Jake Hager, member of The Inner Circle in AEW, talked to Chris Jericho on his podcast Talk Is Jericho. Hager talked about a lot of things and also revealed the reason why he left WWE in 2017.
The AEW star revealed that they wanted to pay him way less than what he expected. This led to him stepping up for himself and asking WWE to release him from his contract which they did.
“In 2017, the company had an option in my contract where they had the option to pick it up and pay me at the same price – I was finishing up my second five-year contract with them. And so, I was a little fed up and finally grew some balls and stood up for myself and said ‘No, we’re gonna renegotiate now.’ This was December of 2016, and then by February of 2017, I finally got some straight answers out of them.”
“What they offered me was just ridiculous. It was insulting, and I knew that’s where I stood with them, so it was not as insulting as it was. I was off and had a skin and rash all over my body, so I was at home anyway which worked out well because I could talk with my wife and figure out what we wanted to do.”
“Honestly, to substitute that type of income, it’s very scary, especially for a young professional with no other experience besides wrestling on TV. That always kept us close to the fed, but that time, what they offered us, we didn’t even make a counter.”
“It was one of those things where I immediately asked for my release, and two days later they gave it to me. I was really surprised actually that they gave it to me. At the time, I was still in good standing with Vince and the higher-ups to where they were just like let’s let him go.”
During the inaugural episode of AEW Dynamite, Hager debuted and joined the Jericho-led faction, Inner Circle.