In a recent interview with ESPN, The Undertaker gave his side of the story on the infamous Montreal Screwjob at the 1997 Survivor Series event involving Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon. He recapped certain events that had already been well-documented, including when Hart punched McMahon square in the face backstage afterwards, but then said he felt the entire situation could have been prevented if he had been involved. As most fans know, the heart of the issue came down to Hart not wanting to drop the WWF Championship to Shawn Michaels (a person he had years of personal issues with) in his home country of Canada. "The Deadman" (real name Mark Calaway) believes that issue would've been fixed if he had been booked to compete instead of HBK.
"You should've put me in the match somehow with Bret," Calaway said (h/t Fightful for transcript). "I'm sure Bret would have dropped it to me. I could have dropped it to Shawn later on. You know, right after that. There was a different way to do it. But, you know, Vince had to make sure and he had to cover his bases, I guess, in his mind. That's kind of the point, I think, where the whole locker room leader really started to come about. The boys knew how upset I was that one of us got screwed over. But then the office kind of could see the point of, 'okay. He's trying to do what's best for business,' and it always was that way for me.
"It was like, you know, I'll defend you if you need to be defended, but it's all about business at the end of the day. That's where I fell in that, you know, I was one of the rare people that kind of fell into that groove where I was trusted, you know," he continued. "Yes, I was one of the boys, but I was trusted by the office, just like I was sitting in on their meetings."
That night proved to be one of the most pivotal moments in WWE history, as it sent Hart off to WCW while creating the Mr. McMahon persona that would become the biggest heel of The Attitude Era. Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice — first in 2006 and again in 2019 as one half of The Hart Foundation. He would not return to WWE programming in any official capacity until 2010.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.