Being a professional athlete usually means a big paycheck, but things are a little more complicated in the world of pro wrestling. While NFL, NBA, and MLB players enjoy guaranteed contracts, a lot of WWE Superstars rely on merchandise sales and bonuses to really build up their bank accounts. With so many complicated factors, it may seem shocking when you look at some of the WWE Superstar salaries.
After breaking down the numbers and seeking out multiple resources, recent salary figures have been released for a lot of WWE stars. While it is expected that long time stars like John Cena and Randy Orton are making millions, there are some deserving Superstars that don't even come close. These stars are former champions that work just as hard as others on the roster and deserve a little pay raise.
When factoring their salaries, it is on an annual basis. New contract information is not often released, so some of the Superstars may have received a well-deserved raise in recent years. Others may be only making a little more than they currently are. If they're able to stick around for a little while longer, then they'll have a chance to earn the deserved extra money.
Not only does Vince McMahon openly express his dislike towards Cesaro, but he must also pay him what he thinks he's worth. For several years, Cesaro was only pulling in around $80,000 for his base salary. Thanks to a new contract, he's now up to $275,000, but that's still pretty weak for the first-ever Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Winner.
Neville defies gravity, although his paycheck is very grounded. The high-flier made a huge impact when debuted on the main roster, but he didn't get the pay to go along with it. Now as one of the leading faces of the Cruiserweight Division, Neville deserves a lot more than his base pay. He probably gets a lot of bonuses, but some guaranteed money would be nice for the risk-taker.
13 A.J. Styles
A.J. Styles made an instant impact when he finally made his debut with the WWE. There was no denying his star power across the globe, but WWE got a bargain by only agreeing to a $650,000 contract for the former WWE Champion. Styles almost immediately went to the main event scene and was crowned the WWE Champion less than a year after he debuted.
12 Bray Wyatt
The reported salaries for Bray Wyatt vary, but many of them are pegged just around $300,000, if not less. That's a shame as Wyatt is one of the more original characters to debut in the WWE in recent years. Wyatt's initial low salary made sense as he debuted as Husky Harris and did not do much with his character.
11 The Usos
Just because you're part of a tag team doesn't mean that your salary should be split up. That's exactly what happened to Jimmy and Jey Uso. Only making lower tier money, the duo has been in the WWE since 2009, barely seeing any type of pay increase or nearing the average that many other stars seem to have. The team has consistently stayed together, even when one of the brothers was dealing with an injury.
10 Sami Zayn
For Sami Zayn, an income of $300,000 may seem like a ton compared to when he first started in the WWE. While serving as the NXT champion, Zayn was only making around $7,000 a month. After moving to Raw, his salary wasn't improved that much, as he only makes around $300,000 per year.
9 Dean Ambrose
Ambrose continues to be the underdog of The Shield. His former Shield members are both easily making well into the the million dollar mark every year. Meanwhile Ambrose is in the figures, but nothing in comparison to his Shield partners.
8 Luke Harper
I guess the Wyatt Family doesn't get that great of an allowance. He's a former Intercontinental Champion and helped win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship with Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt, but Luke Harper is not even cracking close to what his peers make.
7 Heath Slater
Has WWE not gotten the memo? Heath Slater has kids! He needs to feed his kids! He needs to pay for their education! And the only way to do that is with a bigger pay check. Heath Slater has spent years in the WWE. He started out in The Nexus, quickly joined The Corre, and then was the leader of the Three Man Band. Now he has found the most success of his career on the SmackDown Live roster. By teaming with Rhyno, Slater successfully won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships and his star only continues to rise.
There would be no Rusev without Lana by his side, but Rusev seems to get all of the credit and the money to go with it. Now a married couple, Lana and Rusev are probably sharing a bank account, but she still deserves a little more cash.
5 Xavier Woods
Before Xavier Woods was a part of The New Day, he was on the brink of getting fired from the WWE. Thankfully, he was able to bounce back, change his career around, and become one of the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all-time.
4 Big E
Big E is a former NXT World Champion, multi-time Tag Team Champion and one of the leading forces of The New Day. Just like other New Day members, Big E is heavily underpaid in the WWE. The New Day has their own cereal, chocolate bars, special edition toys, and some great WWE T-shirts, but he still doesn't make nearly as much as he should be compared to the bigger Superstars. Big E had a pretty successful career before The New Day even formed together. Now he's one of the more recognizable stars in the company and has competed at multiple WrestleMania events.
Just because you come from a popular wrestling family doesn't mean you will get a hefty payday. That's exactly what has happened with WWE women's wrestler Natalya. Her father is Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and he probably made a ton more than she makes every year.
In Paige's WWE debut, she was able to defeat AJ Lee and win the Divas Championship. Despite her fast rise to stardom, Paige doesn't have a huge payday to go with it. She may be controversial, but has more than done enough to earn a bigger salary in the WWE. Paige has had some great matches and has only been on the sidelines in 2017 due to an injury she's healing from.
1 Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston's WWE salary feels like highway robbery. The company has been able to count on Kofi for more than ten years. With over a decade in the company, it's quite a shock that Kingston doesn't make as much as some of the other stars. He's smooth in the ring, has created countless Royal Rumble moments, and was an integral part of forming the New Day.
While Kofi has never won the big title, he could potentially get to that point and continue his successful career in the WWE. Maybe a little extra money will be the motivation that he needs to reach the pinnacle of his career and call himself the WWE Universal Champion. He's stayed injury-free and keeps fans entertained with both ring skills and mic skills.
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