As part of his continued promotion of WWE Network’s Undertaker: The Last Ride, Mark Calaway appeared on two of the most popular shows in the podcasting game this week - The Ringer’s The Bill Simmons Podcast and Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take.
On the former, Taker addressed the ultimate work/shoot controversy. What did the Dead Man have to say about The Montreal Screwjob, the infamous incident at Survivor Series in 1997 where Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels & others plotted to take the WWF championship off Bret Hart as he was leaving for WCW?
“I was pissed. I was pissed about the whole thing because I was like, I could have possibly been used to get what we needed. Take Shawn out of this, let me do it and then I’ll do business on the other side and I think Bret probably would have went for that. I mean there was such disdain at that time between the two of them and Bret was leaving but I was just like, if you had come to me with this too, and it’s his company and he did what he thought what was best, but I was like ‘I think I could’ve helped this whole thing out’. I’m going to do business, but it happened, and I was really pissed.
“The next day, we were supposed to show up by noon for a TV day and I think I rolled it around 5 the next day because I didn’t know because I was so pissed about the whole thing and the way it went down. I had to really gather myself because I was, my intentions when I got there was like ‘I’m going off on somebody about this’.”
Simmons doesn’t press him for much clarification*, but it seems Calaway is saying he could have gotten Bret to agree to drop the belt to him at the PPV, then lost it to HBK soon thereafter.
It was obviously a painful situation for Taker. He found himself between two friends he respected a great deal in McMahon and Hart, and in a situation he felt he could have navigated the company through as the locker room leader if he’d only been given a chance.
That ends up being the main point he decides to communicate to Vince, too - once he calmed down:
“Look, if this kind of shit happens again, you gotta involve me here, because it doesn’t have to go down like this.”
It’s an interesting conversation all around, even if shoot Taker still feels a little strange. But if he keeps doing two hour podcast interviews, I guess we’ll all get used to it soon enough.
* You’ll find plenty of Bill Simmons haters online, but I’m not one of them. I’m more former fan who is now agnostic about The Sports Guy. But I will say the man is gonna get his $#!+ in, and here he was more interested in selling Taker on his (not wrong) theory that the Screwjob is the best thing that could have happened to the then-WWF than he was in making sure the audience understood what the Dead Man was saying.