WWE salaries have always been a hot topic among fans. For instance, we all know that John Cena is the highest paid wrestler in the world, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see where all that money comes from and be able to complain that he’s being paid way more than our favorites. And who doesn’t love to learn the salaries of part time employees like Brock Lesnar or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and see the cash they’re handed to just show up when so many other wrestlers are working night in and night out just to make a fraction of that pay?
The company’s pay scale has actually been in the news in recent months thanks to WWE Superstar Ryback, who was sent home earlier this year after a contract dispute. Ryback later released an extensive explanation of his stance, stating how WWE’s athletes are at the organization’s mercy when it comes to their income; bonuses are handed out based on pay-per-view appearances and merchandise sales when, in fact, the company chooses who makes those appearances and who gets merchandise to be sold in the first place.
It’s certainly controversial, but upon examining the collection of WWE Superstars who fall near the bottom in terms of salaries, a potentially more disturbing trend reveals itself. The vast majority of 2016’s lowest paid wrestlers are women, an imbalance that particularly stands out when you realize that WWE’s top female competitors are barely making as much money as most of the company’s least used male wrestlers.
Let’s take a look at the salaries of some of the WWE’s lowest paid Superstars; but before we do, it should be noted that this is information based on various online sources and cannot be confirmed as 100% accurate without a professional investigation.
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15 Alicia Fox: $290,000
As one of WWE’s longest-tenured female employees, Alicia Fox has seen and done just about everything a woman competing during the “Divas” era could have hoped to see and do. Hired primarily based on her modeling work a decade ago, Alicia’s athleticism saw her become one of WWE’s more gifted female in-ring competitors during a time when wrestling was not the sole focus of the Divas division. She captured the Divas Championship, the first black woman to do so, and for a time was one of the company’s most valuable female talents.
In more recent years, however, “Foxy” has fallen into the background, serving more as an enhancement talent used for the purposes of making other wrestlers look better. It’s obvious Alicia still has what it takes to wrestle with the best of them, so hopefully the modern brand extension will serve her well, but her current rumored pay leaves a lot to be desired at $290,000.
14 Charlotte: $290,000
Charlotte has wrestling royalty in her blood as the daughter of the two-time WWE Hall of Famer and sixteen-time World Champion, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, but she’s done more than her own fair share of the work in order to get started on an illustrious career for herself. She’s one of the longest-reigning NXT Women’s Champions, was the final Divas Champion and the first woman to hold the modern version of the WWE Women’s Championship.
In NXT, Charlotte helped bring forth what has been called the “women’s revolution” alongside Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch, and those women are collectively referred to as the “Four Horsewomen” in homage to Charlotte’s father’s famous wrestling stable, the “Four Horsemen.” Together, the Horsewomen had a plethora of classic matches recognized as some of the best women’s matches in WWE history. But even with all those accomplishments, Charlotte still ranks among WWE’s worst paid Superstars.
13 Becky Lynch: $220,000
The fiery “Lass Kicker” known as Becky Lynch is one of the WWE Universe’s favorite success stories. Becky’s charm has not gone unnoticed by the audience, who have quickly taken to her and made her one of the company’s top female babyface wrestlers, and they’ve supported her from the very beginning. The Irish Superstar gained major momentum in NXT with her steam punk gimmick and her amazing matches with Charlotte, Bayley and Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship. Though Becky never won that title, she is seen as one of NXT’s biggest stars of all time.
Becky made her debut on WWE’s main roster in 2015 and has been in the forefront ever since, competing frequently for the Divas and Women’s Championships, including wrestling in the triple threat Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 32 which many say stole the show. It’s unfortunate that after all of this Becky is still one of WWE’s lowest paid talents in 2016.
12 Bo Dallas: $290,000
Before Bo Dallas was called up to the main WWE roster, he was one of the longest reigning NXT Champions since the inception of that title. He had unforgettable wars with Adrian Neville over the Championship and eventually developed a gimmick which saw him constantly looking on the bright side and giving condescending, “inspirational” advice to his opponents. This gimmick caught on big with the NXT crowd, but quickly went nowhere when he joined Raw and SmackDown.
Once Vince McMahon saw that the “Inspirational” Bo Dallas wasn’t going to work, Dallas was thrown in with Heath Slater, Curtis Axel and Adam Rose, three other Superstars who’d had little main roster success, to form the team of The Social Outcasts. This faction, too, failed to take off, and perhaps all this is why Bo Dallas is now drawing one of the lowest salaries in the company at $290,000 despite his successes during his time in NXT.
11 Xavier Woods: $320,000
When Xavier Woods got his start in NXT in 2012, he looked a lot different than the Xavier Woods we’ve come to know as the mouthpiece of the New Day. Once called up to the main roster, he was a dancer accompanied to the ring by The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron), a shtick which had already failed for WWE Superstar Brodus Clay. Fortunately for Xavier and the WWE Universe, Woods would finally find major success when he rounded up Kofi Kingston and Big E to form The New Day in 2014. That stable has only grown in popularity month after month.
With two WWE Tag Team Championship reigns now on their resume, one of them being the longest in many years, Woods' New Day act with Kofi and Big E has lead them to becoming one of the most popular acts in the WWE, leading to huge merchandise sales. It is unfortunate, then, that Xavier Woods is apparently receiving one of the lowest salaries of any WWE Superstar in 2016.
10 Tyler Breeze: $300,000
Upon entering NXT in 2012, Mike Dalton was nothing special and was not catching on with the WWE Universe. Just when it seemed all hope was lost, Dalton became Tyler Breeze in 2013. A blonde man bun, ridiculous fur laced boots and a cell phone with which to take selfies was all it took to transform this enhancement talent into a full-blown Superstar. NXT audiences were sold on Breeze, who wrestled for two years as perhaps the heart and soul of NXT before being called up to WWE’s main roster with a SmackDown debut, calling out Dolph Ziggler.
As it turns out, Vince McMahon had no idea how to use an effeminate heel (to the surprise of no one) and Tyler’s career immediately set course for a downward spiral. Just when it appeared he could go no lower, Breeze found Fandango and formed “Breezango.” Tyler’s career seems to be on a slight uptick in this new tag team, but his current salary is pathetic in comparison to other stars on the roster.
9 Konnor: $300,000
Konnor is one half of the tag team The Ascension, along with Viktor. Together, The Ascension were the longest reigning NXT Tag Team Champions in history, dominating the competition for the better part of a year. Toward the end of their reign as Champions, Konnor and Viktor were running out of challengers as NXT’s tag team division began to dwindle. But a pair of new contenders known as The Lucha Dragons would finally emerge to end Konnor’s and Viktor’s amazing streak and take the titles from them.
The WWE Universe was excited to see Konnor and Viktor ascend to the main roster and rejuvenate a tag division which, at the time, was lacking. But WWE writers saw fit to switch their act up a bit and they became goofy parodies of themselves, with such poetic lines as “We’re better than the Road Warriors.” Within a few weeks tTe Ascension got buried by a bunch of old, retired wrestlers and Konnor and Viktor never regained any steam. Perhaps that’s why Konnor ranks among WWE’s lowest paid wrestling employees in 2016?
8 Neville: $300,000
Adrian Neville was popular on the independent circuit before coming to NXT, so his arrival was met with much praise. His in-ring style is so athletic and quick that it’s on another level from what the WWE Universe is familiar with seeing, so he easily won over the NXT fans. He quickly found himself in a position to unseat the long reigning NXT Champion Bo Dallas and won the title from him in NXT’s first Ladder match, beginning what would be the longest NXT Championship reign in history until Finn Balor recently broke that record.
Once called up to Raw and Smackdown, WWE had him drop his first name and began just calling him Neville. Billed as The Man That Gravity Forgot, he again captivated this new audience. Unfortunately, the powers in WWE saw fit to book him into virtual irrelevance and, before suffering an injury, his WWE career seemed to be at an all time low. Still, for a guy who just made history with the NXT Championship and is so popular among fans, his 2016 salary is a bit on the sad side.
7 Rosa Mendes: $250,000
Originally getting her foot in the door as a part of the 2006 WWE Diva Search under her real name Milena Roucka, Rosa Mendes is one of WWE’s longest tenured female talents. She’s managed her share of wrestlers, such as former WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Epico as well as Fandango, but she’s also an in-ring competitor, having wrestled in a Divas Championship battle royal at WrestleMania XXX. Unfortunately, while she’s been around longer than most female Superstars, she’s also got a higher loss percentage than just about anyone.
Considering that, it’s understandable that she would rank as one of WWE’s worst paid Superstars. But when you think about how, before going on maternity leave early this year, she was hardly ever on television, it’s baffling that she’s apparently paid more than Becky Lynch. Maybe tenure plays a role in keeping Mendes from scraping the bottom of the barrel?
6 Primo and Epico: $290,000 Each
Primo and Epico were a tag team for many years and found moderate success within the division, capturing the WWE Tag Team Championship. Once their momentum began to slow, WWE saw fit to repackage them as the much more stereotypical Los Matadores and they became known as Fernando and Diego. Now they were bullfighters and even came complete with their own little bull, El Torito, a man in a bull costume who was significantly more athletic than The Matadores themselves.
Needless to say, Los Matadores never went anywhere as a team and they eventually went missing in action. Now, WWE is bringing Fernando and Diego back under their former names, Primo and Epico, albeit with an altered gimmick. Let’s hope they find better luck in the tag team division this time, because both men are struggling to make more than WWE’s worst paid Superstars in 2016.
5 Emma: $190,000
Emma’s one of those Superstars the entire internet wrestling community roots for. She started in NXT a few years ago with a silly dance routine that should never have worked on any level, but in front of that crowd it was a big hit. She made it all the way to the final match in a tournament to crown the first ever NXT Women’s Champion in a losing effort against her real life friend, Paige. The match was a classic which many say is what kicked off the modern women’s wrestling revolution by showing the fans that WWE’s women can make magic when given the chance.
One called up to WWE, Emma’s wacky dance shtick failed miserably as we all knew it would and she was sent back to NXT where she again won over the crowd with her new serious heel persona. She was back on the main roster and on the verge of success in 2016 when she suffered a back injury, but there’s no doubt Emma’s got something the WWE Universe wants to see. Sadly, she’s also got something no WWE Superstar wants: a relatively low salary.
4 Sasha Banks: $150,000
Sometimes it’s hard to know what makes a WWE Superstar connect with fans. With Sasha Banks, however, it’s obvious; she grew up a passionate wrestling fan, used one of the greatest of all time in Eddie Guerrero for inspiration, and applied all of that to her in-ring game. She’s got natural talent and charisma, and fans know exactly what they’re getting. The WWE Universe knows Sasha loves wrestling as much as they do, which is why she was on obvious hit from early on in her NXT stint.
She was respectfully dubbed one of the “Four Horsewomen,” along with Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte. After an NXT Women’s Championship run that helped change the face of women’s wrestling, Banks is now on WWE’s main roster, was part of the most exciting and revolutionary match at WrestleMania 32, and is enjoying a run with the WWE Women’s Championship. But it’s impossible to fathom why one of the biggest female wrestling stars since Trish Stratus and Lita is being paid such a meager salary at $150,000.
3 Tamina Snuka: $200,000
If tenure plays a role in a WWE Superstar’s salary, then someone is screwing Tamina Snuka over badly. She’s been on the roster for the better part of a decade, originally managing Jimmy and Jey Uso until branching out on her singles career. She had an early feud with Natalya and was famously associated with AJ Lee for most of Lee’s time as Divas Champion. Most recently she has teamed with Naomi and, for a time, Sasha Banks as Team BAD.
Currently, Tamina’s out with an injury. She hasn’t had an incredible amount of success throughout her stay in WWE, but her lineage carries its own prestige. She’s a member of the Anoa’i wrestling dynasty which also includes her father Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Roman Reigns, The Usos, Rikishi and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson among many others. Unfortunately, that heritage wasn’t enough to earn Tamina a salary that isn’t one of the lowest for WWE Superstars.
2 Summer Rae: $200,000
Here we have yet another female WWE Superstar on a list consisting mostly of women. By this point in time, Summer Rae is a veteran employee of sorts, having been with the company for several years. She’s not the world’s greatest wrestler, but after a myriad of failed angles she’s proven she can be versatile and is willing to play whichever role the company asks of her. She’s got charisma and loyalty, and now she’s building tenure.
Why, then, would she fall so low on the pay scale? Summer has never been involved in any sort of backstage scandals, at least not publicly. She’s participated in some capacity on many big pay-per-view events and today still frequently competes in the ring as an enhancement talent. All of that hard work is apparently not making Summer Rae the big bucks, not even on the scale of WWE’s most notorious male jobbers.
1 Lana: $100,000
In what has to be a major shocker, Lana is the lowest paid Superstar currently signed to WWE, as far as we know from different online reports. We have to take into consideration, of course, that this information might be coming in from before she began wrestling part-time on television, therefore making it strictly a manager’s salary. But Lana’s right there in the thick of the action most of the time and was involved in several fights with Summer Rae over the past year.
It’s also interesting to note that, without Lana, The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, would likely have gotten nowhere as a WWE Superstar. As evidenced by the failed break up experiment WWE tried last year, watching a Rusev without Lana at his side is like watching paint dry. For her capabilities to take that mess and make it into one of WWE’s most consistently entertaining acts should be enough to at least double her $100,000 salary.
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