Kayfabe Commentaries recently released another “Guest Booker” featuring Bruce Prichard, former right hand man to Vince McMahon in the WWE and former Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. I’ve got to tell you off the break that this KC Guest Booker with Bruce Prichard is a must own as it tackles rewriting history. The history in question comes from one infamous night of November 9th 1997 at Survivor Series where Bret Hart was screwed out of the WWF championship by Vince McMahon. The Montreal Screwjob as many dubbed the event is still talked about to this day some 20 years later!

KC Guest Booker with Bruce Prichard begins with he and host Sean Oliver going through the motions leading up to that infamous night of intense negotiations Vince McMahon, Bruce and Pat Patterson where experiencing with Bret as they were trying to prepare for Wrestlemania. They knew that Stone Cold Steve Austin was big money waiting to happen and they wanted to capitalize. Mike Tyson was in jail but was due for release shortly and they knew he’d play a vital role in the story angle they had playing out with Austin vs Shawn Michaels who at the time was white hot with D-Generation X. Sean Michaels was at a point where he was going to be walking away come the night after Wrestlemania so it was very vital to have Shawn be in place as the WWF champion heading into Wrestlemania 14 against Steve Austin. We’re talking about angles and rivalries here that’s been laid out a few months in advance but first things first…Taking the title off of Bret Hart to set up this domino effect.

At the time WWF had in place a very lucrative contract with Bret Hart estimated at around $20 million for 20 years! There was a lot of money given to Bret upfront as part of the deal and he had a “Creative Control Clause” in his contract. It basically stated Bret had final say in the way his character would be portrayed but this would be something that would hurt the company in retrospect. More on that in a bit folks. The company was getting its butt kicked by WCW in the TV ratings despite having good PPVs and house shows. Vince and crew found themselves to be in a position where suddenly the amount of money they were paying Bret wasn’t looking too good. Not to mention Bret was starting to slow down and was talking about retirement in a few years. Vince encouraged Bret to see what the no.2 company at the time (WCW) could offer him since over there Ted Turner had a open check book. Sean asked Bruce if there was any other way to restructure Bret’s deal and make him take a lower pay. Bruce’s argument was that at the time it wasn’t an option but stressed maybe it should have been in retrospect but at the time there really wasn’t a restructure option.

 

It turns out originally Bret was going to drop the strap to Shawn at Survivor Series without a fight but then changed his mind since it was going to be in Canada. Bret wanted to look strong in front of his fellow Canadians. Options were discussed like why not have Bret just cough up the title the next night on Monday Night Raw by handing it over to Vince McMahon. The company’s position was they couldn’t risk Bret going over to WCW never being defeated for the WWF title because he could then been dubbed as the champion that was never defeated, so that option was off the table. You’re probably now saying to yourself well why not have Bret lose the title in a match the night after Survivor Series, right? They explored that option as well as according to Prichard that wasn’t going to work because the payoff was better to do on pay-per-view so that wasn’t an option. It had to be at Survivor Series with a return match happening at Royal Rumble to then setup Bret being out of the title picture afterwards and having one last match at Wrestlemania to wrap up his time in the company as his contracting would expire around that time.

For those wondering if this was all fake to setup the evil Mr. McMahon character and make Bret look very strong, sorry but that’s conspiracy talk. Bruce Prichard revealed that McMahon never wanted to be an on-screen character. He only wanted to be the guy at the announce booth and interviewing folks. Everyone knew he was the owner of the company and didn’t like how he tried to come off naive sometimes as it rubbed many the wrong way. Almost as if he was some type of an arrogant pick without really rubbing it in your face. Not to mention it was Vince’s call to allow the Wrestling with Shadows documentary team to follow Bret around and interview other talent because this was to be a movie to be released in Canada, not nationwide. Who’d have thought? Keeping all that in mind let’s get back to the talk of Montreal 1997 as Vince and crew are at a stalemate with Bret yet conversations leading up to the match would continue. Not to bore with the details but we all know what happened that night as Bruce recalled how he worked the gorilla position with Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart when he saw Bret screwed. Bruce had no idea Vince was going to screw Bret because he wasn’t in on the conversations for that day or the weeks leading up to the event. By process of elimination he would say that Shawn Michaels, Earl Hebner, Vince McMahon and maybe a few people in upper management knew what was going to happen but he didn’t. By Prichard’s recollection he, McMahon, Gerald Brisco, Sgt. Slaughter and Shane McMahon went to the locker room to find Bret. When they did find him they had the locker room cleared. Bret told Vince he was going to take his shower and talk afterwards. After Bret’s shower the two men briefly exchanged words and Bret punched Vince in the face and that was the end of what was a great working relationship up to this point.

 

Rewriting history! Chapter Three of KC Guest Booker with Bruce Prichard is where it gets interesting. This is where we get great insight from the mind of Prichard and see first hand his skills as a booker and writer in changing history for Bret and not having him be screwed that night in 1997. It turns out at around this time WWF / E were very close to bringing back Hulk Hogan who was white hot in WCW with the N.W.O. Hogan reached out to see what type of deal he could get as he and WWE were going back and fourth on many nights well into the midnight hour. They were very close on working out a deal but it never happened because Hogan was ultimately very comfortable making the amount of money he was in WCW without barely working. Had Hogan returned this is how Prichard would have laid out the next several weeks leading into Wrestlemania 14:

Survivor Series 1997

-Bret Hart retains WWF championship over Shawn Michaels

-Steve Austin vs Owen Hart (still intact as previously as his feud with the Hart Foundation continues to the Royal Rumble)

-Next night on RAW we see Shawn Michaels rub it in everyone’s face how he should have been the new champion. Bret comes out to go back and fourth with Shawn on the mic. Cue up Hulk Hogan’s music as he cuts a promo on them saying how he’s the real champion and that he’s been the only one to legitimize it and that he’s back to reclaim it once again because the company needs a real man’s champion as opposed to little boys. Somewhere in the mix of all this you see hints that Hogan could be joining DX and ultimately it does happen.

Royal Rumble 1998

-Bret Hart loses WWF championship to Hulk Hogan

-Steve Austin resolves feud with Hart Foundation by winning Royal Rumble

 

Wrestlemania 14

-Steve Austin defeats Hulk Hogan to become WWF champion (DX and Mike Tyson still in place with Mike Tyson turning on Hogan)

-Undertaker defeats Bret Hart thus giving Bret a proper sendoff if he doesn’t stay with WWF.

-Triple H defeats Shawn Michales which sets up Shawn getting kicked out of DX. Shawn still makes his exit from the company as originally planned.

-Next on RAW Triple H and DX beat up Hulk Hogan because he couldn’t get the job done at Wrestlemania. Hogan is off TV for a few months but comes back as a face to feud with them again. Had Bret stayed with WWF / E then he would have found himself feuding with members of DX while still being in the title picture. Maybe even an alliance with Hulk Hogan?

 

Folks this is only one scenario laid out by Bruce Prichard as there’s another scenario he went through as well but I’d highly recommend you check out the KC Guest Booker with Bruce Prichard DVD to see how all that comes about. Overall I’d have to say that this was a very insightful DVD that brilliantly walked us through very great what if scenarios while also giving you new appreciation for the creative / booking process. Bruce Prichard proves to me at least in my mind that he is really good at he does. So much so that I’m amazed TNA Wrestling didn’t fight harder to keep him on board as they really could have used his help. TNA Wrestling never fully put trust in his ability in which he explains in great detail why he met such resistance. Other honorable mentions include working with Frankie Prince, humbled beginnings, booking vs creative, Terry Taylor as the Red Rooster, CM Punk and much, much more! This has to be one of the top 5 wrestling DVD’s of this calendar year that I’ve enjoyed so far as I’ve already watched it three times. High replay value here folks as it’s that damn good!

KC Guest Booker with Bruce Prichard DVD gets a 10 / 10!

Buy your copy today by CLICKING HERE

Lee Sanders
Host & Producer of The RCWR Show with Lee Sanders
Head writer for Enfinity1Productions