Bret Hart in the ring
Explained: The Infamous Montreal Screwjob
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart's relationship was fine until 1993, after which the rising popularity of Michaels started rubbing vets like Hart the wrong way.
HBK & Hart Pre-Rivalry
In 1996, after Michaels won the WWE Championship from Hart, animosity was cemented when the HBK told the referee to get Hart's "a** out of the ring," leaving Hart none too pleased.
With the growing success of Hart as well as WWE as a company, the relationship between him and Vince McMahon grew strong, with Hart describing it as "fatherly."
Bret and Vince
Their relationship was cordial even when Hart's WWE contract was nearing its end and only soured following his exit. Presently, Hart has only good things to say about McMahon.
After losing many other superstars to his fiercest rival WCW, McMahon didn't want to lose Hart. To keep Hart in the fold, he was offered a 20-year-long contract.
Re-signing in 1996
Hart re-signed with WWE and went on to recapture the WWE Championship from the Undertaker thanks to an unintentional assist from the guest referee of the match, Shawn Michaels.
Amid financial perils and competition, McMahon told Hart that WWE couldn't afford to honor his 20-year contract and offered to help him negotiate a deal with WCW.
Vince Backs Out
Despite wanting to stay, Hart agreed to join WCW but refused to drop his title to Shawn Michaels before leaving. This forced McMahon to think creatively for a smooth transition.
Finally, it was agreed upon that the WWE Championship match between Hart and Michaels at Survivor Series 1997 Montreal would result in a double disqualification.
Match in Montreal
During the match, Michaels delivers a submission hold on Hart as planned, but McMahon had set up the referee to "ask" Hart if he would give up and then ring the bell immediately.