Mick Foley Says WWE Turned Down Merch For Star Who Went On To Be Big

When it comes to the art of professional wrestling, it's not always about just being an excellent in-ring performer. Perhaps it's an ability to engage with the audience in ways others cannot, like merchandise that has their favorite wrestler's name on it. 

But some promotions don't see the potential a star has until they're forced to. Mick Foley recently discussed the time a merchandise request was turned down by WWE from a wrestler who would eventually go on to sell more than just about anybody else the pro wrestling business has ever seen.

"Stone Cold Steve Austin never becomes who he is because he wasn't factored in as a major star," Foley said on "Foley Is Pod." Austin had made the move to WWE from WCW in 1995. Foley wound up in WWE shortly after Austin in 1996. The Hall of Famer noted that back in the day, wrestlers did have input into their merchandise, but ultimately it came down to whether or not the promotion saw a star in you. 

"When Steve Austin came over and said, 'how about a t-shirt for Stone Cold?'" he continued, "Jimmy (Miranda) goes, 'Steve, I'm sorry, but the office just doesn't see merchandising potential in you.' And they were wrong. Everyone involved would be the first to admit they were wrong about what Stone Cold could be."

Austin went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history and received a million-dollar check for merchandise sales, as per Jim Ross. "The Texas Rattlesnake" revealed that he was hands-on with merch designs and even asked Vince McMahon to increase his merch pay

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Foley Is Pod" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.