Bret Hart has discussed former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan saying he has great respect for Bryan for not wrestling on WWE shows in Saudi Arabia, saying he doesn’t know if he’d have done the same thing.
WWE began running shows in Saudi Arabia in 2014, returning in the following years to run live events in the country. The company’s relationship with the Kingdom resulted in a ten-year partnership that sees WWE run massive events that air on the WWE Network globally.
The first of these shows was the Greatest Royal Rumble held in April 2018 in the King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah. As the name suggests the main event of that show was a fifty-man Royal Rumble won by Braun Strowman. Daniel Bryan did take part in this show, entering the Rumble at number one and lasting an incredible one hour, sixteen minutes, and five seconds in the match before being eliminated by the runner-up, Big Cass.
WWE came in for criticism in some quarters for their relationship with Saudi Arabia. This increased after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents. One month after that event WWE returned to Saudi Arabia for their Crown Jewel show, notable for it being Shawn Michaels’ first match since retiring in 2010. Daniel Bryan was not at that event and has not worked any show held in Saudi Arabia since. The BBC reported at the time that both Bryan and John Cena had pulled out of the Crown Jewel show, possibly because of Khashoggi’s death – although no confirmation of that has been made.
Bret Hart gave his thoughts on that situation, saying that although he admires Bryan not wrestling in Saudi Arabia, the riches on offer might have been too tempting for the Hitman to turn down.
Speaking at an Inside The Ropes Live event in October 2019, Bret Hart stated:
“I have a lot of respect for Daniel Bryan, who didn’t go. I don’t know that I would have gone, I don’t know that I wouldn’t have. It’s a lot of money, three million dollars to a pro wrestler, especially Goldberg, who went there and wrestled for 10 minutes. And, you know, it’s a big paycheck. So, I mean, I guess if someone offered me the same thing, I don’t know if I would have turned it down or I would have accepted it.”
Bret Hart also discussed his career-ending injury at the hands of an errant kick from Goldberg in 1999. Hart says the former NFL player had cost him an astronomical sum of money having ended Hart’s career.