Jim Johnston is a legendary composer for WWE who worked with the company for close to 32 years until his departure in 2017. He is responsible for composing many iconic WWE entrance theme songs including The Undertaker, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and many more.
However, it seems Johnston wasn’t even signed to the company for half of his time in WWE. While speaking to Chris Van Vliet, Johnston claimed that he was not officially signed to WWE for the first 15 years of his career.
Johnston noted that he and Vince McMahon went by a ‘handshake deal’ until WWE became a publicly traded company. As Johnston wasn’t under a WWE contract, he was free to go to any company whenever Johnston wanted.
“For the first 15 years, maybe longer, Vince and I just had a handshake agreement,” Johnston stated. “I wasn’t an employee. It wasn’t like he didn’t want me as an employee or I didn’t want to be; it’s just we were fine with the way things were. It wasn’t until the company went public and it was, ‘bring on the lawyers.’ They come in and do risk assessments. They are like, ‘This guy can just walk out and work for the NFL tomorrow; that wouldn’t be a good thing.’ So then I got a contract and became an employee. In my admiration for Vince, I think we would have worked until my last day with a handshake, and both be perfectly happy.”
Johnston had stated that he won’t be receiving a WWE Hall Of Fame induction, which many fans might find surprising as he was such an integral part of WWE for over three decades.