Dan Severn On Relationship With Jim Cornette, Leaving WWE Over ‘Mark Of The Beast’ Gimmick

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Former UFC star Dan Severn was a recent guest on the Prime Time with Sean Mooney podcast. The former NWA World Champion opened up on a myriad of topic related to his time in MMA and professional wrestling. Highlights appear below. 

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone) 

Severn Opens Up About His Relationship With Jim Cornette:

Jim was very gracious for allowing me to use Smoky Mountain Wrestling. That was the first time I ever had the chance to meet him. Our lives have crossed paths on three very important time frames in my life and Jim has been right there to support me a great deal – I should say even a fourth time because one was more recently. He was gonna be retiring a manager and at one of the shows he was at, he found out I was on the card. The promoter asked him who he’d like to manage and when he found out I was on the card, he goes, ‘Dan Severn.’ To me, it was like, what an honor. What I like most about Jim Cornette is the fact that he is so passionate about the business. When you talk to him and ask questions of him, you can just see he’s telling it almost with a child’s eyes. That’s the kind of perspective you need to see it from.

On Being Recruited By WWE & WCW:

I was being recruited by both companies. Ted Turner with Eric Bischoff at the helm, I went to both organizations to hear what they had to say. It was kind of cool. I always tell people, ‘I didn’t call them. They called me.’ It was kind of a cool situation. To hit the high notes, I was looking for a unique contract because I knew that neither of these companies realized how old I was. I did not want an exclusive contract because if I went exclusive where now I’m working for one or the other, I’m not about to give up a year of my life. I don’t mind making you the exclusive professional wrestling company I’m working for, but I don’t want them to stop me from doing what I’m doing in amateur wrestling and all the other things…for the most part, I negotiated most of my own contract.

On Working For WWE:

They used me very well in the beginning and then I think they realized when they had no type of control over me because I could come and go. The average wrestler was working under contract at that time 180 dates a year and my contract was only for 60 dates. I had to know about my schedule ahead of time because of all the other dates I’m working. That industry opened up my eyes in a lot of ways.

Why He Left The WWE:

The cycle of a professional wrestler from a babyface to a heel, from heel to babyface, and they have this writing team that’s coming up with ideas, some pretty wacky ideas. That was one of the ideas that was brought up to me. This 666 Mark of the Beast and they wanted me to be an Undertaker disciple or something like this. I’m going, ‘Wow, I’m not crazy about this idea whatsoever.’ Basically that sort of led to the demise. They used me really good in the beginning. I don’t think they really knew what to do with me. They were turning me into a heel and I had put together a list of ideas that I could work with as a heel, but I walked in there with a certain reputation and I’m not gonna throw this reputation away on a two year contract. Then the last people that would remember Dan Severn would go, ‘Whatever happened to Dan Severn? The last thing I knew he had 666 written across his forehead and he was an Undertaker disciple. The guy went off the deep end, didn’t he?’ I was thinking, ‘I don’t need money that bad. I can go out and get a job.’

Why He Is Reluctant To Sign Autographs:

I invested so much time into what I’m doing. I’m off 20 times this month. I missed another birthday. I missed another anniversary. I missed this. I missed that. So, when I go to certain days and people run up to me and say, ‘Will you autograph this for me?’ or ‘Can I take a picture with you?’ I’m like, ‘No.’ Then they’re like, ‘Why?’ I say, ‘It’s because you haven’t paid the price. I have.’

Readers may listen to Sean Mooney‘s interview with Dan Severn in its entirety below: