WRESTLING icon Bret "The Hitman" Hart was so consumed with hate that he feared strangling rival Shawn Michaels to death for several years.
Raging Bret confessed that he would never have been able to control his actions and loathing if he met Shawn following the infamous Montreal Screw Job, which saw WWE boss Vince McMahon remove him as champ without a submission.
Canadian Bret, 64, revealed his fury exploded backstage after the infamous 1997 match knocking out Vince leaving him with a broken right hand.
Bret failed to recover from feeling "huge betrayal" after helping the then-named WWF keep ratings during their famous TV war with rivals WCW.
And Bret and Shaw admitted their screen tension was real as both ego-filled men pushed to prove they were the best in the business during the 1990s.
Bret revealed: "We started out pretending to be real and then it got real."
Their feud hit fever pitch when Vince handed Bret’s WWE Championship title to Shawn even though he didn’t lose the Montreal match.
Vince insists he had no option because Bret was leaving for a bigger contract with rivals WCW and Shawn, in on the plan, denied everything.
Bret, speaking on new A&E documentary WWE Rivals, feared his anger and disdain at his treatment almost became criminal.
He said: "It really bothered me even when I was in WCW. I was obsessed with it.
"I remember being in a WCW show, where we were both in the same town and I went to my room and stayed in my room, so that I would not bump into him.
"I feared if I bumped into Shawn, like he'd walked into the same elevator as me, I'm not exaggerating. I tell you there is a possibility I would have killed him with my bare hands."
Bret’s temper had not cooled since he lost the title at the Survivor Series pay-per-view at the Molson Centre on November 9, 1997.
'HE CROSSED THE LINE'
On camera he spat in the eyes of owner Vince, before going further in the dressing room
Bret recalled: "What he did was a huge betrayal. Vince and me walked towards each other like two wrestlers. It wasn't just me going towards him and attacking a man - it was an accepted fight.
"I hit Vince with a right-hand punch - a knockout punch. It broke my hand."
While Shawn pretended to be unaware of the plan, then “arrogant and immature” had fuelled tensions for years with on and off-screen disses at his rival.
Vince lost it when Shawn hinted on TV he’d cheated on his wife with valet Sunny Days.
Bret continued: "The Sunny Days (claim) that was supposed to have happened - never happened.
“He crossed the line that nobody should ever cross. Those are the kind of things that could topple my marriage.
“When I came home the next day my son Dallas, who'd been at school, said: 'What is going on with you and Sunny?”
The intensity and secret fights and new admission of the iconic grapplers features in an upcoming TV show WWE Rivals.
In a leaked early copy of the show, we can reveal the depths of their hatred.
Shawn, 56, confessed that his "immaturity" and "hot-headedness” meant he was uninterested in making friends.
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Even the pinnacle of their fights - an incredible one-hour March 1996 Wrestlemania Iron Man Match - was overshadowed by trouble.
Bret was livid at being treated poorly by Shawn, who early on in their career were friends hanging out at family gatherings.
After Shawn took the title from his rival, what should have been a celebration of high-flying action between the men turned into tension.
Bret moaned: "Shawn right on camera was telling me to get the F out of the ring.
"And he was yelling at the referee, who comes over and tells me to get out of the ring.
"I gave you an hour match, passed the torch to you and you disrespected me on my way out.”
Shawn recalled nothing of that moment calling his victory a "blur".
The pair only spoke again in the late Noughties after mutual friend and wrestler TJ Wilson urged them to reconcile.
WWE Raw aired their March 2010 reunion, which Bret says audiences saw a "real discussion" on stage in front of fans.
Bret said: "He hugged me and said I am so sorry. To have that lifted off was the best thing."
Shawn admitted he was out of control during those days: "I was absolute hell to deal with.
"I was just so passionate about doing this and was not going to be happy unless I could fulfill absolutely everything."
A&E reunited the pair, with Bret admitting their Wrestlemania match was a high point of his career.
He continued: "I look back on it as a match I am proud of. I thought it was monumental.
"Honestly I don't know if I could have done it with anybody else for all the differences he and I had after that."
WWE Rivals’ new series premieres on Sunday, July 10 at 10pm ET/PT.