Eric Bischoff always has thought Bret Hart to be an honest person and said as much on an episode of 83 Weeks discussing the infamous Montreal Screwjob, which took place 23 years ago today at Survivor Series.
Host Conrad Thompson read a quote from Bischoff at the time of The Screwjob, praising Bret for his integrity, honestly and loyalty and also said that if he was in McMahon’s shoes, he would’ve trusted Hitman to do the right thing because Bret’s track record backed that up. Bischoff gave his comments regarding those comments.
“I didn’t know Bret that well in 1997,” he said. “I came off, listening to that quote, I came off like I sounded like I did, right? I perhaps wanted to believe I did and maybe I, I think not maybe, I think to a large degree I really felt that way cause I really did believe that Bret was an honorable guy and look, I always have a strong instinct about people and I rush to judgement pretty quickly when I’m in a room with somebody. I either feel pretty good about them or I don’t pretty quickly and I’m right about 75% or 80% of the time or at least I think I am and I move forward accordingly and I felt good about Bret. I felt like he was an honest guy and I still do, honestly. I believe that Bret believes the things that he says, I don’t think Bret, I never thought Bret, even when we were at the kind of the peak of our ‘verbal sparring’ back and forth on social media, I’ve never thought of Bret as a dishonest person, but here’s the truth: I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in Vince McMahon’s shoes. I didn’t hear the conversations. I wasn’t looking Bret in the eye when those conversations about how they were going to handle the situation were taking place and since I wasn’t in the room, I didn’t have any insight into those conversations.
“It’s really hard for me to judge whether Vince made the right decision or not. I know the conversations that I had with Bret, I know what I told Bret and I made it clear to Bret (as I alluded to just a little bit, a little while ago on this podcast) he didn’t need the belt. He didn’t need to come to WCW with the belt. The fact is because of all the litigation that was going on at the time, had Bret showed up with that WWF belt, which was a trademarked piece of property of WWF at the time, I would have had my balls cut off and stuffed down my throat by Turner Broadcasting attorneys.
Bischoff notes that if it was two or three years earlier in 1997 he probably would have had Bret come over with the title, but firmly believes that Hart wouldn’t have done it whatsoever.
“I know that I couldn’t have talked Bret into walking away with that belt so that I could take it on WCW TV and pull a Madusa and drop it in the trash. Bret would have not taken part in that. I believe that, but even if he would have, in 1997, the people I that I work for wouldn’t have allowed it. That would have been the end of my career at Turner at that point. So it was totally unnecessary for Vince to do what he did, but guess what? Vince didn’t know that because my pattern of behavior, starting with giving away finishes and doing all the other kind of unorthodox things that I did to make noise and get on the map and create that water cooler buzz that I was talking about earlier. All that crazy shit. Madusa showing up, throwing the title in trash – I don’t blame him for thinking that I was going to do something ridiculous because I’ve been doing ridiculous shit for a long time and it was driving him crazy and I was kicking his ass in the process so I kind of think Vince had to do what he had to do, but the sad part is, it was all totally unnecessary cause it, well, I’ll just let it go at that. It was unnecessary.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
Check out the full clip between Conrad & Eric below: