Screwjob, Part Two?

Mark Madden


In retrospect, the Montreal Screwjob was a testimony to the incredible naivete of Bret Hart.

The wrestling business is built on trust – well, in the ring, anyway – so I’m not implying that Hart got what he deserved. But how could Hart believe that any promoter would allow his belt to be devalued by letting the champ walk away without losing it, let alone risk the possibility of that belt showing up (at least symbolically) on the competition’s TV?

How could Hart believe that someone as unscrupulous and egocentric as Vince McMahon would do anything besides bluff when it came to agreeing to the absurd "fond farewell" scenario Hart thought was in place?

It’s hard to feel sorry for Hart, especially now that he’s returning to the scene of the crime.

The question now is: What level of trust could exist between Bret and Vince? Could McMahon set Hart up for another screwjob? How could Bret prevent it?

If, as expected, Hart and McMahon conclude their feud with an approximation of a match at WrestleMania – who wouldn’t want to see an unnaturally-muscled 64-year-old fight a 52-year-old stroke victim? – the referees, timekeeper, announcers, etc., will all be WWE employees, just like last time. Creative control didn’t mean anything last time.

Who can help Bret, and what’s to prevent Vince?

That’s the intrigue of all this. It has nothing to do with conventional wrestling, and probably won’t draw money. Of course, when the “shoot” aspect of Bret vs. Vince is emphasized, it can’t help but also be emphasized that everything else isn’t a shoot.

So much of this doesn’t make sense – and is unworkable, especially from Bret’s standpoint – I can’t help but wonder if a big curveball is in the works, perhaps something to align Bret and Vince. No, I can’t explain how, no more than I can explain why Bret would possibly trust Vince enough to come back and work with him.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

Mark Madden can be reached at

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