The Following is an excerpt from Shawn Michael's upcoming biography Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story, scheduled for nationwide release on November 22nd. In this passage from Chapter 23, Shawn Michaels discusses the events that led up to the Survivor Series in 1997.
Chapter 23 - Montreal
I was sky-high the night after Bad Blood. I had perhaps the best match of my career, and Hunter, Chyna, and I were going the christen ourselves D-Generation X (which was Vince Russo's idea) on this evening's Raw. Even the thought of having to work with Bret in the coming weeks at Survivor Series couldn't bring me down. I wasn't going to let him get to me.
From my perspective, I had won the battle with Bret. I was main-eventing Pay-Per-Views while he, as champion, was working Tag Team matches. My confidence was back. There wasn't anything that he was going to do or say that I worried about. People had turned on me because they had heard a lot of untrue stores, many of which were made up by Bret. I never once gave my side, because it seemed so transparent to me, and I was the guy who is talking the loudest and defending himself the most must be hiding something.
Working with Hunter and Chyna was so much fun and I didn't want to ruin that. I also have to give Vince Russo a lot of credit. He came up with some great ideas for us. He helped create a real awesome gimmick where we were doing and saying all the things you want to in real life, but can't beause it isn't nice and you'd get in a lot of trouble. And we were very popular. As Hunter has said, in the fall of 97, DX was the hottest thing in sports entertainment not named Steve Austin.
We were in Kansas City-another sellout, by the way-and Hunter and I were doing an in-ring promo. I asked to see footage of my victory from Badd Blood. Instead, video from the "curtain call" came on. This was done to reinforce the insubordinate image of DX. Bret came out and confronted me, calling me a homeo and a degenerate. (I believe he meant it.) I responded by saying that the only reason Bret was in the main event of Survivor Series was because he was wrestling me. Bret and I were at it again, only this time, our personal animosity towards each other blended perfectly within the storyline we were conducting.
Later that night Hunter beat Bret via countout after I superkicked him while Chyna distracted him. During the match, I started picking my nose with Bret's Candian flag. I really didn't mean to offend anyone. I just figured it would get me extra heat, which it did.
At this point, I really didn't know what the situation with Bret was. My feeling was that Vince wanted to get the title off him. His contract was taxing the company way too much if he wasn't going to be the man. I didn't' know where Steve Austin was in his talks with Vince, I'm sure they already had an idea of where they were going long-range. The ideal situation for Steve was to win the title from a white-hot heel. Bret certainly wasn't one. I, on the other hand, was there. It made sense to me that Vince would want to put the tile on me and have Steve beat me.
All I knew for certain is what I talked about with Vince. I was back into performing and uninterested in the inner workings of what was happening with other guys. I talked to Vince often, but all our discussions concerned created ideas. I was not talking about other guys' business.
A week before Survivor Series I found out Bret was going to WCW. I know Vince suggested Bret go and talk to WCW again. Vince said he would help Bret get a great deal there. Vince was going to give WCW the impression that he was willing to pay Bret even more money, so WCW would up their offer to him. WCW did, and Bret signed with them.
For the last several months, Hunter and I had been speaking to Vince on the phone every Wednesday to go over any creative ideas or concerns we might have. Vince valued our opinions and set aside some time to talk to us. The Wednesday before Survivor Series, we were on our weekly conference call. "Shawn, barring some miraculous change this weekend, we are going to work a DQ. The next night Bret has promised me that he will come out and give up the title. He will go off to WCW< and we can work some sort of tournament or something like that. I'm not comfortable with that, but Bret has given me his work. I feel I can take him at his word. Regardless of the relationship that you and he have, I've always asked him to do business, but he's just not willing to do it for you. I can't change the match with someone else." I asked Vince why he didn't just have Bret drop the title to someone else the following night on Raw. I recall Vince then saying Bret had creative control over his last thirty days. "So it's not really just me, is it? He doesn't want to drop the belt before he leaves?" "No, he doesn't. It would be one thing if it were in the States, but especially in Canada. He doesn't want to do it." "All of Canada is his? We're not in Calgary. What if I didn't want to do any jobs in the United States?" "I know, I know, but that's the situation. He has creative control." There were a few seconds of silence. "I know I'm not supposed to be talking here," it was Hunter. "maybe I'm out of line here, but what kind of business is that? Who in the world says, 'I don't want to drop the belt'? You helped him to get a better deal there and he is leaving. That isn't right. That's b.s. How in the world can you trust him? This is the same guy who while he was off, after dropping the title to Shawn, went behind youu back and negotiated a deal with WCW only to come back and renegotiate a twenty-year way-out-of-bounds contract with you. He has not done good business since, and now he is leaving to get even more money, by you giving them the impression that you wanted to keep him. We have people leaving in the middle of the night and taking their belts and dropping them in trash cans on WCW. [This was in reference to former women's champion Alundra Blayze, who had done that.] We can't afford for that to happen with the World Wrestling Federation Championship!" "There's nothing we can do about that. My hands are tied. What can we do about that?" It was my turn to chime in. "I'll do whatever you want. We'll just take it off him. I'll just swerve him or whatever I have to. You tell me what needs to get done. You and this company have put up with so much from me. My loyalty is here with you. I will do whatever you want." "What are we talking about, Shawn?" "Whatever it takes. If we have to do a fast count or get him in a hold and tell someone to ring the bell, I'll do whatever you want me to do." "That's pretty serious. That has to be a last resort. I still have until Saturday to talk with Bret. That may have to be a real option. This cannot be discussed with anyone. Pat can't know, nobody can know about this but the three of us right now. It's something we will have to talk about." Hunter and I talked when Vince hung up. We both felt that Vince was already thinking about a possible swerve, but he couldn't ask me to do that. I needed to volunteer.Bret Hart will be the guest this Sunday on Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Live, where Dave Meltzer plans to read Bret Hart excerpts from Michael's book dealing with Montreal. The show can be heard live at 8pm this Sunday Night on Sirius Radio Channel 122 or stream the show at sportsbyline.com.