Top 15 Highest Paid Wrestlers in the World
The WWE has grown into an entertainment business juggernaut. day by day, millions of dollars are made and spent on wrestling events. These events have grown equal in size to other professional sports as well as the top touring rock concerts. With this growth comes bigger and bigger paychecks for the top performers in the wrestling industry.
The WWE doesn’t pay these large salaries to just anybody. Professional wrestlers have one of the hardest jobs in the entertainment market. They are expected to create enthralling characters that will entertain the crowd, but they also need a level of athletic ability that should not go unnoticed. This makes the professional wrestler a rare combination of performer and athlete, that is worthy of this type of salaries.
There are a large number of renowned wrestlers across the World who are earning a lot of many year by year. Fabulaes has complied a list of Top 15 Highest Paid Wrestlers in the World.
At 23 years old, Edge was making $700k as a WWE jobber, whose role is to make the other wrestler in the ring look good.
At 33 years old, Edge had ascended to the top of the card and was a world champion.Edge is the American dream (despite being Canadian) who can attribute his rise through the ranks to his work ethic and Jim Ross. The Hall of Fame broadcaster gave Edge a $40,000 signing bonus when he joined WWE, and that amount allowed Edge to pay off his student loans and get a fresh start.
A neck injury forced his retirement at just 37, but Edge has stayed in the spotlight since then as a TV host and with a recurring role on the series, “Vikings.”
14. Ronda Rousey
Salary: $ 1.5 Million
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is used to being the first, and she continues that trend. Not only is Rousey the first female on this list, she also is the first full-time performer.
While most still think of Rousey as an Olympic-winning judoka or UFC fighter, she’s had more WWE matches than she’s had MMA contests. Rousey’s WWE salary was $1.5 million for 2018, nearly three times the amount for the next highest-paid women’s wrestler (Charlotte Flair).
Of course, Rousey’s work in the octagon led to her lucrative wrestling payday, and she made over $10 million during her final two UFC fights, both losses. But in addition to her combat sports career, Rousey has nabbed numerous endorsements — including Reebok, Twizzlers and Carl’s Jr. — to increase her wealth.
She retired from WWE in November 2019, but time will tell if she ever returns to the ring. This is wrestling after all, so never say never.
13. Dean Ambrose
Salary: $2.7 Million
Dean Ambrose has come a long way from being a high school dropout and growing up in the housing projects of Cincinnati.
He is the workhorse of The Shield and worked more events than any other WWE Superstar in 2017. That enabled him to rack up lucrative performance bonuses, and he made $2.7 million in 2017, which was fifth-most in all of WWE.
An injury kept him on the shelf for much of 2018, but he still collected $2.2 million to essentially rehab for eight months and wrestle for four months.
Ambrose is one of 14 Superstars on this list who’ve won the “Most Popular Wrestler” award, but he clocks in as the least wealthy of those 14 Superstars.
12. Vince McMahon
Salary: $3.2 Million
Once described as Vince McMahon’s right-hand man, Pat Patterson spent 25 years in WWE as a performer, referee, commentator and producer.
Patterson was the promotion’s inaugural intercontinental champion in 1979 and won the hardcore championship at the age of 59 in 2000. He is best known for his work behind the scenes and is credited with inventing the “Royal Rumble” match.
Patterson also broke barriers in the wrestling industry as he is openly gay and never shied away from that fact. Now in his late 70s, Patterson is retired but still helps out WWE as a creative consultant.
11. Becky Lynch
Salary: $3.5 Million
2019 was Becky Lynch’s year as she became the first Superstar to hold both RAW and SmackDown Women’s titles at the same time, while also headlining WrestleMania 36. Becky headlined The Show of Shows with Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair, which was the first time a women’s match headlined WWE’s biggest show of the year.
She earned $3.1 million in 2019, making her the highest-paid woman Superstar in WWE for the year. Lynch reportedly sells a lot of merchandise which has contributed to her addition to this list, while main-eventing WrestleMania also helped.
There’s no stopping The Man, who has played a key part in WWE’s women’s evolution, while also bringing the women closer to what the top men in WWE earn. Her stock is only set to grow even further.
She’s held the RAW Women’s Championship for the longest time than any other Superstar, while Lynch has also broken many other records along the way as well.
10. Dave Bautista
Salary: $4.5 Million
A late bloomer, Dave Bautista didn’t debut in WWE until he was 33 years old — but he has had as much success outside of wrestling as anyone not named The Rock.
During Bautista’s career, which started in 1999, the WWE took good care of him, paying for first-class flight tickets every week. However, he truly made bank as Drax the Destroyer in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers” series. Bautista made more in salary from those movies than he did during his WWE career, which lasted nearly nine years.
Bautista now has some starring roles on the horizon, and Hollywood has paid him so well that he has turned down numerous requests from WWE to step back into the wrestling ring.
9. Randy Orton
Salary: $4.8 Million
An 18-year veteran of WWE, Orton is the company’s third-highest-paid performer behind Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.
Orton’s 2020 salary clocks in at $4.1 million, which includes a limited schedule and lots of time off. In addition, “The Viper” receives a share of his merchandise sales, free travel accommodations and a share of the revenue from pay-per-views he appears on.
Unlike many others, Orton hasn’t branched out into other forms of entertainment, so his wealth is pretty much strictly wrestling-related.
But if WWE continues to increase his salary while allowing him to work less, he doesn’t need another source of income.
Salary: $5.3 Million
The man with more WWE matches than anyone, Kane has been employed by WWE since 1995. He also has appeared in more pay-per-views than any other wrestler in WWE history and with each PPV appearance comes a PPV bonus.
Now over 50 years old, Kane (aka Glenn Jacobs) is just a part-time performer these days, but part-time wrestling work is still enough to earn him a $4.5 Million salary for 2018, and 5.3 Million for 2020.
While many wrestlers move onto acting or broadcasting for their post-wrestling careers, Kane has taken up politics.
In 2018, he was elected mayor of Knox County, Tenn., and the incumbent mayor made $180,000 in his last year in office.
7. Big Show
Salary: $5.5 Million
Like Kane, Big Show is a WWE veteran who continues to be paid very well, because of what he has done for the company for almost two decades. The Big Show has been an important attraction for fans, as people love seeing “The World’s Largest Athlete” annihilate his competition. He is now 44 years old, so his esteemed career will soon come to an end. He did make $5.5 Million last year, so maybe the Big Show will stick around a little longer considering the money he is making.
6. The Undertaker
Salary: $6.2 Million
Triple H once called The Undertaker the greatest superstar in WWE history. Yet “The Deadman” is unable to crack the top 10 in earnings.
Even though he has been with WWE since 1990 and has one of the most famous gimmicks in wrestling history, The Undertaker has been a part-time performer over much of the last decade (just 20 official matches since 2011) and usually only wrestles at big events like WrestleMania.
As a result, The Undertaker has not reaped the rewards he would have gotten on a full-time schedule. Still, his 2018 salary came in at $2 million. Not too shabby for working just three or four days a year.
5. Roman Reigns
Salary: $6.5 Million
The Roman Reigns era may over. Reigns was the face of the WWE for almost a decade, whether the fans liked it or not, but WWE has decided in May 2020 to move on without him.
He was one of the most polarizing Superstars in history and was the second-highest-paid performer at $5 million annually. With only Brock Lesnar ahead of him, Reigns was WWE’s highest-paid full-time performer. Reigns also got a cut of his merchandise sales, which was of immense value to him as he surpassed Cena as WWE’s biggest merch seller a few years ago.
Reigns is only 34 and has won his battle with leukemia. He should be set financially, so now he can branch out into other forms of entertainment.
4. Seth Rollins
Salary: $6.8 Million
Sometimes, trade-offs are made with WWE contracts. That’s what happened to Seth Rollins in 2018. In 2017, he made $2.4 million in salary along with a cut of merchandise sales. However, in 2018 Rollins received a raise up to $3 million but no longer gets a merchandise bonus.
Either way, he’s doing just fine, and he still receives a $200,000 bonus for any pay-per-view main event he wrestles in. That money goes a long way for someone like Rollins. Unlike many of his co-workers, he didn’t move to Los Angeles or Florida after making it big. Rollins still resides in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa.
While Rollins might still enjoy small-town living, his bank continues to grow bigger with a $4 million salary in 2020, making him the fourth-highest-paid wrestler on WWE’s roster.
3. Triple H
Salary: $7 Million
Triple H has become more than one of the most respected wrestlers in history. He is now an integral part of the decision making for the WWE, along with Vince McMahon. With his WWE Championship win at WrestleMania 32, his 2015 salary reached a whopping $2.8 million dollars. As he continues with his hard work and dedication to the company, this salary although incredibly large, seems fair when you think about how popular and powerful Triple H really is. In 2015, his salary reached a whopping $ 7 Million dollars
2. Brock Lesnar
Salary: $8 Million
The WWE, faced with the prospect of Brock Lesnar leaving for the MMA, offered him a massive deal that resulted in him making $6 million dollars in 2015. Who wouldn’t stick around for that kind of money? Brock Lesnar is definitely a fan favorite, and losing him to mixed martial arts would hurt the company greatly. Brock doesn’t appear at wrestling events as often as he used to, but his powerful presence for the company still allowed him to achieve a impressive $6 million dollars.
1. John Cena
Salary: $9.5 Million
Did you really think anybody else would top this list? John Cena has had a stranglehold over every other wrestler for the past decade and he intends to keep it that way. Now, $9.5 million may sound like a lot, but it’s a drop in the bucket for the WWE. The merchandise alone that is sold from Cena’s all-American image could pay that salary a few times over. Cena is the highest paid wrestler in the WWE and worth every penny. Vince McMahon may have similar plans for Roman Reigns, but you can bet John Cena will have something to say about that!
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