The salary of a WWE superstar is often far different from what the average fan expects. There is often a pay discrepancy between the top stars making huge money bigger than fans assume and the rest of the roster making less than a star on television usually would. WWE utilizes their role in the middle of both sports and entertainment towards their advantage when it comes time for contract negotiations.
Athletes in unscripted sports make more than most WWE stars due to their unions and general market value. The same applies to actors in the entertainment side. WWE however does not have a union of wrestlers nor does it have many other wrestling promotions with a big platform. It leads to surprising contracts of certain names thriving and others not getting what they deserve. We will look at some of each side with ten WWE salaries that you would not believe.
10 Randy Orton: $4.5 million
The long run of Randy Orton as a top star in WWE for over sixteen years now landed him such a sweet contract later in his career. However, fans may be surprised to see Orton is making $4.5 million per year especially over the past year.
Orton has served as a secondary main eventer and often a mid-carder on the Smackdown brand since the brand split. Despite the lower position, Orton is still making more than almost everyone else on the roster. Orton is proof you don’t always need to be pushed to be a top star financially.
9 Sin Cara: $700,000
Most of the WWE roster makes six figures, but Sin Cara is one of the more expensive talents on the roster. Given a few of the other wrestlers to come later on the list being quite underpaid, it is a surprise to see Sin Cara made $700,000 in 2018.
The luchador likely gets a cut of the masks sold as merchandise to add to that total as well. Sin Cara found a great salary when negotiating a new contract. The wrestler formerly known as Hunico took over this masked character for former WWE talent Mistico and is doing well financially for it.
8 The Undertaker: $2.5 million
The Undertaker wrestled just five matches in 2018 with a top tier salary of $2.5 million. WWE often pays the talent extra for the Saudi Arabia show due to the money coming in and controversy for talents working it, so that number is likely higher.
Many fans questioned if Undertaker is ruining his legacy with some of the poor performances by the legend. WWE paying him such a high salary along with bonuses is the main reason Undertaker is no longer sticking to his old belief that wrestlers should retire once they lose a step.
7 Mandy Rose: $80,000
Mandy Rose’s salary shows the smaller total for wrestlers starting on the main roster after an NXT run. The NXT contracts are typically lower than expected, but it takes a while before a wrestler starts to make true “main roster money.”
Rose made $80,000 in 2018 on her salary which is one of the lower contracts on Raw or Smackdown. The eventual rise of star power to come from main roster credibility should see her contract improve quite a bit whenever it’s time to renew.
6 Cesaro: $500,000
Another underpaid talent on the WWE roster compared to his peers is Cesaro. The half-million-dollar salary is clearly impressive to the average person and the average wrestler. However, Cesaro has been a part of the WWE roster for almost a decade now.
Other wrestlers like Jinder Mahal, Sin Cara, Erick Rowan and R-Truth making more than Cesaro seems wrong on paper. Even Cesaro’s 2018 tag team partner Sheamus made more than double of Cesaro despite working together for almost the entire year.
5 AJ Styles: $3.5 million
The instant success of AJ Styles is proof that wrestlers may benefit most from becoming a top star outside of WWE and boosting their brand. Styles was valuable to WWE when he signed in 2016 as they allowed him to skip NXT unlike most of his peers.
WWE loved the work of Styles right away as he entered the main event scene and title picture right away. Styles’ contract negotiations allowed him to make $3.5 million per year starting in 2018. Not many fans would have expected AJ to become one of the highest-paid WWE stars in such a short time.
4 Triple H: $1.6 million as a talent and $1.1 million as an executive
Triple H is making great money for multiple jobs in WWE. The talent side of Triple H’s work with his handful of matches per year earns him a $1.6 million salary along with the perks of working special shows. Triple H also makes another $1.1 million for his executive role helping run WWE.
The financial totals of both contracts can be considered surprising on both sides. Many would say he’s overpaid since he rarely wrestles and has yet to take over for Vince McMahon behind the scenes. Others would be surprised he’s not getting paid more since he can essentially list his own salary given his power.
3 Charlotte Flair: $550,000
The women of WWE have been portrayed as equals to the men, but the pay still seems to be a bit different based on the 2018 salaries. Charlotte Flair has been the top female wrestler in WWE for a few years now without any stints losing her spot.
Despite her male equals at the top of the card making seven figures, Charlotte’s salary was at $550,000 in 2018. The bonuses likely will drive that number way up, but there’s no excuse for Charlotte to be making less than most male upper card performers if WWE truly wants gender equality.
2 Brock Lesnar: $12 million
The highest-paid talent on the WWE roster is Brock Lesnar to no one’s surprise. Fans however do react in shock and awe when realizing just how much money Lesnar makes. WWE pays Brock $12 million per year for the part-time schedule as a main eventer with other perks like taking care of his travel.
Aside from John Cena at $8.5 million, no other talent on the WWE roster makes even half of what Lesnar does. WWE utilizes this resentment that fellow wrestlers and the fan base each have towards Brock to make him a bigger heel. There is truth in the promos of Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns calling out Lesnar for not carrying his weight in WWE given his pay.
1 Becky Lynch: $250,000
Becky Lynch became the hottest star in WWE in 2018 but was nowhere near the highest-paid. The contract of Lynch sees her with a salary of $250,000 going back to her days as a secondary name in the women’s division. WWE did not expect the rise of Becky to take over 2018 into 2019.
Lynch’s contract looks ridiculous now given how important she’s become to the overall success of WWE. Women’s Championship reigns and a bonus for the historic first women’s WrestleMania main event is likely seeing Becky’s pay rise, but the salary on record is the biggest surprise for how low it is.