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April 26, 2004 Observer Newsletter: WWE/Austin negotiations stall, Backlash review

Just ten days after Steve Austin and Vince McMahon verbally agreed that they’d be doing business together in some form for life, and agreed on doing two projects even if he didn’t come back as a full-time television character, negotiations between the two broke down, and all projects are off.

On 4/16, the wwe.com web site posted a short note that Austin was no longer with the company and that they wish him the best in all future endeavors. That signaled the end of a more than eight year contractual relationship, which included two major television breaks. One was when Austin underwent neck surgery in late 1999 and again when he walked out of the company in 2002. It also included the late 1997 through late 1999 period when, led by Austin, the company turned its economic fortunes around. It went from being well behind to having an insurmountable lead in one of the biggest wrestling wars in history, and where Austin drew more money than any wrestler in history.

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