Sometimes the money in pro wrestling seems limitless. The best superstars in the business can earn several millions of dollars per year through their inflated salaries, and endless streams of sponsorship and endorsements. Even the mid carders can earn themselves quite a payday if they're on the right card.
Vince McMahon leads the way with a personal wealth around the three quarters of a billion dollars mark. The Rock is reportedly worth somewhere in the vicinity of $160 million while Stone Cold Steve Austin is up there with$50 million. The likes of Kurt Angle, the Big Show, Bret Hart and even Jeff Jarrett were all quite sensible with the money they have earned, and are reaping the benefits today.
But it's certainly not the same for everyone. As a pro wrestler you live a life on the road. You could perform in excess of 250 shows per year, and barely have time to spend with family. And you can forget sleeping in your own bed for any decent stretch of time, unless you're unfortunate enough to be injured which isn't entirely uncommon. That can prove very costly too. Most wrestling companies, the WWE included, don't pay money into a pension either. Put simply, the cash you earn while contracted with the company is the money you take home when your time is up. That means you might earn tens of millions of dollars throughout your career, and come out of it with almost nothing to show.
The temptations are numerous and addictive on the road. Fancy restaurants, alcohol, pain pills and stronger narcotics are all common money pits. As are fast cars, towering mansions, metal lunch boxes, pieces of Coca Cola memorabilia and anything else you can buy in a shop to fashion into a random collection. Here are 20 wrestlers who know a little something about wasting money.
20 20. Joey Mercury
Joey Mercury had an active wrestling career on the independent circuit which led to two separate runs with WWE, earning him plenty of money along the way. He's never been overly good with cash though. Mercury has admitted that he was a drug addict and alcoholic from the age of 15, and during that time overdosed three times and wrecked three cars. He was eventually released from the WWE in 2007 because of his drug problem, but says he got himself clean soon after.
19 19. Louie Spicolli
18 18. Batista
17 17. Nick Gage
16 16. Byron Robertson
15 15. Dynamite Kid
14 14. Andre The Giant
13 13. Jerry Lawler
Another wrestler with a strange collecting addiction. The King has a four car garage attached to his home wholly and solely to house his toy collection. Most of it is made up of Coca Cola memorabilia, of which he has everything you could ever imagine. Old radios, knives, antique coke bottles and everything in between populates Lawler's horde. He's traveled all over the world as a wrestler, and often brings back Coca Cola memorabilia from different countries.
12 12. Lex Luger
Luger had a successful wrestling career in the 1990s with WWE and WCW, but his life suffered a downward spiral once WCW was swallowed up in 2001. He had several costly run ins with the law, and it all came to a head in 2003 when his girlfriend Elizabeth Hulette died of an overdose in Luger's arms. The death was ruled accidental but Luger was charged with 13 counts of drug possession after police found more than 1,000 pills at the couple's Atlanta townhouse.
11 11. X-Pac
X-Pac had a very decent run in WWE at the turn of the century, but his life spiraled out of control soon after leaving the company. The money he earned went towards feeding his meth addiction which he admits lasted several years. Eventually he kicked the habit. "You finally just become such a dirtball f***** loser, you finally go enough and you tap out and go okay I'm ready to f***** pick myself up off the ground here and start heading back in the right direction."
10 10. Blackjack Mulligan
9 9. Vince McMahon
McMahon is the richest man in pro wrestling today by a country mile, and his net worth isn't too far off the one billion dollar mark. Under his stewardship the WWE has grown into a multi-million dollar global business while swallowing up several major competitors along the way. But he's not always been as fiscally responsible as he should have been.
8 8. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
7 7. Brock Lesnar
You can't help but wonder just how lucrative Brock Lesnar's contract was during his heyday in the WWE. The guy was a freakish attraction when he burst onto the scene and quickly became a superstar in every sense of the word. It meant more money than he knew what to do with, so he started spending.
6 6. Tony Atlas
Atlas has enjoyed a fascinating wrestling, weightlifting and bodybuilding career over several decades. He was discovered by Vince McMahon Sr. in the late '70s and became an instant hit in what was then the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Then in the early '80s he just up and left for a woman on the west coast. He was welcomed back after a few years and even won a tag team championship, but things weren't so good underneath the surface.
5 5. Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn turned up in WWE in early 2000 as part of the Radicalz. Four years later he was shot in Atlanta while trying to save a a lady who was being attacked by two men. It forced him to retire from wrestling after doctors wouldn't clear him to return to the ring. For several years he disappeared and people assumed he was dead before he resurfaced in 2009.
4 4. Scott Hall
3 3. Hulk Hogan
2 2. Virgil
1 1. Ric Flair
Ric Flair was as bad with money as he was good at wrestling. The Nature Boy was an absolute legend in the ring demanding reams of cash during his heyday, but not much of that is left nowadays. One of the major issues is four failed marriages which have proven to be a massive drain on his finances. He also started a financial company in 2007 and had to file for bankruptcy the following year.
Underpinning Flair’s money issues is the lavish lifestyle he has always pursued, full of fancy restaurants, exorbitant bar tabs, fast cars and several brushes with the law. The website celebritynetworth.com has Flair's personal wealth at $5 million these days. That's after a wrestling career spanning decades where he would've demanded millions of dollars a year. Just do the math on that when you get a chance to calculate how much Flair must have spent over the years.
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