Even now in 2017 the salaries of WWE wrestlers are shockingly low for professional athletes. You can more or less count the superstars who actually make a million dollars or more on your two hands. For a roster so deep that it stretches over four shows to be able to only pay that few people seven figures is pretty impressive. Overall the general population of wrestlers are underpaid. There are the odd exceptions where guys have actually earned what they're worth but for the most part the WWE seems to over pay its veterans and underpay their female talent. Of course just like any other sport or form of entertainment certain stars are worth more than others and if you've been around long enough you can collect a nice check just for your years of service but the WWE's pay scale seems to be completely out of whack.
This article highlights some of this years most confusing and ludicrous contracts. From established names to today's most popular sensations. Overpaid veterans of the squared circle and ripped off up-and-comers who have already changed the face of wrestling. Some of these stars are paid way too much and a lot are paid far too little. This list gives you an idea of what some of your current favorite wrestlers are reported to earn this year with the WWE. Take a gander at The Top 15 Most Shocking WWE Salaries of 2017.
15 Brock Lesnar $12 Million
The whopping $12M Brock Lesnar will reportedly rake in over the 2017 year is the highest overall salary on the WWE roster. His contract includes at least a 3.25% bonus for a high number of merchandise sales which would explain why there is a Suplex City shirt made for every city Lesnar attends with the company. Brock also receives PPV revenue share along with travel and accommodations. If you add it all up you can pay at least 10 superstars with that money which makes it kind of ridiculous for a part timer but the company knows he's worth the money even if he only shows up ten to fifteen times a year. With most of his days off to count his money, The Beast Incarnate has one pretty lifestyle out in the Prairies of Canada.
14 John Cena - $8 Million
Hustle, Loyalty & Respect is exactly how John Cena earned his big $8 million contract. He apparently inked a 7 year deal in 2015 that included 7% merchandise sales and a handsome PPV revenue. The "Face That Runs the Place" has been the WWE's go to guy for just about everything out side of the ring for a long time now. Fundraisers, charity events, talk shows, autograph signings, you name it Cena does it. He represents the company better than anyone and he's arguably one of the greatest wrestlers of all time so when you look at 8 mil next to Brock's 12 it's actually kind of low in comparison. The two guys have been around essentially an equal amount of time and though both work on a part time schedule the 16 time World Champion Cena has been the face of the company for long enough now he should earn equal to or more than the current Universal Champion.
13 Nikki Bella - $112,500
Is this not one of the most absurd things you've ever heard? A total of $112,000 should be what Bella clears a month. It's absolutely terrible how the female talents are paid in WWE. The next step for the Women's Revolution has to be getting their contracts sorted out so they can be paid what they deserve. When jobbers and bottom card wrestlers are pulling in more money than the top female wrestlers in the world there is a serious issue. Granted, Bella does get additional income from merchandise sales (she sells a lot) and does two reality shows which increases it, but her making only that much as a wrestler is pretty startling.
The Bella fanbase is absolutely massive despite the lack of in-ring appearances and still growing thanks to the popular reality show Total Bellas on the E Network. For the amount of draw the Bella name brings in I think it's fair to say that Nikki has been totally low balled.
12 Kane - $1.5 Million
Now, $1.5M isn't completely insane for The Big Red Demon considering he's become an iconic figure in wrestling but it is slightly on the high side. Let's compare Kane's salary to another legend or "Legend Killer" The Viper Randy Orton. Orton is said to earn $1.9M in 2017 as a full time competitor, so that's just 400K more than Kane for a years worth of work apposed to Kane's handful of appearances.
You could argue Orton isn't as popular as Kane but a lot of people would say otherwise and both are decorated veterans who helped build the foundation of WWE. If the company gave him the ultimatum of $1M or to retire no one would care either way. He is at the end of his career and a half a million could pay for a brand new superstar or give some other deserving members of the roster a raise. Just doesn't seem right.
11 Bayley - $200,000
It's got to be a joke right? Again 200K for three years is pitiful, one year might have been ok but Bayley should easily do 600K in one year plus travel and accommodations. We're talking about a star here. A one of a kind female athlete who inspires little girls all over the world. Don't forget Bayley's WWE career has literally just began too. As one of WWE's top rising stars, 200K is far, far less than she deserves. Realistically Bayley still needs to improve several aspects of her in ring game if she wants some sort of million dollar pay day but there is no denying her low salary which is one of the highest out of all the women in WWE is total b.s.
10 Sheamus - 1.1M
Who is in charge of this pay roll honestly? Sheamus is one of my personal favorites and even I can't see how the guy is worth over a million dollars. He's been kicking around the WWE's main roster since 2009 and has held four different championship belts but still to think Sheamus is worth the money of 5 or 6 Bayley's is beyond outlandish. The Celtic Warrior is a good example of how if you put in enough work, stay loyal to the company and draw enough positive outside media attention the WWE will pay you to stay around. It is estimated Sheamus earns at least double what his tag team partner Cesaro makes and The Swiss Superman is definitely a hotter asset to the company right now.
9 Dolph Ziggler - $900,000
Dolph Ziggler Zig-Zagged his way right to the top of the WWE salary list. 900K with travel & accommodations is one of the highest salaries on the roster basically double the last reported salaries of big name superstars like New Day members Big E or Kofi Kingston. Dolph isn't even considered a main card wrestler. Known as an extremely talented mid level guy for years now its very surprising that the WWE pays him like top tier superstar.
Dolph just never seemed to get it done when it came time to elevate his game to the next level a problem that his manager and accountant don't seem to share, inking The Showoff a mental amount of money that could most definitely be spent in better places.
8 Mark Henry - $877,000
Are you mad? Take 700K away from the big guy and divvy it up amongst all the women on the roster. That's one of the worst payouts the WWE makes by far. Not saying Henry wasn't awesome in his prime the Hall of Pain was great and he was a good addition to The Nation of Domination. Mark Henry has put in the years yes - 21 years to be exact however you're talking almost a million dollars for a guy we've seen on tv no more than five times that I can recall in the last 10 to 12 months. The former World's Strongest Man and two time World Heavyweight Champion if you count ECW, never truly lived up to expectations but WWE pays its veteran superstars well so it's no wonder Henry hasn't gone anywhere just yet.
7 Zack Ryder - $535,050
They say you shouldn't believe everything you read but it's true Ryder makes more in a year than most people will ever see in their lives. This is wrong on so many levels. Most people don't even know who Zack Ryder is. The Long Island Iced Z is just another bro with a six pack and a catch phrase and if he's worth half a million dollars a lot of the talent in the locker-room should be looking to have those contracts redone with more reasonable salaries. I'm pretty sure Ryder came up with his "Woo Woo Woo" catchphrase on the way to the bank after he inked this deal but I could be wrong. One thing is definitely for certain his fat pay day is enough to get anyone to "Stay Hype".
6 Goldust - $550,000
Goldust is great at what he does. He is one of the most bizarre entities on this planet. What's even more bizarre and mind boggling is how in the world he makes half a million dollars a year quoting movies, slapping people and just down right being strange. Once again WWE paying out big bucks to a veteran wrestler. Clearly a sign of respect and appreciation for the years of dedication to the company and the business, but at what point do you draw a line? Realistically Goldust is no Undertaker he'll never draw a massive crowd even though he is a legend. At this point we know he's not the one selling tickets so why not offer him less or let him go.
5 Big Show - $1.3-1.5 Million
Big Show has the same kind of deal going on as fellow veteran wrestler Kane. Somewhere near 1.5M to make a hand full of appearances, Chokeslam a few people and hop back on his personal WWE provided tour bus. When you've been around as long as Show has you don't not get things like travel and accommodations in your contract and when you're seven foot tall and almost 400 pounds I imagine planes are not the most comfortable. I feel like The Big Show is a big enough name to draw a crowd if they put him in a title match or a PPV event but that clearly isn't the aim that either WWE or Show himself wants to take. Instead the large salary for The Giant could slightly be lowered just enough to keep him around but let some other talent get a piece.
4 Triple H - $3.8 Million
The Cerebral Assassin is the first and only person to be signed to the unique contract that he is currently under. A special 20 year deal as a WWE executive and as a In-Ring talent. Triple H's twenty plus years in the ring and all the amazing work he has done with the NXT brand have made him highly respected in both aspects of the business. This may surprise some people but when you think about what the superstars of today WWE pull in annually, Triple H could actually earn a little more and no one would be mad. When you sit back and look at everything The Game has accomplished giving him an even higher salary as he takes on more and more responsibility is well deserved.
3 Roman Reigns - $3.5 Million
You read it right $3.5 million for a man who whether you hate or love, you have to admit is not worth even close to that number. Think about all the entries of this list. Ask yourself is Roman Reigns worth the same amount of money as Triple H? It makes no sense to pay Roman what he makes. Three and a half million is half of the low level talents salaries combined. Yes, Reigns is the face of the company - at least WWE sees it that way - but he hasn't shown that he moves the needle in ratings or that he's a huge draw, besides some solid merchandise sales.
With that kind of money the WWE clearly has plans to keep Reigns around for as long as they possibly can whether fans love it or hate it.
2 Dean Ambrose - $2.7 Million
Dean Ambrose is another personal favorite of mine and even I see no sense whatsoever in paying the Lunatic Fringe $2.7M. Again comparatively speaking that means that Ambrose is worth as much as The Miz at $1.2M and The Big Show at $1.5 combined. Doesn't that seem so ridiculous? When a legend like Randy Orton who has a huge following and can still throw down with the best of them after over 15 years rakes in $1.9M, Ambrose taking $2.7M to the bank is just hard to wrap my brain around. It's not that Ambrose isn't a good wrestler; he has a serious set on him to pull off some of his performances. It's just that nearly $3 million is way to much money to sign to one guy who isn't some sort of wrestling icon.
1 Charlotte Flair - $300,000
Charlotte is a massive star perhaps one of the biggest currently in the WWE. The second generation talent has front lined the Women's Revolution breaking down barriers and setting records. The long fought feud between Charlotte and Sasha Banks changed women's wrestling forever. Already considered a future Hall of Famer to many and Charlotte only debuted on the main roster in 2014, not even three full years yet. The fact of the matter is Charlotte is spectacular. She is a headliner attraction that is a must see as a wrestling fan and a $300,000 salary is absolute nonsense. The Queen should be showered in gold for her contributions to wrestling instead she is paid less than some of the male jobbers. The Queen is getting straight up robbed.