Former WWE Creative Director recalls interactions with Vince McMahon, creating display board for Steroid Trial, alleged situation involving Freddie Blassie & HQ employee

Originally published at Former WWE Creative Director recalls interactions with Vince McMahon, creating display board for Steroid Trial, alleged situation involving Freddie Blassie & HQ employee

A deep dive into Debra Jaswaye’s time in WWE. 

The Cheap Heat Productions Podcast pushed out an extensive conversation with former WWE Creative Director/employee, Debra Jaswaye. 

To start, she dove into the specifics of what her role entailed. She stated that she basically grew up in the company. The department she worked in did everything in line with Vince McMahon and he was hands-on. 

I was 24. It was probably my first real job out of college. I applied to an ad in the paper, ‘Help wanted’ and I think they were looking — they described it as a sports athletic company so I thought maybe I would be doing package design on tube socks or something like that or basketballs and I remember showing up at the headquarters and walking down the hall and I remember just seeing all of the frame posters of The Ultimate Warrior and everything was just larger than life. It was like stepping into Wonka Land. I’m like, this is not what I was expecting and I got hired as a — I guess you could call it a paste-up artist and this is going back. Again, not only has wrestling changed but my industry, graphic design, has changed exponentially so, that was my first real job was kind of helping as an assist, working on kind of the menial work. I used to work in the dark room. Just small little things that you would not understand how technical handwork went into producing mechanicals to create print artwork. Whether it was licensing artwork that was sent out for say, you know, featuring superstars’ images on cereal boxes or ice cream bars, up to our posters that promoted the pay-per-view events so, it was a very hands-on, very different world technically back then and had changed so much while I was there. I was literally working in the department the day we all got our very first Macs, our computers, and we were like, ‘What is that!? What do you do with it!?’ And they sent us to classes and we all learned how to work the programs and so when I look back at some of the stuff that I’ve saved, I have a box of treasures and I’ve got some old mechanicals that you would not believe how primitive it is. So when I pull up some of my old work, I’m like almost embarrassed. But we did what we could with what we had to work with and again, it went from kind of a carny traveling circus product back then to this multimedia powerhouse, incredible show that it is today. I’m somewhere in the timeline way back here. So I stand back in awe of what they do today. So again, when I share out some of my stuff, it’s kind of cringey but, it’s like, this is what we did back then. We worked with what we had and we still got the job done but, things were so different back then but what a weird, wonderful place to cut your teeth as a young graphic designer. I didn’t know what the real world was like (she laughed). I thought this was what everybody did when they went to work so, it was an incredible place, incredible opportunities for someone like me. I grew up there basically. I worked on things that literally were taking a logo, printing it on a piece of paper and putting into one of the vending machines in our cafeteria and then that same day, sending out a file that was gonna be a banner hung on our restaurant in Times Square. So, as an art department, later, we changed our name to the Creative Services department because we did so much more. We did everything… We did everything in line with Vince McMahon. He had his hands on everything, right down to all of the creative input so everything that we did went right to Vince and either he liked it or he loved it but that was where our circle of creative extended out to was our art department and then it went to marketing and once marketing approved it, it went to Vince so, it was very, very hands-on, in all aspects so, a lot of fun.

She would then open up about the experiences she had with the late WWE Hall of Famer, ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie. She described him as a ‘dirty uncle’. They would have one-on-one meetings so he could approve what she was working on-on the live events side of her responsibilities. She remembers him making a comment to her about what he’d do to her if he could get her on the couch in his office. Jaswaye said she laughed it off. 

She shared that she did not mind the meetings with Blassie and they’d often read dirty jokes from a Playboy magazine. Jaswaye said it was a different time and does not know if she was the only person going to his office. She went on to state that there was an alleged situation involving Blassie and a female employee at WWE headquarters that resulted in her getting a payout, leaving the company and moving out of state. 

Debra stated that Blassie was ‘gone’ from headquarters office role-wise after that, but he was not truly gone because he’d still hang out at the building. He would be dressed up as Santa Claus during company Christmas parties. 

It was part of my job responsibility. I worked for live events… Inside each program, it would be the lineup so you understood the card when you’re at that event. Who was coming in the (ring) first, what the main event was and I worked with Howard Finkel, who was one of my point persons there and before they would approve the card to go to print, I would have to get Freddie Blassie to read through and approve it. So I had weekly meetings set up and I would go over to his office and he would say, ‘Close the door.’ It was a closed-door meeting, about a half-an-hour and I just remembered the first time I had gone there, he’s a formidable man, he’s a large man, he was, you know, a legend, I (knew) who he was when I was going there and he said, ‘Close the door’ and it was a couch in his office, a dirty couch and he started making, you know, little small talk but he was like, ‘If I could get you on that couch, oh, what I’ll do to you’ and I’m like, ‘Hahaha!’ But, in his office, from floor to ceiling, there was framed photographs and there was a lot of pictures with him and celebrities from say his celebrity golf tournaments, there was pictures of him with the cast of The Dick Van Dyke Show which I don’t know if some you guys would even know what that is. So fortunately, I’m like an old Hollywood buff so, I recognized a lot of these people so I was like, ‘Oh Freddie, let’s talk about these people. Tell me how you know them’ so that diverted his attention and then it was like, finally, okay, what are we doing here? And he was like, ‘I got a Playboy magazine.’ He pulled it out of his desk drawer and he’s like, ‘You want to hear the jokes?’ So, he read me the Playboy jokes and then some weeks later, I would take the magazine, I would read to him. We would just read the jokes to each other and I got a kick out of it. Then basically, he would look at the card and say, ‘Yeah, that’s fine’ and it was like, ‘Okay, approved’ so basically, I had a meeting with him once a week to just read dirty jokes, keep him company for a little while and honestly, I didn’t mind and after all these years I just felt like it was just a kooky story I would share, like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s a wrestling legend and he and I used to read dirty jokes out of Playboy’ and then now, when you sort of look back, it is kind of yucky and again, it was the 90s. No one would do that now. No one would have asked a young girl to do that now and so again, I said no harm, no foul. It is what it is, but, Freddie, he was a dirty old man, and that was just who he was. Over years of being who he thought he was in the ring, that’s what he was in his mind I guess so, he did actually get in trouble at the office. I can’t comment because I don’t know the details but he did something that obviously was serious enough for there to be somebody who supposedly got a payoff and she left the company and she moved out of state and more power to her. But they asked Freddie to not come into the office. He didn’t have an office job anymore and he was basically taken off the books and it made it look like he was gone. But he wasn’t, because he used to come and hang out in the mailroom. I mean, the guys in the mailroom were all around his age and they would shoot the sh*t and then someone would come up, ‘Hey, Freddie’s downstairs in the mailroom. You wanna come say hi?’ And of course I did. I had nothing against him. I would go down and I’d show him my respect. So, over the years, Freddie, he did stay with the company. We’d trot him out as Santa Claus. They would put a beard on him and put him in our cafeteria and we’d have our company Christmas parties and all the kids would get to sit on his lap and some of the employees would sit on his lap and I was no better but, we all kind of knew Freddie was Freddie and again, it’s like having a dirty uncle. It’s like, ah, you know? Just don’t get too close, and it’s unfortunate because, I look back now and I think it’s really disgusting but at the time — who knows if I was the only one that was going to his office. No one said anything, no one made a big deal about it. It’s just like, whatever. It’s a funny story you could tell 30 years later and here I am.

Circling back to Vince McMahon, she said he was always cool. There were times when he’d make ‘small talk conversations’ when they were alone but she never felt uncomfortable. Jaswaye said she is not surprised by what’s unfolding present day because of what was occurring in the 90s that went unchecked. 

She stated that in today’s corporate world, there are sexual harassment prevention courses and training to establish boundaries in the workplace and that was not available during her earlier years. She added that she’s seen and heard things but it’s nothing compared to what she hears present day. 

Vince (McMahon) was just always cool. He never treated me odd, never treated me weird. I mean, he would make some little small talk conversations if we were alone but I never felt uncomfortable around Vince. I think he knew, we’re working here (she laughed). We got stuff to do and I gotta get this approved so I can get back downstairs and get it out so we can get this on press on time. Yeah, it wasn’t what you might think. It wasn’t this salacious place or everything was going on behind closed doors. But yeah, there was some things that were going unchecked but again, that was the 90s so, apparently they didn’t learn their lesson. But, where we are today, I’ve said it before, I’m not surprised only because of the experiences that I’ve understood were happening back in the 90s. Again, we didn’t have MeToo, there wasn’t any — nowadays, when you work in corporate, you have sexual harassment training and you have to sit through a class and get certified that you know not to do stupid things on the job that you can get sued for or fired for. We didn’t have that back then. So, it was a free-for-all and again, I’ve seen some things, I’ve heard some things but, nothing compares to what I hear now and what’s been happening the last so many years but, that’s a whole different podcast for another time.

Another story Debra Jaswaye shared had to do with the 1994 WWF Steroid Trial. She was asked by Vince McMahon and attorney Jerry McDevitt to create a display board that would be used for McMahon’s defense. 

I have a weird story, speaking of the steroid scandal thing and this is a good way to say this is who I was in the company. I’m one of those people, I’m probably not even remembered. I’ve always kept my mouth shut, my ears open, low profile, under the radar. I’m a worker, get the job done. So, it was Vince’s trial and I was asked by Vince and his lawyer at the time. I think he might still be his lawyer, Jerry McDevitt. Before the trial, I had to make a display board, that they would use in court to show this is the perspective of Vince’s office and how the doctor’s office was here and the eyesight and I had to draw all the lines… It could prove the case. I literally met with his lawyer and he presented the entire defense to me and I had to go home, and I couldn’t even do it at my house because I have a cat. So, and this is before you would do it digitally so I had to go home with markers and draw on this big board, something that was used in the defense the next day so that was the kind of relationship that I had with the company. You were asked to do anything and everything and you were a soldier. You did it and that was just the weirdest thing. They had to explain the entire defense to me, so they would understand how to make this visual aid and I was like, ‘Okay!’ Went home, I did it on my mom’s kitchen table so, anyway, and it worked.

The latest on the Janel Grant lawsuit against Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis and WWE is McMahon’s attorneys opposed Grant’s motion to strike ‘inflammatory’ statements in his request for arbitration. To read more, head over to this link

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Cheap Heat Productions Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.