Former WWF referee Earl Hebner says he believes that the infamous Montreal Screwjob was a work.
The affair, which took place in 1997, saw Shawn Michaels take the WWF World Heavyweight Championship belt off Bret Hart before he departed for WCW. 19 years later, there are still many question marks looming over this match as the story is one of Vince McMahon screwing Hart over by planning for Michaels to win the belt unbeknownst to his competitor.
Hebner refereed the controversial Survivor Series match between the two legendary figures and, speaking to Bully Ray in an interview on Sirius XM's Busted Open Radio, said that both men must have known exactly how things would play out.
.@TheEarlHebner reflects on the Montreal screwjob, saying he believes both @BretHart & @ShawnMichaels knew what was about to happen.— SiriusXM Busted Open (@BustedOpenRadio) April 18, 2019
Earl also reveals how scared he was later that night in the hotel after Survivor Series. pic.twitter.com/ExjAo27Ed0
“I’ve had my thoughts off and on for 18-19 years and I think both of them knew to be honest with you,” Hebner explained. “Why would you let a man put you in your own finish?”
Asked if he thinks Hart knew he was going to lose, he replied: “Yeah, I really do. I’m not going to lie about it anymore. I’ve been trying to protect Bret, but I bet you one hundred percent, one hundred and ten percent that Shawn Michaels knew what was going on.”
Following his initial revelation, Hebner seemed to backtrack somewhat.
“I have different feelings about he did know and he didn’t know, to be honest with you," he continued. "Like I said, just hearing rumors for the past eighteen, nineteen years, it’s almost been questionable, in some sense, that both of them knew.”
What This Means
Hart has maintained that he had no idea he'd lose the match to Michaels on the night and several other people in the know allude to that.
However, there was always major skepticism over all of this and Hebner's claims have strengthened the arguments to the contrary.