A former WWE star has claimed the company made him a low-ball offer after WCW folded.
After signing with WCW in its 1997 heydey, Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller became a regular feature of Nitro and Thunder where he had some high-profile matches against the likes of Booker T and Kevin Nash. After serving as onscreen assistant for Eric Bischoff for several months, he was named the Commissioner of the company in 2000. While acting in that role, Miller also continued wrestling and even put his Commissionership on the line several times.
When WWE purchased WCW in 2001, Miller initially opted to wait out the remainder of his contract rather than join the company as part of the infamously flawed Invasion storyline. However, he eventually made his way to WWE in October 2002, where he became a regular announcer on Velocity.
In 2004, the star returned to active competition on the SmackDown brand, but was mainly seen in action at live events. He made two onscreen appearances for the company, competing in the 2004 Royal Rumble and a special SmackDown Royal Rumble later that same week. Miller was released only weeks later in February 2004.
Ernest Miller Makes Bold Claim About Pay Difference Between WCW And WWE
Miller recently discussed his decision not to jump to WWE immediately on The Spotlight, explaining that he made a lot of money during his time in WCW and still had three years left on his contract when it was purchased.
“Those four or five years I was in WCW, I made a hell of a lot of money. I made enough money to where I said, ‘This is enough, I can leave wrestling now.’
“When they decided to sell to WWE, I got paid another three years just to sit at home. I had three years of payment. That was enough money from wrestling to where I could go back in, teach karate, have money set aside for retirement and everything.”
However, things changed when John Laurinaitis contacted Miller offering an opportunity for him. Miller wasn’t happy with the “low-ball” offer of $220,000 a year he was given at first, claiming he made that amount in a single month on his old contract.
Out of nowhere, Johnny Ace gave me a call and said, ‘You need to come up to WWE. There is an opportunity up here. I think they’ll like you up here.’ I said, ‘I don’t know if that’s what I want to do. If they like me, they know who I am.’ Johnny Ace [John Laurinaitis] said, ‘Vince [Vince McMahon] doesn’t know who you are.’ ‘Vince knows who I am.’
“We talked a couple more times. They offered me a real kind of low-ball, wasn’t a lot of money, not enough money to make me come there and be happy. It was about $220,000 a year. I was making that in one month in WCW. I said, that’s bottom pay, but you get pay-per-view and all this stuff I used to get in WCW.”
Miller gave in when Lauranitis claimed he would have the opportunity to make more money if he met certain conditions, and The Cat was also enticed by the opportunity to say he had worked in both of the biggest promotions.
If you hit this rating, you get a bump up and they give you a little more money. He talked me into it. I said, ‘I’m going to go up there so I can say I worked in the two largest companies in wrestling,'”
Since leaving WWE, Miller has made occasional wrestling appearances on the independent scene, most recently teaming up with Robert Gibson to defeat Dirty Deeds in DSW back in May 2023.
H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.