Behind the scenes details regarding a real-life fight between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart

In June of 1997, WWE television rivals Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels got into a real-life backstage fight at a RAW event in Hartford, Connecticut. The altercation allegedly began when Hart confronted Michaels over comments Michaels publicly made about Hart’s personal life. Each man shared their own version of what allegedly happened during the confrontation in their respective autobiographies.

Here was Bret’s version…

At about 6 pm, I went into the bathroom to gel my hair before going per lie hall to tape interviews. I was surprised to see Shawn’s reflection go by me in the mirror. I could see he was uptight, so I smiled and casually said, “Hey Shawn…”

He cut me off. “Fuck you! You haven’t talked to me in over a fucking year, what makes you think I’m gonna talk to you now?”

Even though I had hair gel all over my hands, I was primed to go back to my original plan, but Shawn vanished through the doorway, past Crush, who was lacing his boots up and heard the whole thing.

I set out to find Shawn, but he was gone. I paced around the backstage arena until Owen [Hart], Davey [Boy Smith], Jim [Neidhart] and [Brian] Pillman came to find me.

“I know Shawn’s watching from somewhere, waiting for me to leave this soon,” I said. “I’ll bet you the second I walk out of here, he’ll walk in. All his stuff in here. Watch.” I crossed the hall, walked into the interview me and cracked open the door to peek back out into the hall. Shawn strode me into the dressing room. He was bent over fixing his boots when I marched straight up to him.

I pushed him to his feet. “You got something to say to me?”

He flicked a weak punch at me and missed. Balancing awkwardly on my good leg, I popped him on the chin, rocking him on his heels. He came for me, so I grabbed him by his long mane and pretended I was doing a hammer throw at the Olympics. I was dragging him around the room when a hysterical Pat [Patterson] and a frantic Lawler ran in and jumped on top of me. Unable to pry me off, Pat shouted for the other wrestlers to help, but Owen and Crush no intention of saving Shawn.

Here was Shawn’s version…

On June 9, we had a television taping in Hartford. I was in the dressing room when he came up to me sand said, “I just want to say…” I cut him off before he could finish. “Don’t talk to me. You haven’t said a word to me for three weeks. If you can’t talk to me for three weeks, I don’t want to talk to you now. I don’t think Bret was used to people talking like that to him. About five minutes later, I was turning around to get some gear out of my bag and I felt somebody push me from behind, I turned around and Bret asked, “What’s your fucking problem?”

“You!” I yelled.

He tried to punch me, but I peeled back and he missed. He pushed me again, and this time I stood up. He swung again and missed. The next thing I knew, he went for a double leg dive, I caught him around the upper body and we went straight back through a piece of paneling. We had each other in front face locks when Pat Patterson and Davey Boy came over and grabbed us. Pat was yelling, “Come on, you guys!” I let go and Bret yanked a handful of my hair off my head. That hurt like heck, but I didn’t retaliate. The fight was over.

I went storming into Vince’s office and told him, “I’m out of here, this is b.s.!” I saw Aldo Montoya–who later wrestled here as Justin Credible-and asked him if he’d give me a ride back to my hotel. He wasn’t working that night, so he took me. I missed the show and flew home the next day.

During a shoot interview, Jim Cornette commented on the fight from a third-party perspective…