AEW referee Earl Hebner says the claims over why he was let go by WWE have been "a big lie" from the very beginning.
The 70-year-old match official spent 17 years with WWE before he was fired in 2005, following claims he was selling company merchandise without permission. Hebner would spend another 11 years working as a TNA ref before moving to the indies and eventually getting hired by AEW.
A recent guest on Prime Time With Sean Mooney, Hebner opened up on the whole affair, claiming he would have never risked his job for t-shirts and that Vince McMahon wanted him back just three months later.
“It was a big lie from day one - I know what they said, but it was a big lie," he said. "Why would you risk a t-shirt for a $200,000 job, for a $15 t-shirt? And I was in partners with a guy in St. Louis, and we were buying the same merchandise from the same people that Vince was buying it from.
"And the jackets that I had made, like the agents wore them, because I had one made. I wasn’t selling them. I never sold the first leather jackets that the agents got. And then all of the sudden, I think Johnny [likely but not confirmed to be Johnny Laurinaitis] had a hard-on for my brother. And I was his scapegoat, and that was the reason.
"And then, about three months later, they called me back. And I go, ‘Nope. I don’t wanna come back.’ And they said, and I’m not gonna name the guy who called me, but he said, ‘Vince McMahon says if you come back, we’ll put you in the Hall of Fame.’ I said, ‘You tell Vince McMahon to take his Hall of Fame and shove it up his f***ing ***. I hope you ain’t recording this, but if you are, you can beep it out.’ That’s how mad I was.”
Asked if he reckons his relationship with the company could still be fixed, he went on to explain why it won't be.
“Nope. And honestly, I don’t want it, even if I could get it down the road, I still don’t want it. I don’t want nothing to do with Vince McMahon, period. I’m in the TNA Hall of Fame, so that’s good enough for me. I can live with that.”