Jim Ross: Bret Hart Should Have Been The Highest-Paid Guy In WWE
Hart was worth it to the company
At the peak of Bret Hart's popularity in the autumn of 1996, WWE re-signed The Excellence Of Execution to an unprecedented 20-year contract. Hart had received a three-year $9 million offer from Eric Bischoff and WCW but the five-time WWF Champion, feeling a sense of loyalty to Vince McMahon, opted to rejoin WWE.
Hart would then return to WWE TV on the October 21, 1996, episode of Monday Night Raw and confirm he had re-signed with the company.
Speaking about the Raw episode on Grilling JR, Jim Ross noted Hart should have been the "highest-paid guy in WWE by far" at the time.
"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," JR said.
Ross then reflected on Hart's worth to the company and how The Hitman helped move live event tickets.
"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," JR added.
Almost immediately after Hart put pen to paper on the 20-year deal, Vince McMahon appeared to have buyer's remorse and he told The Excellence Of Execution that WWE couldn't honour the contract in mid-1997 and encouraged him to negotiate with WCW. Hart subsequently signed a three-year deal with Ted Turner's company and he infamously left WWE following the Montreal Screwjob.
H/T to Sportskeeda