Steve Austin Recalls Meeting With Vince McMahon Over WWE Merchandise Royalties After First 3:16 Shirt
Austin finally got his first shirt in 1996
'Stone Cold' Steve Austin has recalled meeting with Vince McMahon to get his merchandise royalty fees raised following the success of his first ever WWE shirt.
WWE finally launched an 'Austin 3:16' shirt following the success of his iconic promo in 1996, and Austin has revealed how heavily involved in the creative process he was.
However, 'The Rattlesnake' noticed a discrepancy between the number of Austin shirts he was seeing in live crowds compared to his royalties, and met with McMahon to discuss the amount.
Speaking on Busted Open Radio, he said: "They didn’t really have any merchandising plans for me. And I’d always talk with Jimmy Miranda and say ‘goddang Jimmy, the office got any ideas for a shirt for me?’ And he’d always say ‘no Steven they don’t.’
“Finally when all those 3:16 signs started showing up, it was a thing. And Jimmy came up to me at TV one day and said ‘Steven the office finally wants to do a shirt for you. You got any ideas?’ I said ‘you goddang right I do. Put Austin 3:16 on the front, carve in Stone Cold on a skull on the back.’ We got it cleared. Here’s something I’ve said before, maybe not everybody knows, Undertaker had to give me clearance to use that skull because Vince thought that might be gimmick infringement. I ran it by Mark, he was cool enough to give me the green light on the skull, thank you Mark. And that shirt was born.
"You know, when I say ‘hey here’s the first shirt’ and we came out with it, I had a little conversation with Vince. I remember getting a royalty check and I was like ‘look at that royalty check’ and I was looking at all those shirts out there and I was saying ‘hey man, this ain’t matching up.’ I went to Vince and had a conversation with him and I increased my percentage. And that’s a rare thing.
"At that point I kind of worked hand in hand with the art department. I’d kick in ideas and they’d shoot me a rendering and I’d say ‘no no, like this.’ So I just took it upon myself. And because it was a lot easier for talent to be hands on with merch back in the day. But I saw the value in that shirt and I didn’t think the percentages added up.
"That was a key business move. I never like talking contracts, money with Vince and stuff like that. But that was something I needed to address and I’m glad I did because I increased my merch."
H/T Wrestling Inc.