Jeff Jarrett

Jeff Jarrett Opens Up On Controversial Re-Negotiation Of His WWE Contract With Jim Ross Back In Late-1990s

A good chunk of time was spent on the debut episode of the new show, ‘My World,’ breaking down the return of Jeff Jarrett to WWE back in 1997/1998, as well as how he re-negotiated his contract with Jim Ross as the company was making a substantial cut in his pay at the time.

During the inaugural installment of his new official podcast, the WWE Hall Of Fame legend reflected at length on the promotion cutting his pay at the time, how he negotiated the terms of the new agreement with “Good Ole’ J.R.,” as he was the Senior Vice President of Talent Relations for WWE at the time, as well as if he would handle things differently if he had to do everything over again today.

Featured below are some detailed highlights of the pro wrestling legend touching on these particular topics during the debut edition of his new program.

On knowing the ‘gloves were off’, so to speak, when WWE told him they were going to cut his pay in 1997/1998: “He wanted to cut my pay from $350,000 to $250,000 after I had a two-year deal, and my downside was because I was taken off the road for a large part of 1997 and early 1998 in that contract year. It was we’re starting a new slate in October, and your downside is gonna be $250,000 as opposed to $350,000……I always really had a problem to go against my nature to go ‘complain’ about pay-offs, but when the contract shift happened into that deal one year, I kind of knew the gloves were off in so many ways. I didn’t let it be known. I didn’t go to the dressing room and bitch and complain and moan about this, but that was a really hard pill to swallow because that was [Jim Ross], ‘Here’s the deal: I’m gonna change it.’ I said, ‘OK, I don’t have a choice because you’re the boss, but I don’t trust you. I don’t trust the hand that’s feeding me.”

On he and Jim Ross re-negotiating his contract at the WWE No Mercy 1999 pay-per-view: “Jim comes to me and said, ‘We’ve done pen to paper and we’re thinking $150,000 will get it all cleaned up.’ I said ‘OK, alright Jim, $150,000 is what you think the number is. You sure?’ We more or less did a head nod, and I said, ‘Jim, let me think on this.’ He said, ‘I’ll be back, and let’s close this deal up.’ However much time transpired – he came back in and sat back down, and I said ‘Jim, remember how you changed the deal on me a year in? I understand all the reasons you did and I respect the hell out of it, but we kind of agreed but we didn’t really agree on 150. I don’t really agree with that right now, and I’ve had time to reflect on my last two years. So, if we’re going to get a deal done, this place [Gund Arena] is sold out and they’ve got a lot of WWE’s money in their box office. So, let’s double that and get me to $300,000 and give me the money out of the Gund Arena’s bank and not WWE’s bank and let’s go to work.”

On J.R. not liking the terms of the deal: “He didn’t like it. He said, ‘Nah, Jeff, we can’t do that.’ I said ‘Jim, look at me because I really want you to understand where I’m coming from, you’re absolutely right. You do not have to do this, Vince doesn’t have to do this. Nobody has to do this. I’m wanting my money, and I’m talking about multiple pay-per-views, I’m not under contract. Let’s just end this deal one way or another. You know as well as I do tomorrow my value in payoffs are not even remotely important. They’re kind of important today, but it’s y’all’s decision on how important they are, it’s not mine.’ He goes, ‘I’m gonna go to talk to the old man.’ 30 minutes go by, 45 minutes go by, whatever it may be. Jim and Terry [Taylor] walk up and go, ‘Go get your bag, get dressed, we’ll have it for you before you go to the ring.’ I had seen Chyna walking around multiple times. Not that it was my responsibility to be worrying about her personal feelings, but I did have some compassion for her. I really did because it was her night in so many ways, and she deserved every bit of it. She worked her ass off. She deserved everything she was getting that night.”

On if he would have handled things the same way if he could do it all over again: “Would I have handled it today the same way? No. That age, that stage of your career, all that goes into this industry and everything that goes with it – this is something that gets glossed over, I had worked in WCW prior. I did not want to go back. It’s that simple. Vince McMahon and the WWE and Madison Square Garden and RAW and SmackDown – WWE is where stars are made, and I did not want to leave. I had some deep anger and resentment towards JR because it was very obvious if I was gonna feed my family, I’ve got to go.”

Check out the complete episode of the My World with Jeff Jarrett podcast at Apple.com. H/T to 411 Mania for transcribing the above quotes.

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