Richest Pro Wrestlers of All Time
The wacky world of professional wrestling is not for everyone. But it has developed an intense following akin to fans of any other sport or team.
Over the past few decades, pro wrestling has gone mainstream and is no longer confined to high school auditoriums (though shows still take place there) as WWE has packed 80,000-plus fans into places like AT&T Stadium in Dallas and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
WWE is at the top of the food chain for wrestling promotions after devouring its competition (WCW and ECW). Many often wonder how much the top performers in the top promotion in the world make, and you may be surprised at how much they get.
While the highest-paid wrestlers in the world are nowhere near the highest-paid NFL/NBA/MLB players, they are on par with the NHL’s best. For example, Brock Lesnar is WWE’s highest-paid performer, and he made $12 million in 2020, putting him among the top 10 NHL salaries.
For this list, we look at what wrestlers have made in a lifetime. That amount includes endorsements and other ventures, since wrestling is what led to those other sources of revenue — and it’s not like they are giving the money back.
Time to find out just how much getting a chair shot to the head is worth.
55. Ric Flair — $500,000-$3 Million
Birth name:Richard Morgan Fliehr
Born: Feb. 25, 1949, in Memphis, Tennessee
Signature move: Figure-Four Leglock, Chops
Note: The figures are courtesy of Celebrity Net Worth unless otherwise noted. This list includes only wrestlers, not owners (Vince McMahon and all other McMahons) or those with one-off matches (Floyd Mayweather, David Arquette, etc.).
Bottom Line: Ric Flair
Ric Flair is in his 70s. Is he still stylin'? Oh yeah. Is he still profilin'? Most definitely. Is he still limousine ridin'? We're not sure about that one.
While Flair belongs on the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling, his money problems have been well documented, with unpaid tax issues being a lingering problem. Recently, he was hit with a $280,000 state and federal tax bill in 2019, right after the Nature Boy underwent a $1.8 million heart surgery (he had insurance, but he mentioned that he still had to pay something out of pocket).
Flair's flamboyant, over-the-top lifestyle made him one of the world's most famous wrestlers, but it certainly didn't help his financial life. There are conflicting reports as to how much Flair is worth, with estimates ranging from $500,000 to $3 million.
How well do you know wrestling? Test your knowledge with this WWE/WWF Wrestlemania quiz from Huge Quiz.
53. Kevin Owens — $3 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Kevin Yanick Steen
Born: May 7, 1984, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada
Signature move: Package Piledriver, Frog Splash, Turnbuckle Cannonball, Stunner
Bottom Line: Kevin Owens
Built like the antithesis of what most people thought Vince McMahon was looking for in a wrestler, Kevin Owens surprised everyone when he made his WWE debut by beating John Cena clean at the Elimination Chamber PPV in 2015. Owens even held the Universal Championship once, and has won the Intercontinental Championship twice and the United States Championship three times.
Incredible on both the mic and in the ring, Owens has a loyal fan following which he built up for nearly 15 years on the independent circuit. Notably, his feud with Sami Zayn in the Ring of Honor and his rivalry with the Young Bucks in PWG cemented him as one of the industry's best wrestlers.
He and Zayn had a match at WrestleMania 37, completing a lifelong dream for both wrestlers.
53. Scott Hall — $3 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Scott Oliver Hall
Born: Oct. 20, 1958, in Duluth, Georgia
Signature move: Razor's Edge/Outsider's Edge
Bottom Line: Scott Hall
Scott Hall made his name in the wrestling business as Razor Ramon, a Tony Montana-like character who was one of the most popular guys on the WWE's 1990s roster. His ladder match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X is still considered one of the best wrestling matches of all time.
Hall made the bulk of his money at WCW, where he, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan basically ran the entire show, on- and off-screen.
It's well-known that Hall struggled with drugs and alcohol. He returned to the WWE and had a match with Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania X8, but was fired a few months later due to substance abuse problems. He headed on over to TNA for several years and worked the independent circuit, before hanging up his boots in 2014 after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
52. Kazuchika Okada — $3.1 Million
Birth name:Kazuchika Okada
Born: Nov. 8, 1987, in Anjo, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Signature move: Rainmaker, Red Ink, Spinning Tombstone Piledriver
Bottom Line: Kazuchika Okada
Most American pro wrestling fans probably don't know who Kazuchika Okada is, but every wrestling fan in Japan does.
Okada became the Rainmaker after New Japan Pro Wrestling sent him to TNA. TNA handled Okada poorly, and the relationship between the two companies deteriorated because of this. But even though he was misused, Okada benefited from his time there, refining his wrestling character.
Currently, Okada has five IWGP Heavyweight Title reigns. His fourth title reign was held for 720 days, the longest reign in NJPW history.
According to The Richest, Okada is worth $3.1 million.
48. Jim Ross — $4 Million (Tie)
Birth name:James William Ross
Born: Jan. 3, 1952, in Norman, Oklahoma
Signature move: Screaming "Stone Cold!," "My god!" and "That man has a family!"
Bottom Line: Jim Ross
Jim Ross is unequivocally the best wrestling announcer in history.
Ross grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, where he developed a love for broadcasting by listening to sports radio broadcasts. He got into the wrestling business in the 1970s, while he was in college, filling a broadcast division in an NWA territory.
He worked his way through several wrestling companies before landing in the WWE in the 1990s, where he eventually became a mainstay announcer and also head of talent relations (Ross signed the Rock and recruited Stone Cold Steve Austin after he was fired from WCW).
Ross became the voice of WWE during the Attitude Era and stayed with WWE until 2013, when he left the company. He continued working various promotions until settling in at AEW, where he is one of the company's main match announcers.
48. Mickie James — $4 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Mickie Laree James
Born: Aug. 31, 1979, in Richmond, Virginia
Signature move: Mickie-DDT, Mick Kick, Cross STF
Bottom Line: Mickie James
Mickie James wrestled on the independent circuit and TNA before making her way to WWE in 2003 and first appearing on Raw in 2005 and putting in a program with Trish Stratus.
James proved herself to be a very good wrestler and became a fan favorite. She was let go in 2010 and went back to the independent circuit and TNA , working in various promotions until signing with WWE again in 2016. She was once again let go in 2021, and her belongings were sent to her in a trash bag. (Apparently, this had happened before, and the guy responsible was fired by WWE).
James is in her 40s but has no plans to retire anytime soon.
48. Cody Rhodes — $4 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Cody Runnels
Born: June 30, 1985, in Marietta, Georgia
Signature move: Cross Rhodes, Disaster Kick, Cody Cutter
Bottom Line: Cody Rhodes
You wouldn't think Cody Rhodes would become one of the most important figures in modern-day wrestling, but he is.
The son of legendary wrestler Dusty Rhodes and half-brother to Dustin Rhodes (AKA Gold Dust), Cody grew up wanting to be a pro wrestler. He wrestled in high school and attended an acting school after graduating, trained in Ohio Valley Wrestling from 2006 until 2007, and then went straight on to WWE Raw in 2007 where he teamed up (and, of course, feuded) with Hardcore Holly.
Cody had a successful career in the WWE. He was frequently featured on WWE programming and was a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion and accumulated six Tag Team Title wins. But he was destined to be cast on the undercard, and it was Vince McMahon's decision to keep him around as the comic character Stardust that made Cody break with WWE in 2016.
He bet on himself and it paid off, handsomely. Cody toured the independent circuit, gaining a loyal following of fans. His time in Japan proved immensely beneficial, as he formed the Elite, a group of wrestlers whom he would later take with him back to America to found All Elite Wrestling. AEW is the first wrestling program to be featured on TNT since WCW died in 2001.
He is currently an executive member of AEW, and we expect his net worth to increase.
Cody is worth about $4 million, according to Live Sport World.
48. Becky Lynch — $4 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Rebecca Quin
Born: Jan. 30, 1987, in Limerick, Ireland
Signature move: Dis-Arm-Her, Four-Leg Clover, Exploder Suplex, Hard Knox
Bottom Line: Becky Lynch
After dropping out of the University College Dublin, Becky Lynch began training at Finn Balor's wrestling school along with her brother in 2002. She worked the European independent circuit for over a decade before signing a two-year developmental deal in 2013 with NXT.
Lynch put on some absolute bangers with Bailey, Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, establishing herself as one of the Four Horsewomen and one of the main figures in the new women's wrestling — not divas — era. But even she wouldn't believe the heights of popularity that she reached in 2018-2019.
During that time, she became possibly the hottest wrestler in the world and moved more merch than anyone in the company, including John Cena, for months. Adopting a Stone Cold-esque gimmick dubbed "The Man," she held both the Women's SmackDown and Raw Championships. Alongside Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair, she was one of the first women to main event WrestleMania and the first woman to win a WrestleMania main event.
Lynch married Seth Rollins in 2019. In December 2020, she announced on WWE television that she was pregnant. She's expected to return at some point.
Note that this net worth only accounts for Lynch's personal income and not what it is when combined with Rollins'.
47. Mark Henry — $4.5 million
Birth name:Mark Jerrold Henry
Born: June 12, 1971, in Silsbee, Texas
Signature move: Body Avalanche, Military Press Slam, Scoop Powerslam, Bearhug
Bottom Line: Mark Henry
When he was 12 years old, Mark Henry was 5-foot-5 and weighed 225 pounds. By the time he was in high school, he could squat 600 pounds, and at 18 years old, he could squat 832 pounds and bench 525, setting records for the National High School Powerlifting Championships. As an adult, he won numerous powerlifting competitions, including becoming a Super Heavyweight U.S. National Powerlifting Champion.
Henry joined the WWE in 1996. Young, angry, but hungry for success, it took Henry a bit to learn the ropes and be safe in the ring. But when he did, he became a star.
Charismatic and unfathomably strong, Henry brought a unique believability to the ring. You knew this guy could tear you in half if he felt like it.
45. Rob Van Dam — $5 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Robert Alexander Szatkowski
Born: Dec. 18, 1970, in Battle Creek, Michigan
Signature move: Five-Star Frog Splash, Van Terminator, Van Daminator, Split-Legged Moonsault
Bottom Line: Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam exploded onto the wrestling scene in ECW, where he became arguably the most famous wrestler in the entire company. His high-flying style mixed with high kicks and innovative (and painful) uses of steel chairs made him one of the most exciting wrestlers in the world to watch.
After ECW folded, Van Dam had a run in the WWE, where he held several championships, including the WWE Championship. However, Van Dam was arrested in Ohio after he was found carrying 18 grams of hash and five Vicodin pills. He was suspended and had to lose the title to Big Show.
Van Dam also found success in TNA, where he spent several years. He also made a great heel in Impact Wrestling alongside his real-life girlfriend, Katie Forbes.
After Van Dam was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2021, Vince McMahon and Triple H told him that he "changed the style of wrestling."
45. Matt Hardy — $5 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Matthew Moore Hardy
Born: Sept. 23, 1974, in Cameron, North Carolina
Signature move: Twist of Fate, Side Effect
Bottom Line: Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy was overshadowed by his brother, Jeff , throughout their initial WWE run. But in 2016, Hardy would reinvent himself to become one of the hottest and most interesting acts in wrestling with his "Broken" gimmick, which carried over to WWE after his TNA run ended.
Now, Hardy is signed with AEW, and has reinvented himself again as "Big Money Matt." He continues to wrestle in his mid-40s and is given ample screen time.
41. AJ Styles — $6 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Allen Neal jones
Born: June 2, 1977, in Jacksonville, North Carolina
Signature move: Styles Clash, Calf Crusher, Phenomenal Forearm
Bottom Line: AJ Styles
AJ Styles made his name for himself everywhere but the WWE. First coming onto the scene when he was in his very early 20s, Styles had a long and celebrated career at TNA beginning in 2002. He had stupendous matches in the X Division and a particularly memorable feud with Samoa Joe.
Styles went on to NJPW where he became the leader of the Bullet Club, which further elevated his career and put him squarely in the sights of WWE. He signed with the company in 2016 and has had a very successful career, holding the WWE Championship for one year and having several high-profile programs.
Notably, he was the opponent for Undertaker's retirement match in 2020.
41. The Great Khali — $6 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Dalip Singh Rana
Born: Aug. 27, 1972, in Dhiraina, Himachal Pradesh, India
Signature move: Punjabi Plunge/Khali Bomb, Vice Grip, Big Boot
Bottom Line: The Great Khali
The Great Khali was a policeman in Punjab, India, before becoming a professional wrestler in his late 20s. He was trained specifically for United States wrestling, and made his debut as Giant Singh in All Pro Wrestling and even wrestled for a bit in WCW for eight months before the company imploded.
Kali likely found his biggest paychecks with the WWE, debuting in 2006 and having a one-year undefeated streak, suffering his first loss at the hands of the Undertaker. He became World Heavyweight Champion for a year and stayed with the company until 2014. He still returns sporadically to the WWE and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2021.
Outside of the ring, Khali has appeared in movies and on several television shows.
41. Trish Stratus — $6 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Patricia Anne Stratigeas
Born: Dec. 18, 1975, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Signature move: Stratusfaction, Chick Kick, Diving Bulldog
Bottom Line: Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus was one of the best women's wrestlers on the WWE roster during the early- and mid-2000s.
Despite being put in constant, overly sexualized storylines like every other "Diva" during that era, Stratus shined because her in-ring work was genuinely good.
Stratus wrestled in the WWE full-time from 2000 until 2006. From there, she partially retired, sporadically coming back for special appearances. She wrestled her last match in 2019, where she wrestled Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam.
41. Eddie Guerrero — $6 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Eduardo Gory Guerrero Llanes
Born: Oct. 9, 1967, in El Paso, Texas
Signature move: Frog Splash, Lasso From El Paso, Three Amigos, Brainbuster
Bottom Line: Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero was one of the most famous wrestlers of his time, and remains loved by fans and fellow wrestlers everywhere. Born into a wrestling family, Guerrero was destined to become a luchador.
He traveled the world, wrestling first in Mexico and then in NJPW before being spotted by Paul Heyman, who scouted him for ECW. He only wrestled there for a short time before departing for WCW, where he gained a following in the high-flying Cruiserweight Division.
Despite wrestling mostly as a crafty, despicable heel, Guerrero's true personality shined through, and he became a fan favorite. That, and his nearly unapparelled in-ring ability, cause most wrestling fans to consider him one of the best in the world.
Tragically, Guerrero suffered from alcohol and drug abuse problems. He died suddenly on Nov. 13, 2005, at the age of 38 from a heart attack.
36. Bret Hart — $7 Million (Tie)
Birth name:Bret Sergeant Hart
Born: July 2, 1957, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Signature move: Sharpshooter, Hart Attack
Bottom Line: Bret Hart
The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be — Bret Hart is one of the most famous wrestlers of all time, and when he was in his prime, one of the best pro wrestlers on the planet.
His feud with Shawn Michaels is legendary, both in the ring and off the mat. Even if the Montreal Screwjob never happened, Hart would still be a pivotal figure in the wrestling industry, as he has inspired and influenced innumerable pro wrestlers.
The Hitman had an illustrious career with the WWE from the 1980s until 1997, when Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels and Triple H screwed Hart out of the title at SummerSlam. His time in WCW was also marred by horrible booking, and he was forced to retire in 2000 after Goldberg botched a move and kicked him in the face, causing a nasty concussion.
Hart did return for one last match, against McMahon at WrestleMania 26. It was, unfortunately, one of the worst wrestling matches of all time. But at least he got to smack McMahon with a chair, over and over (and over) again.
36. Wade Barrett — $7 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Stuart Alexander Bennett
Born: Aug. 10, 1980, in Penwortham, Lancashire, England
Signature move: Wasteland
Bottom Line: Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett retire from the squared circle in 2016, hanging up the boots at the age of 35.
Prior to that, he spent 10 years with WWE, where he was frequently in the main event picture, but could never capture a world title.
A legit tough guy, Barrett also was a bare-knuckle boxer while growing up in England and received a cash prize that likely rivaled his early WWE salary.
Ironically, WWE may have accidentally set the wheels in motion for Barrett to walk away from wrestling as they picked him for a movie produced by WWE Studios. Appearing in that film in 2013 gave Barrett the acting bug and showed him there are other options than wrestling or bare-knuckle boxing.
He became a full-fledged actor and TV personality and hosted the United Kingdom version of the Netflix show, "Ultimate Beastmaster." But in 2020, he signed back with WWE, providing color commentary for NXT.
36. Sheamus — $7 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Stephen Farrelly
Born: Jan. 28, 1978, in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland
Signature move: Brogue Kick, Cloverleaf, Irish Curse Backbreaker, White Noise
Bottom Line: Sheamus
There are 15 WWE Superstars who made at least $1 million in 2018, and Sheamus just made the cut at exactly $1 million.
However, a merchandise bonus and travel accommodations also figure into the contract for the four-time world champion.
Now in his 40s, Sheamus has transitioned into more of a tag wrestler than a singles Superstar, but that should prolong his career and allow for a couple of more paydays.
Sheamus also capitalizes on his thick Irish accent as he has several voice acting credits in his filmography.
36. Jerry Lawler — $7 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Jerry O'Neil Lawler
Born: Nov. 29, 1949, in Memphis, Tennessee
Signature move: Piledriver, Flying Fistdrop
Bottom Line: Jerry Lawler
Jerry "The King" Lawler keeps going. Despite an on-air heart attack and a couple of strokes, Lawler is still lacing up the boots at 70 years old.
He joined WWE as a wrestler and broadcaster in 1992 after two decades dominating the Memphis wrestling scene.
Lawler was the color commentator for Monday Night Raw for 18 years, and he enjoyed first-class flight tickets, hotel accommodations and ground transportation paid for every week in addition to a nice salary that rivaled many performers.
He also occasionally wrestled for WWE and says the single biggest paycheck of his career came at WrestleMania 27, where a 13-minute match with Michael Cole netted him $130,000.
36. Dean Ambrose/Jon Moxley — $7 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Jonathan David Good
Born: Dec. 7, 1985, in Cincinnati, Ohio
Signature move: Dirty Deeds
Bottom Line: Dean Ambrose
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.
Ambrose signed with AEW in 2019 and is now working as Jon Moxley.
31. Sting — $8 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Steve Borden
Born: March 20, 1959, in Omaha Nebraska
Signature move: Scorpion Deathlock, Stinger Splash, Scorpion Death Drop
Bottom Line: Sting
While the singer Sting has a net worth of over $300 million, the wrestler Sting will have to "settle" for $8 million.
This Sting was WCW’s franchise player and was named the “Most Popular Wrestler” by Pro Wrestling Illustrated a record-tying four times (along with John Cena). He banked nearly $2 million in his last year in WCW in 2001 and nearly $1 million (plus merchandise bonuses and travel accommodations) during his last year in TNA in 2014 in which he was basically a designated hitter.
Sting finally joined WWE in 2014 at the age of 59, but his body was clearly broken down by then and only wrestled for less than one year before suffering a career-ending injury.
Or so everyone thought. Sting made a surprise AEW debut in December 2020. He is still signed with the company and still wrestles, albeit not too often.
31. Kevin Nash — $8 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Kevin Scott Nash
Born: July 9, 1959, in Detroit, Michigan
Signature move: Jackknife Powerbbomb
Bottom Line: Kevin Nash
A former college basketball player for the Tennessee Volunteers, Kevin Nash had a short stint overseas as a professional before giving wrestling a shot.
At 7 feet tall, Nash certainly had the look and was one of WCW’s highest-paid stars, pulling in $1.8 million back in 2000.
Nash is 60 years old and in his retirement phase, but he’s filling that wrestling void with acting. He’s been in many big-budget motion pictures including "John Wick," "Magic Mike" and "Magic Mike XXL."
Nash also has capitalized on several business opportunities and once estimated that he’ll make $525,000 a year after he retires.
"If I can’t live on 525," Nash said in 2012, "I’m in trouble."
31. Diamond Dallas Page — $8 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Page Joseph Falkinburg
Born: April 5, 1956, in Point Pleasant, New Jersey
Signature move: Diamond Cutter
Bottom Line: Diamond Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) didn’t become a wrestler until 35 but still ascended to the top of WCW’s roster and was featured in tag matches with the likes of Jay Leno and Karl Malone.
Page spent just one year in WWE afterward before shifting his focus to his growing yoga business.
DDP Yoga is a fitness program that has manifested itself in books, workout videos and infomercials. The program was originally designed for “regular guys,” but it has expanded and now is used by all demographics. Some of the clientele include pro wrestlers, Olympic athletes, ex-NFL players and even Darius Rucker from Hootie & the Blowfish.
Page says DDP Yoga made $3 million in its first three years of existence, and that revenue likely has grown since then.
31. Daniel Bryan — $8 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Bryan Lloyd Danielson
Born: May 22, 1981, in Aberdeen, Washington
Signature move: LeBell Lock, Running Knee, Heel Hook
Bottom Line: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan went from the indies underdog to WWE’s most popular wrestler to an early retiree due to multiple head injuries.
But he made his return to the ring in 2018 after a three-year absence while remaining on WWE’s payroll as an on-camera personality.
Bryan was making around $700,000 for his non-wrestling role. Now he's up to $2 million in base salary after returning to the ring.
Bryan is married to fellow WWE Superstar, Brie Bella, whose net worth of $6 million also matches that of her twin sister, Nikki.
31. CM Punk — $8 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Phillip Jack Brooks
Born: Oct. 26, 1978, in Chicago, Illinois
Signature move: G.T.S. (Go to Sleep), Anaconda Vise
Bottom Line: CM Punk
CM Punk notoriously quit WWE in 2014 and traded in the ring for the octagon to the tune of disastrous results. He’s been well-compensated in both sports and made $1.2 million in his last year in WWE in addition to the use of a personal tour bus.
When he joined UFC, Punk was paid like one of the top stars based on name alone. Punk fought just twice in UFC and collected $1.5 million for those two bouts.
With his MMA future uncertain and wrestling in the rearview mirror, Punk has moved onto the third phase of his career. He’s taken up comic-book writing and hosting as he is a co-host for the United States version of the "Ultimate Beastmaster."
25. The Miz — $9 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Michael Gregory Mizanin
Born: Oct. 8, 1980, in Parma, Ohio
Signature move: Skull-Crushing Finale, Figure-Four Leglock
Bottom Line: The Miz
The Miz made a big jump in net worth over the past few years. He’s solidified himself as one of WWE’s top Superstars and has received praise from both other wrestlers and fans, which is rare.
Living up to his nickname of the A-Lister, Miz receives travel accommodations in addition to a $2.5 million salary.
He got his start as “Mike from the Real World,” and he’s gone back to television as the host of several MTV shows and recently got his own show, "Miz & Mrs." alongside his wife, Maryse.
25. Seth Rollins — $9 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Colby Lopez
Born: May 28, 1986, in Buffalo, Iowa
Signature move: Stomp
Bottom Line: Seth Rollins
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.
25. Kane — $9 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Glenn Thomas Jacobs
Born: April 26, 1967, in Penwortham, Lancashire, England
Signature move: Chokeslam, Tombstone
Bottom Line: Kane
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 $900,000 salary for 2018.
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.
25. John Bradshaw Layfield — $9 Million (Tie)
Birth name: John Charles Layfield
Born: Nov. 29, 1966, in Sweetwater, Texas
Signature move: The Clothesline From Hell
Bottom Line: John Bradshaw Layfield
A football player-turned-wrestler-turned-businessman, John Bradshaw Layfield lasted just one training camp in the NFL, but JBL survived 14 years as a WWE Superstar.
He rose up the ranks from being a tag-team wrestler to a main eventer, and he was making close to $1 million annually (while also getting five-star hotel accommodations) at his peak.
Layfield may have done even better outside the ring than in it as he often appears on various business news networks and published a book on financial management.
It was while working for Fox News that JBL met his future wife, Meredith Whitney, whose net worth rivals her husband’s and who currently works as a financial analyst.
25. Joey Styles — $9 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Joseph Carmine Bonsignore
Born: July 14, 1971, in Bronx, New York
Signature move: N/A
Bottom Line: Joey Styles
Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list, Joey Styles never stepped foot in a WWE ring as a performer and was a commentator for the promotion for just one year. But the former ECW announcer became a WWE executive after leaving the broadcast booth, and he was the VP of Digital Media Content while working at WWE’s Stamford headquarters.
Additionally, he hosted a weekly webcast for the YES Network from 2012 to 2016.
In 2016, Styles was let go from WWE and now works in digital and print advertising sales.
25. Gene Okerlund — $9 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Eugene Arthur Okerlund
Born: Dec. 19, 1942, in Brookings, South Dakota
Signature move: N/A
Bottom Line: Gene Okerlund
Hall of Famer announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund is often associated with Hulk Hogan, and Mean Gene can thank the Hulkster for his fortune.
In 1983, the two of them jumped from the AWA (American Wrestling Association) to WWE (then known as WWF, or the World Wrestling Federation), and both received large guaranteed contracts.
In fact, Okerlund made over $300,000 per year during the late 1980s, more than superstars such as Bret Hart and Ricky Steamboat.
Okerlund's salary also was far more than the pay of other announcers at the time, including Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
Thanks to Okerlund's years of loyalty to WWE, Okerlund is signed to a lifetime contract with the promotion and still makes occasional appearances.
21. Pat Patterson — $10 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Pierre Clermont
Born: Jan. 19, 1941, in Ville-Marie, Montreal, Quebec
Signature move: Atomic Drop, Sleeper Hold
Bottom Line: Pat Patterson
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.
Patterson passed away on December 2, 2020, at the age of 79.
21. Kevin Von Erich — $10 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Kevin Ross Adkisson
Born: May 15, 1957, in Belleville, Illinois
Signature move: Iron Claw
Bottom Line: Kevin Von Erich
The last surviving member of the Von Erich family, Kevin saw his five brothers all suffer tragic deaths at young ages. The Von Erich Curse is as famous in wrestling as The Curse of the Bambino is in baseball.
Kevin had just one WWE match in his career, but he was a star in the promotion his father founded, World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW).
Kevin eventually took over the promotion from his father and received a nice payday in 2006 when he sold the rights and video archives of the WCCW to Vince McMahon and WWE.
Outside of wrestling, Kevin Von Erich works in commercial real estate from his home in Hawaii.
21. David Otunga — $10 Million (Tie)
Birth name: David Daniel Otunga
Born: April 7, 1980, in Elgin, Illinois
Signature move: The Verdict
Bottom Line: David Otunga
David Otunga got a late start in the wrestling industry and retired at just the age of 35, which gives him the shortest career out of any wrestler on this list.
But he’s done well outside of the ring. He graduated from Harvard Law School and was an attorney in Chicago for three years. He then dabbled a bit in acting and was part of a VH1 reality TV show before joining WWE in 2008.
Otunga never was one of the top guys in WWE like most others on this list, but he is a jack-of-all-trades and he’s remained a WWE commentator since retiring in 2015.
Otunga also was married to singer Jennifer Hudson (net worth $20 million) before divorcing in 2017. That means he just missed out on joining Triple H as the only people on this list with a lower net worth than their spouse.
21. Andre the Giant — $10 Million (Tie)
Birth name: André René Roussimoff
Born: May 19, 1946, in Grenoble, France
Signature move: Sitdown Splash, Double Underhook Suplex
Bottom Line: Andre the Giant
Arguably the greatest “special attraction” in pro wrestling history, Andre the Giant, or Andre Rene Roussimoff, is the only deceased wrestler on this list, so his estate is worth $10 million.
Andre was born in Coulommiers, Seine-et-Marne, France in 1946 and died in Paris in 1993 at the age of 46.
He joined WWE in the early 1970s, long before first-class plane tickets were the norm for the top superstars. As a result, air travel forced Andre’s 7-foot, 500-pound frame to awkwardly sit in business class. Usually, he bought two seats so that the person next to him wouldn’t be uncomfortable.
Still, Andre was wrestling’s biggest star before he passed the torch to Hulk Hogan.
Over a 15-year stretch, from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, Andre was the highest-paid wrestler in the world. According to the 1974 edition of "Guinness Book of World Records," Andre’s annual salary was $400,000, which equates to roughly $2 million with inflation.
20. Randy Orton — $11 Million
Birth name: Randal Keith Orton
Born: April 1, 1980, in Knoxville, Tennessee
Signature move: RKO
Bottom Line: Randy Orton
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.
17. Roman Reigns — $12 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Leati Joseph Anoa?i
Born: May 25, 1985, in Pensacola, Florida
Signature move: Spear, Superman Punch
Bottom Line: Roman Reigns
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.
17. Jeff Hardy — $12 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Jeffrey Nero Hardy
Born: Aug. 31, 1977, in Cameron, North Carolina
Signature move: Swanton Bomb, Whisper in the Wind, Twist of Fate
Bottom Line: Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy has been linked to his older brother, Matt, throughout their entire careers. But just as little sister Serena is the more famous of the Williams sisters, little brother Jeff is the more famous (and better paid) Hardy brother.
Jeff Hardy is pulling in over $2 million in salary from WWE while Matt is only making around $320,000. There was a time when both Hardys were rewarded with a 2.5 percent share from their merchandise sales, but Jeff is further compensated with a $200,000 bonus for each main event match he appears in.
Jeff has been wrestling for WWE off and on since the mid-1990s, but much of the wealth he’s accumulated over that time has been squandered through personal and legal issues.
17. Ronda Rousey — $12 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Ronda Jean Rousey
Born: Feb. 1, 1987 in Riverside, California
Signature move: Armbar
Bottom Line: Ronda Rousey
"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.
15. Edge — $14 million (Tie)
Birth name: Adam Joseph Copeland
Born: Oct. 30, 1973, in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada
Signature move: Spear
Bottom Line: Edge
At 23 years old, Edge was making $210 a week 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."
15. Bill Goldberg — $14 million (Tie)
Birth name: William Scott Goldberg
Born: Jan. 1, 1967, in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Signature move: Jackhammer, Spear
Bottom Line: Bill Goldberg
If this list was sorted by money earned per wrestling match, Bill Goldberg would check in at No. 1 due to his brief pro wrestling career.
Goldberg spent six years as a wrestler in WCW and then WWE after a pro football career in the NFL and CFL. When WCW was bought out in 2001, Goldberg was WCW’s highest-paid performer, making $2.5 million annually.
He then had two stints in the WWE with a 12-year wrestling hiatus in between. In 2017, he hung up the trunks for good. So we thought.
After he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, he returned to the ring in 2018 and now pulls in $3 million a year.
That will help Goldberg’s net worth, which also is influenced by his non-wrestling projects in film and television. He’s appeared in 13 movies, on numerous TV shows, and has hosted three different biker-related shows.
14. Jeff Jarrett — $15 Million
Birth name: Jeffrey Leonard Jarrett
Born: July 14, 1967, in Hendersonville, Tennessee
Signature move: Figure-Four Leglock, Stroke
Bottom Line: Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018. But he’s made most of his fortune as a co-founder of North America’s No. 2 pro wrestling company, Impact Wrestling, formerly known as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Jarrett co-founded the company with his father after Vince McMahon fired the younger Jarrett on an episode of "Monday Night Raw."
Impact Wrestling has gone through many iterations — changing its name, its TV broadcasters, even its ring. But Jarret helped build the promotion into such a reputable entity that WWE often steals ideas from Impact Wrestling.
After departing Impact, Jarrett tried his luck with another upstart pro wrestling company. He founded Global Force Wrestling with his wife (and Kurt Angle’s ex-wife), Karen Jarrett.
In 2019, Jarrett returned to the ring for WWE and became part of the promotion's creative team.
13. Dave Bautista — $16 Million
Birth name: David Michael Bautista Jr.
Born: Jan. 18, 1969, in Arlington, Virginia
Signature move: Batista Bomb
Bottom Line: Dave Bautista
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.
11. Shawn Michaels — $17 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Michael Shawn Hickenbottom
Born: July 22, 1965, in Chandler, Arizona
Signature move: Sweet Chin Music
Bottom Line: Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels is perhaps the greatest wrestler in the sport’s history.
The Heartbreak Kid has been with WWE for 30 years, with 18 as an in-ring performer and 12 as an on-camera personality or off-camera ambassador.
As a wrestler, Michaels was at one point the face of the company and is a four-time world champion. With that status comes the perks, and Michaels enjoyed first-class treatment (flight tickets, hotel accommodations and ground transportation all covered by WWE) while he was a performer.
Michaels retired in 2010, and unlike most other wrestlers, he has stayed retired and resisted any temptation to step back into the ring.
11. The Undertaker — $17 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Mark William Calaway
Born: March 24, 1965, in Houston, Texas
Signature move: Chokeslam, Tombstone, Last Ride, Hell's Gate
Bottom Line: The Undertaker
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.
9. Mick Foley — $18 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Michael Francis Foley
Born: June 7, 1965, in Bloomington, Indiana
Signature move: Mandible Claw, Double Arm DDT
Bottom Line: Mick Foley
Mick Foley has one of the most unusual paths of any wrestler. He spent much of his career taking part in extreme and hardcore matches, only to transition into becoming a multiple best-selling author.
Being put through tables set on fire and hit with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire must spur great ideas, because Foley, who has a communications degree from SUNY Cortland, has written all five of his autobiographies without a ghostwriter.
Foley left WWE in early 2017, but he’s keeping himself busy by performing in comedy clubs for his "20 Years of Hell" tour in which he hilariously recounts his infamous Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker.
9. Chris Jericho — $18 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Christopher Keith Irvine
Born: Nov. 9, 1970, in Manhasset, New York
Signature move: Codebreaker, Walls of Jericho, Lionsault
Bottom Line: Chris Jericho
While many pro wrestlers on this list have used film and TV careers to supplement their income, Chris Jericho has used music. He is the lead singer of the heavy metal band Fozzy.
At this point in Jericho's life, being a singer is his main job. The only time he returns to wrestling is between Fozzy concert tours.
Outside of wrestling and his music career, Jericho is like Nick Cannon, with seemingly a dozen different jobs at the same time.
Jericho's autobiography was a New York Times bestseller, he’s hosted numerous TV shows and game shows, and he’s produced and starred in a comedy web series that is loosely based on his life entitled "But I’m Chris Jericho!"
8. Big Show — $20 Million
Birth name: Paul Donald Wight II
Born: Feb. 8, 1972, in Aiken, South Carolina
Signature move: Chokeslam, KO Punch, Colossal Clutch
Bottom Line: Big Show
Nicknamed "The World’s Largest Athlete," the Big Show stands 7 feet tall and weighed over 450 pound at one point.
He is one of the many WWE performers to receive a 10-year contract in the late 1990s with Bret Hart, Mark Henry and Kurt Angle (who rejected his).
At 48 years old, the Big Show is more of a novelty act than a wrestler these days. He had hip surgery in 2018 and doesn't see much ring action.
Nevertheless, the WWE brass love having the Big Show around the younger guys in the locker room and in 2018 signed him to a new three-year deal that pays $850,000 annually.
6. Kurt Angle — $25 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Kurt Steven Angle
Born: Dec. 9, 1968, in Mt. Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania
Signature move: Angle Slam, Ankle Lock
Bottom Line: Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is the only Olympic gold medalist in WWE history, but he is not the only Olympic medalist on this list.
He won gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta in freestyle wrestling but soon realized that there is no money in that sport and traded in the mat for the ring. After initially rejecting a 10-year guaranteed contract from WWE because he wasn’t willing to lose, Angle reconsidered, but by then, the offer was off the table.
Thus, he had to try out for WWE and began with the company in 1998. Going from amateur wrestling to pro wrestling is no easy transition, but Angle’s fortitude and ability made Triple H describe him as "probably the fastest guy I've ever seen pick this business up."
Angle finished his career as the on-screen general manager for Raw and rarely wrestled anymore, but he’s still raked in an annual salary of $600,000. In 2020, Angle was released from his WWE contract.
6. Hulk Hogan — $25 Million (Tie)
Birth name: Terry Gene Bollea
Born: Aug. 11, 1953, in Augusta, Georgia
Signature move: Leg Drop
Bottom Line: Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan may be the most famous wrestler of all time, but he also may have lost more money than any wrestler not named Ric Flair.
In a 2010 interview, Hogan said that he’s lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to the lavish lifestyle lived by his family and a costly divorce settlement.
Hogan lost 70 percent of his assets to his ex-wife in his 2009 divorce, which includes around $30 million. That $30 million cancels out the $31 million Hogan was awarded in his lawsuit settlement against Gawker Media.
Don't feel too sad. As the highest-paid WWE wrestler in the 1980s and the highest-paid WCW wrestler in the 1990s, Hogan still has lots of dough.
And his worth only will increase as WWE welcomed him back in 2018 after a three-year banishment for racist language.
5. Brock Lesnar — $28 Million
Birth name: Brock Edward Lesnar
Born: July 12, 1977, in Webster, South Dakota
Signature move: F-5, Kimura Lock
Bottom Line: Brock Lesnar
From WWE to wanna-be NFL player to MMA to WWE (again) to MMA (again) to WWE (again times two), Brock Lesnar has had a circuitous route to his fortune.
He is WWE’s highest-paid performer at $10 million a year, and he has been making more appearances.
He returned to the UFC and made over $3 million for a fight after making $2.5 million in a UFC fight in July 2016.
Lesnar said he is done with UFC and has been a steady presence in the WWE in his fourth go-around.
The highest bidder always wins Lesnar’s services. Don't expect that to change.
4. Steve Austin — $45 Million
Birth name: Steven James Anderson
Born: Dec. 18, 1964, in Austin, Texas
Signature move: Stone Cold Stunner, Lou Thesz
Bottom Line: Steve Austin
Steve Austin's last wrestling match was in 2003, but he’s been employed in various capacities with WWE since then, including general manager and special guest referee. And he's always available for a Stone Cold Stunner.
Those roles may not approach the $5 million annual salary Austin was making during the Attitude era, but he’s kept himself busy with his film, TV and digital career after retiring from in-ring action.
He hosted "Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge" on Country Music Television (CMT) and had a popular podcast, which was transformed into a TV show and aired on the WWE Network.
Now, he has a new reality show called "Straight Up Steve Austin" that airs on USA Network.
3. John Cena — $60 Million
Birth name: John Felix Anthony Cena Jr.
Born: April 23, 1977, in West Newbury, Massachusetts
Signature move: Attitude Adjustment, STF
Bottom Line: John Cena
John Cena is following in The Rock’s footsteps from wrestling to acting, and he can thank Vince McMahon for his nudge to the silver screen.
WWE Studios produced Cena’s first three movies before he started branching out and working with more established producers.
He now is a part-time wrestler and full-time actor with over 10 movies.
But unlike The Rock, who had a short run as WWE’s top guy and can attribute much of his wealth to acting, Cena was WWE’s top performer for a decade. With that success came a hefty annual salary.
In addition to the $5 million he made in salary in 2017, Cena also received a cut of his merchandise sales, pay-per-view bonuses, travel accommodations and the use of a private jet.
2. Triple H — $150 Million
Birth name: Paul Michael Levesque
Born: July 27, 1969, in Nashua, New Hampshire
Signature move: Pedigree
Bottom Line: Triple H
The son-in-law of Vince McMahon, Triple H is more of an executive than wrestler these days, but he still gets paid for both roles.
In 2017, Triple H was paid $1.5 million for being a WWE Superstar and received another $650,000 for his role as executive vice president of talent, live events and creative for WWE. Additionally, he founded WWE’s developmental brand, NXT, and is a senior producer for it as well. In 2020, he gets paid $3.3 million.
At 50 years old, Triple H is inching closer to the end of his in-ring career, and he’s gone on record saying he doesn’t want to wrestle in his 50s.
Still, walking away from the roar of the crowd is hard for Superstars — and it may be even harder for "The Game" to walk away from that $3.3 million performer salary for a handful of matches.
1. The Rock — $320 Million
Birth name: Dwayne Douglas Johnson
Born: May 2, 1972, in Hayward, California
Signature move: Rock Bottom, The People's Elbow
Bottom Line: The Rock
No one has used the platform of professional wrestling quite like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
He was Forbes’ highest-paid actor in 2016 and finished in second place in 2017. Now, he's all alone at No. 1 after making $89.4 million for his movie work before taxes in 2019. That’s a far, far cry from where the Rock was financially when his pro wrestling career began in 1995.
When he started training in wrestling, he had just $7 in his pocket, which spawned the name of his production company, Seven Bucks Productions.
He was billed as a wrestler/actor as he transitioned from the ring to Hollywood, but now he’s an actor/producer, and he’s added the title of executive producer to many of his recent works, including "Baywatch," "Jumanji" and "Ballers."
The Rock’s last wrestling match came in 2016, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return to the squared circle for one last hurrah.
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