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.
In recent months, Cesaro has really risen on the Raw roster. He teamed with Sheamus to dethrone The New Day as the Tag Team Champions and had an impressive one-on-one match with Samoa Joe. His ring skills are impeccable and he gives it all every time he steps in the ring. Give the man a raise – and a World Championship while you're at it!
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.
Neville has already suffered one devastating injury and his high-risk moves could lead to another. Hopefully the Cruiserweight Champion has a chance to save up enough retirement money before that happens. As the Cruiserweight division continues to grow, hopefully Neville will get an increase in his contract and exposure on WWE programming.
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.
As Styles wrestles against WWE millionaires like Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and John Cena, it's almost a crime that he doesn't earn more money for his efforts. Luckily for Styles, he has T-shirts, gloves, and a plethora of other merchandise help earn him a lot more bonuses. If his success continues, you know Styles will have a hefty raise to look forward to in the very near-future.
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.
Once he began as the Wyatt character, things took a turn for the better. A couple of injuries wrecked some pushes, but Wyatt had the benefit of competing against John Cena and The Undertaker at separate WrestleMania events. Now Wyatt is the WWE Champion and you know his bonuses will increase as he prepares to be a part of the WrestleMania main event against Randy Orton.
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.
As the SmackDown tag team roster continues to thrive, The Usos have reinvented themselves, become relevant again, and may have a little bargaining room the next time contract negotiations are set to start. They could easily win the Tag Team Titles in their future and each of the brothers may attempt a singles career at same point.
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.
Zayn's salary is insulting because of the successful following he had as an independent star. Formally known as El Generico, Zayn wrestled all over the world and was extremely popular. The WWE did not chose to reward him for the fans that he would bring in. As he showcases his passion and great ring skills, it will be interesting to see if Zayn has a big pay raise to go with it.
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.
Besides his in-ring salary, Ambrose does have extra income associated with his starring roles in WWE Studios movies and his appearances on Total Divas. He's more than well-off, but he does deserve just about equal pay with his Shield brother, as Ambrose hasn't had the injuries like Rollins or the suspension like Reigns. Ambrose is one of the headlining stars of SmackDown Live and has a huge fan following. If that success continues, then Ambrose could equal or surpass his Shield buddies in the near future.
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.
It's no wonder that Harper has to wear such raggedy clothes. He's very underrated in the ring, even though fans have recognized his skills for many years now. As Harper branches away from The Wyatt Family, he may transform his character drastically. Along with an upgrade to his character, we may see a rise in his salary. He could become a leading contender on the SmackDown Live roster, earning a huge paycheck away from The Wyatt Family.
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.
If Slater continues down this path of success, he should see a huge pay increase in the future. Let's just hope that all of his children don't take it all from him.
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.
WWE Divas typically compete on a rolling contract. This means that their contract is up every year. This gives Lana a chance to break the $100,000 mark and truly earn some money for her managerial work. It would be interesting to see how her salary compares to other popular managers of the past, like Miss Elizabeth or Paul Bearer. She probably doesn't make as much, even without adjusting for the inflation rate. As Lana expands her role in the WWE and on shows like Total Divas, she should get some type of pay raise in the process.
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.
Despite setting records, creating WrestleMania moments, and entertaining fans for several years, Woods' yearly salary is quite low given his experience in the company. Luckily for Woods, he has his own successful YouTube channel and can rake in enough extra dough to compare with other WWE Superstars. As The New Day continues to thrive on WWE programming, Woods may see a nice salary bump in the near future. If not, then he better count on a few extra sales of the glowing unicorn horns that are sold at every arena.
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.
When The New Day breaks up, Big E has a chance of going on with a successful singles career. He can compete with big guys like Braun Strowman and has used The New Day to prove that he can entertain fans on a nightly basis.
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.
Natayla has been in the WWE for so many years that she deserves to be making more than the other females given her time in the company. Natalya is currently on the SmackDown Live roster and has been a part of some great feuds, including her battle with Nikki Bella. With her husband Tyson Kidd out of the ring due to a neck injury, it's up to Natalya to make the big bucks for their family.
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.
Once Paige returns to active competition, she may have a big pay raise to go along with it. She can make a huge impact when she comes back and help invigorate the women's division with her unique look and style. Along with in-ring competition, Paige makes extra money by appearing on Total Divas.
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.