Wrestler salaries is one topic of discussion in the professional wrestling world that is always interesting. Part of that is because individual financial earnings are usually shrouded in mystery. The contract numbers aren’t open to the public like in professional sports. Over the weekend, a list of WWE salaries was making the rounds in the press.
Disclaimer: I’m not familiar with the reputation of each outlet and not sure how valid this information is. I first saw it from an article by MedioTiempo, who sourced Mirror, who sourced a 2018 article from Birmingham Live, who didn’t source anybody. As is said for the Rumor Roundup, none of this has been confirmed as legitimate news or fact. Remember, take it all with a grain of salt.
With that out of the way, let’s have fun analyzing and speculating; in a responsible manner, of course. Pfft.
I’m going to use the article from Mirror as the primary base for discussion, since it was updated in March 2019 and easier to digest visually. The numbers are base salaries that don’t include any contractual or backroom bonuses.
The first number that jumped out to me was Brock Lesnar’s $12 million annual salary. It is also listed that he earns $500,000 per main event appearance. I find that one harder to believe, since Lesnar only closed the show on three of his seven major event appearances since the start of 2018. There’s no way he would leave $2 million on the table by not main-eventing as Universal Champion, since it seems like he has the power to demand it.
How does Lesnar’s stack of cash compare to other WWE superstars? Well, the next top earners are John Cena ($8.5 million), Roman Reigns ($5 million), Randy Orton ($4.5 million), AJ Styles ($3.5 million), and Seth Rollins ($3 million). No surprises there.
Sin Cara is listed at $700,000. Good for him for getting that cheddar. A little lower on the list are Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E at $500,000 each. Say what? They deserve more booty if Sin Cara is pulling in that much. I hope the New Day hasn’t traded concessions to increase their pancake budget paid by WWE. I also hope that the New Day is getting a nice slice of their merchandise pie. Who would have thought that WWE could make money selling Booty-O’s cereal?
One idea I have considered is maybe Sin Cara’s contract is newer, thus his salary is higher. I’d compare it to professional sports and how the salary scale rises every year. For example, NFL quarterbacks routinely become the new highest paid football player ever despite a particular player not even being the best at his own position.
You may have noticed that no women have been brought up yet. Ronda Rousey leads the charge with $1.5 million. It is understandable that she is the highest paid female wrestler since she crossed over from superstardom with the UFC.
Spots two through four are a more accurate representation of the ladies’ salary scale. The next highest are Charlotte Flair ($550,000), Nikki Bella ($350,000), and Alexa Bliss ($350,000). At the bottom of the list are Mandy Rose, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Tamina, and Liv Morgan with $80,000 each. Eighty grand sounds great for a regular job, but how much of that goes toward travel expenses as a professional wrestler?
For all the talk by WWE about their push of women’s wrestling, it doesn’t seem they are backing it up with their checkbook. There are sixteen men making at least $1 million and another seven making more than Charlotte Flair. I would have thought for sure that she would be in the millionaire bracket. Maybe she is. Remember, take these numbers with a grain of salt.
At the lower level for men, Curt Hawkins rakes in $200,000. For all Beck Lynch’s star power, she is only fifty thousand above at $250,000. Even before her meteoric rise as The Man, she was putting in more televised work than Hawkins. It would seem to reason that Lynch should have been in a much higher pay scale.
With rumors of WWE offering to double salaries for upcoming free agents to re-sign immediately due to the recent emergence of AEW, it will be interesting to see how well the ladies are compensated a year or two from now.
You can view a more complete list in the article from Mirror.
Do any of the salary numbers surprise you? Do you agree with the rankings at the top for men and women? What do you think of the women’s pay level compared to how WWE promotes public relations for equality?