In 2005, Shawn Michaels got booed more in Montreal than anybody else in history.
The WWE Hall of Famer was feuding with Hulk Hogan and had turned heel for the first time since his return from retirement in 2002. He was already hated in Canada for his part in the Montreal Screwjob and wanted to take full advantage.
The Montreal Screwjob in 1997 saw Michaels steal the WWE title from Bret Hart, the hero of Canada and then champion. Mr McMahon forced the referee to ring the bell, even though Bret Hart had not tapped out and screwed him out of the WWE Championship.
He had been forced to retire from wrestling in 2000, after a kick from Goldberg started a sequence of events that would lead to a stroke and motorcycle crash.
Since then, many had hoped for him to come back for one more match. Kurt Angle tried to convince him to return for a WrestleMania match, which was soon shot down. He seemed done for good.
However, when his music hit in Montreal, the crowd were electric.
Shawn Michaels had been running down the city and the country as a whole for the entire promo he was cutting, until Hart’s music hit. The crowd erupted and continued to scream as his music continued to play.
However, when it stopped, it was Michaels who had the last laugh. He did so again when it played a second time, and the fans hated him even more for teasing their hero would come back.
But what if he did? What would it have looked like if Bret Hart had returned to the WWE and rekindled his rivalry with Shawn Michaels in the summer of 2005?
(For the purpose of this article, we’ll have to pretend that Bret Hart was actually cleared to wrestle. However, we’ll give Hart a one year timeframe to wrestle in before he retires for good, before his Hall of Fame induction in 2006.
Bret Hart WWE Return In 2005
Shawn Michaels looks shocked in the ring as Bret Hart’s music hits. The crowd erupts as the first iconic notes of his theme song blare through the speaker.
Finally, The Hitman steps through the curtain. WWE fans have not seen him since the Montreal Screwjob in 1997 and he is welcomed back like a king.
Bret Hart steps in the ring and stands across from Shawn Michaels. The crowd is insatiable but the tension is palpable.
Both these men hate each other. That much is clear. Michaels looks shocked.
Bret Hart reveals to Michaels he’s been brought back into the WWE to be the enforcer of the match between Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels.
Everyone knows about Hart’s past and doesn’t think he’ll be able to step into the ring again. This is the next best thing for the fans, who will see him inside the ring again even if he cannot wrestle.
This leads to Summerslam 2005. The match goes as it did in real life. Michaels oversells Hogan’s offence, much to the shock of the fans and Hogan himself. Hart is at ringside and interferes during a ref bump, hitting Michaels with a chair and giving Hulk Hogan the win.
This gives Michaels the chance to not lose clean and hands Hogan the win. Both men walk out happy and fans get to see Hart again.
Many will be upset that Bret Hart didn’t wrestle Shawn Michaels at Summerslam in this hypothetical. However, that would happen at a much more significant event for the duo.
Shawn Michaels Goads Bret Hart Into A Match
Between Summerslam and Survivor Series, Shawn Michaels remains a heel. Bret Hart is appointed as an authority figure and thwarts him at every turn.
Whenever the Heartbreak Kid cheats to win a match, Hart is there to overturn it. If he tries to weasle his way out a match, Hart is there to stop him. The Hitman hasn’t locked him in the Sharpshooter yet, as we’re saving that for a big moment later on.
After months and months of this, HBK has had enough. He begins to target members of the Hart family. He attacks all Bret’s siblings and insults Stu Hart. He goes to the Hart Dungeon to mock the family. WWE even sign Teddy Hart for a one off match against Michaels.
Eventually, Bret Hart snaps and agrees to wrestle Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series. Eight years after he last wrestled in the WWE, Hart was stepping into the ring for the ultimate revenge against his eternal rival.
The match can be a short one, owing to Hart’s ring rust and injury record. While we’re pretending he is cleared to wrestle, we can pretend the pain he has suffered over the years didn’t happen – just that he is well enough to wrestle a real match.
The pair wrestle a good match, with Bret Hart winning. He locks the Sharpshooter onto Shawn Michaels in the middle of the ring and we finally get the visual of the Showstopper tapping out to the infamous move on the anniversary of the Montreal Screwjob.
Now, Shawn Michaels can learn some humility, apologise for the Screwjob and turn face again.
The rivalry between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels had come to a close, but we’ve got Bret Hart until Wrestlemania 21. So what’s next?
What Next for Bret Hart
After Bret Hart got revenge against Shawn Michaels, we want to build up to a big match at WrestleMania. We don’t want him wrestling much in this time, so he’ll only take part in two matches between Survivor Series and WrestleMania.
The Hitman continues to be the authority figure on Raw. However, he’s much more neutral and no longer targets Shawn Michaels. In fact, the two begin to get along, which will be important later.
The first of the two matches will be the 2005 Royal Rumble. Hart can enter around number 15 as a surprise entrance to pop the crowd. He can spend 10 minutes in the match, facing off with wrestler’s like Chris Benoit. Eddie Guerrero and John Cena. Having a little moment with each of them.
However, he’s dumped out of the match by Kurt Angle. This would be to set up a match between the two at Wrestlemania 21. Bastista would still win the match and go on to the main event of Wrestlemania, but a few things would be different.
Bret Hart vs Kurt Angle is the big match for the show. Kurt Angle has talked about trying to bring him out of retirement for that very match and it would surely be a technical classic from two of the all-time greats.
Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels can wrestle somebody like Booker T, as the former WCW Champion was only wrestling on the pre-show.
Before that, we’d have a big tag team match at No Way Out 2005. Bret Hart will team with Shawn Michaels to take on Kurt Angle and Booker T, which would not only set up their Wrestlemania matches, but also put the two legends together one last time.
After wrestling Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 21, Bret Hart would retire and accept his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. The Montreal Screwjob would be all sown up, and he could have his final farewell in front of the fans.
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