Bobby Heenan's Salary Didn't Reflect His "Greatest Color Commentator Ever" Status

With the recent passing of Bobby Heenan many have come out and said that The Brain was not only the greatest manager of all time, but also the greatest color commentator of all time.

But according to some numbers unearthed by Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Bobby Heenan wasn't being paid like he was the greatest color commentator of all time.

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These figures come from Jesse Ventura's lawsuit against the WWE, detailing how much announcers were paid during the late 80s and early 90s.

As the first ever "heel" color commentator, Jesse Ventura earned $133,317 in 1987, $142,902 in 1988, $181,914 in 1989 and $128,468 in 1990. Ventura then jumped ship to WCW, where he began earning over $300,000 a year.

Gorilla Monsoon, meanwhile, earned $262,712 in 1987, $228,800 in 1988, $231,611 in 1989 and $231,611 in 1990, but it should be noted that those figures also include salary from his front office duties as well as prelim money from all house shows.

Like Monsoon, Bobby Heenan also pulled double duty in '87 and '88, working as both a commentator and a manager, but he wasn't paid as much as Monsoon. The Brain pulled down $195,864 in 1987 and $206,590 in 1988. His salary then overtook Monsoon's, as he earned $235,755 in 1989 and $240,000 in 1990. Heenan signed a deal worth a guaranteed $275,000 salary starting in 1991.

Interestingly enough, the member of the WWF announce team that earned the most during that time was one of Heenan's greatest foils, "Mean" Gene Okerlund, who earned $367,923 in 1987, $324,975 in 1988, $309,639 in 1989 and $330,539 in 1990. The discrepancy between Okerlund and the other talent was due to his travelling more, conducting local interviews with the wrestlers on the road.

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