What was Bret Hart told prior to his infamous Survivor Series 1997 WWF Championship match with Shawn Michaels?
The match, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this week, saw Hart lose via submission despite never tapping out to the Sharpshooter.
Hart had informed WWE higher-ups that he was leaving for WCW, but had creative control that meant he could refuse to lose to Shawn Michaels, his real-life rival at the time.
Clocking in at under 20 minutes, the match is one of the shorter bouts Hart and Michaels had especially compared to their WrestleMania 12 Iron-Man classic.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated this week, Hart explained how the match had only just gotten started when Vince McMahon called for the bell.
“We had another 25 minutes. The match was already good, and we hadn’t even hit our stride… Even when we didn’t get along, Shawn and I always had great chemistry together in the ring.
“That match was just starting. All the brawling was done just to set up the actual match. It was going to really get going after I reversed his sharpshooter. We pictured the crowd standing up and going crazy. That was going to be the moment when it took off.”
Bret would leave the WWE immediately after the show, but not before laying out McMahon with a black eye backstage.
After a 2006 WWE Hall of Fame induction, Hart would return to WWE fully in 2010 and has made appearances since.
Despite being deeply hurt for years over the Screwjob, Hart has said he is in a much better place these days.
Looking back at his career, the Hitman is proud of what he did despite the Screwjob.
“I’m proud that people still appreciate what I did. When I wrestled, I wanted to have the best match I could every night. I never believed in going to a certain city and taking it easy. I gave 100% every night.”
Hart is one of a select few to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice, first in 2006 and then in 2019 as part of the Hart Foundation.