Recently WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin received an education on Skype for his interview with fellow WWE legends turned pro wrestling podcasters Edge and Christian. Among other things, the trio shared their thoughts on the infamous and controversial 'Montreal Screwjob' whereby WWE Chairman and other WWE officials manipulated and changed the agreed upon finish of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between the departing Bret 'Hitman' Hart and Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series (1997).
At the time of the Montreal Screwjob, Edge and Christian were just breaking into WWE. Christian said he and Edge decided to watch the match from the crowd.
"The thing is, we decided that we wanted to watch this match in the crowd and we had been backstage the entire day, so it was in Montreal, right?" Christian continued, "so they had the locker rooms there, you could walk out through these doors and you can kind of stand in the aisle way off the floor a little bit, but you've got a straight shot to the ring. So, we walked down one of those and watched it in the crowd, so to speak."
According to Christian, they did not understand the finish when they saw it.
"I remember when the finish happened," Christian recalled. "It didn't really register at the time. I just looked at Adam and I said, 'that was kind of strange, wasn't it? That was a weird finish.' And then, we walk in [to the backstage area] and we see all these people rushing around and running around. It was a bunch of commotion and we didn't really understand. We couldn't grasp what had just gone down. It wasn't until the next day."
Edge remembered worrying about his WWE job after the Screwjob went down. Although Hart said he could try to Edge a job at WCW, 'The R-Rated Superstar''s dream was to be in WWE.
"Yeah, it was a strange time. I just remember [former President of WWE Canada] Carl Demarco saying to me, 'you should go' and going, 'yep, okay! We'll go.' And we grabbed our bags and we left. And then, the next day, I think was Ottawa [Ontario, Canada] and we were the last to get that kind of word because I was in developmental. It wasn't like I knew anybody yet. Word got around and I just remember thinking, 'whoa, okay. This is a game-changer and Bret helped me get here, so how does that all fall out now? Is that because I'm looked at as a Bret guy, am I going to be gone too? Is Owen [Hart] going to be gone? How does this shake out?' I remember talking to Bret and he said, 'you do what you've got to do. Don't worry.' He said, 'worst case scenario, I'll put in a word for you with WCW.' I'd always wanted to get to the [WWE] and I felt like that was the place where I was going to get a shot." Edge added, "but it was a weird time for sure."
Moreover, Edge was concerned that the WWE locker room would no longer be able to trust the office and questioned whether the company would survive.
"That just happened to the flagship guy, so how does the locker room have any trust now?" Edge asked. "If you're going to do that to Bret Hart, what are the chances of that happening to everybody else? Obviously, there's more that goes into that. There [are] different sides to the story and all of those things, but I remember thinking, 'yeah, this is where I want to be, but this might be a weird place to be for a long time if there's still a place to be.'"
Austin shared Edge's sentiment that WWE was in dire straights following the Screwjob.
"It was weird, man, because Davy 'Boy' [Smith] was going crazy." Austin continued, "Owen was going crazy. That whole backstage thing. And, I mean, I was around, but I wasn't catching all of it. It's a famous thing where Vince was going to walk into the dressing room and at least say something to Bret, give him his shot, and took the shot. It was just weird coming off of that because, man, what is going to happen to this company? I mean, Bret was out world champion. I was a huge Shawn [Michaels] fan, but Bret was the guy at that time, and so I was thinking, 'this is going downhill! You can't fire your world champion.' Dude, it was still like a shoot. I mean, we've all known it's a work, but at that level, it's a shoot. And, man, I didn't know what was going to happen. I thought the territory was going to go down."
Swig of water for the working man. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show