Many of us, at some point in our lives, have dreamed of joining the WWE. It was mainly due to the testosterone boosting environment and having a big fan following. Many of us would have actually taken the step forward if we knew how much being a WWE superstar paid.
Just like with other mainstream sports, the craze amongst the WWE fans doesn’t seem to drop. The writers at WWE seem to be doing a great job keeping the fans interested and engaged. It is no secret WWE is scripted but this doesn’t bother the fans following their favorite superstar rivalries.
WWE has developed a cult amongst its fans which many other wrestling companies like TNA, Ring of Honor etc. weren’t successful at. Folks at WWE don’t shy away from poaching successful wrestlers from their competing companies.
WWE To Kill Its Competition
There are argument WWE will have no competition by the end of 2020 and there could be some truth behind it. The fact you’re reading this article could mean WWE is your choice of entertainment wrestling.
WWE has a lucrative salary model. The salaries of the wrestlers depend on the number of fights and their performance in them. WWE also gives out performance based bonuses which can sometimes add up to big numbers.
On top of all this, they give the wrestlers a share in the merchandise sales. Well, the wrestlers deserve it since the merchandise sell because of the hard work an athlete puts in to establish a personal brand.
As you would expect, every star does not earn big sums. Just like with any other corporate setting, you work your way to the top at WWE. Without any further ado, these are the highest paid WWE wrestlers in 2017, according to Forbes:
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1. Brock Lesnar – $12 Million
The beast incarnate topped the list of the highest paid WWE wrestlers for the year 2017. Lesnar earned a whopping $12 million in 2016. He made twice the amount he made in the last financial year jumping from $6 million to $12 million. He also took the first spot from John Cena.
Lesnar has been amongst money since the last year when he earned $2.5 million for a single UFC fight against Mark Hunt. He later lost 10% of the amount for failing a drug test. This blow would have hurt Brock more than anything he took in the octagon
2. John Cena – $8 Million
John Cena is arguably the face of the WWE. Although his fan following continues to grow year on year, Cena took a pay cut in 2017 where he earned $8 million as compared to $9.5 million in 2016. This cut was due to his gigs outside of WWE.
He earned $8 million despite the fact he was out of action for the first five months of 2016 due to a shoulder injury and couldn’t wrestle for the last three months due to his engagements in comedy TV series, American Grit. Cena’s merchandise is the highest selling amongst the WWE fans.
3. Triple H – $3.8 Million
Paul Levesque aka Triple H has multiple roles in the WWE. He is the on-screen COO of WWE and the real life Executive Vice President of talent, live events and creative. Paul made $3.8 in 2016 which include his executive salary ($1.3 million), wrestler base salary ($1 million) and royalties for merchandise sale and performance bonuses ($1.5 million).
He is also the husband to Stephanie McMahon and the son-in-law of the WWE chairman Vince McMahon. Apart from all this, his sheer talent and long career have put him on this list. We predict him to be on the list for a long time.
4. Roman Reigns – $3.5 Million
Not far behind Triple H is Roman Reigns. His rivalries with John Cena put him in the limelight, made him a fan favorite and have ultimately put him on this list. Roman Reigns has also streamlined many pay-per-view events and is a part of main events on Raw 20% more often than his peers.
This 31-year superstar has quickly climbed the charts and has become one of the company’s top draws. Cena was the only superstar who sold more merchandise than Roman Reigns.
Fun fact: Roman Reigns is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s cousin.
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5. Dean Ambrose – $2.7 Million
Dean Ambrose is the official workhorse of WWE. He worked 194 events last year. No other wrestler did more than 180 events. This means Ambrose did 9% more shows than any other wrestler in the company.
His constant presence in the show has also made his merchandise one of the most popular in the company. The crazy personality of Ambrose has earned him a spot in his fans hearts and on this list.
6. AJ Styles – $2.4 Million
WWE poached AJ Styles from New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Styles made his WWE debut in the 2016 Royal Rumble. It didn’t take him much time to climb his way to the top. He has been one of the busiest stars in the company.
Styles with Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens have worked a dozen pay-per-view events last year. He was already a popular face before joining WWE and this surely helped him gain attention in a short amount of time.
7. Shane McMahon – $2.2 Million
Shane O’Mac is the elder child of the WWE chairman Vince McMahon. He returned to WWE after six years. ‘Here Comes The Money’ is an apt theme song for him. After making his comeback, he challenged The Undertaker to a match at Wrestlemania 32. This move put him back on the radar.
Despite his little time in the ring, Shane earned big bucks compared to his fellow WWE superstars. Shane has established himself amongst the WWE fans for his high-flying maneuvers.
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8. The Undertaker – $2 Million
The Undertaker has grown with the company and is arguably one of the starts who was behind making WWE a household name. There is no doubt WWE takes care of him as he earned $2 million for five events out of which he wrestled once. The other four were just appearances.
This was a sad year for The Phenom’s fan as he announced his retirement at Wrestlemania 33. Despite being on TV for a few days of the year, only a few stars beat the merchandise sale of The Undertaker.
9. Seth Rollins – $2 Million
The inclusion of Seth Rollins puts all the former Shield members on the list. Seth Rollins garnered major attention when he parted from his Shield brothers and teamed up with Triple H as ‘The Authority’ to take on John Cena.
This year saw a drop in his salary as he was out of action for a good five months due to a knee injury. As per the current storyline of WWE, we can predict a better payout for Seth this year.
10. Stephanie McMahon – $2 Million
Stephanie was the third superstar who earned $2 million in the last financial year. It pays to be a McMahon – literally. Stephanie holds dual roles in the company. She is an in-ring performer and a WWE executive.
This also makes her the only women to be on the list. This should make the WWE pay more attention to female wrestling.