The career of a typical WWE Superstar does not always follow an upward trajectory. There are peaks and valleys in any professional wrestling career with some days much more promising and financially rewarding than others. One minute you can be a star and the next minute, forgotten completely. In short, the WWE offers no guarantee of riches beyond the moments you, as a WWE Superstar, offer something of value.
If there is one thing that’s been proven time and time again it’s that no one WWE Superstar is bigger than the machine that is WWE. Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena have all moved on and the company is still kicking. That said, the WWE needs its wrestlers. Without big names to sell pay-per-views, WWE Network subscriptions, and live events, there is no show and no WWE. The company needs to find these stars and make them household names.
How does one recognize the next big star? And, who in the WWE is currently on the cusp? Will the talents currently employed by the WWE become the next big thing? Will they fade away, eventually working their way out of the company, will they leave on their own accord and become bigger stars elsewhere or will WWE maximize their popularity and during that time, make them rich?
15. Facing Foreclosure: Perry Saturn
One of the saddest entries on this list is Perry Saturn. The reason he’s in such rough shape financially may have a little to do with how he spent or didn’t save whatever money he made from his time in WCW and WWE but more the fact that he was shot twice for trying to save a woman from being mugged.
He wound up spending so much money on hospital trips that it wiped out everything he had. He ended up asking fans and former wrestlers for help and in 2010 appeared to be partially back on track. Unfortunately, more hospital troubles and illness have compounded and he’s struggling to make ends meet. Often times the system doesn’t lend a helping hand to those who need it most. It seems unfair that saving someone has basically ruined Perry Saturn’s life.
14. Shopping New Mansions: AJ Styles
AJ Styles recently became the WWE Heavyweight Champion and it looks like he might stay the champion for some time. Clearly one of the best in-ring performers the WWE has to offer right now, the company is in need of stars they can rely on to carry a brand while big names like John Cena and others aren’t really in the picture. Styles is one of those guys.
As a result, he’ll be main eventing pay-per-views for some time and with that comes some pretty big bonus cheques and a nice payday. There were rumours that Styles may call it quits after a couple more years but he squashed those rumours rather quickly. He spent years making less money since he wrestled in TNA and other promotions so long. He’s finally in a place where he can capitalize on his amazing wrestling ability. Maybe he’l upgrade from his current home, which isn’t small but could definitely be much bigger.
13. Facing Foreclosure: One Man Gang
The only real mistake the One Man Gang made was not purchasing insurance, but you can barely blame him since the area in which he lived was considered a “no flood zone”. Gang’s house and pretty much everything in it was destroyed in the flood that wiped out a good portion of Louisiana. Known as the Great Flood of 2016, Gang had to reach out to fans and former wrestlers through a GoFundMe page asking for help. With no insurance and no real savings to speak of, he and his wife were in huge financial peril.
12. Shopping New Mansions: Daniel Bryan
It might seem an odd choice to add Daniel Bryan to this list as someone shopping for a new mansion especially when you consider he’s retired from in-ring competition. The reason he has been added is that this writer doesn’t believe his in-ring career is over. In fact, Bryan may not be done wrestling for the WWE.
If that’s the case, the second he steps back into the ring in a competitive capacity, he will easily become the company’s biggest star. The fanbase is still clamouring for him every time he makes his way to the ring and if he were to lace up the boots again he’d shoot immediately to the top of the ladder. So too, if WWE doesn’t clear him and he chooses to go to New Japan or ROH, he’ll make a boatload of money on the independent scene. If he and Brie have another child, he may also simply need more space!
11. Facing Foreclosure: Sabu
We mentioned earlier how the cost of medical bills can wipe out the entire savings of anyone. When you’re a professional wrestler the odds you’ll need to see a hospital every now and again are good. When you are former wrestler Sabu and you’ve spent your entire career being known as a maniac who will put his body through all sorts of torture, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear you practically live in the emergency room.
Sabu has so many injuries lingering from his wrestling days he’s had to resort to a GoFundMe page asking fans to help him pay his medical bills. Because he can barely wrestle now due to a bad hip, there is no way for him to make the money he needs.
10. Shopping New Mansions: Matt Hardy
Is the new #Woken Matt Hardy a goldmine for the WWE? Both Hardy and WWE certainly hope so. If the “Woken” character has similar success to what the “Broken” character did in TNA, with the WWE resources behind it, it could mean a huge payday for the creator of the gimmick. Hardy has already had a long wrestling career and likely made some decent money, but this new character could be a hugely rewarding opportunity.
It appears as though the WWE is going to give Hardy a chance to run with this idea and they seem to be behind him. If they can leave him be and allow his creative juices to flow, it could mean big dollars for Hardy and his family. He has a nice house now, but may see a dramatic increase in his wealth very soon.
9. Facing Foreclosure: Jerry Lynn
Another former ECW alumni, Jerry Lynn has struggled since leaving wrestling. While he’s had the odd gig working with the WWE’s development system and training future WWE stars, it’s possible that job was given to him to help him financially. He’s in terrible shape and reaching out to fans to help him pay his regular bills.
Lynn was one of those guys who never really capitalized financially when he was at his peak in wrestling. As such, he didn’t have a pile of money to live off of when his wrestling career came to a close. The positive here is that Lynn reached his goal and donated the excess money he received from fans. We’re not sure if that’s because he wasn’t as bad off as most figured or he’s really not good at saving anything.
8. Shopping New Mansions: Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman is a monster. Strowman is entertaining. Strowman is devasting, he’s agile and he’s got the WWE pushing him to the moon. He’s the next big thing in professional wrestling and unless something extremely unlikely happens, a future multi-time champion.
Not only is he an unstoppable force in the WWE these days, he’s also got quite the personality. A recent video was released showing him acting the part of the elf in a parody of the movie Elf and it’s extremely funny. His range could make him a superstar if he isn’t already. If you were going to bet money on anyone, bet it on Strowman. In fact, if by this time next year he’s not been the WWE Champion at least once, something terrible must have happened.
7. Facing Foreclosure: Ric Flair
Ric Flair has spent a lifetime being absolutely terrible with his money. Add a number of divorces to his struggles and you can imagine Flair being in financial peril constantly needing to make appearances and show up in different promotions just to get by. Recent speculation is that he’s charging as much as $30K for an autograph appearance, potentially hoping to hit that home run that will allow him to pay his bills for the next few months.
With Flair’s health also being a major issue, his financial outlook is not good. Whether he had insurance or not we don’t know, but medical bills add up quickly when you’re not fully covered. Flair has been threatened with jail time for not paying back debts in the past, so there’s no question he can be very careless with money.
6. Shopping New Mansions: Elias
Elias should be licking his chops right about now. The WWE, namely Vince McMahon, sees something in Elias and his gimmick and they’ve decided to get behind him. To give credit where credit is due, Elias has taken advantage of the opportunity and turned himself in a budding star that has a ceiling higher than almost anyone in the company.
He’s been both a heel and he’s had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. That’s half the battle when it comes to being a “made” star in the WWE. If you’ve got the crowd on your side, you’re in great shape for a profitable future. “The Drifter” should be cruising in no time if he continues to play his cards right.
5. Facing Foreclosure: David Otunga
David Otunga has become so irrelevant in the WWE we almost neglected to include him on this list. The one-time member of the Nexus turned to commentating but has recently asked for a leave of absence to deal with some personal issues regarding his marriage/divorce to Jennifer Hudson. Divorce is messy. When you add child custody battles to everything, you can imagine this isn’t going to go well financially for Otunga who probably makes a fraction of what his ex-wife does.
We feel for what Otunga might be going through because it sounds nasty, but he can pretty much kiss his WWE career goodbye. He’s not been an important part of a show for a while and now that he’s gone it’s only a matter of time before he’s future endeavored. It’s a good thing he’s got a law degree to fall back on. He looks like a million bucks but he when his troubles are all over, he probably won’t have that kind of money.
4. Shopping New Mansions: Roman Reigns
To be the man you have to beat the man. John Cena was the man for a long time and Roman Reigns was passed the torch after Cena turned to Hollywood and will now only be wrestling in the WWE part-time. Reigns is basically the new Cena like Cena was the new Steve Austin/Rock.
The WWE plans to put all its resources behind Reigns and by the time all is said and done he stands to become the winningest singles wrestler in the history of the company. At the pace he’s setting, he’ll out win everyone that ever came before him. That sort of success pays extremely well. Reigns would really have to screw something up to lose his status now. With a growing family, he may eventually opt for a bigger (and more luxurious) home.
3. Facing Foreclosure: Enzo Amore
The one thing Enzo Amore has going for him is his mouth. He has an uncanny ability to talk over the mic and to that end, he’s saved his career on a couple of occasions. Pretty much everyone in the back wants him gone and there are few in management who feel he’s a long-term player for the company. But, Triple H has saved his bacon a couple times and as it stands now, he’s still employed.
Day by day, however, Enzo is becoming less appealing to the fans. And while that happens, the world watches as Enzo burns through the money he’s making buying fancy shoes, $10k tickets to professional boxing matches and other wardrobe options that cost him thousands. Enzo is wrestling on borrowed time and may wind up another flash-in-the-pan who needs to reach out for help.
2. Shopping New Mansions: John Cena
There was recent news that John Cena had gotten into some trouble with a sponsor for selling a very rare and valuable vehicle. Rumours were he did it for financial reasons. Those rumours were quickly squashed when he paid back the money and got the car again, apologizing for not understanding the terms of his endorsement deal. Clearly, with John Cena’s new success in Hollywood, he’s anything but broke.
Now a part-time performer in WWE, Cena is taking huge steps in acting and landing some major roles that will pay him handsomely. He’s also been one of the most well-paid wrestlers in the last decade. He’ll just need to be careful as he makes more and more money that he’s wise with it. His car collection and tendencies to spend his money extravagantly could add up. He’ll have money though since these roles he’s landing in movies pay extremely well. He already owns a mansion, now he could probably by another one.
1. Facing Foreclosure: Virgil
There are few former wrestlers who are looking as financially pathetic as Virgil is these days. If he’s not sitting in an empty booth hoping to sign autographs for money he’s trying to sell WWE memorabilia online to earn a few bucks and pay for whatever expenses he might have.
Virgil has been seen on the subway begging for money, holding up signs and reaching out to anyone who might help. It’s such a far cry from the character he played in WWE when he was a star, but since he wasn’t the big name in the duo that was Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Virgil, who knows how much money he actually made.
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