WWE experienced a period of significant changes in 2003, with the retirement of Steve Austin, The Rock exploring his career in Hollywood, and the introduction of new talents from Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) to the main roster.
Jim Ross, the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations for WWE at the time, took the opportunity to expand the roster and bring back some familiar faces, including Sable, who had previously filed a lawsuit against WWE in 1999, citing allegations of sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions.
Reflecting on Sable's return, Ross drew comparisons to another notable figure, Chyna, who had left the company following a falling out in 2001. Recalling his experiences negotiating a contract with Chyna, Ross revealed the challenges he faced.
"I had a lot of issues trying to negotiate a contract with Chyna," he shared on his "Grilling JR" podcast. "Chyna was demanding that she make the same money as Austin. I thought that might have been a little far-fetched. That ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back, if you will.
It's just that you're not gonna get a $1 million guarantee, and she didn't understand why." Ross went on to explain that Chyna believed she was a bigger star than Austin, highlighting her uniqueness as a female talent. Despite her claims, Chyna's negotiations did not lead to a new contract, and she ultimately did not return to WWE.
Sable's Amicable Reconciliation Contrasts Chyna's Demands
In contrast, Ross praised Sable for her willingness to set aside past differences with WWE and negotiate her return. "Rena [Sable] was never hard for me to do business with," Ross stated.
"She wanted to come back and make things right. I think she had second thoughts about how she left. You've got to have a short memory in wrestling. You've got to do what's best for the company." Ross also revealed that Vince McMahon, the Chairman and CEO of WWE, supported Sable's return despite her acrimonious departure in 1999.
This demonstrated McMahon's willingness to prioritize the company's needs and move forward, recognizing the value Sable could bring to the roster. The contrasting experiences of Chyna and Sable shed light on the challenges faced by WWE in managing talent negotiations during this transformative period.
While Chyna's demands were perceived as unrealistic, Sable's willingness to reconcile and work towards a mutually beneficial agreement demonstrated a more positive approach to resolving differences and creating a path for successful returns to the company.