WWE Survivor Series Moments: The Montreal Screwjob

The Montreal Screwjob included Shawn Michaels putting Bret Hart into the sharpshooter. Courtesy of WWE

Ahead of this weekend's Survivor Series, we're taking a look at five of the most memorable moments in Survivor Series history.

Moment 2: "Bret screwed Bret," 1997 Survivor Series (Nov. 9, 1997)

It's rare to see scripted WWE television turn into a legitimate nonfictional dramatic affair, but that's what happened on Nov. 9, 1997. "The Montreal Screwjob" was as real as it gets in the world of professional wrestling.

This main event saw WWE champion Bret "The Hitman" Hart battle "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, a feud that dated back many years. The match itself is often forgotten as a result of what happened when the final bell tolled, but it was excellent, full of well-timed spots and a great story.

However, the real story saw referee Earl Hebner -- instructed by Vince McMahon -- call for an early bell awarding the match and the title to the Heartbreak Kid. Bret's unwillingness to drop the title in his home country as his contract expired forced McMahon's hand and created one of the most unforgettable moments not just in Survivor Series history, but in the history of the business. Vince McMahon simply could not risk Bret Hart carrying the WWE Championship out of the Survivor Series and potentially to his new home, which was WCW, the then-competition. Instead, the match was rigged without Hart's knowledge, ensuring that Michaels walked out of the event with the title and that the symbol of the company remained where it belonged.

A fuming Hart expressed his exasperation as he literally spat in McMahon's face, leading to a war of words for years until an eventual reconciliation over a decade later. McMahon's "Bret screwed Bret" quote is a line that lives in infamy.

The nature of this true story was so gripping that the scenario was worked into future storylines. In fact, we saw the same plot play out following year at the Survivor Series when The Rock aligned himself with the McMahons, meaning no WWE Championship for Mick Foley. As great as that was for The Rock's career, nothing compares to the real thing.