I know you have shot down "Montreal work" conspiracies and I agree with you that what happened was real (Vince changing the finish) but I one question concerning it:
In storyline terms it did make sense for Vince to come out and screw Bret as from late 1996 and on WWF was making it known Vince was the owner (Showing him on camera breathe a sigh of relief when Bret said he was staying rather than go to WCW)
And in 1997 Bret shoved Vince after the cage match on Raw leading up to WM13 and later on that summer they got into a scuffle at the announcers table when Owen and Bulldog had to hold Bret back.
Even if Bret had stayed, it seemed like they were setting up Vince for some kind of retribution against either or both Bret Hart & Steve Austin. They were the only two wrestlers ever shown getting physical with Vince.
It seems like Vince had been dropping hints at the Mr. Mcmahon character for about a year prior and Montreal was just the perfect time for him to turn into the evil authority figure. Is that fair to say?
up, it just happened to be one of the greatest happenstances in wrestling, absolutely. One of the latest Observers has a whole story on amazing timing and luck just like that one, although clearly Montreal worked out to be the biggest bit of luck like that, maybe ever.