Surely it is no surprise to any viewer of World Wrestling Entertainment that the talent on shows like RAW and Smackdown Live are raking in the dough faster than they can break their bodies. Hell, even some of the wrestlers who are basically (or should be fully) retired are still making bank, in a big way.
Below are only fifteen of the many millionaires, alive and well in the WWE. These specific wrestlers are not just wealthy, but they are wealthy and not worth it. Whether from the crowd reactions, poor ability, or lack of presence (both figurative, and literal) in the ring, these wrestlers are wasting good many that could go to others who deserve it. People like Chris Jericho, Gentleman Jack Gallagher, or Charlotte — people who make the WWE interesting. Or even to causes such as the Sports Legacy Institute, or even the Union of Concerned Scientists (who are actually dealing with globally threatening problems).
But, of course, like any sport or entertainment industry (both of which the WWE considers itself a part of), money will continue to be wasted on people who simply don’t deserve it. So let’s take a gander at these world wrestling wastrels.
15. Vince McMahon
The head of the vile company itself, Mr. Vince McMahon has been indirectly responsible for the heavy substance abuse, and shattered anatomy of dozens of wrestlers now. Seen above coveting a stack of money, this very much encapsulates the whole truth about good ol’ Vinnie Mac. Back in the ‘Attitude Era’, McMahon’s over-the-top antics were booed by all, but somehow still enjoyed underneath the suspended disbelief of it all (until that suspension came crashing down in the form of Owen Hart). As owner of the company, as well as once-upon-a-time “talent” in the ranks, McMahon has certainly never been hard up for cash (having inherited most of it from his father anyway), and his continued exploitation of men and women who will do anything to entertain, will appallingly keep his balance in the green, and the lining in his pockets quite silver. Worth 1.28 billion USD, perhaps Vince could have dished a bit more than 1.2 million USD to the Sports Legacy Institute after the double homicide/suicide of the Benoit family, and after the class action suit was filed with over fifty wrestling names attached (though at least two of those have died since filing -Superfly Snuka, and Chavo Guerrero Sr.).
14. John Cena
Ok, so before WWE fans reading this shout with joy that John Cena is on this list (because they cannot stand him, and wish he’d get seriously injured… again), there are a couple of reasons why his work with World Wrestling Entertainment is worth the money… actually really only one reason: the kids. Kids, for whatever reason, seem to love Cena, as if he is the greatest superhero that ever lived (even though Superman could take him out without even having to punch him). Regardless, kids love him, and that is a big thing now in the PG world of the WWE (though this author was a kid, watching wrestling during the Attitude Era, and the lack of PG programming did not create any sort of miscreant youth in that regard). But anyway, for the kids. Other than that, John Cena is the epitome of every wrestling fan’s worse nightmare. He’s that bro who used to think he had a rap career, and really pushes himself as the standard for principles and promises. He’s the guy everyone has to hate because he acts so good all of the time. Making people hate themselves because they can’t be as good, or as straight-laced (or as boring), is not worth the 35 million USD that he is.
13. Brock Lesnar
Besides the fact that he’s likely ruined one of the once hottest women in the WWE (as he is somehow married to Sable), he has ruined many people’s days by actually fighting them. This come as a shock to many reading this, but wrestling is fake. It is neither sport, nor much in the way of entertainment, and they do no really fight (which is not to say they don’t get injured from executing moves poorly, or from general bad choreography). But having spent a good deal of time training for, and becoming a part of UFC, Lesnar seemed to forget this fact, and felt inclined to really hurt people. Even aside from that, so seemingly vacant is the head, under which the rest of his ‘roided body sits, that his manager must speak for him (and speaks too much most of the time). If much money is owed that team, Paul Heyman (as sad as it is to say) should be given it. 16 million USD seems a bit much to pay someone to simply go around, say very few words, once in a while, then proceed to actually break people’s bodies. It would be cheaper to pay a mafia enforcer to do the same job, and at least they might stand on some principles.
12. The Big Show
Truthfully, there was a time when the Big Show Paul Wight was truly worth at least a great deal of the money he was making. This giant of a man, standing at seven feet tall and weighing in at four hundred and forty pounds, was truly worth his weight… maybe not in gold, but something valuable. And sure, he has been a great jobber for the WWE, helping other wrestlers to succeed, but at the cost of his own clout. Worth 20 million USD, the Big Show’s name should have been changed, at one point, to the Big Blubbery Show. All he would do, for a good stint of time in the company, was cry about not wanting to be fired, or for having accidentally trod on another wrestler, or anything else that might lightly push his buttons. Considering the debut that this monstrosity had in World Wrestling Entertainment, there is not way he should have been reduced to a blubbering mess in the middle of the ring. The value of his stock after begging Stephanie McMahon in front of thousands of audience members, and millions of home-viewers… plummeted, for sure. He might be a big guy, with a big name, and his bank account may reflect that, but it really shouldn’t.
11. Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins
Alright, first of all, with a self propounded name like Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins, one is already disqualified from making the big boy bucks. Some people to grow past the age of eleven, and actually care about doing some good hard work. To be fair, Rollins does at least do hard work. Whether or not it’s very good is another question of course. Worth over 4 million USD, one might think that’s a pretty paltry amount, especially in comparison to the likes of Taker, Lesnar, and Cena, but rest assured, is not. Sure, the schedule of a “pro” wrestler is a gruelling one, away from home for anywhere from 260-300 days a year. So it is much like a school schedule, but instead of sitting and learning, one is working out, and getting the learning knocked out of their head. There are some schools of thought that believe wrestlers do nothing but work and have no play, and others that point out the substance abuse, and frivolity of many wrestlers. Either way, with at least two months at home per year, it’s a hell of a lot better than serving in Iraq. And on that point, I’ve never met an infantryman who has made millions of dollars in a single year. Put a wrestler through one tour in a war-torn country, and then let’s decide who deserves more money.
10. Triple H
First, and foremost, Triple H does deserve a lot of credit, for his building of NXT, which has far better entertainment value than any other section of World Wrestling Entertainment today. Vince McMahon should seriously just hand over the keys to the kingdom and let Triple H run the show. However, in spite of all the good this man does for the business, there is something one can’t seem to get out of one’s head. When was the last time he wrestled? And how is it that sitting behind a desk, orchestrating events, warrants more money than going out there and breaking one’s body, just to appease the boss? The last time Triple H was in the ring, he had someone else do his dirty work for him… the last few times, in fact. And yes, it is all part of a story line, and it truly is a soap opera in spandex, but the fact remains that this desk jockey is worth 25 million USD! For someone who doesn’t really take part in much of the action anymore, that’s a pretty steep mountain of cash. True, the company needs its behind-the-scenes workers to ensure events go off without a hitch, but those in the ring, killing themselves a little more every night, at the behest of the big wigs upstairs, should be the ones making the coin, and they shouldn’t even be making as much as they do. So even though he doesn’t deserve it, how can Seth Rollins only be worth 4 million USD, wrestling hard every week, when Triple H brings in just shy of Rollins’ worth, each year!?
9. Nikki Bella
Sure, she’s hot (but not as hot as her sister), and sure she’s pretty stacked (though they are fake, unlike her sister’s), and she’s even got some attitude… (much more than her sister). But all in all, Nikki Bella is not worth the money she makes. In comparison to McMahon, no one on this list is very rich, but Nikki’s 1.2 million USD, and over hundred thousand dollar salary, plus what she rakes in from both Total Divas, and Total Bellas, is pretty remarkable… but ultimately wasteful. Most reality television shouldn’t exist in the first place, let alone reality shows about fictional things like “professional” wrestling. So she’s immediately written off in that respect. But now, in terms of ring time, all she does is stand with a vapid look on her face as other wrestlers piss and moan about wishing they could be her. It’s a pretty pathetic story arc for both Bella, and the actually talented-but-forced-into-a-useless-role-to-boost-Bella, Natalya Neidhart. If any female wrestler deserves a push (and not because of her family history, but because of the real work she does), it’s Natalya. However, Bella’s bust, and face paint (and perhaps her relationship with Cena) dictate that, however vacant she may be up top, everything down below is for merchandising.
Well, this albino-looking, sad excuse of an Irishman is the big “Celtic Warrior”. Unfortunately, he does a very piss poor job of representing his people. Playing to the overwhelming stereotype of the angry, drunken Irishman, Sheamus gets set off at the drop of a hat, is seen in silly segments drinking Guinness, and clearly dyes his hair to match his stereotypically hot-headed demeanor. And how much does Sheamus make for selling out his heritage? He makes more than 1.5 million USD each year, and has a net worth of 7 million USD. For perhaps one of the very few famous Irishmen in the world who is not exceptionally eloquent in anyway, it seems a tad much to give this guy millions for showing up, cutting a lousy promo, and selling out his heritage. At least Becky Lynch (aside from the dyed orange hair) doesn’t put all of her stock into the fact that she’s Irish. She is a person beyond her lineage. Sheamus could well be worth a great deal (not millions by any means), but not while he hides behind what he is, not caring to show the world who he is (or at least who his character is) devoid of all the “Celtic” farce.
One could show a photo from back in the day when Kane was just a tad more trim, and still masked (especially given that his back story is based on him having been horribly burned, and scarred), but that would defeat the purpose of stating that this man is paid way too much. Perhaps, back in the day, he was worth the money; constantly feuding with, and eventually teaming up with The Undertaker was an amazing arc. But ultimately, Kane was unmasked, let himself go, and starting talking way too much. Then he was re-masked, started rapping, and kept talking way too much. Become that weird, and jolly uncle with a little bit of a morbid sense of humour, Kane (or at least the WWE writers) has rendered himself obsolete. What does the WWE pay for an out of date, once-upon-a-time superstar, turned jobber, meant only to boost other’s careers? Over 1 million USD. Worth upwards of 7 million USD, Kane must be one of the highest paid horror stories of World Wrestling Entertainment.
6. Mark Henry
Considering that the “world’s strongest man” has been foiled time and time again, and has had, even at the height of his career, some pretty horrible segments. The “sexual chocolate” segment, for example. Or the whole love affair with Chyna (may she rest in peace). Either way, Mark Henry has never really been an incredibly charismatic, or well-spoken character. He has done a lot of good for the company, but his performance certainly doesn’t seem to sit at the same level as the 1 million USD he makes each year, nor the 4.5 million USD he’s worth. So bland is this wrestler that it is actually difficult to think of just how to criticize him, and make the case for how unworthy of such scratch he is. Perhaps that’s the biggest condemnation right there. The fact that Mark Henry is, and has largely (no pun intended) been a boring nonentity, is more than enough to drop his financial worth. There isn’t a stereotypical character push, there isn’t overwhelming douchebaggery… there isn’t even a sellout reality show. There is just simply nothing exciting, by any stretch of the imagination, that should warrant the incredible expense that is Mark Henry.
5. The Undertaker
Sadly, The Undertaker is this author’s most favourite wrestler. And as painful as it may be to look back on all the good times, and be overjoyed to see shades of the past like in this year’s Royal Rumble; it is time for The Undertaker to either truly be the dead man, and stay dead… or rise again from his grave and be worth the money he is paid. Considering this man only appears in the ring maybe three time per year, if fans are lucky, he is certainly not worth the contract that the WWE has him on. When he was throwing people through cages, burying them alive, or setting them on fire, he was most certainly worth so many of the pennies he was worth, but now, making 2.5 million USD per year on a part-time contract is simply absurd. His net worth is not as high as some wrestlers, sitting at 17 million USD, but that contract means, for only showing up a few times each year, he makes more than Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, and Roman Reigns… and almost makes more than them combined. His contribution to the company has been astounding, but there are other wrestlers who are out there, breaking themselves like he used to, getting paid scraps by comparison. The Undertaker may have started a fund to help save sick dogs (the Zeus Compton Calaway Save the Animals fund), but of the nearly 16 billion USD spent at the vet each year in America, Taker can’t just show up for three days of work, and expect millions to be thrown at him for it.
4. Shawn Michaels
Maybe not quite making a million per year anymore, as an ambassador of World Wrestling Entertainment, rest assured that he’s not far off from it though, and that he’s not worth it… nor the 17 million USD that is his net worth. He was a superstar, was a boy toy; was the most exhilarating wrestler in his time. The “heartbreak kid” really was a game changer during his glory days. Sure, it’s fun to see him show up every once in a while on this WWE event, or that… but it’s not the same. Nearly a million dollars for hardly ever making an appearance, and working behind the scenes of the company… doesn’t quite seem right. Yes, he’s put in his time in the ring, and he’s accrued quite a bit of money (given his 17 million USD net worth) over his career, but he certainly needn’t be paid a ton when he’s retired… or, sorry, an ambassador for the WWE. This basically means he does some appearances (not in the ring), to chat about how amazing the company is, and apparently, that warrants damn near one million dollars. If only it was that easy to earn a living.
3. Randy Orton
Ok, so Randy Orton is nowhere close to touching the career of “the heartbreak kid”. He hasn’t put in the time, he hasn’t gone through as much blood, sweat, and tears… and he certainly hasn’t had as scintillating a performance as Shawn Michaels. All of that being said, Randy Orton is worth a whopping 15.5 million USD, and brings in 2.5 million USD annually. One wonders just how it is that a performer with not even half the talent and charisma of Shawn Michaels, could possibly rake in almost as much in terms of net worth, and make far more per year. His “viper” persona is fairly played out, especially since nothing he does is reminiscent of a snake. He’s not very quite, or quick, or venomous. I suppose his presence could be poisonous in some regard at least, given how he’s ruined any sort of terror the Wyatt Family could have ever hoped to have wrought on World Wrestling Entertainment. But otherwise, he certainly does not live up to his name. Physically, and technically, he seems to know just how to pull off those injure-inducing moves… but bad combat choreography is hardly worth paying millions of dollars for. Any theatre arts graduate who thinks he knows better than professional fight choreographers could put together a WWE match, and would do it for tens of dollars.
2. Dean Ambrose
The so-called “lunatic fringe” should perhaps stay on the fringe financially. Once part of the Shield team with Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins, and Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose is now one of the top paid “professional” wrestlers in the WWE. His two former teammates are ahead of him, but this seemingly drug-addled, rock’n’roll, nutbag seems to be worthy enough (according to the WWE execs) to be paid about 1 million USD per year. Worth over 6 million USD at present, Ambrose seems only to get his cheques for nothing other than pretending he can talk on the mic, and wrestling in jeans. It must be said of Dean Ambrose though that he at least forged his own personality, and made his own way in the company. Very much unlike Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins (created by Triple H), or whatever the hell Roman Reigns is supposed to be. Regardless though, having another faux crazy person in the ring really doesn’t shock or surprise anyone, by any means, and given how overdone this “character class” in wrestling truly is. It would be more productive to spend money on someone who plays crazy really well… like A.J. Lee.
1. Roman Reigns
Speaking of whatever the hell Roman Reigns is, one thing he sure isn’t is in anyway beloved by the World Wrestling Entertainment world. Supposedly a so-called “baby face”, everyone boos the poor guy like he’s a “heel”. What does Reigns get for being hated by almost the entire WWE universe? Over 2 million USD per year; sitting at a worth over 5 million USD. Such a ridiculous setup reminds this author of Catholic school, and reading about the tax collector, hated by all, but certainly paid a lot. The only difference is that Roman Reigns doesn’t have to go and force money out of people’s pockets. He’s simply given money for being hated. Much of this author’s writing is likely despised… if only the pay was thusly in the millions for such hatred. Or is the pay scale based on just how much one is hated? With no exciting moves other than the spear (made far more famous by good wrestlers like Goldberg, and Edge), and the so-called “superman punch” (which is nothing more than a jumping fake punch to the face), Reigns is… well… not exciting. Considering how much he is being pushed by the WWE, he is either very good at some other kinds of moves back stage, or they have a really good plan for him in the future. Either way, guaranteed, he’s not worth it.