Jeff Jarrett and the WWE came to terms on the valuation of the Intercontinental championship in a tale of alleged extortion laced with possible conspiracy.
Jarrett's infamous departure from the WWE was touched upon in former WWE superstar Hardcore Holly's new book, The Hardcore Truth. As the story goes, the WWE failed to recognize that Jarrett's contract was expiring. Jarrett was still the Intercontinental champion as his WWE contract was coming up.
He reportedly used the quandary for a quick pay day, negotiating with the WWE for an undisclosed sum before finally agreeing to drop the championship to Chyna.
Good on Jeff Jarrett.
Both Chyna and Holly—in their respective biographies—valued the amount at $300,000. Jarrett, however, only admitted to receiving stock options (h/t Jeff Jarrett: King of the Mountain DVD set), saying the negotiations with the WWE were cordial.
If that weren't enough drama for an episode of Maury, a departing Vince Russo is said to have been in on the whole thing (h/t Joanie Laurer's If They Only Knew) as a possible co-conspirator in WWE's contract oversight.
Madusa, formerly known as Alundra Blayze, ran into a similar situation. Except she actually left the WWE with the Women's Championship. The result? An infamous, momentum-shifting moment where the pre-Diva dropped the title into a trash can on live television.
With the Monday Night Wars at its peak, one could only imagine what Jeff Jarrett would have done with a more prestigious championship on the competition's soil.
At its most cynical, Jarrett's legacy will be synonymous with words such as spoiled, privileged and overrated. But on this occasion, Jarrett was simply genius.
Whatever the amount Jarrett received to drop the Intercontinental championship, it's anecdotal to the millions of dollars WWE has made on the uninsured backs of its misclassified talent.
WWE wrestlers are classified as independent contractors, despite being unable to wrestle for other promotions or make appearances without WWE's permission. As independent contractors, WWE wrestlers are unable to receive benefits or become insured for a hyper-dangerous line of employment that virtually guarantees injury.
During an E:60 piece on the WWE, Mike Mooneyham once eloquently noted that the "the guys cleaning out the arena" have more health benefits than WWE superstars.
Plumbers are independent contractors. In most cases, they work for whoever is willing to pay them, without exclusivity. By that definition, WWE superstars are the antithesis of independent anything. In fact, they're practically slaves.
That's what is so satisfying about Jeff Jarrett taking advantage of the WWE conglomerate when the opportunity presented itself.
This couldn't have happened to a nicer promotion. WWE's empire has been built on maximum exploitation and minimum employment tax.
Maybe that's why, according to Jarrett, WWE was so cordial about being held up for money in order to maintain possession of its then-prestigious championship.
Because in that episode, game recognized game.