Jim Ross talked about the career of Chyna and the issues that resulted in her leaving the company on the latest episode of the Grilling JR Podcast. Ross mentioned how Chyna was being offered a $400,000 downside guaranteed contract before her and the company decided to part ways. He said the reason she left was because she wanted to be paid the same as one of the top stars in the history of the company and there was just no way he and Vince McMahon could justify that.
“The 400k was probably more than she was making when she was making a million,” Ross said. “She gets an increase in her downside, she’s going to make about $8000 a week. If she gets back rolling and gets creative rolling again and invests in herself like she did before in her character, then the chances of her making more money and being higher up on the card is obviously there. Her deal to me was: ‘I’m as valuable as Stone Cold is to WWE.’ Chyna is as valuable to WWE as Stone Cold Steve Austin is?
“She knew there were a handful of guys that were making a million dollar downside and he was one of them. That was the magic number. At that time, that was the number you strive to attain if you’re a talent because that was the top of the pay grade, $19,000 a week. A lot of guys just took it as they earned it.”
Ross mentioned the money being offered was guaranteed and she could have made a million dollars in incentives. He noted a conversation he had with Chris Jericho recently about how he hit a high amount with WWE on an even lower downside guarantee than Chyna was offered at the time.
“Jericho and I talked about that the other day, he had some 2 or 3 million dollar years on a $350,000 downside,” Ross said. “It’s there to make. That’s the incentive of it, that’s why it worked so well. You’re incentivised. [Chyna’s] deal was: ‘No, I don’t want a $400,000 downside guarantee, I want a million dollar guarantee.’ She wanted exactly what Austin, Undertaker, some of those cats were making. She was never going to be cast in their light or used in their way.
“It would not have been a good investment for us to make. If Vince had said to me her heart was broken, she’s had some bad luck here, give it to her, well I would’ve given it to her. If that’s what he wants, it’s his money. But that’s not what he wanted.”
Ross mentioned what Vince McMahon told him to deal with Chyna’s contract. He said Vince really wasn’t crazy about bringing her back but it had nothing to do with his daughter dating her ex-boyfriend Triple H.
“[Vince told JR] ‘Give her her raise and put it in the level of a lot of these other guys earning seven figures, not being guaranteed it, and let’s call it a day. Quite frankly, I’m not crazy about keeping her.’ Which is what I wanted to hear, it was an ongoing saga. [I told her] everytime you come to work, you see Hunter or Stephanie, it’s going to eat you alive, you’re going to be miserable. I was just trying to be honest with her.
“Kids never came into it. Vince was not sure we, the WWE, could manage her in a successful way any longer based on what has transpired. I don’t disagree with that. It’s going to sound like JR wanted her out of the door so he had less issues to deal with. It was a situation that was built for failure. No one can convince me that she would eventually be okay. If you sat in those meetings with she and I, fly on the wall thing, you’d see exactly what I’m talking about.”
Ross noted that there was no way Chyna could come back and it was due to her heart being broken. He said he didn’t see any way Chyna would ever be able to get over the break-up and if Vince believed she could make WWE money at any time, he would have brought her back.
“Her heart was broken,” Ross said. “I don’t know how you mend a broken heart, I really don’t. I think we made the right call, I tried to end it with no hard feelings. If we saw going forward down the road that we could’ve brought her back on even keel or level footing because of the Hunter Stephanie thing, if it could draw money, I’m sure Vince would bring her back. I never thought that she would get to a place in her life where she would feel comfortable walking the halls. She created this monster around herself.”
Ross talked about her bigger goal of becoming a female actor and wanting to expand her skillset into Hollywood. He said she wanted to be like Wonder Women and had her eyes set on being the female Terminator.
“After all these talks with her, every week in person and on the phone, I knew she had her eye on acting,” Ross mentioned. “She wanted to be that Schwarzenegger. She’d use him as an example. ‘I could be the female Arnold Schwarzenegger.’ Then I said, that’s what you should go for because you’re only going to be young one time.
“I was trying to give her enough positive reinforcement to try and ease her out of the wrestling business. Personally, selfishly, I didn’t want to deal with the heartache of managing a talent who was going to walk around gloom and doom, and to be honest with you, you start wondering about the stability of someone mentally. How are they going to react going forward?”
Ross talked about the aftermath of not renewing her contract and how they decided to report it as a mutual parting of ways. He said once her and Vince stopped having meetings, she would show up to television with no plan or storylines.
“Well, we decided not to renew her contract,” Ross said. “We wanted her to save face. We wanted her to leave without having to die on her sword. Consequently, I decided it would be a mutually agreed parting of the ways. It left her with some credibility, it didn’t make her seem like such a victim, which I’m not sure she didn’t want to be. She may have wanted to be a victim and garner the sympathy that a baby face would against a big heel and then insurmountable odds and overcoming them.
“She had a meeting with Vince, and then he stopped meeting with her. She still came to T.V. thinking she might get booked or used, and i don’t know why we kept bringing her to television. I nipped that in the butt because it was a waste of money, a waste of her time. We made her a real good offer I thought.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.