WWE boss Vince McMahon paid Shawn Michaels his full $750,000 a salary to sit at home for FOUR years, according to Jim Ross.
Back in 1997, HBK infamously relinquished his world title and claimed he'd never wrestle again after citing that he'd lost his smile.
And according to legendary commentator Jim Ross, Michaels struggled to cope with being McMahon's top guy in WWE.
Speaking on 'Grilling JR' last year, he said: “He was volatile. He was polarizing and volatile so anything you heard about Shawn, it was not going to be a total shock.
“You kind of got used to it. But, surrendering the title, I don’t know if he lost his smile because he was injured or lost his smile because he couldn’t handle the pressure.
“He was influenced by outside sources that liked to poke gas on his fire.
Vince loved him. It’s proven. We paid Shawn $750,000 a year for about four years to do nothing because he was Vince’s guy
“I don’t know…So once you get the message of what’s going to happen in the production meeting that morning, it was like, geez, that’s pretty extreme.
“Maybe you give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe something is really wrong. We didn’t know.
“But I always thought his feelings were hurt more than his knee or his back or whatever, and I don’t know exactly why.
“He had a hard time handling and accepting the responsibility of being the top guy in the territory.”
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Less than a year after that bombshell, Michaels really did have to retire for four years due to a combination of injuries and struggles with addiction.
The 55-year-old ultimately made a triumphant return to WWE in 2002 before retiring for a second time following back-to-back WrestleMania matches with the Undertaker in 2010.
And Michaels' comeback was all the more rewarding for McMahon who had kept him on the payroll for all the years he was out of action.
JR added: "Vince loved him. It’s proven. We paid Shawn $750,000 a year for about four years to do nothing because he was Vince’s guy.
"Every time we go over budgets and things, where are we at with the Shawn contract? Nothing, leave it alone. Ok.
“Vince didn’t have to do that. Here’s the deal. All Shawn wanted to do was go work and go play with Kevin (Nash) and Scott Hall.
“So that would have been for WCW nice to get a gift of Shawn Michaels, wouldn’t you think? So he took good care of him.”
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