Legit. Aside from Hogan, Rock, Austin ? He may be. He was always bigger in the States than HBK and Taker in the 90s. Even when Vince tried other things, the one constant was Bret, he kept going back to him over and over (before the attitude era, and titles switched like crazy, he was the only 5 time world champ along with Hogan). All the kiddies these days who appreciate work rate over foolish gimmicks, need to understand he was the very first to do it on skill alone, he paved the way. He laid the foundation for people like HBK, Benoit, and Angle to have success in the main event scene.
He was far bigger in Canada and internationally than almost anyone, many wrestling folk have said he was as big, if not bigger overseas than Hogan. That is a massive accomplishment that sometimes goes overlooked.
When his DVD was released in 05', it outsold every other DVD WWE ever did.
His name, for better or worse, is still associated with perhaps the most infamous match of all time.
He is still the only wrestle to appear on The Simpson's, when it was in its heyday, and one of the most cultural and dominate shows on TV.
He is certainly more of a household name than someone like Shawn Micheals or Eddie etc...who most wouldnt know unless they at least casually watched WWE. Bret Hart seems to be more causally known for sure.
His book outsold HBKs and Flairs and many others. It all counts.
Then theres the fact he hasnt really wrestled in a WWE ring since 1997, or had a real run I mean, 24 years! Yet his name constantly comes up in amongst wrestling legend. He didnt have the benefit of an additional 8 year run for a whole new generation like HBK, yet still seems to be considered a tier above to many. Even younger fans of the 2000s. I cant even imagine if he could have had 5 or 6 more years and could wrestle Rock, Jericho, Angle, Eddie etc...he might very well have been undoubtedly known as the best ever then.
His matches age like fine wine. In a world of no selling and flips, his excellent work and the absolute mastercraft of this sport almost seems even more appreciated now. He was a true artist.
What a fuckin legend!