Dan Severn made an appearance in WWE in June 1997 as a color commentator during a bout between Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn. The next year, Severn continued to perform for the NWA while making his in-ring debut for WWE.
Severn learned that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was interested in signing younger talent to long-term contracts as WWE tried to lock him in for a deal, and he kept a secret: his age.
Severn recently spoke with Wrestling Inc. about his time in WWE.
“Vince wants someone in their early-to-mid-30s, maybe at the latest, knowing that they got a decade or more that they’re going to be working with them,” Severn explained. He was already past that age at the time, and did his best to hide it, but the truth would soon come to light through a discussion with McMahon and then-head of talent relations Jim Ross during Severn’s contract negotiation. Ultimately, however, the negotiation was successful, and Severn garnered a “very unique contract.”
“My terms was, I did not want to be a full-time wrestler,” he said. “I didn’t want to work 187 dates. I think that was the average contract at that time was working 187 dates.”