Pro wrestlers, like other athletes, tend to have financial difficulties later on in their lives. That's just the nature of how things go for professional athletes. Whereas for people who work regular/mundane types of jobs work until their retirement age, wrestlers are sometimes too old and beat up to continue in the domain during their later years. This has led to numerous stories, many of which you'll read about in this article, about wrestlers having to take normal jobs or end up selling memorabilia to make money.
There are a few wrestlers, however, that made enough money to either retire comfortably or invest in new projects when their in-ring days ended. Sadly, those cases tend to be outnumbered by those where a wrestler is left with about as much money as they started their career out with and now need to find another line of work.
Various sports leagues and WWE have made an attempt to curtail this problem before it gets worse. WWE is now paying for the rehab of several of their former employees and today's current crop of WWE Superstars is said to have a better understanding of the importance of long-term financial planning. If only the ten on the list had the same recognition years ago.
15 Went Broke: Perry Saturn
Former ECW, WCW, and WWE wrestler, Perry Saturn, was missing for close to seven years. In 2004, he was involved in an altercation trying to break up a sexual assault. In the process, Saturn took a bullet to his neck and shoulder. The result, he became addicted to painkillers and eventually methamphetamine.
Saturn didn't reemerge again until 2010 when he had conquered his various addictions. This period took a toll on his life financially, and he states he was homeless for about two and a half years.
His story hasn't gotten any better in recent years either. Saturn appeared on Chris Jericho's podcast and spoke about the impacts that repeated concussions and head trauma has on his daily life. He suffers from headaches and is unable to work. A GoFundMe has been set up in his name.
14 Went Broke: Kamala
Kamala's real name is Jim Harris and the 67-year-old has experienced some trying times in recent years. In 2011, he had his left leg amputated as a result of diabetes and high blood pressure. His situation hadn't improved the next year either which necessitated the amputation of his right leg as well.
At one time, Kamala was one of the hottest gimmicks in wrestling. He had big matches with Hulk Hogan and was a big star in Memphis as well. That he had never even been to Uganda wasn't common knowledge to wrestling fans at the time.....
Harris says that he now earns a living by collecting disability, selling handmade wooden chairs, and writing and performing his own music. Sadly, the amputation of his legs has prevented Harris from portraying his old wrestling gimmick.
13 Living Comfortably: Stone Cold Steve Austin
You don't have to worry about any sob stories regarding Steve Austin's financial status. The retired WWE Hall of Famer's net worth is estimated at $45 million. Even if Austin had blown through all his Attitude Era money, he would still be doing well. Austin lands regular roles in Hollywood and also has his own television show and podcast. He has stayed busy in retirement and as a result, is sitting atop a nice chunk of money.
Austin had to earn what he made in WWE as well. While he had earned good money in WCW and in the early part of his WWE career, the bulk of Austin's fortune came from the years he was on top in WWE. He wrestled most of those years with a badly injured neck that some felt should have ended his career. Thanks to Austin's contributions in the 90s, everyone's contract wages started to increase.
12 Went Broke: Maven
The first season of Tough Enough in 2001 featured three wrestlers who would go on to do very different things in their careers. Maven won that initial season, and many felt he was on his way to a big career after that. Unfortunately for him, while he did take part in WWE storylines from 2001 to 2005, he never developed into a top-notch performer. He was out of the business by 2007.
In 2012, he was arrested for doctor-shopping in Florida looking for prescription painkillers. It was reported in 2013 that Maven was working as a bouncer at a New York City club. He had also previously appeared on the Home Shopping Network.
As for the other two finalists from that season, Chris Nowinski is now a concussion expert and Josh Matthews annoys everyone from the broadcast booth over on Impact Wrestling.
11 Went Broke: Lex Luger
Lex Luger's life spiraled after the closing of WCW in 2001. There was really no place for Lex to go at the time and problems in his personal life were creeping into the media as well.
He was arrested for driving under the influence in April of 2003 and had also been accused of domestic violence towards Elizabeth. Just a few weeks after being arrested for impaired driving, Elizabeth died as a result of mixing prescription pills and alcohol in the home she shared with Lex. Luger was charged with several counts of drug possession and received five years probation. In 2007, he suffered what has been referred to as a spinal stroke that left him with limited mobility. His legal and medical bills combined left him in a tough situation. Thankfully, he seems to being doing better nowadays.
10 Living Comfortably: Mick Foley
Mick Foley has been referred to as the cheapest wrestler on the planet. No matter what the method, Mick Foley would never shy away from saving a buck. Sharing a hotel room, sharing a rental car, sharing a sandwich even, Mick Foley would do it if it saves him a dollar.
All that cheapness has paid off for him though. Now at 52 years of age, Mick Foley's net worth is estimated at $15 million. Not bad for a guy who was good but not Steve Austin, The Rock, or Hulk Hogan level in terms of drawing money. Foley is probably still really cheap with his money. He's got four kids, one of whom works in WWE creative and Noel Foley who has appeared on WWE programming regularly.
9 Went Broke: Rico
Wrestling fans will remember Rico best for his time in WWE from 2002 to 2004. During that time, he was the valet for Billy and Chuck and the team of 3-Minute Warning. After his WWE career ended, Rico completed his law enforcement training and began working for the Nevada Taxi Authority as a Sergeant Inspector.
Unfortunately for Rico, it came to light in 2016 that he is currently unable to work or pay for his medical bills. He's been dealing with the effects of traumatic brain injuries combined with problems impacting his heart. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help him pay his bills. The site also features a video of Rico's shocking upset in a singles match over Ric Flair on an episode of Monday Night Raw.
8 Went Broke: Joey Mercury
While he seems to be doing better nowadays, there was a period where things looked quite bleak for Joey Mercury.
In an interview he would give years later, Mercury stated that he had been using drugs and alcohol since he was just 15 years old. Crack, cocaine, and heroin was all part of his drug regimen.
In 2006, he entered rehab which required him to take to miss half a year with WWE. He was released in 2007 and spent the time cleaning up. Mercury was so broke at this point that his house was about to go into foreclosure but it was purchased by CM Punk - a good friend of his. Mercury would be back in WWE in 2010 as a member of Punk's Straight Edge Society. He then transitioned into a producers role which he held until earlier this year.
7 Living Comfortably: The Undertaker
The Undertaker's net worth is estimated to be around $17 million. He worked a long career to build up that nest egg but now he gets to retire with it and Michelle McCool. The couple has a child together as well. In addition to the child he has with Michelle McCool, Undertaker also has three other children.
The 52-year-old began his career in 1984 and is one of the most iconic legends associated with WWE. He's a seven-time World Champion, Royal Rumble winner in 2007, and his WrestleMania streak arguably became more important than even the WWE Championship match at the event. His nonverbal retirement at the conclusion of WrestleMania 33 will also go down as one of the most iconic WrestleMania moments of all time. It shouldn't be long now until the Undertaker is in the WWE Hall of Fame.
6 Went Broke: Brutus Beefcake
Brutus Beefcake made a good living in professional wrestling by following Hulk Hogan around wherever he went. This isn't to say that Brutus wasn't over when he was in WWE because he was. His barber gimmick in the 1980s was as over, but of course, that did not last.
By February 2004, things weren't going so well for him. After running through countless failed gimmicks in WCW, Beefcake began a new line of work as an attendant in a Boston area subway. Evidently, Beefcake had not saved all the money he earned cutting and strutting in the 80s. While working as a subway attendant, he caused a big scare when he left his bag of cocaine at his station and someone reported it as possibly being anthrax. Beefcake checked into rehab shortly after the incident.
5 Went Broke: Sabu
Sabu, has had a terrific career in pro wrestling between ECW, WCW, WWE and TNA. Unfortunately for him, his style of wrestling can cause long-term problems. Sabu badly needed hip surgery last year, but he was unable to afford it. A GoFundMe was set up in his name by James Ryder to help him pay for the surgery. Unfortunately, the account has only raised slightly over half of its goal of $50,000.
Mounting medical bills is unfortunately a problem that many wrestlers from Sabu's era experience. The problem becomes more significant when the performer was involved in the type of hardcore wrestling that Sabu underwent through it his career. He's been able to have the surgery but is still dealing with the massive hospital bills. Sabu still makes appearances and still wrestles on the independence scene, which doesn't seem like the wisest idea.
4 Living Comfortably: Batista
Dave Batista's net worth is estimated at $13 million. He was on WWE's main roster from 2002 to 2010, and then returned briefly from 2013 to 2014. While his WWE career might have built up his fortune, he's now building it in Hollywood. Batista has carved out a role for himself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is highly entertaining in the role as well to his credit.
His returning to WWE in 2013 didn't exactly go as the company had planned. Batista was booked to win the 2014 Royal Rumble, the only problem was that much of the live audience in Philadelphia that night wanted Daniel Bryan to win. Another slight problem was that Daniel Bryan wasn't even in the Rumble match. The fans turned on the show and turned on Batista as a result. WWE was forced to rewrite WrestleMania that year.
3 Went Broke: Sunny
For wrestling fans who grew up watching Sunny on Monday Night Raw, seeing the problems she has had in recent years with drugs, alcohol, and financial difficulties has been tough. Sunny's contributions to WWE during her time there are often overlooked due to her frequent scandalous behavior outside of the company.
In 2016, it was revealed that Sunny was selling her WWE Hall of Fame ring on eBay. Around the same time that she was selling her ring, it was revealed that she was up on several DUI charges and was looking at jail time. She spent from September 2016 to February 2017 in jail. She was eventually transferred to a rehab center and although WWE had previously stated they were done paying for her rehab, it is speculated that the company has stepped in to help her out in this case once again.
2 Went Broke: Virgil
Virgil has become something of a poster-child for struggling, broke wrestlers. A website (Lonely Virgil) has been set-up for the sole purpose of posting photographs of Virgil looking lonely at wrestling conventions.
There is some speculation that Ted DiBiase had to have a talk with Virgil about some of his methods for getting himself booked at conventions. Apparently, Virgil would call conventions to get himself booked with Ted. When the show came, only Virgil would show up, as DiBiase had never actually been part of the deal. Virgil would still be able to collect his money though, which was his plan all along. Upon finding out about this, Ted put an end to it.
Virgil even set up his own GoFundMe account in an attempt to make him a "Million Dollar Man" as well. To date he's only raised $1,195.
1 Living Comfortably: The Rock
They don't come much more comfortable than The Rock. Dwayne Johnson's net worth is estimated to be around $125 million.
There is even a strong building of momentum for The Rock to run for President in 2020. It is even said that the former WWE Champion has put together a team of people to analyze and study the situation to see if he could possibly make a political run.
Rock earned a fortune in WWE but he would earn a second one in Hollywood. In 2016, Forbes named Dwayne as the highest paid actor in Hollywood. He conquered Hollywood every bit as much as he conquered the squared circle. If he successfully runs for President, Rock just might be declared the most successful human being ever.