40 Richest Pro Wrestlers of All Time
40 Richest Wrestlers All The 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 & MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
WWE is at the top of the food chain for wrestling promotions after devouring its competition (WCW & 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 will make $10 Million in 2018, 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. The figures are courtesy of Celebrity Net Worth, and the list includes Wrestlers & Owners and does not include those with One-Off Matches like (Floyd Mayweather & David Arquette, etc.). Time to find out just how much getting a chair shot to the head is worth.
Here is the master list of 40 Richest Wrestlers All The 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 & MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
WWE is at the top of the food chain for wrestling promotions after devouring its competition (WCW & 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 will make $10 Million in 2018, 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.
The figures are courtesy of Celebrity Net Worth, and the list includes Wrestlers & Owners and does not include those with One-Off Matches like (Floyd Mayweather & David Arquette, etc.).
Time to find out just how much getting a chair shot to the head is worth.
#40 Wade Barrett — $7 Million
Wade Barret in 2011
A recent retiree from the squared circle, Wade Barrett hung up the boots in 2016 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 is now a Full-Fledged Actor & TV Personality who hosts the UK Version of the Netflix Show, “Ultimate Beastmaster.”
#39 Sheamus — $7 Million
Sheamus in the ring during a WWE Raw event in 2015
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. At 40 years old, 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.
#38 Jerry Lawler — $7 Million
Jerry “The King” Lawler wrestles The Honky Tonk Man in 1990
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 nearly 70 Years Old. He joined WWE as a Wrestler & 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.
#37 Dean Ambrose — $7 Million
Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania 32 Axxess in 2016
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 last year, 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.
#36 Sting — $8 Million
Sting at a WWE Raw event in 2015
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.
#35 Kevin Nash — $8 Million
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. bNash is almost 60 years old so he’s in his semi-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” & “Magic Mike XXL.” Nash also has capitalized on several business opportunities and once estimated that he’ll make $525,000 a year when he does decide to retire. “If I can’t live on 525,” Nash said in 2012, “I’m in trouble.”
#34 Diamond Dallas Page — $8 Million
Diamond Dallas Page is Inducted into the WWE Hall in 2017
Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) didn’t become a wrestler until age 35 but still ascended to the top of WCW’s roster and was featured in tag matches with the likes of Jay Leno & 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 & 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.
#33 Daniel Bryan — $8 Million
Daniel Bryan Celebrates becominaDaniel Bryan Celebrates becoming the New Intercontinental Champion At WrestleMania 31g the New Intercontinental Champion
In 2015 Daniel Bryan went from the Indie’s 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 and is likely over $1 Million now that he’s returned 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.
#32 CM Punk — $8 Million
CM Punk competes against Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 28 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., in 2012
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 rear-view mirror, Punk has moved onto the third phase of his career. He’s taken up Comic-Book Writing & Hosting as he is a Co-Host for the United States Version of the “Ultimate Beastmaster.”
#31 The Miz — $9 Million
The Miz participates in the “WWE Monday Night Raw: 25th Anniversary” panel during the NBC Universal Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2018
Out of everyone on this list, The Miz is likely to make the biggest jump in net worth over the next year. 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.
#30 Seth Rollins — $9 Million
Seth Rollins in 2015
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.
#29 Roman Reigns — $9 Million
Roman Reigns in 2018
Roman Reigns is the current face of the WWE, whether the fans like it or not. He is one of the Most Polarizing Superstars in History and is currently the Third Highest-Paid Performer at $5 Million annually. With only Brock Lesnar & John Cena ahead of him, Reigns is WWE’s Highest-Paid Full-Time Performer. Reigns also gets a cut of his merchandise sales, which is of immense value to him as he recently surpassed Cena as WWE’s Biggest Merch Seller. The only reason Reigns isn’t listed higher is because he’s yet to branch out into other forms of entertainment, but he has plenty of time to do that and is one of the youngest on this list at age 33.
#28 Kane — $9 Million
2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction
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.
#27 John Bradshaw Layfield
Wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield at a WWW news conference at Madison Square Garden in 2006
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.
#26 Joey Styles — $9 Million
Joey Styles in 2006
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
“Mean” Gene Okerlund, right, interviews “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
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 & 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 & 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.
#24 Pat Patterson — $10 Million
“Mean” Gene Okerlund, right, interviews “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
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.
#23 Kevin Von Erich — $10 Million
Wrestler Kevin Von Erich fights with Jumping Lee during The Rage Wrestling Mega Show in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2017. The Israeli Wrestling League hosted the wrestling show with some of the WWE’s Greatest Wrestlers of All Time.
Wrestler Kevin Von Erich fights with Jumping Lee during The Rage Wrestling Mega Show in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 20a 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 & WWE. Outside of wrestling, Kevin Von Erich works in commercial real estate from his home in Hawaii.17. The Israeli Wrestling League hosted the wrestling show with some of the WWE’s greatest wrestlers of all time.Ariel Schalit/AP Photo
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.
#22 David Otunga — $10 Million
David Otunga in a 2012 Raw match against John Cena.
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
Andre the Giant was Not your Average Human
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
Randy Orton celebrates defeating CM Punk (not in picture) during WrestleMania XXVII at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on April 3, 2011
A 16-year veteran of WWE, Orton currently is the company’s Fourth Highest-Paid Performer behind Brock Lesnar, John Cena & Roman Reigns. Orton’s 2018 salary clocks in at $4.5 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.
#19 Jeff Hardy — $12 million
Jeff Hardy started as enhancement talent for the WWF in 1994 with his brother, Matt, and they were signed to full-time contracts in 1998
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 $1 Million in salary from WWE while Matt is only making $650,000. Both Hardy’s are 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 & Legal issues.
#19 Ronda Rousey — $12 Million
Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans on April 8, 2018
“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 is $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 & Carl’s Jr. — to increase her wealth.
#18 Dave Bautista — $13 Million
Dave Bautista at a 2008 wrestling event in Milan, Italy
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” & “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 & Hollywood has paid him so well that he has turned down numerous requests from WWE to step back into the wrestling ring.
#17 Edge — $14 million
Edge busts a car window after beating Alberto Del Rio to retain the WWE world heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 27 in Atlanta on April 3, 2011
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 & 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.”
#16 Bret Hart — $14 Million
Bret Hart on his way to the ring to battle Triple H in 1997
In 1996, Bret Hart did something Unprecedented in the World of Pro Wrestling: He signed a 20-Year Contract with WWE. However, WWE began to struggle financially, which led to The Montreal Screwjob and Hart departing for WCW just one year into the deal. Hart didn’t have the same long-term deal in WCW, but he received a $1 Million annual raise compared to his WWE contract. While his tenure in WCW was short-lived due to an untimely injury, Hart and WWE made amends in 2007 after a 10-Year Feud. Also, an Accomplished Writer & Cartoonist, Hart had a weekly column in the Calgary Sun for 13 years and frequently sketched many of his wrestling counterparts to their amusement.
#15 Bill Goldberg — $14 million
Bill Goldberg puts Scott Hall to the mat during a 1998 WCW match in Atlanta. Goldberg, a football star at the University of Georgia whose pro career was ended by injury, became WCW’s most popular wrestler
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 & 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. But Goldberg’s net worth 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
Jeff Jarrett, Co-Founder of Impact Wrestling (formerly known as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling), in 2007
Jeff Jarrett has had a Hall of Fame Worthy Wrestling Career, 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 is trying his luck with another upstart pro wrestling company. He has founded Global Force Wrestling with his wife (and Kurt Angle’s ex-wife), Karen Jarrett.
#13 Shawn Michaels — $17 million
Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24 in 2008
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.
#12 The Undertaker — $17 Million
The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando
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 comes in at $2 Million. Not too shabby for working just 3 or 4 Days a Year.
#11 Mick Foley — $18 Million
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley at the 2014 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo
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.
#10 Chris Jericho — $18 Million
Chris Jericho in 2008
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 Best Seller, 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!”
#9 Big Show — $20 Million
Big Show thanks the troops for their service during WWE’s 2011 “Tribute To The Troops” holiday special at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C.
Nicknamed “The World’s Largest Athlete,” The Big Show stands 7 Feet Tall & Weighed over 450 Pounds 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 & Kurt Angle (who rejected his). At 46 years old, The Big Show is more of a novelty act than a wrestler these days, and he has yet to wrestle in 2018 following hip surgery. Despite his inactivity, the WWE brass love having The Big Show around the younger guys in the locker room and recently signed him to a new three-year deal that pays $850,000 annually.
#8 Brock Lesnar — $22 Million
Brock Lesnar battles Randy Orton at WWE SummerSlam 2016 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y
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 currently WWE’s Highest-Paid Performer despite wrestling just six matches in 2018 before his contract expired in August. He now is gearing up for another return to the UFC and is poised to make over $3 Million for his next fight after making $2.5 Million in his last UFC fight in July 2016. Whether he stays in UFC or has a fourth stint in WWE is unknown, but chances are, the highest bidder will be the winner for Lesner’s services.
#7 Kurt Angle — $25 Million
Kurt Angle wearing his 1996 Gold Medal
Kurt Angle is the only Olympic Gold Medalist in WWE History, but 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 tryout 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 is currently the on-screen General Manager for Raw and rarely wrestles anymore, but he’s still raking in an Annual Salary of $600,000.
#6 Hulk Hogan — $25 Million
Hulk Hogan fires up the crowd at WrestleMania 21 in 2005 in Los Angeles
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% 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 recently welcomed him back after a three-year banishment for racist language.
#5 Triple H — $40 Million
Triple H poses with his action figure at the New York Toy Fair in 2010
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. At 49 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 $1.5 Million performer salary for a handful of matches.
#4 Steve Austin — $50 Million
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin celebrates with a beer after a 1999 victory over the Big Bossman in England
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 currently hosts “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge” on Country Music Television (CMT) and has a popular podcast, which was transformed into a TV show and aired on the WWE Network.
#3 John Cena — $55 Million
John Cena celebrates winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 26 in 2010 in Glendale, Ariz
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 10 Movies over the last three years. 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 The Rock — $280 Million
Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson at WrestleMania XXVIII in Sun Life Stadium on April 1, 2012, in Miami
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. 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” & “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.
#1 Vince McMahon – $1 billion
Like this was much of a surprise. McMahon took something from his father that was already a Good Idea and made it a Great One!
Is he shrewd? Is he calculating? Does he demand a lot from his performers and cast? Oh yeah, without a doubt, but that’s why he’s the Billion Dollar Man, because he has the plan and he knows how to execute it perfectly. Despite his on screen antics, Vince is quite intelligent and has more business savvy in his little finger than a lot of people do in their whole body. Keep in mind out of all the wrestlers that have ever come along, these few are the ones that have attained the greatest success by being the best. Out of the thousands of athletes that have tried to make their mark, these few have accomplished the amazing feat of being the best in their industry. Kind of impressive really.