Welcome to the WEEKEND edition of the PDC. Today, we'll go for the "What If" gimmick for this column. I once did it for the Curtain Call incident (I explained the Curtain Call a few days ago, so don't ask), and now, in the season of Survivor Series, I will take a look at What if Bret Hart wasn't screwed at Survivor Series 1997. The possibilities are endless for that one.
For the first time, ever, I caught WWF Excess. After strolling in from a long day/night at work, and after seeing the Diamondbacks pound the Yankees in the early innings of game 6, I decided to flip the channel to TNN to see the only WWF show that I've never watched. I saw Johnathan Coachman and Trish Stratus in the beginning, and they mentioned how Raven would be their guest. But first, they began a recap of what happened on RAW. That prompted me to turn the channel immediately!
How embarrassing... Excess has turned into a recap show. I could give a rat's ass about seeing full clips of the wrestling shows I've already watched. In the beginning, the WWF promised and hyped Excess as a new brand of show for everyone to be entertained by. Now, it's nothing more than a 2 hour Livewire, which isn't good whatsoever. That's the last time I ever catch that show.
Anyone who actually can sit through, for two hours, and actually enjoy watching it is a complete mark (with the exception of anyone who recaps it for a website). Seriously. If you can sit through WWF propaganda and what recaps they want you to see (anything involving the top tier guys), then you need some psychological help for your sad wrestling addiction.
There are only a few excuses to even watch that show. First, if you really love to see Trish Stratus, then I guess this is the show for you. Secondly, if you absolutely missed what happened on RAW/Smackdown and care for the top tier guys, then it's ok. Finally, it's ok to watch if the guest host is a wrestler or wrestling personality that you like.
Other than that, you're a mindless zombie for watching it. It's no wonder that Excess's ratings continue to sink lower and lower each week. The WWF should really reconsider turning it into an Alliance show, since that vast roster is not being utilized to its fullest ability. Maybe the Alliance win at Survivor Series could change that? God, I really hope so.
Before I start swearing about Excess, which I feel is coming, let's get onto the PDC (or PWC).
Bret's final match was to be with Shawn Michaels, a sworn enemy of Bret's. Why? Well, HBK didn't really respect Bret Hart, as he often faked injuries just to avoid paying Bret back for the title victory at Wrestlemania 12. Bret did NOT want to lose to Shawn Michaels for those reasons, and HBK didn't want to do the favor to Bret, back, since the Hitman was leaving. As a compromise, a DX run-in was to occur at the finish of the match, giving Bret Hart a DQ victory over Shawn Michaels. The finish was to see Bret Hart reverse a Sharpshooter and apply it on HBK, and that was when DX was to run down.
As most of you know, that finish didn't happen. Vince McMahon strolled down the ring, and as HBK had Bret in the Sharpshooter, Earl Hebner, who was apparently threatened with his job, called for the bell. The incident helped to tarnish the Bret Hart entrance into WCW, and it set the foundation for the heel boss Vince McMahon that we'd later witness Stone Cold Steve Austin confront, as RAW began to beat Nitro on a regular basis.
But what if the finish of Survivor Series went as planned? The idea, after this night, was to have Bret Hart show up on RAW and hand over the title and say one last goodbye to his WWF fans. Then, he'd join WCW, and the WWF would have to make a new World Champion. So here are the significant points, that I thought of, that would definitely be affected if the Montreal Screwjob never occurred:
And a possible harsh reality.............
However, let's not think that. Let's assume that the WWF would be able to hang on, thanks to the success of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the growing Rock. I don't think history could be changed with the Shawn Michaels injury, for he was already in a hot feud with the Undertaker, anyway (Shawn Michaels hurt his back at Royal Rumble 1998, in the Buried Alive match against the Undertaker). I'd suggest that the WWF would slowly grow into a better product than WCW, but most likely in the year 1999.
I believe, though, that WCW was in grave danger, and would probably fit the exact pattern they did in 1998. The botched ending between Hulk Hogan and Sting would have still occurred at Starrcade 1997, and Hogan would have tried to remain the top star. Bill Goldberg would have been a top star, still, and the NWO would become more stale as each week passed on by. Whenever you have dumbasses like Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan making the top decisions for a wrestling promotion, it will go down no matter what.
I do, however, believe that the wrestling fan base would NOT have grown like it did in 1998. No way! WCW and the WWF would have fought over a much smaller fan base, instead of creating new fans like the new WWF Attitude brought. This would likely have neither federation selling shares on the stock market, nor would it create opportunities for either federation to expand their entertainment empire.
Conclusion: Given the ideas above, I believe that it was extremely important, to the WWF, to screw Bret Hart the way they did. It's like a major domino effect, as the screwjob created Vince McMahon, the heel personality that would eventually clash with Stone Cold Steve Austin to make one of the biggest and best storylines in the history of wrestling. Without that, the WWF's success would come at a later date, or quite possibly, NEVER!
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@That's all for today. I hope you enjoyed the What If gimmicked PDC. I would have never thought to bring this back, had I not read YOUR feedback. Thanks!
Take Care, and Happy Wrestling.