-to-head, were things Jim Herd and Bill Watts wanted to do and were turned down. Their jobs were to balance the budget, and keep in mind, this was a budget where zero revenue was listed for television rights fees, which meant they had to break even on house shows, merch and PPV alone. Watts even came close to pulling it off, but alienated the talent in doing so with all the budget slashing. If they were given in the budget television rights fees of even $8 million a year, Herd would have run a profitable company and Watts would have had an even more profitable company.

Bischoff was given an open checkbook, and the green light to really have a chance to win and all the weapons to do so. He failed because he presented a product that turned off much of his audience, and because he had no understanding that in wrestling, the present doesnít last forever and playing a pat hand for too long is death. Or at least was in the old business, which didnít have the guaranteed cushion on television money. Today, the old rules donít apply.

In addition, every episode has so much repeated material. I can see liking it if you didnít live through it and were willing to accept a babyface vs. heel portrait of a wrestling war instead of the reality where both sides were trying to cut the othersí throats constantly and one side eventually collapsed because they didnít prepare for any future and lost complete touch with their fan base, while the other was in touch with theirs.

They attempted to not bury Hart personally, because heís one of the legends they bring out when needed. But they left out all the details that would give one a perspective of what really happened. They talked about the Michaelsí knee injury and told the story that Hart thought Michaels created the fake knee injury to avoid dropping the title to him. In actuality, Michaels was booked to lose to Sycho Sid on a live TV special in Lowell, MA (which was also the beginning of the Dwayne Johnson backlash when they had him beat HHH for the IC title less than three months after his debut and it was way early and the fans turned on him after being completely behind him as the new young star up to that point), not Hart. He showed up that day, and claimed a career ending knee injury and gave the lost my smile promo and handed Vince the belt and refused to even lose in his ďlast career match.Ē

Of course, he was back two months later, without having surgery, and as good as ever. What he also missed was WrestleMania, where he was going to lose to Hart, but the title match by that point was Undertaker beating Sid. Ratings were down and Vince at the time blamed it on pushing smaller guys, so he went with the big guys in the title match, and Mania that year did 237,000 buys. Of course, it also started the turnaround since the Hart vs. Austin I Quit match that turned Austin babyface was on that show.

In the discussion of Montreal, not one talking head was balanced. They were all the idea that Hart was going to leave without dropping the title, which was never the case. McMahon portrayed it as if he was doing Hart a favor and actually swerving Bischoff in allowing Hart to go. And McMahon was the catalyst when he told Hart to see if he could get the Bischoff deal. The simple part of the story is Hart was vocally negative about the direction of the company, and Hart and Michaels had gotten toxic.

Hart was also making $1.5 million a year, about double Undertaker and Michaels and even more than that compared to Austin. Times were still tough for WWF, although they were just starting to break even due to a change in PPV philosophy and upping the price. But at the time, McMahon felt that if Hart was around at $1.5 million a year, that Undertaker, Michaels and eventually Austin would want the same guarantee. McMahon also saw that Hart wasnít the future. Whether at that point he thought the future was Michaels, or Austin, isnít clear, although when he laid out booking scenarios to Hart if he were to stay, by that point it was clear he felt it was Austin. Hart got a better deal, even though he didnít want it because he had no faith in WCW. In hindsight, he was right about that.

But they never mentioned that the contract gave Hart the power that in the last 30 days, it was not a boss/employee relationship, but a collaboration, the creative control clause was that both sides had to agree on all booking. This is where the Paul Heyman talking head of ďVince is the boss,Ē falls apart, because it was in the contract both had to agree. And itís not like Heyman, in running a company, didnít constantly have to negotiate finishes to his talent. Thatís just how the business was in that era. It had its good and bad points. It was harder to book shows, but the superstars had an easier time staying larger than life because they protected themselves on finishes, particularly, on television.

Vince wanted Hart to lose the title in Montreal to Michaels. Hart wanted to lose to Austin in the U.S. Neither would agree. Lawyers were involved. They came up with one scenario after another to get Hart to lose to Michaels in Montreal, and he said that with the nature of the feud with Michaels, he was not going to go into Montreal without the belt and would lose the belt outside of Canada. He even agreed to lose to Steve Lombardi in Madison Square Garden, which was a week later. The part that Vince Russo in his talking head piece didnít mention, and Paul Levesque of course didnít mention, was that Vince came up with a solution, or at least he thought, where Hart would beat Michaels clean in Montreal and then Hart would drop it clean to Michaels at the following PPV. It was only after Michaels refused that scenario (Michaels never talked about it publicly until once, in an interview with Rob Feinstein, the question was thrown at him, he acted stunned, but admitted that it happened and that HHH insisted to him that he was not to lose to Hart).

At that point, Vince was in a bad position because heíd given Hart a scenario heíd agreed to, and then Michaels nixed it. Hart knew that, which only made him more adamant about not losing to Michaels. The compromise, and this was the scenario the night before that McMahon presented in the production meeting, and that Hart had agreed to, was that there would be a non-finish in Montreal, and on the next PPV, there would be a four-way with Michaels, Hart, Undertaker and Ken Shamrock. It would be an elimination match, so Hart would lose cleanly in his last night in, to either Undertaker or Shamrock. Hart had great respect for Undertaker, and Hart personally recruited Shamrock to WWF. The point being is that Hart considered Shamrock almost a protťgť, since Shamrock even trained in Calgary for his WWF debut in Hartís camp under Leo Burke and heíd have had no problems losing to either one on the way out. Given who the two were, that should have been obvious, but tensions were high and I donít know that anybody was truly thinking straight. Whoever beat Hart for the fall would have then lost the final fall clean to Michaels. Vince gets Michaels as champion, which was important because Michaels was absolutely the best guy to hold the belt to drop it to Austin at Mania the next year, since Austin was surpassing both Hart and Michaels as the top guy by that time.

The main reason Hart had the problem with Michaels is that when Vince had first told Hart the long-term plan was to get the title to Michaels, which he didnít oppose at first, and Hart told Michaels he was fine losing to him, Michaels came back and said he was happy he said it but that he wasnít willing if asked, to return the favor. Itís hard to believe he said that, but he actually said it on two different occasions. This came shortly after Michaels had gotten the finish of the European title match with Davey Boy Smith changed in a U.K. match, as Smith was going to beat Michaels to retain his title. The office booked it that way largely to prove to the locker room Michaels would lose a big match because so many guys were mad, because Michaels had publicly talked in the locker room about how he doesnít do jobs. Smith had then dedicated the match on television to his sister, who was dying of cancer. Then, the night of the show, they came to Smith and said that they were switching the title, with the idea of building a huge rematch on a U.K. only PPV early the next year where heíd beat Michaels. This came in the dressing room just before the match and he couldnít even tell his sister beforehand that he was losing, and she did not take it well. I know this sounds silly today over a ďfakeĒ wrestling match but it was a different business then. You want to know how much heat Michaels had. In that period, there were two wrestlers I had to talk out of fighting with Michaels (neither of which was Hart, because he and I werenít on speaking terms at that time), because I told them it wasnít worth losing your job over, and both were guys who would have been fired in an instant for it. This was well before Hart was leaving.

Most champions of that era under those circumstances would have outright refused to drop the title to a guy who told them to their face twice that they wouldnít return the favor if asked. Michaels, on the documentary, did say he crossed the line with the ďSunny DaysĒ comment, which was a catalyst for a lot of problems. It was that comment that led to their backstage fight. Michaels, then single, now married, said if someone would have said that on TV about him, heíd have immediately punched them in the mouth.

Levesqueís comments from a 2007 interview were notable because there were all the outright falsehoods in the narrative, the idea Hartís contract was to expire in Montreal and that he may have gone on Nitro the next day holding the belt if they didnít beat him that night. He claimed Hart shouldnít have just vacated the title. And he was right. Given the circumstances of the time, it was imperative to Vince that Hart lose the title in the ring. Hart and his lawyers suggested various options to do so. Not dropping the belt in the ring was never an issue in real life, only one created after the fact to justify the decision.

However, Hart did suggest not dropping the title in the ring hours before the match with Michaels, claiming so much had gotten out in the media, and just handing it over, as Michaels had done the prior February. McMahon agreed, although by that time heíd have agreed to anything Hart said because he was trying to get him to let his guard down. But the wheels were in motion and plan was in place before Hart made that suggestion. At the point the plan was in place, everyone was under the idea that the title change would be in Springfield. But there was a lot of uneasiness just because they were in a wrestling war and their champion had signed a contract with the opposition. Vince wanted it off him immediately and the pressure had caused everyone, from McMahon to Michaels to Hart, to end up at odds with each other. Hart was under contract for more than three weeks after the Montreal match. It only turned out to be his last match because after being double-crossed, he quit. Even though he didnít come to his bookings the next three weeks, he got paid in full his last $85,000 or so that was still owed.

Bischoff had agreed to let Hart stay an extra week after his contract expired so Hart could drop the title on the following PPV, in Springfield, MA. There was an outstanding lawsuit and it had been established in one case (when Flair used the WCW belt on WWF television in 1991) and there was a legal action going on over a second case (Madusa throwing the WWF womenís belt in a garbage can) to where it was clear a title belt was the companyís intellectual property. There was no possible way at that point in time, that such a scenario could happen. He had a valid WWF contract and the belt was established in court cases as the intellectual property of the promotion, not the temporary property of the champion. Plus, if Hart was to be on Nitro the next day, why wasnít he on Nitro the next day? If anything, what happened in Montreal should have made it more likely, not less likely, heíd show up there. Even 17 years later, people still use that story that could not have legally happened because if it could have, you think it wouldnít have?

Even after the contract ended up breached in Montreal, it still didnít happen, and at that point, you could at least make a legal argument it could have. The reason it didnít was because he was under WWF contract for several more weeks. Hart didnít even appear on Nitro until mid-December, even though the quicker he was on Nitro, the better it would have been to capitalize on the Montreal finish. As it played out, it did benefit Hart, except WCW totally dropped the ball on Hart and his value in the Canadian market.

But any study of the Montreal finish that ignores the contract, ignores Michaels refusing to put Hart over, and still pushes the idea that Hart could have showed up with the belt the next night on Nitro is not just showing a WWE bias but being completely dishonest. Vince McMahon was put in a tough situation and as fate would have it, the path he chose benefitted him in the long run, in ways nobody could have ever possibly figured ahead of time. But there were options, and creating the idea that there werenít any wasnít true.

Other resources on the topic -

Greatest Rivalries: Shawn vs Bret
Wrestling with Shadows
Wikipedia page

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81sidewinder
Sep 8, 2014

Buying stocks on the day of the crash

Tons of interesting stuff in this article by Big Dave

So, if Bret had a contract extension that would have given him enough dates to get him through the next PPV, why did he say his dates were all used up in the Greatest Rivalries DVD? Is Dave wrong, or is Bret in on the WWE whitewashing of the incident?

I strongly disagree with Dave on the point that it's dishonest to suggest that Bret could have shown up on Nitro with the belt. Thinking that Bischoff would not have had the title on Nitro because he might have gotten sued is pretty dumb. Why couldn't he? Bischoff obviously did not give a gently caress at that point, and he could have easily done whatever he wanted to do, as long as Bret agreed. Vince fearing that is pretty reasonable, IMO.

Dave was pretty hard on Heyman in this article, but I don't remember Heyman saying anything controversial in it at all. I remember him saying a version of 'I'd screw a guy if it came down to it'.

Eat My Fuc
May 29, 2007



The article was a good read but I still think the entire thing was a wrestling storyline from the get go, and everyone is in on it. I don't think it's a real thing or that anyone was actually screwed but maybe wrestling has hosed up my ability to believe in anything.

MassRafTer
May 26, 2001

Fundamentals as sound as the WNBA


81sidewinder posted:

Tons of interesting stuff in this article by Big Dave

So, if Bret had a contract extension that would have given him enough dates to get him through the next PPV, why did he say his dates were all used up in the Greatest Rivalries DVD? Is Dave wrong, or is Bret in on the WWE whitewashing of the incident?

I strongly disagree with Dave on the point that it's dishonest to suggest that Bret could have shown up on Nitro with the belt. Thinking that Bischoff would not have had the title on Nitro because he might have gotten sued is pretty dumb. Why couldn't he? Bischoff obviously did not give a gently caress at that point, and he could have easily done whatever he wanted to do, as long as Bret agreed. Vince fearing that is pretty reasonable, IMO.

Dave was pretty hard on Heyman in this article, but I don't remember Heyman saying anything controversial in it at all. I remember him saying a version of 'I'd screw a guy if it came down to it'.

Bret's memory is probably just bad, all of the evidence from the period including Bret's own notes state he had more dates left. As for Bischoff, he definitely gave a gently caress at that point. He didn't break his agreement with Vince before Survivor Series, a decision he would not have made if he didn't give a gently caress. Survivor Series 97 ended up doing a good buyrate for the WWF in 97 and if Bischoff was in "doesn't give a gently caress mode" he would have revealed Bret was leaving the WWF to come to WCW on Nitro to try and ruin it. Then he didn't book Bret until after his WWF contract ended even though they had a clear breach and he could have pushed for Bret to debut immediately. On top of this, WCW did not gently caress around after past lawsuits were filed. To think that now they would risk losing a lawsuit to Vince plus another lawsuit that would be filed on top of it flies in the face of what WCW was doing at that time. It wasn't going to happen and it probably wasn't even on Vince's list of reasons for doing it at the time.

Eat My Fuc posted:

The article was a good read but I still think the entire thing was a wrestling storyline from the get go, and everyone is in on it. I don't think it's a real thing or that anyone was actually screwed but maybe wrestling has hosed up my ability to believe in anything.


So under oath Bret and Vince kept kayfabe during the Owen Hart lawsuit? Really cool of Bret not to break it there in a lawsuit over his brother's death with a guy he hated. Weird that he'd risk the lawsuit for that though.

Eat My Fuc
May 29, 2007



MassRafTer posted:




So under oath Bret and Vince kept kayfabe during the Owen Hart lawsuit? Really cool of Bret not to break it there in a lawsuit over his brother's death with a guy he hated. Weird that he'd risk the lawsuit for that though.

I admit it sounds wacky as hell but it's just what I believe.

Endorph
Jul 22, 2009



yes, wrestling has totally hosed up your ability to believe in anything.

if it was a wrestling storyline, bret would have come back to the WWF for the big revenge tour while he could still do something besides hit someone with a chair 30 times. I mean, the accident is to blame, sure, but he probably would have come back before he'd had time to even have the accident.

He also wouldn't have gone to their biggest competitor while he was the hottest commodity in wrestling. WCW did jack poo poo with him, but still.

Endorph fucked around with this message at Sep 18, 2014 around 18:35

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


The suggestion that it's a storyline (Doesn't Russo think it's a work?) just doesn't hold water. Literally no one benefits from it. It becomes the genesis for the Mr McMahon character eventually, but that doesn't come until later, and even when he does debut he's a different person entirely from what he ends up being. That was a purely unintended consequence though, which is what Meltzer alludes to.

WWE love to whitewash though, so there's nothing new there. It just seems like they want to deliver a story that they could all agree on and decide that from now until the end of time that'll be the story of the screwjob.

It is an interesting story though, even if it does eventually come down to ego. I can see why Bret wouldn't want to do the job in Canada, but ultimately Bret is a guy who just cares too much about the business. Michaels was Michaels. He was an rear end in a top hat at that time with a rampant ego that only got worse. Vince ends up in a weirdly impossible situation where he feels like he has to just do something. It's weird that I can still sympathise with him on that point. But when you're worried that someone might make a fool of you, and that you have two stars who simply won't agree - even when lawyers are involved - you can't help but get into panic mode.

triplexpac
Mar 24, 2007

Suck it
Two tears in a bucket
And then another thing
I'm not the one they'll try their luck with
Hit hard like brass knuckles
See your face through the turnbuckle dude
I got no love for you


I will defend Bret to the death. In a business where promoters constantly gently caress over the talent, good for Bret for doing his best to make one stick to his word and the contract they agreed on.

It's the same reason why I love the fact that Brock doesn't bend over and take Vince's crap. Undercard guys can't stick up for themselves for fear of losing their jobs, so it's nice whenever a top guy does at least.

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009


...in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Fourteen, did someone just post that Montreal was a work?

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


Gaz-L posted:

...in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Fourteen, did someone just post that Montreal was a work?

People still think Kevin Sullivan killed Chris Benoit. People are always just not going to believe that something happened the way it happened.

81sidewinder
Sep 8, 2014

Buying stocks on the day of the crash

MassRafTer posted:

As for Bischoff, he definitely gave a gently caress at that point. He didn't break his agreement with Vince before Survivor Series, a decision he would not have made if he didn't give a gently caress. Survivor Series 97 ended up doing a good buyrate for the WWF in 97 and if Bischoff was in "doesn't give a gently caress mode" he would have revealed Bret was leaving the WWF to come to WCW on Nitro to try and ruin it. Then he didn't book Bret until after his WWF contract ended even though they had a clear breach and he could have pushed for Bret to debut immediately. On top of this, WCW did not gently caress around after past lawsuits were filed. To think that now they would risk losing a lawsuit to Vince plus another lawsuit that would be filed on top of it flies in the face of what WCW was doing at that time. It wasn't going to happen and it probably wasn't even on Vince's list of reasons for doing it at the time.

You and Dave both seem to be taking a stance that does not make much sense to me. The fact that Bichoff ultimately did nothing is not proof that Vince couldn't have a legitimate fear that Bischoff might have done something. Or, am I missing something?

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009


81sidewinder posted:

You and Dave both seem to be taking a stance that does not make much sense to me. The fact that Bichoff ultimately did nothing is not proof that Vince couldn't have a legitimate fear that Bischoff might have done something. Or, am I missing something?

After the Madusa incident, WCW were not going to do a drat thing with the belt.

NienNunb
Feb 15, 2012

still a threat


It was a work you marks.

Big Coffin Hunter
Aug 13, 2005



Eat My Fuc posted:

I admit it sounds wacky as hell but it's just what I believe.

And steel doesn't melt at that temperature!

Bigass Moth
Mar 6, 2004

I joined the #RXT REVOLUTION.

he knows...


I still don't know they they didn't just turn Survivor Series into a 3 or 4- way match and have Bret get pinned early by Undertaker or Shamrock if they were going to do that at the next PPV anyway. Was he seriously that opposed to losing in Montreal, or just trying to do anything to not have Shawn win the belt there whether Bret was pinned or not?

Endless Mike
Aug 13, 2003

Get running
Start pumping your bunions, I'm coming
I'm the dumbest, who flamethrow your function to Funyons
Flame your crew quicker than Trump fucks his youngest
Now face the flame fuckers your fame and fate's done with


DrVenkman posted:

People still think Kevin Sullivan killed Chris Benoit. People are always just not going to believe that something happened the way it happened.

People believe the US government did 9/11. Dumb people will always believe things that are demonstrably untrue.

triplexpac
Mar 24, 2007

Suck it
Two tears in a bucket
And then another thing
I'm not the one they'll try their luck with
Hit hard like brass knuckles
See your face through the turnbuckle dude
I got no love for you


Bigass Moth posted:

I still don't know they they didn't just turn Survivor Series into a 3 or 4- way match and have Bret get pinned early by Undertaker or Shamrock if they were going to do that at the next PPV anyway. Was he seriously that opposed to losing in Montreal, or just trying to do anything to not have Shawn win the belt there whether Bret was pinned or not?

I think by that point Bret felt really strongly about losing in Canada. Maybe he felt that part of his appeal to WCW would be that he is a draw in Canada, that he could help them in that market. He didn't want to risk tarnishing his image to help some guys he felt were trying to gently caress him over.

It sounds like everyone involved was just digging in their heels, a reasonable compromise wasn't really in the cards.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


Bigass Moth posted:

I still don't know they they didn't just turn Survivor Series into a 3 or 4- way match and have Bret get pinned early by Undertaker or Shamrock if they were going to do that at the next PPV anyway. Was he seriously that opposed to losing in Montreal, or just trying to do anything to not have Shawn win the belt there whether Bret was pinned or not?

He didn't want to drop it in Montreal at all (He wanted to come in and go out champion) but was originally happy to do the job to Shawn afterwards. I think after Shawn had said that he would never do a job for Bret then he refused to ever job for him in return, basically making a stalemate. For whatever reason Vince saw Survivor Series as the end of the road for Bret, even though there was more events planned. I'm not quite sure why he was so adamant on it being there and not at the next PPV.

Skinty McEdger
Mar 9, 2008

I have NEVER received the respect I deserve as the leader and founder of The Masterflock, the internet's largest and oldest Christopher Masterpiece fan group in all of history, and I DEMAND that changes. From now on, you will respect Skinty McEdger!



Let it not be forgotten that Bret was less than amused over the stuff involving the Canadian flag in the build up to the match.

Eat My Fuc
May 29, 2007



The WWE Doc makes it look like Bret was no longer a draw for WWE. Is this true or not?

HulkaMatt
Feb 14, 2006

CHEERS, LOVE.
THE CAVALYAAAY'S HERE!


Michaels was popular and Austin was definitely on the rise, but Bret was arguably still the biggest star they had.

MassRafTer
May 26, 2001

Fundamentals as sound as the WNBA


Bigass Moth posted:

I still don't know they they didn't just turn Survivor Series into a 3 or 4- way match and have Bret get pinned early by Undertaker or Shamrock if they were going to do that at the next PPV anyway. Was he seriously that opposed to losing in Montreal, or just trying to do anything to not have Shawn win the belt there whether Bret was pinned or not?

He did not want to lose in Montreal because he had become a huge star throughout Canada and wasn't going to risk that.

81sidewinder posted:

You and Dave both seem to be taking a stance that does not make much sense to me. The fact that Bichoff ultimately did nothing is not proof that Vince couldn't have a legitimate fear that Bischoff might have done something. Or, am I missing something?

Why would there be a legitimate fear that someone who could not legally appear on a show would appear on a show? It's silly. Bret wasn't going to be on Nitro until the middle of December and thus the belt couldn't be on Nitro either. It's hard to believe with some of the stupid stuff WCW did but in this case Bischoff couldn't do it, Bret didn't want to do it and there was no reason to do it. Even if you believe Bischoff wanted to do it, you'd have to believe that everything about Bret's attitude toward doing business the right way is a lie for it to even be a possibility. Bischoff couldn't and Bret didn't want to. Beyond that it never appears as a real possibility when you look at the actual timeline. A screwjob in Montreal isn't on the table until HHH gets Shawn to nix doing the job to Bret. Vince wasn't worried about Bret being on Nitro he was worried about figuring out a finish that would work in an increasingly impossible situation. If it was something Vince was worried about the timeline would be different.

Blasmeister
Jan 15, 2012



Man that shot in the doc of Bret looking lost and uncomfortable on Nitro right up in the camera with Hogan is pretty sad.

Kawalimus
Jan 17, 2008

Better Living Through Birding And Pessimism


I watched the episode and what I'm most surprised by is there was no mention at all of the Hart/Austin feud. Like not even in passing did they talk about it and they even had a little part about how Austin was the guy WWF was moving toward. It's like they went out of the way to avoid showing any of it. I guess they're saving the stuff for when they have an episode about Austin but I think that feud was a huge part of Hart's career.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


Eat My Fuc posted:

The WWE Doc makes it look like Bret was no longer a draw for WWE. Is this true or not?

He was a draw, but he was going to be eclipsed soon enough. Michaels and Austin represented the future of the company and Vince wasn't blind to that. They had attitude before the attitude era started and the more time that went on the more Bret looked out of place. Even when they toy with making him heel he came off as sort of petulant and whiny. He was always too serious to be anything other than he was: He was always the Hitman. You're not going to repackage him. That's one of the many reasons why he totally floundered in WCW.

triplexpac
Mar 24, 2007

Suck it
Two tears in a bucket
And then another thing
I'm not the one they'll try their luck with
Hit hard like brass knuckles
See your face through the turnbuckle dude
I got no love for you


Bret Hart was an awesome heel It's some of my favourite work of his career.

I would love to have seen what he would have become if he didn't go to WCW. WCW was such a lovely end to his career, they had zero clue or desire to do anything worthwhile with him.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


triplexpac posted:

Bret Hart was an awesome heel It's some of my favourite work of his career.

I would love to have seen what he would have become if he didn't go to WCW. WCW was such a lovely end to his career, they had zero clue or desire to do anything worthwhile with him.

I'm conflicted on it. I think it was just poorly handled more than anything and while I think Bret did fine as a heel, he didn't work as a heel for the crowd.

I think if he and Shawn got past their differences (Which they eventually would've after Michael's long hiatus) then they would've had some astounding matches. Hell, he would've had great ones with Kurt Angle too. I have a feeling though that Bret wouldn't have survived the Attitude Era.

Ultimately, that's the tragedy of Bret's career, it's that we were robbed of some classic matches while he just squandered himself away in WCW doing nothing and looking awkward as gently caress. I know Heenan hated it there, but it took a little while for the rot to set it. Bret had a "What am I doing?" look right from the start.

omgomgomg
Oct 26, 2012



Why didn't Vince just change the Survivor Series match to Bret vs Some Other Dude Besides Shawn and have Bret lose the belt on Raw or something?
Also, why is it important that HHH was so invested in the whole situation? Did he already have any political leverage at that point?
And lastly, why did WCW not care about Bret / why did they want him at such a high price and not do anything with him?

oldpainless
Oct 30, 2009

Perfectly balanced, as all posts should be.


omgomgomg posted:

Why didn't Vince just change the Survivor Series match to Bret vs Some Other Dude Besides Shawn and have Bret lose the belt on Raw or something?


SurSer was the last night Bret was under contract to WWF, Vince had to get it the belt off him that night. He could have shown up the next night and just tossed the belt in the loving trash live in Nitro. Wow, were you even watching the episode WWF showed?

Skinty McEdger
Mar 9, 2008

I have NEVER received the respect I deserve as the leader and founder of The Masterflock, the internet's largest and oldest Christopher Masterpiece fan group in all of history, and I DEMAND that changes. From now on, you will respect Skinty McEdger!



omgomgomg posted:

Also, why is it important that HHH was so invested in the whole situation? Did he already have any political leverage at that point?

HHH was booked as Shawns buddy and partner, the better exposure that Shawn got the better position HHH was in. At the time this was the biggest push he had had in any company, he was working the occasional main events and was a minor but featured player. It wasn't so much that he was looking out for his buddy, more that he knew which way his bread was buttered, and as long as Shawn was in the spotlight some of that light would fall on him. He ended up launching his career as a result of this, springboarding off Shawn's loss at mania (during which again he got a huge amount of exposure in the build). If Shawn was hurt, he was hurt.

quote:

And lastly, why did WCW not care about Bret / why did they want him at such a high price and not do anything with him?

Politics. Bischoff wanted more stars for when Thunder was launched. The established main eventers in WCW (mostly Hogan and Nash) didn't want to give up their spot or even just want to share it with anyone else. Bret was a threat, so he got marginalised and out played. The money match after Sting/Hogan was Bret Hogan, something no one had put on before and Hogan did everything in his power to avoid it happening. Eventually Bret became just another guy.

MassRafTer
May 26, 2001

Fundamentals as sound as the WNBA


omgomgomg posted:

Why didn't Vince just change the Survivor Series match to Bret vs Some Other Dude Besides Shawn and have Bret lose the belt on Raw or something?
Also, why is it important that HHH was so invested in the whole situation? Did he already have any political leverage at that point?
And lastly, why did WCW not care about Bret / why did they want him at such a high price and not do anything with him?

Shawn didn't refuse to job until very late in the game. Changing your PPV main event in the days before a show is pretty much death for your buyrate and the WWF had just gotten back to breakeven. As for HHH he was important because Shawn was important and because Vince always thought highly of him. He's a super smart guy and knew how to insert himself into every situation.

OldTennisCourt
Sep 11, 2011


The worst thing to come out of the Screwjob was WWE/WCW rehashing it in approximately 600 story-lines over the years.

OJ MIST 2 THE DICK
Sep 10, 2008

Anytime I need to see your face I just close my eyes
And I am taken to a place
Where your crystal minds and magenta feelings
Take up shelter in the base of my spine
Sweet like a chica cherry cola

-Cheap Trick


Nap Ghost

omgomgomg posted:

And lastly, why did WCW not care about Bret / why did they want him at such a high price and not do anything with him?

Politics, timing, injuries.

Bret was never really in the title hunt until the end of '99 (he had been lingering in the midcard and chasing after the TV title and US title). Initially it was because of Sting, and then Goldberg really picked up steam and basically between Hogan, Sting, and Goldberg, shut Bret out for '98.

When he finally wins the title at the end of '99, he ends up suffering career-ending concussions at Starrcade, and vacates the titles a month later.

He did end up with like a tag championship, 2 or 3 US titles, 2 world titles, and a TV title over 2 years. It wasn't totally horrible, but it isn't what you hire your competition's #1 for 2 million a year.

Eat My Fuc
May 29, 2007



Skinty McEdger posted:

HHH was booked as Shawns buddy and partner, the better exposure that Shawn got the better position HHH was in. At the time this was the biggest push he had had in any company, he was working the occasional main events and was a minor but featured player. It wasn't so much that he was looking out for his buddy, more that he knew which way his bread was buttered, and as long as Shawn was in the spotlight some of that light would fall on him. He ended up launching his career as a result of this, springboarding off Shawn's loss at mania (during which again he got a huge amount of exposure in the build). If Shawn was hurt, he was hurt.


Politics. Bischoff wanted more stars for when Thunder was launched. The established main eventers in WCW (mostly Hogan and Nash) didn't want to give up their spot or even just want to share it with anyone else. Bret was a threat, so he got marginalised and out played. The money match after Sting/Hogan was Bret Hogan, something no one had put on before and Hogan did everything in his power to avoid it happening. Eventually Bret became just another guy.

The more time goes on and the more that gets revealed it's pretty obvious that a WCW that had never signed Hogan would probably still exist today. Hogan killed that company all the way up into the Russo days.

Vince MechMahon
Jan 1, 2008



The Montreal Screwjob would be a pretty good name for one of this apartment wrestling things.

But I honestly think what WCW did (or didn't do) with Brett was way worse than the screwjob itself. If you had competent people running that company they could have blown up big time bringing him in ASAP and pushing him to the moon but instead...welp.

Memento
Aug 25, 2009




Clapping Larry

OldTennisCourt posted:

The worst thing to come out of the Screwjob was WWE/WCW rehashing it in approximately 600 story-lines over the years.

Does that figure include the number of times TNA has done it as well?

C. Everett Koop
Aug 18, 2008

by Smythe


It's also worth noting that this was back in the day where:

1: Survivor Series was still considered one of the Big 4 PPVs, and therefore required a big main event, heavily promoted ahead of time. Michaels/Hart was the biggest one they had at the time.

2: The idea of bait and switching a PPV main event, barring injury, wasn't in the playbook. As previously mentioned, WWF was just getting back on their financial feet after raising the prices of PPVs, and to advertise Hart/Michaels and then change it for something else could have led to a major backlash and the loss of revenue. Vince knew that a loss of revenue was already going to be in the cards with one of his top draws leaving and the goal was to minimize it as much as possible.

3: Having Austin win wasn't a realistic idea since he was coming back after having his neck broken at Summerslam, with Survivor Series being his first match back. The hope was that Austin would be healed up enough to get his title win at Wrestlemania and have the rocket strapped to his rear end then, but to put him over Bret and run the risk of re-injury wasn't acceptable.

4: With WCW and ECW viable options, dicking over talent was a bad idea since they had somewhere else to go. WCW was still in the lead and the nWo angle hadn't worn out its welcome yet with the build to Sting/Hogan, while ECW had finally gotten onto PPV and were making the jump from regional to national, and Japan was always an option. These days most guys have to jump when told to but back then if you didn't have faith that a promoter would do right by you, there was somewhere else to go work and maintain your lifestyle.

These days they'd just change the main and throw in someone else or use their MITB plot device, but back then those options weren't available.

Bigass Moth
Mar 6, 2004

I joined the #RXT REVOLUTION.

he knows...


I was always a huge Bret mark but even then I thought it was silly that he wouldn't lose in Canada. He was a huge babyface there and what builds heat better than the face losing and angling for a comeback? Obviously he wouldn't be coming back, but I don't think he would have lost drawing power when moving to WCW, and WWF could have built to Owen vs. Shawn in a redemption-style match, but I guess Owen was in the dog house for the Austin deal.

Hypothetically what do you guys think would have happened to the wrestling landscape had Bret laid down clean for Shawn? WCW would have still wasted Bret, but would WWF have had the same success without the Mr. McMahon character's real heat from that event?

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


Eat My Fuc posted:

The more time goes on and the more that gets revealed it's pretty obvious that a WCW that had never signed Hogan would probably still exist today. Hogan killed that company all the way up into the Russo days.

Hogan didn't help. But they were bleeding money. Nash and Hall pulled the same poo poo as he did and you can rest assured that whoever else jumped ship would've gone for the whole creative control thing. Hogan obviously didn't help, but for a time he did do good business for WCW. It was partly their refusal to advance anything (And also Hogan's for never wanting to take a loss) and too much of Bischoff et al enjoying their big party.

I don't think it really mattered what WCW did. The moment Ted Turner got out of the game was the moment they probably would've been shut down anyway, which is what eventually happened. While he was happy to throw money at them they were happy to waste it. You can't pull that poo poo when you have people to answer to. There would've been a massive cull of production/talent and WWF would've been happy handpicking whoever was available. They MIGHT still have been around today, but in such a diminished role that they may as well not exist.

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Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Pretty much everything I've ever heard about Montreal is that the entire situation could have been a very simple thing. But literally everything that could stoke the fire DID. I mean disregard the persona's of the key players involved (McMahon, Hart and Michaels) The thing that always hits you with Montreal is hearing "they settled on X and then SOMEONE didn't like it and stoked the fire."

Like they settled that Hart would drop it, then Michales rocked the boat, then they settled that Hart would keep it and drop it later, so Hunter rocks Michaels so he'll get it nixed. Like most things in life, you can never say 'It was this one thing' because it wasn't. It was a billion things over time that created a symphony of explosions that lead to what happened. There were always options open, always chances. But it depended on the not just the three men involved, but all of the men attached to those men, working like proper adults.

Honestly? I'm both sad and happy that Montreal happened the way it did. I mean... the world we got afterwards wasn't that bad, and any other world is purely in the realm of fiction right now.

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