Old School WWF Legend Stone Cold Steve Austin was interviewed on Busted Open Radio, where he spoke about royalty payments for his famous Austin 3:16 merchandise, that first started selling in 1996, after his iconic King of the Ring speech.
Here’s what The Texas Rattlesnake had to say:
“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.
I’m not around today’s current system. I thought someone got let go because they went off script recently. Maybe they were going to get let go anyway, I don’t know. It was a different time, it was still the wild west back then. And here’s the thing; I think even if you went off script in this day and age, if you go out there and you hit a double grand slam, walk off, game, series winning promo, I think everybody’s going to be happy about it.
That promo, at the time, if you watch that promo, I was on the way to getting over. I wasn’t over, over yet. And when I said ‘Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your a$$’, and I love that Milwaukee Mecca arena, that crowd was the biggest pop I got from saying that one line.
So I think if you knock one out of the park and everybody knows it, I think you’re cool. But if you just go out there and its kind of good, maybe you’re showing some potential. But you know it is a different system. I don’t know how tight they make the talent stick to that, but hey, I’m just lucky I came around when I did. And I was never afraid to push the envelope or go out on a limb.
Once I started evolving into that Stone Cold Steve Austin character, man I knew I wasn’t the biggest guy on the roster, the most talented guy, the best looking, nothing. But I knew I had enough things that if I did everything I could and executed at a high level, I could get over.”
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