Playing Backstage Politics
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Far Away From Uncle Ole
Re: Ultimate Warrior
A few key excerpts from Warrior's lawsuit against WWF in 1993:
*Hellwig claimed he began to experience illegal and unfair treatment by the defendants, claiming he was overworked and underpaid in comparison with other wrestlers of his acclaim, skill (I don't know why I found that word in this context so humorous) and status
*On July 13, 1991, Vince McMahon agreed to increase Hellwig's compensation and lessen his workload in a novation. The novation, written by McMahon, which was introduced as part of the suit, had 1) McMahon agreeing to pay Hellwig $550,000 for his participation in Wrestlemania VII (The semi-main event on the card against Randy Savage at the Los Angeles Sports Arena); 2) Agreeing that with the exception of special events, Hellwig would receive four days off every other time off period; 3) His pay on house shows would increase to four to five percent of net, effective immediately, with the understanding that no other WWF athlete would be paid at a higher rate and that no other WWF athlete would be paid at a higher rate than him on pay-per-view events (keep in mind this includes Hogan); 4) His royalty rate on merchandise would be increased; 5) His compensation from the Warrior 900 line would be identical to Hogan's from his 900 line.
*On or about March 31, 1992, Hellwig and Titan entered into a second booking contract, a two-year deal to last until March 31, 1994
*On November 9, 1992, McMahon terminated Hellwig's contract immediately. The basis of the termination, according to McMahon, was Hellwig's alleged involvement in a scheme to import Human Growth Hormones. Hellwig claims McMahon knew these allegations were false
*Hellwig said he began using anabolic steroids in 1982 as a bodybuilder and continued to use them as a wrestler. The use of steroids was commonplace among the other wrestlers and employees of the defendants including Vince McMahon
*On August 29, 1992, Hellwig was booked by Titan as a headline attraction in the Summer Slam PPV show. Despite Hellwig appearing (and in the main event against Savage), Titan never paid Hellwig his percentage of the total receipts for this event. Hellwig claims he is entitled to $1 million for this event
*For the terms of the contract, Hellwig would have been a headline attraction in one more PPV show in 1992, four in 1993 and two in 1994
*Plaintiff is asking for $1 million for his participation in each Survivor Series 1992 and 1993, $400,000 for each Royal Rumble 1993 and $1 million each for the 1993 Wrestlemania and Summer Slam
It's seems like Vince wasn't in the wrong. In July of 1991, Warrior demanded $550,000 for Wrestlemania 7, wanted more days off and wanted to be the highest paid performer on PPV and house shows.
Titan Sports plan at the time of bringing Warrior back was to eventually turn him heel and book Hogan/Warrior II for Wrestlemania 9. Warrior refused because he felt the move would hurt the image of his character, not enhance it. In return for the proposed heel turn, Hellwig wanted his house show schedule to be cut to a bare minimum so he could pursue a career in acting, unrelated to the Warrior name and the WWF. He wanted to only work PPV's and house shows in emergency situations, as long as it didn't interfere with his outside commitments.
So, Vince fired Warrior in late 1992 based on those demands because he felt it was no point in keeping someone around who only wanted to work PPV's, as took up a slot from someone who would work full time to get their character over (for example, Bret).
So, given the circumstances of Warrior's high financial demands for about 4-5 guranteed dates a year, wanting full control of his name and direction his character was headed in, he shot himself in the foot because he made it nearly impossible for Vince to be able to work with him.