WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has revealed that he believes Bret Hart should have been the highest-paid superstar in WWE.
Bret Hart was an integral part of the WWE roster during the 1990’s. He flew the flag for the company from the end of the days of Hulkamania through to the beginnings of what would become known as the Attitude Era.
‘The Hitman’ captured the WWE Championship on no less than five occasions during a legendary run in the promotion that fans still look back on as one of the greatest of all time.
In 1996, he took some time away from the squared-circle after his WrestleMania 12 loss to on-screen and real-life rival Shawn Michaels. There were rumours during his absence – which came at a time when his WWE deal was coming to an end – that he had been offered a contract with WWE’s main competition, WCW.
Jim Ross spoke about this period on his Grilling JR podcast [available on AdFreeShows.com], saying that Bret Hart “felt he had great worth”, something the legendary commentator wouldn’t disagree with.
“Bret felt he had great worth. He felt like he should have been paid more, and I’m not disagreeing with that, quite frankly. He should have been the highest-paid guy in WWE by far. He was the most valuable player in WWE at that time by far, so to me, it was not a hard decision. But, also, I’m not looking at the books. I’m not looking at Vince’s accounting and so forth and so on.”
Ross went on to explain that losing Hart would have hit live events ticket sales hard.
“Losing Bret would have been a big hit on the live events and even though today live events are not of huge consequence, it seems like, because of the rights fees and so forth and the promotions getting their money in a different source, Bret was always that staple that drew houses. He was big on the live event tours and sold tickets and made money for the company.”
After several months away, Bret Hart decided to stay with WWE, and famously signed a twenty-year deal with the company. However, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was forced to cancel the agreement the next year. This led to Hart leaving WWE for WCW and, before his exit, the infamous Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1997.
Hart eventually began working with WWE again in 2005, and was inducted into their Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2006.
H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the above transcription.