The 1997 WWF Survivor Series saw WWF World Champion Bret Hart defend his title against long-time rival Shawn Michaels. The match did not go as planned when, in the waning moments, Michaels had Hart in his Sharpshooter submission hold, and the bell for the match to end came out of nowhere. Hart had not tapped to the move but still lost, as WWF President Vince McMahon ran to ringside and demanded referee Earl Hebner declare Michaels the winner.
Following the match, Hart spit on McMahon’s face, signaled he was headed to WCW, and later punched McMahon backstage. The whole ordeal has been dubbed The Montreal Screwjob, as it took place in Hart’s home country of Canada and in front of his fellow countrymen. In a recent interview with WrestlingNewsCo, Hebner was asked if he has spoken to Hart since that infamous night.
“I have another shirt, a ref merch shirt that says ‘Damn right. I did,’ And a lot of people want me to say it. ‘Can you write on it I screwed Bret?’ I go, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ A while back maybe three or four years ago, I would do it, but Bret and I made up. Before my brother passed, we were at a house show or indie show, and he was there, and he called us to the ring.
“He put us over like big time, and so, now, Bret calls me now and then, and I’ll call him and, and we got a good relationship back, and I’m not gonna screw it up by writing something on a dumb ass shirt that’s going to destroy our friendship.”
In recent years, Hebner has made infrequent appearances as a referee, notably for AEW, NWA, and Impact Wrestling, which he still has a relationship with.