Chris Jericho Says He Was Offered $350K By WCW When Stevie Ray Was Making $750K

Chris Jericho looks back on leaving WCW and recalls how he was making half of what Stevie Ray was taking home.

Long before Jericho was a living legend, he was a rising star who was still trying to make it big with WCW. During his time with the company, he held the WCW Cruiserweight Championship four times, and he also won the WCW World Television Championship. Jericho's talent was apparent, but the company always put the spotlight on stars like Goldberg and Hulk Hogan instead. Among other factors, this dynamic led to Jericho's decision to leave the company and sign with WWE.

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Speaking on Talk Is Jericho, Jericho discussed his exit from WCW with his longtime friend and manager, Barry Bloom. He recalled the deal WCW offered him when his contract was coming up. Jericho noted that it was a tiered contract, but guys like Stevie Ray were making more than him. Specifically, under this system, Jericho stated that Ray was making $750,000 while Jericho was getting $350,000. Ray was a 10-time tag team champion with the company, and he also held the WCW World Television Championship.

CJ: They didn’t see in me what I saw in me and even the deal, remember the deal they offered me? They came back with a new deal. I was making, I think I went from 135(K) to 165(K) to 200(K). Then next round was 250(K), 300(K), 350(K). That was what we agreed on. Then they came back with this whole, remember the tiered contract system? Keep in mind, that’s a lot of money, but in WCW, Scott Norton and Stevie Ray and those types of guys were making 750 grand. 350 for me, wasn’t really all that much money in comparison to the other guys. They came back with that deal, it was structured, ‘if they sell this many tickets, you’ll make this much.’

Bloom responded by noting that the tiered deal was designed to satisfy Jericho with a lower guarantee while offering him the possibility of an upside. He stated that it didn't make sense, and the deal didn't work, especially considering WWE's interest in Jericho at the time.

BB: It was very complicated. It was designed to make you satisfied with a lesser guarantee, with a possibility of an upside. It was really something that didn’t make a lot of sense at the time. It wasn’t even a discretionary bonus, they were fixed. It was complicated and really didn’t work. I know that WWE was very interested.

Jericho then recalled how he met with Vince McMahon while he was still under contract with WCW. He stated that he already knew he wanted to leave the company and work for WWE, or WWF as it was called at the time, which is why he met with McMahon.

CJ: Yes, I even had the meeting at Vince’s house, which was unbelievable. I was under contract with WCW and Vince brought me to his house. I had already made up my mind that I wanted to go to work for WWF.

Jericho ultimately left WCW in 1999 and made his WWE debut on the August 9 episode of Raw is War. He went on to become one of the company's top stars; he won six world titles, and he held the WWE Intercontinental Championship nine times. Jericho and WWE parted ways in 2018, and Jericho signed with All Elite Wrestling. He has been one of the faces of the company since it launched in 2019. Jericho was the inaugural AEW World Champion, and as the ROH World Champion, he remains featured on AEW programming.

On the same podcast, Bloom recalled negotiating Scott Hall's WCW deal. Check out his comments here.

Jericho recently shared his belief that Logan Paul is good for business. Click here to see what he had to say.

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