AEW referee Earl Hebner has opened up on the way his relationship with Bret Hart soured after the infamous 1997 "Montreal Screwjob".
The legendary official was the one who decided the controversial match that saw Shawn Michaels walk away as WWF World Champion after a Survivor Series clash, and Hart wasn't very pleased with him for many years after.
Hebner previously claimed that Hart knew exactly what was going to happen that night yet, in a recent interview with Viceland, he revealed being afraid and barricading his hotel room as Hart physically assaulted Vince McMahon after losing.
“If I hadn’t have rung the bell in the sharpshooter, Vince McMahon was going to ring that bell,” Hebner said (transcribed by Wrestlezone). “So I understand, Bret went through and destroyed monitors, beat the s**t out of Vince. I went to the hotel, and I was so scared that he knew where I was staying, I took the dressers and everything and put them up against the door.”
Hebner disclosed that he met Hart about a year later while the wrestler was with WCW and approached him in an attempt to bury the hatchet, but the superstar wasn't having any of that.
“I saw Bret talking to my brother, and I went over there and I go ‘Hey Bret, can I talk to you for a minute?’, he goes ‘I have nothing to say you,’ this was about a year after all the bulls—, and I said ‘that’s fine’ and I walked off.”
Things would smooth over eventually, however. The pair met at an autograph session in Virginia nearly five years ago, although Hebner says he called Hart to say that he wouldn't attend if he didn't want him to. He did show up, though, and Hart did not beat him up.
“So we went to the show, and I had no idea he was going to do what he did," he continued. "He went and walked to the ring, and he said ‘I got two great friends here that everybody knows…and I want to bring them to the ring.’ I’m going oh my god when he gets in the ring is he going to beat the s**t out of me, is he going to clothesline me, is he going to kill me?”