WWF using unsigned talent in a prominent role

Ok, the latest observer mentioned how Barry Windham was working for WWF without signing a contract. Another article I read mentioned Honky Tonk Man working as IC champ on a handshake deal (so possibly not a contract).

Any other big names that had prominent spots over the years without having a contract with WWF? This is kind of fascinating especially when you think about the recent cwc and plans to use some of them in the dusty tag classic…

Contracts worked completely different in the WWF until 1996, when Pillman and Mero became the first guys to actually have a guaranteed yearly income. Up until then, it was more like Vince agreeing to pay a certain amount (something like $1000 a year) and the rest being calculated off the houses and merchandise. That’s why guys jumped so much easier, because legally speaking it was hard to justify anything Vince offered as a legitimate "contract" when it wasn’t actually offering any money. So pretty much EVERYONE up until the 90s was more or less working on a handshake agreement.