Wrestling is a dream for many fans of the sport, but it isn't all about the glamour of a career in WWE. Many of the most famous WWE wrestlers in history came from poor backgrounds and managed to climb their way up through the Independent Scene while also working more than one job.
Many wrestlers have revealed that they have come from a poor background and knew that wrestling was the only thing they wanted to do. So they were willing to starve and even live on other people's sofas in order to make their dreams come true.
While these are touching stories, there are also many stars who are able to fund their dream from the beginning because they come from a wealthy family. This doesn't mean that they have fought any less to become the stars they are today, it just means that they didn't have to struggle like many of the names on the following list.
There are many rags to riches stories when it comes to WWE stars and many stories about wealthy stars as well, the following list looks at both the richest and the poorest WWE stars over the past few years.
15 Earned Fortune: R-Truth
R-Truth has been with WWE now for more than a decade and is easily able to be called a veteran of the business, having had an earlier stint with WWE and TNA before his current run with the company, Truth hasn't always been in a position of power.
Truth was raised in a rough neighbourhood in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was athletically gifted and able to use this in Track and Field when he was younger, but because his family were so poor and finding it hard to get by, Truth and his father were forced to sell weed on the side. Something that later got Truth arrested but allowed him to meet wrestling promoter Jackie Crockett, who later helped him begin his wrestling career something that has allowed him to make the money he needed to leave his childhood behind.
14 Born Into Money: Rene Dupree
Until Tyler Bate won the United Kingdom Championship back in January, Renee Dupree was the only Superstar to have ever won a WWE Championship as a teenager. It appears that his fast rise to fame was thanks to his wealthy father.
Emile Dupree owned his own wrestling company called Grand Prix Wrestling which he was able to secure a lucrative TV deal for and make his son the star attraction of. This early boost from his father both financially and professionally since his father is also a former wrestler who has competed in both Australia and New Zealand for various promotions gave Renee a great star in the world of wrestling. It also means that Renee is and continues to be in his father's shadow though.
13 Earned Fortune: Booker T
Booker T is a WWE Hall of Famer and one of the biggest legends of the business. But it didn't start out that way for Booker, who was left to deal with his mothers passing at the age of just 13. This then led Booker into a life on the other side of the tracks, something that came to an end when he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison back in 1987.
Despite this, when Booker was released he was able to find a proper job with the help of his brother and then took up wrestling training, something that then lead him to the WWE and gave him the ability to leave the horrors of his past behind. Booker has gone on to have a wildly successful career since then, which truly shows the kind of person he is.
12 Born Into Money: Natalya
Natalya comes from one of the most famous wrestling families in the history of the business. The Hart family are not only known for their wrestling ability but also their abundance of wealth.
The Hart family even once lived in a mansion known as Hart House and family leader Stu Hart created Stampede Wrestling back in 1948. Despite the family's wealth, Stu thought that all of his children should earn their pocket money and learn the value of money, with the likes of Bret and Owen getting their starts in small arenas as ticket collectors. Natalya trained in The Hart Dungeon before she was given her chance on WWE TV and owes her entire career to the fact that her family had the money to fund this.
11 Earned Fortune: The Rock
The Rock may be the most famous Superstar of all time and from one of the most famous wrestling families. But The Rock once told an inspiring story about how he had just $7 in his pocket back in 1995 and he then decided to make himself the promise that one day he would have all the money he ever wanted.
The Rock pushed hard to make sure he lived up to this promise to himself and managed to become one of the biggest stars in the wrestling business before he went on to carve out a wrestling career. The Rock is an inspiration and proves that if you have the will and the drive to succeed then you will always find a way.
10 Born Into Money: Mick Foley
The WWE Hall of Famer wasn't born into a family of wrestlers like a number of stars on this list. Instead he was born into a family that were going to support him with any career he wanted to pursue and that is exactly what they did.
Mick's father Jack Foley was an athletic director at Ward Melvin High School, which was said to be a sought after job and even though he didn't understand wrestling. The money he earned was enough to pay to help his son break into the business. Foley owes a lot to his parents since they taught him to make a decent living for himself, something he is now managing to do for his own family following a successful and somewhat lengthy WWE career.
9 Earned Fortune: Rich Swann
Rich Swann's backstory is perhaps one of the saddest. He may be a happy, dancing star on WWE TV right now, but it hasn't always been this way for the former Cruiserweight Champion.
Rich was born in Baltimore, Maryland and when he was just 12-year-old Swann's father was murdered by his girlfriend and only four years later his mother passed away. Swann was then left in a terrible situation and managed to fall in with the wrong crowd, which was where he began using cocaine. Swann's drug dealer later died of a heart attack and Swann saw this as a wake-up call and with the help of his aunt finally managed to put his life back together and get back into school, which later led to him pursuing a career in wrestling.
8 Born Into Money: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt talks about the destruction and poverty he has witnessed in his life but for all of his talk of the horrors he has seen, Wyatt actually had quite a privileged upbringing. Alongside his brother Bo Dallas, Wyatt didn't want for anything as a child.
Wyatt is the grandson of Blackjack Mulligan and the son of Mike Rotunda. Both men made quite a name for themselves in wrestling circles which meant that for much of Wyatt's childhood his father was out performing in WCW or over in Japan. This made his family quite wealthy and showed Wyatt a path that he could pave for his own family and now he and Bo are seen to be the highest earners to ever come out of the Rotunda family.
7 Earned Fortune: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose grew up in what he calls poverty. He lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and was said to have mostly grown up in public housing. Wrestling was Ambrose's escape from the real world and allowed him to dream of something more than what he had.
He was able to begin wrestling training while he was still in high school so he decided to drop out, wrestling was all he wanted to do, so he didn't see the point in continuing to pursue education. Ambrose then set up the ring, sold tickets and popcorn and whatever he could to remain around the wrestling business until he was given a chance at the spotlight himself. Ambrose went through a number of Independent Promotions and many years around the sport before he was finally given the chance with WWE, he was even used on WWE TV twice before he was signed to a permanent contract.
6 Born Into Money: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has managed to work his way up through WWE ever since he was a member of The Spirit Squad 12 years ago. Ziggler is now a former World Champion, and it is safe to say that he has made a lot of money from both wrestling and working as a comedian on the side.
That being said, Dolph already comes from quite a wealthy family. He attended an all boys school when he was growing up and his parents were all ready to pay for him to attend Arizona Law School where he didn't even make it through his first semester since something much better turned his head. Dolph's family supported him in making his dream come true until he was able to support himself, something he has now been doing for a number of years.
5 Earned Fortune: CM Punk
CM Punk has talked openly about his life growing up with an alcoholic father and a brother who once robbed him. Punk ended up spending most of his childhood with his best friends family, who later adopted him.
Punk slept on the sofa of his friend's house for a number of years before they were able to set up a backyard wrestling business and Punk then trained and made his way to the Independent Scene. Much like many aspiring WWE stars, Punk put everything into his career and travelled around the circuit moving from sofa to sofa until he was finally seen as a potential star and given a shot in Ring of Honor. It was his time in ROH that allowed WWE to finally see the buzz that surrounded him and later signed him to their ECW brand.
4 Born Into Money: David Otunga
Ever wondered why WWE's least favorite commentator managed to make it to the peak of the mountain top when it comes to wrestling but doesn't have a hell of a lot of talent? Well, it's because his parents paid for the best of everything for Otunga throughout his life, which allowed him to arrive in WWE.
Otunga's parents are so wealthy that they were able to pay for his entire tuition when he attended Harvard Law School, something that WWE have used many times in storylines involving Otunga. The former Nexus member is currently engaged to American Idol star Jennifer Hudson and the couple have a child together. So Otunga has managed to create a family and regular income for himself now, thanks to all of his parent's help.
3 Earned Fortune: Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss' backstory is quite well documented given the fact that the current Raw Women's Champion almost died when she suffered from anorexia. Alexa's mother was just a teenager when she gave birth and the family struggled for much of Alexa's younger life because of this. But they always managed to save enough to do their annual Disneyland visit, something Alexa stated that she always looked forward to throughout her harsh childhood.
Alexa's rough upbringing seems to have given her the drive and determination she needed to push for a career in the world of wrestling after a stint as a cheerleader and a bodybuilder. Alexa seems to have completely changed her life around over the past few years and now become one of the most popular female wrestlers in WWE.
2 Born Into Money: Kane
Kane wore a mask for much of his WWE career and always had an air of mystery about him. So it's unsurprising that many of the WWE Universe don't know a lot about Kane and his family life.
Kane was born in the Spanish capital of Madrid. His family was part of the US Air Force and was stationed out in Madrid where Kane was born into wealth and high status. His family then moved back to America and enrolled Kane into the best schools which allowed him to graduate with a degree in English Literature. Kane is from a highly respected upper-class family who have strong political connections, which could really help Kane with his current push into the world of politics which explains why he hasn't appeared on WWE TV in a while.
1 Earned Fortune: AJ Lee
AJ Lee shared the battles that she went through in her young life in her autobiography: Crazy is My Superpower, that was released earlier this year. AJ's family was dirt poor and were forced to live in motels while they saved up money to move into a real home. AJ was forced to drop out of college because her family ran out of money and then starved herself so that she could afford to attend a WWE tryout.
It's a shock that AJ was able to hang her boots up so easily when she worked so hard to get to where she was. Wrestling meant everything to her and her brother, it was their one escape from their ever changing world where they were even once forced to live in a car.
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