There are many things to consider when in comes to the wealthiest wrestlers of all time. But the most important thing is how much they’ve saved over the years. Imagine 2 decades of living in hotels, and eating out 3 times a day for 75% of the year. If you’re staying at the Marriott, and blowing hundreds of dollars on meals daily, it adds up quickly. But wait, don’t they get their expenses covered on the road? NO they do not and this is one of the biggest misconceptions in wrestling, and totally understandable when you consider that in any other sport, the travelling expenses are covered or at least partially covered. This is why some of the most successful wrestlers of all time surprisingly do not make the list. One notable omission is Hulk Hogan. He blew much of his fortune and got taken to the cleaners in a nasty divorce. They got accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, and eventually the well runs dry. A lot of them were however quite smart with their money, and also drew large sums of income from endeavours outside of the ring. Let’s take a look at the top 20 wealthiest wrestlers!
20 CM Punk – Net Worth: $7.5 Million
Punk’s WWE career began in 2006 and he has done quite well for himself. To say that CM Punk has a lot going for him would be an understatement. Punk is one of the few wrestlers that is as popular with the fans as with his peers in the back. He’s revered with the fans because his gimmick revolves around giving the average Joe “a voice.” He’s also popular with his fellow wrestlers because he truly cares about the business and is always looking for ways to pay homage to the past greats by subtly incorporating their moves into any given match. The “Straight Edge” superstar is also very popular with the divas (draw your own conclusions).
19 T18. Sting - Net Worth: $8 Million
When a wrestling fan thinks of WCW, Sting immediately comes to mind because he’s one of the few that never made the switch to WWE. He was an extremely underrated wrestler and was also a huge hit when it came to fans buying his merchandise. Despite being known for his strong allegiance to WCW, there are currently rumors that he’s set to appear on Raw in the near future.
18 T18. Kevin Nash – Net Worth: $8 Million
If there were a championship for accumulating the most money without being able to work a lick, Nash would be the undisputed champion. He had a great look, and knew the right people and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time when it came to securing big money contracts. To his credit, Nash was good natured and was fully aware of his in-ring shortcomings. When Shawn Michaels would bomb a match and end up sulking in the back, Nash would promptly joke to his friend that stinking it up 1/10 times was a much better success rate than his usual 9/10 times.
17 Rey Mysterio – Net Worth: $8.5 Million
As pointed out by numerous wrestlers, WCW didn’t realize when they had talent and when they did, they simply didn’t know how to utilize it. Mysterio signed a very lucrative contract with WWE in 2002 and never looked back as he’s been at the top of the card since then. He’s living proof that a smaller man can become a star in an industry full of giants.
16 JBL – Net Worth: $9 Million
This one comes as a bit of a surprise because JBL, who simply went by “Bradshaw”, spent most of his career in a tag team that wasn’t all that great. Tag Team wrestling was at its peek in terms of popularity, but the Acolytes were never in a category with the likes of The Dudley Boyz, Edge and Christian and the Hardy Boyz. Bradshaw did however hit main event status as a singles wrestler when he took on the JBL moniker, but even that was short lived due to injuries.
JBL has done very well outside of the ring with ballsy investments as well as a best selling financial planning book.
15 Batista - Net Worth: $10 Million
Batista basically played the role of Triple H’s bodyguard in Evolution, but it didn’t take him long before he was giving Trips the thumbs down, and power bombing him through a table. He was a huge star between 2005 and 2010 and was one of the few wrestlers to receive a guaranteed 7 figure contract. He’s also dabbled in movies and mixed martial arts, with his movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, killing at the box office.
14 Goldberg - Net Worth: $12 Million
For once, WCW got it right in regards to how to handle a superstar. Goldberg was the king of the squash match, but couldn’t do much else. WCW realized this, and had him do just that, ultimately turning him into a mega star. People who knew nothing about wrestling were calling for a Goldberg versus Stone Cold Steve Austin super fight, which was absolutely ridiculous, but it had people talking. Once WWE signed him, they made the mistake of putting a microphone in his hand and trying to turn him into a wrestler that could work long matches. Nevertheless, he made a lot of money.
13 Brock Lesnar - Net Worth: $12.5 Million
One would think Lesnar would be higher up on this list, considering WWE paid him big money when he broke onto the scene all the way back in 2002. He also was the UFC’s top draw along with Georges St. Pierre. Last but not least, his current deal with WWE is worth 5 million per year with only sporadic appearances. Despite his easy schedule and lucrative income, we can’t fault him for his success, although we’re all still a little miffed at him for ending “the streak.”
12 T11. Edge - Net Worth: $14 Million
Some would say “the ultimate opportunist” moniker that he portrayed on T.V, also applied to his real life. Edge cashed in when he became one of the “go to” guys to headline pay per views between 2005 and 2011. This was a time where the company was starved for superstars as the likes of The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar had all started to go their separate ways. Triple H was also slowing down and CM Punk had not established himself as a superstar yet. Edge definitely capitalized at an opportune time, but he still deserves a lot of credit. The lack of talent also meant that he ran out of dance partners very quickly. It seemed as though he and John Cena were facing off at every pay per view (and they still managed to keep it interesting). The multi-talented Edge also enjoys success on television as he stars in the show “Haven,” playing the role of Dwight Hendrickson.
11 T11. Bret Hart - Net Worth: $14 Million
Bret Hart has been through a lot in his life, but he is certainly not broke. Much of his wealth came from the lucrative deal he signed with WCW after the infamous Survivor Series screw job. It was a 3 year deal, paying him nearly 3 million per year. Considering what they were paying him, it’s incredible how little he was utilized. In his autobiography he said he felt like a prostitute based on how much he was getting paid, and how little he was contributing. In WWE, however, he certainly earned his keep. He was a staple of consistency as you just didn't see Bret Hart have an off night regardless of how overworked he was.
10 Mick Foley - Net Worth: $15 Million
Remember when we were talking about “what you make” vs. “what you save,” well Mick Foley falls into the “what you save” category. He is notoriously one of the stingiest wrestlers of all time and even boasts about it in his books. Even though he was one of the top drawing superstars in the late 90’s, he’d always bunk up with one of the lower tier talents in a cheap motel room. There’s even an infamous story about how he once shared a small bed with The Blue Meanie. The mattress definitely got a workout that night (not like that, get your heads out of the gutter). He’s also made a killing off multiple best selling books.
9 The Undertaker - Net Worth: $16 Million
Mark Calaway is one of the most respected wrestlers in the WWE locker room. He’s had nearly a 23 year career with the company and boasted a 21-0 record at WrestleMania up until this year, when it got spoiled by Brock Lesnar. The whole notion of someone who wrestles 3 times a year ending the most iconic streak in sports entertainment history is nonsensical. But that’s neither here, nor there at the moment. At the end of the day, it was The Undertaker’s matches that garnered the most interest at WrestleMania year after year, which directly translates into a lot of money in his pockets.
8 Shawn Michaels - Net Worth: $17 Million
In his autobiography he stated that he believes Kevin Nash accumulated more money than he did during his career, which is simply not true. But his peers, as well as the fans, have grown accustomed to Michaels’ fabrications over the years.
But regardless of what people think of him personally, no one can deny that he’s one of the best performers of all time. Whether it was the mid to late 90’s, or when he came back from his back problems in 2002, or even his final matches with The Undertaker, he would constantly steal the show. He’s one of the few wrestlers that could wrestle the biggest of stiffs, and somehow manage to make it entertaining. He’s won every title there is to win, and had 4 reigns as World Champion.
7 Chris Jericho - Net Worth: $17 Million
Jericho has always maintained that he likes to focus on Chris Jericho “the brand” rather than Chris Jericho “the wrestler.” This is why the multi-talented star has made a lot of cash during his years as a performer. Along with his 20 year wrestling career, he is a New York Times Bestseller, lead singer of the band “Fozzy,” and host of the game show “Downfall.” The Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla can certainly do it all and at 43 years old, he can still get it done in the ring.
6 T5. Kurt Angle - Net Worth: $20 Million
Kurt Angle entering professional wrestling almost never came to be and actually started off with him getting a pretty meager contract, so it’s a little odd that he’s on this list.
After winning the gold medal in freestyle wrestling in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Angle was offered a lucrative deal by WWE. His manager tore it up and told him: “never even consider that garbage.” As time passed, Angle had some unsuccessful jobs and found himself wishing he had taken Vince McMahon’s initial deal. Angle inquired if the company was still interested, to which they replied with a contract that was a fraction of what the original one was worth. Angle took it, and the rest is history. His tenure in WWE lasted only 7 years, but it was an incredible 7 years. He was simply too injured to keep up with the rigorous schedule of WWE and he currently performs part-time for TNA.
5 T5. The Big Show - Net Worth: $20 Million
Sometimes when The Big Show’s name is brought up, it’s met with a scoff, as if he’s just some big sideshow, but nothing could be further from the truth. He is a 7-time World Champion, having won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice, the WWE Championship twice, the ECW World Championship once, and the World Heavyweight Championship twice. He is the only wrestler to have held all 4 of these titles. Although it doesn’t feel that long, The Big Show has been a part of WWE for the last 15 years. He’s also amassed money in his movie roles such as Jingle All the Way, Reggie’s Prayer, The WaterBoy, Little Hercules and Knucklehead.
4 Triple H - Net Worth: $25 Million
Triple H is quite possibly the most effective heel of all time. I use the word effective because he actually generated so much hate from the crowd, that on multiple occasions he actually turned the wrestler he was feuding with at the time into the ultimate baby face. He’s most recently done that with Daniel Bryan. Sure, he was getting some good pops due to the “YES movement,” but the reactions only became deafening when Triple H started feuding with him.
Trips also had a knack for rising to the occasion. Whenever there was a big match, he’d deliver an A performance. He is currently the Vice President for the global corporation and is married to Stephanie McMahon.
3 John Cena - Net Worth: $35 Million
When it’s all said and done, John Cena will probably go down as the most polarizing superstar in WWE history. The cheers and boos are split right down the middle for him. Regardless of how you feel about him, he is currently the face of WWE and has made an absolute killing in the decade he’s been with the company.
Many people think his “white meat” Hulk Hogan of the 21st century shtick has gone stale and that he needs to turn heel. This will probably never happen because Cena’s role model character in wrestling actually transcends into his real life. He’s granted over 400 “Make a Wish” requests and is constantly raising funds and awareness for cancer. He’s legitimately a good guy, and would probably make a terrible heel. But hey, if Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin can go heel, then anyone can. Speaking of Stone Cold…
2 "Stone Cold" Steve Austin - Net Worth: $45 Million
If you think Stone Cold made a lot of money, GIMME A HELL YEAH.
Many wrestling experts (including Vince McMahon himself) maintain that the reason the “Stone Cold” gimmick was so successful was because he was everything the common man wanted to be. Think about it, CM Punk became the ultimate face last year because he’d march up to his boss and verbally tear him a new one every single week. Every average Joe would love to rip their boss to shreds. Austin’s gimmick was similar but amplified tenfold as he’d actually get to assault his boss and slam a 12 pack in the process. On special occasions he’d even get to drive a monster truck, beer truck or even a zamboni en route to layin’ a whooping on “the man.”
He’s also established himself as a credible actor since his retirement in 2003, most notably in The Longest Yard and The Expendables.
1 The Rock - Net Worth: $125 Million
The Rock went through some difficult times, and did a lot of soul searching in his life. In his autobiography he stated that at one point when he was on the practice squad of the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, he had as little as $7 in the bank. He would sneak into team meetings with the actual starting squad because they would offer free sandwiches, otherwise he would not eat. His lowest point was when he found a mattress behind a dumpster, and promptly brought it home to sleep on despite the “love stains” on it.
The Rock debuted for WWE in 1996 and conquered the industry by 2004. He had won everything that there was to win and cut some of the most incredible and funny promos of all time. He used his acting skills and persona to catapult his career into Hollywood, which is where he’s made most of his money. At first, most people thought it was cute, that a wrestler would venture into Hollywood. But he absolutely blew everyone away and kept getting offer after offer, to the point where he simply could not be an active wrestler any longer.
2013 was a banner year for The Rock because he managed to top any actor in earnings as he grossed 1.2 billion. He also managed to promote, and participate in the main event at WrestleMania vs. John Cena.
What a life, well done, Dwayne.