Re: If Shawn Michaels went to WCW would he have been used as badly as Bret Hart?
Shawn signed his contract in early 1996. He asked for nobody to be paid higher than him except for the Undertaker. Shawn signed for $750,000 a year.
Later that year, there was a bidding war for Bret, and Bret signed the $1.5 mil per wrestling yr, 20 yr deal. This made Shawn livid. Vince told Shawn that he was under the gun, and WCW was offering Bret mega money (which we would later find out was for $2.8 mil a year, which would have made him the second highest paid man in WCW - presuming that Hulk made more. Bret would have been making about $1.6 mil a year more than Sting, who was the second highest paid man at the time! Insane).
WCW also made all types of other concessions, like getting Hall & Nash to waive their clauses in their contracts that said that new signees wouldn't be paid more than them. And also having Flair & Hogan call and court Bret.
What's funny is that though Shawn was mad that Bret was being paid more, it looks like Vince was paying Bret more all along. Bret mentioned that he was making just under $1 million a yr before that 1996 contract.
Anyway, early '96 was the time that Shawn could have gone to WCW on a clean break, but I think it's clear that they didn't offer him the mega money like they did Bret. Or Shawn would have been making much higher.
What's also interesting is that Bret almost left for the WCW in 1993 (Bret said that he had no intention of really doing so, but knew that Vince would take it seriously enough to rewrite his contract. He had been making $400,000 a yr before that). This is when he was able to gain control over the Hitman name and character from Vince, and have that written into his contract.
As for the 1996 deal, Bret would have earned $8.4 mil from the WCW in three years (working a lot less than he would have in the WWF. 125 days a year in the WCW, compared to 300 days a yr in the WWF). The WWF deal was this:
$1.5 mil a yr for 3 years to wrestle
$500,000 a yr for the next 7 years as one of Vince's senior advisers [so now we're up to $8 mil over 10 yrs]
$250,000 a yr for the next 10 yrs to continue working for the company as an ambassador [so now we're up to $10.5 mil over 20 yrs]
Basically, Bret could have made almost the same amount of money working in the WCW for 3 yrs, as opposed to working for the WWF for 20 yrs (with a heavier schedule). He still chose the WWF. By doing so, it also presumably would have lessened Bret's earning potential down the line, as one would think that he could re-sign with the WCW after those three yrs and make even more money (which he ended up doing once he did go to the WCW. In early '99, he signed a two yr extension with WCW, for the same amount of money they were already paying him. So he was to make $2.5 mil a yr for 5 yrs = $12.5 mil over 5 yrs. Think about that, as compared to Vince's $10.5 mil over 20 yrs).
When Shawn really threatened to go over to the WCW was when Shawn found out about Bret's contract. The way Shawn was to be able to get out of his contract, was because he had had that physical fight with Bret, and had his lawyers threaten to sue for breach of contract, because it was an unsafe work environment. This would have provided the out for Shawn to go to the WCW. Shawn told Vince that he was miserable, and that Bret shouldn't be making more than he was. He asked to be released from his contract (with the fact that he could sue to be let out, in his back pocket).
Vince told him that he'd be completely miserable in the WCW, and that they wouldn't know what to do with Shawn. Shawn kept making it a point that he was really pissed about Bret's contract, and felt insulted by it. He kept asking Vince for more money. This is when Vince told Shawn not to worry about Bret's contract; that he would be ending it soon.
Again, I wonder, if the fact that Bret's money was becoming a talking point for Vince's other major talent(s), was a concern for Vince. I really do think this played a part in Vince wanting to end Bret's contract. You know, not wanting to have to start paying the others the same (or having them threaten to create misery because they were not getting paid the same).
On a side note, it sounds like Shawn was pretty serious about this, or at least, wanted to create the impression of seriousness, because he had his dad in on this meeting. Funnily enough, this also happened to be the time when Vince exposed Shawn's drug problem. Vince was like "I think you have a drug addiction problem", and Shawn's dad was taken aback, because he had no clue that Shawn had a drug addiction problem at the time.
Knowing Vince, this was probably a way to try to get Shawn to shut up and stop pestering, though Shawn read it as genuine, fatherly, concern from Vince.
Edited to add: When Bret was to sign that 20 year deal, Vince tried slimy maneuvers like sending over the wrong contract, thinking Bret would somehow be duped into signing it. Bret said that that was the third time this had happened with Vince and contracts. What stuck out to me is that Bret said that he could only reach Linda. This reminds me of the same thing Ultimate Warrior said, but in reverse. He signed a contract with Linda, who was suddenly in charge at the time. Then Vince later would claim he had no knowledge of the contract, as if Linda was just off doing her own thing. This seems to be a common maneuver of the McMahons. They must think that their wrestlers are complete dunces. Well, I guess some of them are.
Last edited by LilOlMe; 04-10-2013 at 08:07 PM.