They represent the greatest in sports entertainment. They will fly around the ring, take hard falls, dish out violent hits and absorb heavy contact, while at the same time, act on queue as if they are hurting or rejuvenated depending on what the fight script calls for. They are also expected to be glib in order to either gain sympathy from the audience or rile up the crowd into a frenzy.
In other words, WWE wrestlers are expected to be extremely athletic, good actors and articulate speakers. The owners of this wrestling franchise should pay them well.
Here is a list of the top 10 richest WWE wrestlers.
10. Mick Foley – $15 million
His real name is Michael Francis Foley, Sr. He is also called The Hardcore Legend. He wrestled under several names, like Dude Love, Cactus Jack and Mankind, collectively known as the Three Faces of Foley. He won three WWE championships, was an eight-time tag team champion and was the first Hardcore Champion. He still appears occasionally as a color commentator. He is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in April 2013.
9. The Undertaker – $16 million
His real name is Mark William Calaway, but he is known as The Undertaker. He holds a perfect record in Wrestlemania with a 20-0 win-loss mark. He is a four-time WWE champion, six-time WWE tag team champion and Royal Rumble champion. He has been associated with different specialty matches, including the Casket Match, the Buried Alive match, the Hell in a Cell and the Last Ride match.
8. Shawn Michaels – $17 million
His real name is Michael Shawn Hickenbottom. He was originally part of The Midnight Rockers, a tag team made up of him and Marty Jannetty. He then became known as The Heartbreak Kid. He was part of a couple of influential groups, namely The Kliq and D-Generation X. The latter was formed in 1997 with Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude. He was both a hero and a villain when he took part in the “Montreal Screwjob” that robbed Bret Hart of a victory. He is probably the most gifted WWE wrestler of all time. He was a four-time world champion and the winner of the Royal Rumble in 1995 and 1996.
7. Chris Jericho – $18 million
His real name is Christopher Keith Irvine. He is a six-time world champion and nine-time Intercontinental champion. He was also the first undisputed champion of the WWF after winning both WWF championship and world championship on the same night in 2001, beating The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the process.
6. Kurt Angle – $20 million
He won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta while competing in the heavyweight division of freestyle wrestling. He also won in the World Championships and in the NCAA. He had the greatest rookie year in WWE history after winning the European championship, Intercontinental championship, King of the Ring and WWE title belt all within his first year in the organization. He was also a United States champion, Harcore champion and tag team champion. He held just about every championship belt that the organization had to offer. Overall, he was world champion six times.
5. Triple H – $25 million
His real name is Paul Michael Levesque. He is better known as Triple H, an abbreviation for Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He holds the all-time record of being a world champion by winning the belt 13 times. He also won the King of the Ring in 1997 and the Royal Rumble in 2002. He was also the second Grand Slam champion. He is married to Stephanie McMahon. He now serves as Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events for the organization. He has complete control over all the storylines, records and championship reigns in the WWE.
4. Big Show – $30 million
His real name is Paul Wight. He is a seven-time world champion and has held the WWE, ECW, WCW and World Heavyweight championship belts at least once. He is the only wrestler to have attained this feat. He has also held the tag team championship 11 times and the Hardcore Championship three times. He has also been an Intercontinental and United States champion. The Big Show is also a Triple Crown and a Grand Slam champion.
3. John Cena – $35 million
John Cena has won 19 championships in the organization, including a record 10 WWE belts. He also has won the United States championship three times and the tag team title four times. Aside from that, he has been World Heavyweight Champion two times. He was the Royal Rumble winner in 2008 and 2013. He holds the longest reign of the WWE championship this century at 380 days. This is also the fourth longest in history after Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino.
2. Steve Austin – $45 million
He goes by the name of Stone Cold Steve Austin and he is the most profitable wrestler in the history of the organization. He is known for his beer guzzling, anti-hero ways, oftentimes flipping the owner Steve McMahon and applying to him his finishing move called the Stone Cold Stunner. He is a six-time champion, the fifth Triple Crown champion, the King of the Ring in 1996 and the Royal Rumble champion in 1997, 1998 and 2001. He was forced to retire in 2003 because of various knee and neck injuries. He also hosted the WWE reality show called “Tough Enough.”
1. The Rock – $70 million
His real name is Dwayne Johnson and he used to play for the University of Miami football team that won the national title in 1991. He is a ten-time champion in the WWE, five-time tag team champion and two-time Intercontinental champion. He is also a Triple Crown champion and the winner of the 2000 Royal Rumble. He successfully moved to the acting world, setting a world record for the highest salary by an actor in his first lead role when he got paid $5.5 million to do “The Scorpion King.”