Today, for the first time in a while, wrestlers are finally starting to make a real good living for themselves outside of the WWE. Wrestlers Like Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks are thriving independently, paving the way for future stars to make a living outside of McMahon’s empire, something that seemed like a struggle just a couple of years ago.
For a long time, this was not the case. During the 90s, working with either WCW or WWE meant big dollars. Once WCW went under, many wrestling stars worked countless indie dates to try and live a decent life. It was a dark period filled with uncertainties for various wrestlers. Today, with the emergence of several other indie scenes, times are finally changing for the better.
Going back to the 90s, several undeserving stars were able to make some serious amounts of money. This theme went on into the 2000s with some terrible performers becoming millionaires because of a marketable look. Even in today's WWE climate, this problem persists and will undoubtedly continue on for years to come.
Today, we shed a light on those wrestlers specifically with 15 terrible pro wrestlers that are actually millionaires, according to their rumored net worths. Enjoy!
15 Nathan Jones: $3 Million
Oh Nathan Jones, wrestling fans will only remember the Aussie as that dude who wore Adidas track pants while aiding The Undertaker at WrestleMania XIX. He looked like he came from home, took off his shirt and walked out in front of 54,000 fans at Safeco Field.
Aside from that cameo, his career wasn't great.. Things got off to a horrible start when Nathan was taken out of that WrestleMania match because he hadn't developed as quicklu as WWE hoped. Taker was put into a handicap match instead and the company sold it as Nathan being unable to compete due to injury, (although he did appear as we previously mentioned).
He would leave shortly after, claiming that life on the road was too taxing, which begs the question how the heck is he millionaire? Acting. For those of you that forgot, Nathan Jones has a prominent acting career, acting in several films including Troy, Mad Max: Fury Road and, his most recent film which came out in 2016, A Flying Jatt.
14 David Otunga: $10 Million
If you feel bad for the failed David Otunga WWE experiment, you shouldn't as he's worth $10 million and married to Hollywood starlet Jennifer Hudson. So, I think he’s doing just fine.
Otunga is the latest example of a company guy that the WWE continues to shove down our throats. He’s a great company ambassador and his Hollywood connections have helped the Illinois native stay relevant after all this time, despite a failed in-ring career which tanked following The Nexus angle.
The WWE continues to use his talents nonetheless, as they've attempted to mold him into a future commentator by starting him off as a panellist. He later made his way to WWE Superstars and is now one of the voices of SmackDown Live.
Even with all this, you may find it puzzling to understand how he’s worth so much. Well, like Nathan Jones, David has made a couple of extra bucks working on various films and TV shows. He appeared on General Hospital in 2014 and still partakes in films, with two set to release in 2017. Again, it works out pretty nicely that he’s married to a Hollywood star, wouldn’t you say?
13 Steve McMichael: $3 Million
Before he became an afterthought with The Four Horsemen, Steve McMichael actually had quite the career in the NFL and made a couple of bucks during his time as a football player. He had a lengthy playing career that was met with high praise from former NFL coach Mike Ditka, who called him the toughest player he’d ever coached. He returned to the sport later, becoming a coach.
Steve appeared on WWE television before joining WCW, as he was actually ringside during the awful WrestleMania XI main event which saw Bam Bam Bigelow take on Lawrence Taylor. WCW threw some money at him and he began to work with Bischoff and his company following the brief WWE cameo. He was actually better as a commentator than a wrestler, which isn’t much of a compliment.
Following his pro wrestling departure, Steve went back to football working as a coach and on the radio. He has now branched into a new venture, focusing on a career as politician, which resulted in a loss during the 2013 Illinois election.
12 Marc Mero: $3 Million
Things you remember about Marc Mero: Sable. Things you enjoyed about Marc Mero: Sable. Things that ruined Marc Mero's career: Sable.
Mero was average during his time with the WWE, but he did manage to go over at one point because of his natural charisma which made a connection with the audience. Enter Sable. Like we’ve seen time and time again, a manger can prove to be a burden and that’s exactly what happened in this situation. Sable rose to popularity while Mero just became the annoying guy associated with her.
Despite his shortcomings, Mero made some good money, spending the height of the Attitude Era with the WWE from 96 to 99. After his departure, he continued wrestling until 2006.
Once his career came to an end, Mero’s life took a surprising turn as the former Intercontinental Champion became a motivational speaker. His YouTube videos went viral and Marc suddenly became a tremendous advocate for aiding youths around the world. Sadly, his relationship with WWE is pretty much broken, but he continues making a name for himself without the help of McMahon and his company. Good for you Marc.
11 Sycho Sid: $5 Million
If you’re a younger fan and aren’t too familiar with Sid, here's what you missed during his career. He crapped himself against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 13, asked to start over during a live backstage interview and delivered one of the worst flying big boots in the history of pro wrestling, which resulted in one of the most gruesome injuries in history of pro wrestling. This all begs the question: how the hell is he worth $5 million?
Like they say in the wrestling business, timing is everything. Nobody knows that more than Sid himself. McMahon loved a big intimating presence so Sid was able to cash in, feuding with the likes of Shawn Michaels in the upper card. He would continue his upper card run with WCW until that brutal injury in 2001.
He continued wrestling independently and also made some money through television and films.
10 Chuck Palumbo: $4 Million
Chuck Palumbo was like that guy at the party that’s just there in the background. He laughs, he chills and leaves without anyone really realizing he was ever there.
Chuck was a floater during his time with WCW and the WWE. To his credit, his floating skills landed him some big bucks during a time where money was being made in the wrestling business, during the later 90s and early 2000s.
Following the end of his uneventful career, Palumbo invested his time fully into customizing cars and motorcycles. He opened up his own shop called CP Kustoms, which has been highly praised by several motorcyclists and former WWE stars, including Rey Mysterio and Batista who got some work done there.
Along with his passion project, Chuck has appeared on Lords of the Car Hoards as a co-host and also owns his own gym. It’s never easy to branch out into other ventures following a pro wrestling career, but Palumbo has done it to a tee. For this, we applaud him and he’s deserving of his net worth outside of the ring. As for in it...
9 Rikishi: $2 Million
Only in the Attitude Era would a 425 pound wrestler, who wears a thong and shakes his rear end, make it and win some titles in the process.
Rikishi was able to cash-in by playing his gimmick to a tee. It took a while, but the WWE and Solofa Fatu Jr. finally got it right after years and years of awful gimmicks which included The Headshrinker, The Sultan and, my personal favorite, Make a Difference (aka Will Smith from Fresh Prince).
His Rikishi persona got over, but he was a marginal talent in the ring during his prime. His work rate later began to fall off and the WWE was forced to release the wrestler because of his inability to drop weight after several requests by the company.
Despite the bitter ending to his career, the WWE still decided to honor him by inducting the wrestler into the Hall of Fame class 2015.
8 Eva Marie: $2 Million
Eva Marie is such a bad wrestler that her draw value increases when she doesn’t compete.
For years now, the WWE just keeps chugging along with Eva Marie, trying to force her into our homes on a weekly basis, whether it be through Total Divas, NXT or SmackDown Live. The company wants this to work and won’t give up until it does.
Eva’s been with the WWE since 2013 and during that time she’s made decent money with the company, but has made a boatload outside of it by working for various companies such as Shredz, Maxim and Sports Illustrated. She even appeared as a guest judge at Miss Teen USA 2016.
To her credit, Eva’s made a name for herself outside of the company and has been a decent brand ambassador. With all of her success outside of the WWE, you can’t help but think that she’ll one day leave for good in search of “greener pastures.”
7 Summer Rae: $1.5 Million
Today, the New York native is basically being used as a brand ambassador or Live event worker, failing to crack a talented and stacked main roster with the Raw brand.
Summer Raw's high net worth is related to several things. For starters, she’s been with the WWE since 2011, so she's brought in a good amount of cash with the WWE since that time, even if she’s been an afterthought throughout her career. Second, she came from the Lingerie Football League and was a full time model before entering the company, so she probably had a couple of bucks saved up before she entered the company. And finally, Rae has featured in some WWE films, including her most recent work in The Marine 4: Moving Target featuring The Miz. While those movies are (likely) terrible, the wrestlers involved are still making some nice coin by doing the films.
6 Tony Atlas: $ 3 Million
Despite his lackluster in ring ability, we need to give some love to Tony Atlas, who was actually homeless at one point in time. It's remarkable to think that he literally went from homeless to millionaire status and, for that, we congratulate the Virginia native.
The wrestling industry has been Atlas’ prime source of income throughout his life. The former WWE star began to wrestle way back in 1974 when he joined the NWA-Mid Atlantic promotion. He would later make a name for himself as a tag team wrestler with the WWE, teaming up with Rocky Johnson.
He returned to the company in 2008 in a managerial role and would later sign on to join the cast of Legends House on the WWE Network. Tony still lives off his fame today, appearing at several wrestling conventions and shows around the globe.
5 Scott Steiner: $1.2 Million
Had Scott Steiner ended his career in 2001 following the purchase of WCW, he probably wouldn’t even be considered for this list. He was an interesting performer and had draw value attached to his name, though he would completely lose himself as a performer following those “glory days.”
After a terrible stint in the WWE, Steiner's been working the indie scene and making several appearances for TNA, where his work rate has suffered terribly. Steiner became slow as hell in the in-ring and even more uncomfortable to watch outside of it, with some of the worst promos ever delivered.
Nonetheless, Steiner still makes cash today by owning his own restaurant and appearing at conventions and indie shows. Just recently, he was in the UK bashing the WWE in shoot interviews.
4 Kelly Kelly: $4.5 Million
Kelly Kelly’s net worth stands at an estimated $4.5 million and most of her money was made with the WWE. Furthermore, she used the company as a platform to land other gigs after her wrestling career, which includes modelling work and being a cast member on the show WAGS, which airs on E!.
Kelly is the poster child for one of the darkest times in women’s wrestling in company history. From 2006 to 2012, the WWE was at a major standstill when it came to the division. The company was using a blend of sex appeal and in-ring matches to promote the division, which turned out to be a major fail considering most of the women, like Kelly, had not talent as in-ring performers. Things reached the peak of ridiculousness when Kelly won the Divas Championship, which pretty much summed up the state of that division.
Thankfully, those days seem to be long gone.
3 Lex Luger: $3 Million
Known as The Total Package, Lex was far from that. The WWE went all in on Luger because of his image, as WWE felt like Luger could have been their next Hulk Hogan, but it was rather apparent that it was never going to happen.
Luger did manage to shock the wrestling world when he showed up on WCW television the night after his WWE contract expired. This shocking twist ignited the Monday Night Wars and cemented Luger’s face as one with historical significance.
Luger managed to stay in mid card stories because of his look, even though he had no charisma or in ring ability. He was a prominent name during the 90s and cashed in nicely for that reason.
2 Mark Henry: $4.5 Million
With an impressive resume coming from the world of power lifting, the WWE decided to throw some big bucks Mark Henry’s way, enticing him to join the company. Henry took the bait and first appeared with the company when he was only 24 back in 1996.
Fast-forward two decades later and Mark Henry is not only still with the company, but he hasn't left since his debut 20 years ago.
Looking at the current roster, it's shocking to find out that Henry is one of the highest earners in WWE because of his experience. We appreciate his love and dedication to the company, but we can all agree that WWE's money can be put to better use nowadays, especially considering he's made enough to ride into the sunset with a $4.5 million net worth.
1 Big Show: $ 20 Million
Even Big Show himself admitted on the Stone Cold podcast that he wasn’t a very good wrestler, though we think he might be selling himself short. In his prime, he was an interesting, athletic big man. However, recently, it's been hard to watch him compete. However, even though it was better in the past, that doesn't mean it was always good for Big Show either, as The Wrestling Observer named him the Most Embarrassing Wrestler of the Year in 2002.
Despite his shortcomings, he was a marketable wrestler and one who managed to stay in the spotlight for a really long time. His net worth of $20 million is one of the highest amongst all pro wrestlers!