Jim Johnston was a guest on the recent RRBG podcast where he reflected on his relationship with Vince McMahon. He admitted that the WWE Chairman loved to be surprised when it came to creating new themes.
“Vince comes in all guns blazing with what he wants,” Johnston said. “‘This is what’s going to happen, we are doing this, doing this, his music’s going to be this.’ It’s important to come back with a version of that, which he has asked for quite specifically.
“But if you come back with a second thing, I would say, ‘Hey, get this over here. But just throwing it out there, this kind of seems like the obvious way to go, maybe a little too simple. I came up with this that’s a little different, and I know it’s not at all what you were expecting. But, I’m going to play it for you and you tell me what you think.’ Now that doesn’t mean if I was brave enough or stupid enough to do that, walk in front of the train, that I won the battle. I didn’t always win the battle,” he admitted. “But it was great because the man loved to be surprised.”
Jim Johnston spoke about Vince’s reputation for being a hard-ass with his decisions. However, he noted that is because Vince is never creatively surprised.
“I think the truth is, he has a reputation for being such a hard-ass because he doesn’t get creatively surprised a lot. So he got into a place long ago where he feels to get what he wants, he has to absolutely spell it out. But he loves to be surprised. It’s like, ‘Holy crow, I was not thinking that! I can’t even tell you why, but it works. Let’s do that.’”
Johnston then discussed his departure from WWE. He stated that Vince did fire him, but he admitted that it did hurt him overall.
“No, Vince fired me. He put it in that he wasn’t renewing my contract, but that’s semantics. Why? I don’t know,” Johnston admitted. “You’d have to ask him. It was time for me to go for me, so honestly, to some degree, he did me a favor. But still, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean, you’re not disappointed.”
When speaking about his release from the company, Johnston likened it to getting a divorce. He admitted that is what he’d become comfortable doing and thinking about.
“After doing something for more than 30 years, the biggest obstacle I ran into is that its sort of like getting a divorce,” he said. “Where you’ve been with this person for 30 years and maybe it’s not all happy and perfect, but this has become the habit of your life. What you get up and do every day, what you spend all your time thinking about. To break that habit, it’s like, suddenly, one day your life is different.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit the RRBG podcast, with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions.