The PPV Project – Survivor Series 1997

November 9th 1997. Montreal, Quebec

To understand the backstage tension going into the 1997 edition of Survivor Series you’d probably have to look at an incident on the December 18th 1995 edition of WCW Monday Nitro. As a result of the company not offering her a contract extension, then WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze signed with WCW. It might not have seemed like much at the time but the WWF never actually asked for Alundra’s championship belt back nor did they ask her to drop it to anybody else before she left due to the
Women’s Division in the WWF being non existent at the time. On live WCW television that night Alundra appeared, made it clear she would be known by her original name of Medusa and put the WWF Women’s Title in the trash can provided for her. It was most certainly one of the major firing shots of the rivalry between the two companies at the
time.

Bret Hart had signed a twenty year contract with the WWF before his return at the 1996 Survivor Series. Having declined WCW’s offer of a three year contract worth $8.4
million and having assurances from Vince that he would still be involved in the WWF beyond his active wrestling days Bret probably thought it was all fine sailing from here. One year later however and WCW were still dominating WWF and financial cuts have to be made somewhere. Vince was also in the process of floating the WWF on the stock market meaning he had to cut down on any long term financial commitments. Put simply, the WWF were reaching the stage at which they couldn’t afford to pay Bret Hart the agreed salary. Apparently Vince said he would find a way to pay Bret if he decided to stay but the idea fell down when Bret and Vince tried to come up with a direction for his character in the years to come. Bret felt that the Canadian patriot he had been playing for the last six months meant he couldn’t be a defined heel or face, making it hard for him to work a programme with anybody else on the roster. When Vince felt the character still had legs Bret decided he would try WCW and agreed a $3 million per annum contract due to begin on December 5th 1997. As Survivor Series came closer however Bret made it clear he would not be dropping the belt in Canada against his long time backstage rival Shawn Michaels. Vince had a problem on his hands, his solution became one of the most infamous moments in pro wrestling history.

There’s the rest of the card to get through before that though.

Vince McMahon is very much busy elsewhere tonight so the commentary desk is a two man team of Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. They introduce the Spanish announce team who don’t have their microphones turned up in time. The French team have a little bit more luck.

We haven’t seen much of the New Blackjacks since WrestleMania XIII but here they are teaming with the Headbangers to go up against The Godwinns and two random wrestlers
they appear to have slung together in the shape of Road Dog (with one ‘G’) and Billy Gunn. They show a video package from Raw three weeks ago when Road Dog attacked Thrasher causing him to bleed from the forehead.

Survivor Series team elimination matches are about the only time of the year in which wrestlers can be pinned after absorbing one or two basic moves. A fact which comes in
to play in the early running here. Phineas starts alongside Windham who turns a test of strength into a gut punch. Very soon it’s Henry against Bradshaw. The future JBL turns an abdominal stretch into a crucifix pin for a three count. Henry goes after being in the ring
for all of about two minutes. Phineas is then battered nearly senseless in the corner but still manages to pin Windham for a three after one elbow and one clothesline. It’s down to three versus three.

Mosh gets in to go up against Billy Gunn who seems to have stolen Hardcore Holly’s trunks for the evening. For having a terrible gimmick both members of the Headbangers could actually wrestle. Gunn however manages to pin Mosh after he reverses a Bulldog from the corner into a flapjack. It’s two versus three in favour of the heels.

It’s at this point a large sign bearing the words ‘Good luck in WCW Bret’ is seen in shot. Even before the internet became a large part of the industry there are still fans who are aware of what was going on.

Phineas goes to the locker room after Thrasher catches him with the Stagedive from the top rope leaving it a two on two situation. Bradshaw is quickly in and goes to town on both Gunn and Road Dogg. Not only are Road Dog and Billy Gunn not called ‘The New Age Outlaws’ during this match but when Bradshaw delivers a lariat it’s not called ‘The Clothesline for Hell’ either. This is truly early days for all involved.

Bradshaw’s elimination comes after Gunn slaps him whilst he’s on the apron. Bradshaw retaliates in kind meaning that Road Dog can roll him up for the pinfall. It’s Thrasher going up against Gunn and Road Dog on his own. Dog tries a Pump Handle Slam on Thrasher but it’s reversed into a hiptoss. Road Dog then manages a blind tag to Gunn as they go for the same move again. This time Dog gets it but Gunn has already left the turnbuckle. It’s supposed to be a stomp to Thrasher’s head but Gunn lands nowhere near the target before getting the winning pinfall. The replay of the finish is from a much more sympathetic angle.

They don’t waste much time in getting straight to match number two with The Disciples of Apocalypse going up against The Truth Commission. I have been a wrestling fan for a
vast percentage of my life and even thought I wasn’t watching wrestling between 1996 and 2000 I am aware of many of the groups and factions that operated at the time. I must admit however to this being the very first time I had heard anything about The Truth
Commission. There is probably a reason for this and it’s the fact they are awful. Take four plain looking wrestlers, dress them exactly the same and give then stupid codenames like ‘Sniper’ and ‘Recon’ and I won’t care a damn jot about them. Later we’ll see the Nation of Domination, a faction made of four distinct members who can each work as individuals and a much better example of that sort of thing working well. Putting four generic wrestlers together under one banner simply isn’t enough.

This wouldn’t be such a problem if I could place some interest in their opponents but, bar Crush, I’ve been told nothing about the other three member of DOA. They too have ridiculous nicknames which mean little. Even Jim Ross comments during this match that they “look like identical twins”. The only thing I took from this match is that side walk slams are the most devastating move on Earth (three pinfalls are directly after that move in this match) and Crush misses a tag at one point because he’s too busy sorting his hair. It’s an utter waste of time and energy for all involved.

We’re then show some interviews with fans outside the building asking them who they think will win between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart tonight. The first guy says that he thinks Shawn will win even though ‘he doesn’t want him too’. There’s also a rather large French speaking gentleman who is carrying a Canadian flag. He growls something in French. I bet he will be pissed off later. The final fan says that they’ll ‘follow Bret anywhere’. I presume the words ‘even to WCW’ were edited out at the end.

Nowadays every single wrestler on the planet is in contact with their fans (and people who hate their guts) via social media. It certainly wasn’t like that in 1997 and we see Stone Cold leaning over towards a computer being operated by somebody else and he answers questions in ‘The America Online Room’. Austin says that he might be worried about his neck but he’s going to get the job done against Owen tonight.

If a fan leaps over the barrier and tries to attack any of the wrestlers in the ring then they’re often met with a swift (very much for real) punch to the jaw before being dragged away by security. This seems to not apply to Steve Blackman though. Footage is shown of an episode of Monday Night Raw in which The Hart Foundation attacked Vader only for Steve Blackman, a paying fan no less, to come vaulting over the guard rail in an attempt to even the odds. After this Vader invites him to join his American team to go up against Team Canada in our next match. It’s brilliant work if you can get it. With Blackman and Shamrock on the roster it seems Vince is going all out on the martial arts guys.

Vader, Goldust, Marc Mero and Blackman are interviewed by Michael Cole backstage before the match. Cole opens by putting it to Vader that some might say his team has nothing in common. Vader takes around six seconds to begin his response which might not seem long but on live television it feels like an eternity. We establish that Vader doesn’t like ‘loud mouthed Canadians’. The only disappointing thing for Team USA is that the biggest pop on their entrance is reserved for Sable who is alongside Marc Mero tonight. These Canadian fans sure as hell hate Americans, unless it’s an American woman with her breasts nearly hanging out.

It seems that Goldust has split from Marlena. He walks into the arena with the initials ‘F.U’ painted in his face. Before we go getting any ideas that he’s having a jibe at the Canadian fans J.R explains that it stands for ‘Forever Unchained’. I’m so glad we cleared that one up then.

Team Canada are made up of British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon (remember them?). As J.R points out on commentary, only one of them was actually born in Canada. According to Furnas he doesn’t like Americans because they’re ‘all about drugs and slime’. Mero and Bulldog begin the match. Mero has an American flag bandana which he takes off, raises above his head and throws at Bulldog. Bulldog then mimes wiping his arse with it much to the crowd’s delight.

It’s at this point I’d like to point out that Marc Mero hasn’t really wrestled a full match in what feels like a long time (on PPV anyway). He looks in top condition here so he must have been hitting the gym in grand style whilst he’s been away. A lot of this match seems to rely on him being able to go which he does in remarkable fashion. Firstly however he falls victim to a LaFon spinning heel kick, gets up and stumbles over to Team Canada’s corner only to be punched once by all three men on the apron.  Mero takes this opportunity to tag in Neidhart who does precisely nothing before finally tagging Steve Blackman into the fray.

The whole build to this match seems to have been around wondering if Blackman is really a valid member of Team USA. He announces his intention by axe kicking LaFon in the head straight away. Jim Ross just finishes saying “Blackman is not a trained wrestler” when the martial arts expert flies effortlessly over the top rope to force LaFon’s neck down across it. He might not be trained but it seems he’s handling it well so far.

The only undoing appears to be the fact that nobody thought to explain to Blackman that you can only be allowed outside the ring for a ten count. He stays on the outside and brawls with everybody before the ref sends him to the back. Vader has a moment of trying to explain why this is happening to him as Blackman dons a confused expression. I honestly think Kamala had a better grip of the rules of pro wrestling that this. Neidhart then attacks Vader who responds in mind by aiming an elbow drop square to his ‘gentleman area’. Seriously, it looks like a really stiff shot if you pardon the pun. Neidhart is pretty much pinned off that. It’s down to three versus three.

Not long after this however Vader splashes LaFon and gets a three count. Mero is tagged in for Team USA and goes up against Furnas. At one point Mero launches himself off the top rope with a Moonsault. Rather than catch him as normal thought Furnas just partially ducks underneath it meaning that Mero is forced to crash his full body weight down and squeeze Furnas like an accordion. Bulldog is tagged in and Mero attempts a Sunset Flip on him. The man from Manchester just power lifts him up and goes for the Running Powerslam. Mero just about manages to wriggle out of it. Furnas gets in and he and Mero go for some dirty boxing in the corner which actually looks really good. Not long afterwards Mero is eliminated after a roll up by Furnas.

You might be wondering why Goldust hasn’t been mentioned at all so far. He’s been standing on the apron sporting a large cast over his left hand. There has been no interaction with the crowd and he hasn’t been forthcoming in putting his hand out for tags. The reason is about to come clear as Vader holds out his hand asking for a tag and Goldust jumps off the apron. Goldust then points to his cast claiming he’s injured. Vader goes back, clotheslines Bulldog and asks Goldust again but still gets no response. Vader then suffers a mighty Belly to Belly Suplex from Furnas. After getting up from that Vader slaps Goldust across the head which must count as a tag because Goldust is counted out as he leaves the arena. “He’s walked out on his team, on his country and on his marriage” screams J.R.

A Vaderbomb puts Furnas away for three but Bulldog waits with the ring bell in his hand behind the ref. As soon as Vader turns to look for him he’s knocked stupid and is instantly pinned. The sole survivor of this match is Bulldog who takes off down the aisle.

A short break in the proceedings shows Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross phoning the winner of the ‘Survivor Series Super Supper Sweepstakes’ competition. Jacqueline Cook has won dinner with the WWF Superstar of her choice. Despite Lawler trying to get some free food she chooses Stone Cold Steve Austin. I hope she brought her own beer.

The Undertaker has decreed he will not fight his own flesh and blood. Despite Kane tearing up the walls of the cell to get to him at last month’s Badd Blood PPV and causing him to lose the match to Shawn Michaels it seems the Dead Man won’t be fighting his brother any time soon. In the meantime Kane has attacked both Flash Funk and Ahmed Johnson but never had an official match until tonight. Dude Love has become Mankind again as Mick Foley looks to stand in Kane’s way.

Foley is a brilliant wrestler but it always seemed during his WWF/E days that he was the guy they used to make the other guy better. He may have had three title runs with the WWF Championship but when the office needed somebody to soak up punishment to give his opponent the rub then Foley was there. It’s no different here. Mankind says he’ll keep running at Kane in his promo, probably thinking that he’ll be knocked down eventually.

The ring is bathed in red light as Mankind leaps towards Kane in the opening but is thrown into the steel steps for his troubles. The steel steps are then flung in his face. In order to try and get himself back into this Mankind tears his hair out. It doesn’t do much other than get him a big boot to his head. The crowd remain a little quiet during this though probably because they can see bugger all with these red lights on.

Mankind gets some offence in as Kane tries to Irish Whip him into the steps. Mankind manages to grab the guard rail to stop it before Drop Toe Holding Kane face first into
the steel. Mankind then piles on a chair shot and a piledriver once he’s back in the ring. Rather than cover Kane for the pinfall attempt though Mankind decides to reach over the ropes to the outside to lock the Mandible Claw on Paul Bearer. Kane gets back up and shoves Mankind from the apron meaning he smashes through the Spanish announce table. Tito Santana almost loses a knee cap as a result.

After this there’s a spell in which it looks like Mankind might just pull this off. He gets a DDT on Kane whilst in the aisle and also connects with an Elbow Drop. It goes off the rails for him when he tries a second one and a resurgent Kane simply body slams him off the top turnbuckle to the arena floor. It’s then followed up by a jerky looking Tombstone Piledriver for three. They still have those red lights on.

Michael Cole is backstage with Commissioner Slaughter and Vince McMahon. When asked about Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels Vince says“The fans need to see this match” and he follows this by saying he has no idea who will win. Jerry Lawler then says he has witnessed first hand a Shawn and Bret altercation. He doesn’t go into details but he probably means the one in which they started to fight in the gent’s toilets whilst Lawler
was minding his own business in one of the cubicles.

The Legion of Doom are tag champions it would seem. Quite how I didn’t click this when The Godwinns didn’t have the belts earlier I have no idea. They team up with Ken Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson (him again) to take on The Nation of Domination consisting of Faarooq, Kama, D’Lo and Rocky Maivia.

Remember the point I made earlier about Survivor Series elimination matches seeing usually tough wrestlers being pinned after fairly straight forward moves? There is no greater example that Hawk being taken out of this match. Firstly he absorbs four charges off the ropes, one clothesline and one piledriver from D’Lo only to be pinned straight after one Rock Bottom from Rocky Maivia. It seems totally ridiculous but one half of the tag team champions of the world is walking back down the aisle about two minutes into this.

Faarooq is the next to hit the showers after he falls victim to a very quick Pearl River Plunge from Ahmed. Faarooq however doesn’t leave in a hurry and he hangs around at
ringside. Rocky runs into the ring to be victim to a terrible looking spine buster from Ahmed. Ahmed’s foot is later held down by Faarooq on the outside as Rocky pins him. This is sound enough with the heels cheating but Faarooq does this right in front of the outside ref who has to pretend he didn’t see this crime taking place about six inches from his face. Faarooq and Ahmed then proceed to punch each other all the way up the ramp.

Animal carries a lot for his team in this match and his power is shown when he gets out of a front face lock from Kama by simply chucking him around. “Kama can join Farooq
in the shower” says J.R as he’s rolled up and pinned by Animal. Shamrock gets his best run during this match during the segments here when he fights off D’Lo and Rocky. After looking a little bit like a fish out of water it seems that Shamrock is finally settling into pro wrestling and getting the knack of telling a story.

Road Dog and Billy Gunn appear in the aisle dressed as a half arsed version of LOD. This enrages Animal to the point he leaves the ring to give chase. He’s then showered in some kind of white powder (we’ll hope for the best at talc) and gets counted out as he cannot open his eyes to make it back to the ring. Shamrock is left to go alone against D’Lo and Rocky.

“This is wrestling Ross, you don’t win by getting somebody to tap out” utters Lawler is some ham fisted effort to suggest wrestling is totally removed from the MMA that Shamrock is used to. The Nation’s remaining members show some complacency as Rocky tells D’Lo that he doesn’t want tagged in because he feels D’Lo can handle this by himself.  After delivering a double clothesline Shamrock snaps on the Ankle Lock to D’Lo forcing him to tap out.

The final stretch if this match is putting Shamrock over a one tough son of a gun. Rocky smacks him with a chair yet Shamrock kicks out of the pinfall attempt. Rocky also only gets a two count after a Spinning DDT. The same thing happens after Rocky’s Elbow (which isn’t called People’s Elbow on commentary). Rocky’s second DDT is reversed into a Northern Lights Suplex and Shamrock goes completely insane. He quickly grabs Rocky’s leg and forces in the Ankle Lock. Rocky is left with no choice but to tap. Yes that’s correct, Shamrock has just won a wrestling match by making his opponent tap.

“Owen Hart is going to get the -bleep- kicked out of him” says Steve Austin in the promo video before his match for the Intercontinental Title. As is usual in wrestling circles what started as Owen’s mistake in breaking Austin’s neck at SummerSlam now becomes a storyline. Austin seems to have a glass screen he can walk through just beyond the curtain. Only half of it actually breaks on time. Owen walks down to the ring with Bulldog and Neidhart wearing a t-shirt with the words ‘Owen 3:16 says I broke your neck’ across it.

This match really is nothing more than putting everything back the way the WWF reckon it should have been. Had Austin won the title at SummerSlam without busting his neck in the process then this match wouldn’t be taking place. As such this only goes around five minutes. Neidhart tries to sneak around the ring to attack Austin from behind before the match start but is quickly met with a Stunner. Owen attacks straight away and almost goes for a piledriver which the crowd really get into as most of them want Austin’s neck broken again. After smashing Austin’s knee off the turnpost Owen tries to make off down the aisle in an effort to get counted out. Austin soon catches up with him. Owen then chokes out Austin with a cable whilst shouting at the ref to disqualify him. The icing on the cake of this act is Owen ringing the bell himself. Upon getting back into the ring however Austin begins to stomp Owen in the corner. There is then the awkward moment of Austin attempting a Tombstone but forgetting about it halfway through and just Stunning Owen instead for the three. Your winner and new Intercontinental Champion is Stone Cold Steve Austin. Has anybody told him about that dinner date yet?

Now comes our main event of the evening which, as they keep reminding us, is ‘eighteen months in the making’. If this match hadn’t ended with one of the most controversial
finishes in wrestling then I certainly think it would still be remembered as a brilliant match due to the build up and the mixing of storyline and reality which created doubt in the minds of the fans. People were aware that Bret was probably off to WCW right after this match and were therefore thinking that he’d drop the title somewhere. I don’t think anybody there on the night thought he’d drop it in Canada however. The personal animosity between Hitman and HBK is played on so rather than this being a wrestling match in which you’re asked to just believe that these two hate each other you actually
know for sure they hate each other. A dose of reality often aids a wrestling storyline and takes it up a notch, witness John Cena versus CM Punk at Money In The Bank 2011 for a similar idea.

The camera goes backstage to see Shawn leave his dressing room alongside Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude. They nearly have a ‘Spinal Tap in Cleveland’ moment when Triple H asks if anybody knows where they’re going. Shawn leaves the rest of his crew behind as he walks through the curtain with a Canadian flag that he proceeds to shove in his groin and hump. Apparently, according to an interview conducted after the event Shawn insists this whole act was suggested by Bret as a heat seeking device. Bret denies all knowledge of this. Bret is then shown walking from his dressing room with Bulldog and Neidhart. Bret emerges to great cheers from the gathered crowd.

“The two biggest egos in wrestling are about to collide” says Lawler.

Shawn gets straight to it as he jumps Hitman ring after he steps through the ropes. Bret responds in kind with some really stiff headbutts and punches. It’s not long before Shawn is flung over the barrier and both wrestlers are in the front row surrounded by fans. It’s at this point that Vince, Slaughter and a whole bundle of officials turn up at ringside. It’s passed off on commentary by J.R as the WWF just laying on extra security because of the high tension between the two combatants but in reality it was apparently done in case Bret went into business for himself and started to leather Shawn for real. Eventually Shawn takes control and the match returns to ringside.

“There has been speculation that, if Bret loses tonight, this will be his last match in the WWF” announces J.R as he acknowledges the background to this whole thing.

Shawn starts to choke Bret out with an American flag (they must be just dishing flags out tonight) before dumping Bret back over the guardrail towards the crowd again. Shawn
goes for a piledriver which Bret reverses so Shawn goes flying over the railings back towards the ring. They go up the aisle in which Bret suplexes Shawn on the floor. During this process referee Tim White gets clobbered. Shawn is soon flung into the set at the top of the ramp before Bret attacks with a fire extinguisher. Bear in mind that the opening bell has yet to ring so the match hasn’t officially begun yet.

Vince starts screaming at Bret to get it back in the ting which he does but only after he’s found a Quebec flag to wrap around Shawn’s neck. The bell finally rings. Shawn kicks Bret full force in the face at one point and wraps the flag around Bret’s throat. It’s fair to say the ‘choking with flag’ spot has been fairly overused tonight. J.R clears up the situation by saying “Shawn’s European title is not at stake tonight”. Shawn finds a
Canadian flag and actually doesn’t use the thing as a strangulation device, instead using the pole as a weapon instead. Just as Lawler begins to point out that Bret has yet to go for the legs to set up the Sharpshooter it’s exactly what Hitman begins to do by kicking Shawn’s knees. HBK responds by raking Bret’s face with his thumbs. Shawn manages to get a bodyslam in before going to the top for a crossbody. Bret rolls through it and gets a two count.

After kicking the knees more Bret goes for his now trademark corner post figure four. After being asked to break it due to Shawn being in contact with the ropes Bret simply transfers it to the middle of the ring. Shawn screams the place down in pain and he flips it over. Bret is forced to let it go. Shawn then gets Irish Whipped into the corner and ends up doing the Ric Flair style flip upside down. Bret tries a Russian Leg Sweep and gets two,
he gets a suplex in and gains another two count. Bret then goes up to the top and launches with an axe handle. Shawn pulls Earl Hebner in the way so he gets it instead. The ref bump seems like part of a match ending that Bret probably thought was going to happen with another ref replacing Earl and awarding the match to Shawn while Earl recovers to award it the Bret. As it stands it just seems like it was there to give Earl a storyline excuse for what happens next.

Shawn rakes Bret’s face, grabs his legs and snaps in the Sharpshooter. Earl wakes up just in time to call for the bell despite no sign of Bret tapping out. Earl runs for his life down the aisle and apparently left the arena straight away to lock himself in his hotel room all night. Shawn’s music begins to play as the French speaking announcer hails him as the new WWF Champion. Bret has a moment of shock before turning to Vince and spitting on him. We don’t get much of a chance to see what happens next as the camera follows Shawn back towards the curtain and we go off air. All those shots with Bret spelling ‘WCW’ in the air and telling the crowd he loves them were not part of the original broadcast. Nor are the shots of Bulldog and Neidhart coming down to the ring to attempt to calm him down. The documentary crew for ‘Wrestling With Shadows’ that were filming at the time captured the moment backstage when Bret punched Vince full on in the jaw. I don’t think it really mattered to Vince now anyway. The mission had been accomplished, Bret wouldn’t be leaving Survivor Series with the belt and there was no way WCW could get their hands on it now.

In a recent episode of the Stone Cold podcast, Shawn Michaels said that Vince told him to deny all knowledge at the time and just say he was as surprised as anybody. Shawn apparently felt troubled by this idea and instead wished he had just confessed to all and said he knew all along. Jim Ross, being Head of Talent Relations at the time, also had to defend himself from accusation that he knew what was happening. J.R often says he spent all night on the phone to various talents trying to ease their concern. The worry being that if Bret could be double crossed by Vince then what was to stop that happening to anybody else. Bulldog would leave after this show, citing a knee injury as a reason for not being able to work his last few dates. Jim Neidhart manages to do a couple of house shows before leaving for WCW. Rick Rude left in disgust at the treatment of Bret Hart and became the first wrestler to appear on Nitro and Raw on the same night (Nitro being live and Raw still being pre recorded). Mick Foley would also leave but only on a temporary basis.

So was the Montreal Screwjob really needed though? Bret’s WCW contract was not due to start for another month and he had apparently had an agreement with Vince that he would drop the title or forfeit it before that date. He also had an understanding with Vince that he would be able to end the Canadian patriot side of his character in a promo the next night on Raw in Ottawa and leave WWF on good terms. In a recent interview on the WWE Network Eric Bischoff said that he had no intentions of pulling the same stunt Medusa did with Bret Hart over on Nitro because he had too much respect for Bret and legal matters between the two companies meant such an act would be very difficult in the long run.

This however is the calm and collected 2015 version of Eric Bischoff talking. The 1997 version, still hot with Turner’s millions behind him, might have had other ideas. Nitro would go on air one hour earlier than Raw the night after Survivor Series which would give Eric plenty of time to work in an announcement about Bret Hart joining WCW. Even if the belt wasn’t going to be on screen, giving WCW the chance to announce that ‘the current WWF champion Bret Hart is joining WCW’ would be too much for Vince to bear. In the high pressure peak of the Monday Night Wars, which the WWF were very much losing at this point, Vince obviously lost trust in Bret somewhere along the line.

Bret would make his WCW debut on the December 15th 1997 edition of Monday Nitro when J.J Dillon made him special guest referee for the Starrcade 97 match between Eric Bishoff and Larry Zbyszko. Bret would also reference the Montreal Screwjob on that PPV show when he would call for the bell when Sting had Hulk Hogan in the Scorpion Deathlock thus ending Hogan’s WCW Championship reign. Bret would wrestle for WCW until 1999 when a Goldberg kick gave him a concussion forcing his retirement. It would take Bret a further thirteen years to make another appearance on WWF television.

As a show Survivor Series 1997 is a fairly good one. The main event is talked about for all the wrong reasons but remains an entertaining and heated contest right until the ending. The Mankind and Kane match works well in getting the Undertaker’s little brother over for a future match with the Deadman and the most of the elimination matches are a good watch (the Truth Commission versus DOA being the exception). Overall it’s a good show with the ending being the main point of interest due to its historical significance.

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