Professional wrestling can be a very rewarding job with great compensation, particularly if you’re a top guy in a big promotion. The climb to get there is extremely difficult and many wrestlers struggle to make ends meet while they’re still making a name for themselves.
Once you are a top superstar and you have spent several years at the top of the industry, the dollars start to pour in and before you know it, you can retire peacefully, never having to worry about your financial situation again. That is, if you were smart with your money. The ones who are financially stable tend to be those who saved their money while in the industry. Professional wrestling offers a very short window to make the big bucks and if you’re trying to live a lavish lifestyle from the get-go, you’re going to lose far more than you imagined once your career winds down and the big money stops pouring in.
We know who the biggest names in the history of the business are, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of them are the wealthiest. The problem of wrestlers losing a lot of their money is particularly one for those who performed in the work-hard, party-hard era of the 80s and early 90s.
It’s not to say that these wrestlers are broke or struggle every day financially. It’s just that their fortune isn’t quite what it could’ve been, or frankly should be.
10) Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka wrestled for many years and was one of the most popular wrestlers of all time, particularly once wrestling’s boom period kicked in during the 80s. The Hall of Famer is estimated to be worth roughly $200,000, well short of what you would imagine.
Snuka battled his share of drug problems back in his heyday, and of course there is the case over 30 years old, where his girlfriend died of extensive head trauma. The case has never been solved. In fact it was just reopened earlier this year, with Snuka always having been seen as a suspect in the incident.
9) Rowdy Roddy Piper
When Roddy Piper and Ric Flair appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap, you saw a glimpse of their lifestyles. Don’t worry about Piper on this list. While his net worth ($4 million) is a little short of what you’d expect from a guy who was the top heel in wrestling in the golden era, Piper’s way of life doesn’t require anything too lavish.
Piper doesn’t enjoy fame and fanfare all that much, thus he lives on a mountain which is quite secluded, with his family. His wardrobe looks much like what you’d see him wear on TV, whether he’s on RAW or Legend’s House.
Piper has also been sober for a few years now, as he battled drug and alcohol problems in his prime. As with many of these guys, Piper was in the industry when partying was a regular occurrence for all the wrestlers.
The important thing is Piper’s at peace and is happy.
8) Randy Orton
Randy Orton is more of a seasoned veteran than we tend to realize. Orton was the World Heavyweight Champion for the first time back in 2004; when he was 24 years old. Orton is 34 now, giving him over a decade in WWE and several more to go.
Being that he’s been a top guy in WWE for that long, in an era where average salaries are higher than they ever were, many would think Orton would be worth more than $6 million.
Part of the reason are his past drug problems, and he’s been reported to live lavishly on the road. He has his own tour bus, which is common for wrestlers nowadays, but it is a lot to maintain. He and John Cena have about the same amount of years under their belt in WWE, but Cena is worth over $40 million more.
7) Lex Luger
Lex Luger‘s demons have been well documented, with him even writing a book taking us through his rise through the ranks of the wrestling business and his downfall. When retirement came along, Luger had trouble dealing with the fact that his years of hanging with the boys were over.
The WWE attempted to make Luger the Hulk Hogan of the 90s but as they soon discovered, there’s only one Hogan. Luger fizzled out and eventually signed with WCW, which is all well and good, as WCW was handing out guaranteed contracts at the time. Luger enjoyed more prosperous years in WCW anyway.
His problems got the best of him for many years, but now he’s drug and alcohol free and he still has enough to live comfortably.
6) Randy Savage
Before his unfortunate passing, the Macho Man was mostly keeping out of the spotlight, having retired fairly quietly and not being one to seek the limelight once his career was over.
He was living comfortably, having been the second most popular superstar in WWE’s golden era and still making a great living in WCW.
It’s a shame we didn’t see more of Savage in the last few years of his life.
5) Scott Hall
Scott Hall was a great wrestler, had a great gimmick and was one of the most popular wrestlers of his era.
It wasn’t merely bad investments and poor financial decisions that drained Hall’s bank account. His life was in serious trouble. He was a slave to alcohol and drugs and was near death, but as we know, he’s gotten well again.
After really landing his big break with the WWE in 1993 as the popular Razor Ramon character, Scott Hall stayed in WWE for three years, before going back to WCW in 1996, eventually forming the nWo with Hogan and Kevin Nash.
Hall profited the least financially of the three, as his demons began taking control in the late 90s, right when the nWo was really taking off. Had Hall been clean for those years, who knows how much more he would have.
4) Jake Roberts
An innovator in the industry, Jake Roberts went through decades of drug problems. Today he isn’t even a millionaire, despite having enjoyed such an amazing career.
He’s had to sell personal possessions to make ends meet at times, not what you’d expect from him.
For one of wrestling’s all-time greatest heels, one of the best talkers and performers, it’s a shame alcohol consumed his life for so many years.
3) Ric Flair
It turns out Ric Flair‘s promos describing himself as a limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’ son of a gun weren’t stretching the truth all that much.
Flair has long been notorious for living such an exquisite lifestyle, even to this day, whether it’s eating at only the finest restaurants, buying rounds of drinks for fans and wearing the best suits, Flair has never been able to put the 80s lifestyle behind him. The problem is, he’s not making the money he once was and he’s lost much of that due to the lifestyle he lives.
His divorces haven’t helped either, as he didn’t protect his assets, despite having been married several times.
2) Hulk Hogan
Many wrestlers have had their problems with marriage. Heck even the richest wrestlers of all time, The Rock, Stone Cold, John Cena have all gone through divorce. However Hogan‘s divorce hit him the hardest of all.
Hogan’s ex wife Linda inexplicably got 70% of Hogan’s assets in the divorce settlement.
Hogan has also said in interviews that he blew “hundreds of millions of dollars” on a high-maintenance lifestyle in his glory years. While hundreds of millions may be a stretch, it’s not so crazy to think Hogan has blown a majority of what he’s made.
Nobody had a more lucrative and lengthy period on top of the wrestling business than Hulk Hogan, yet there are many other wrestlers who were nowhere near the star he was that are worth more than him today.
Hogan has also remarried, having tied the knot with 30-year-old Jennifer McDaniel in 2010.
Hogan has made some financial recovery since his divorce and his new role in WWE as a network ambassador will help him. He wasn’t receiving much positive press in his dark years but hopefully now that he’s back home, he can stay in everybody’s good graces, including his bank’s.
1) Vince McMahon
“He’s a millionaire, who should be a billionaire, you know why he’s not a billionaire? It’s because he surrounds himself, with glad handing, non-sensical corporate yes-men, who’s gonna tell him everything he wants to hear!”
Well, Vince McMahon did in fact become a billionaire, officially in the year 2000, shortly after WWE’s stock went public. Since then he’s fluctuated over and under that line of a billion. He was there as recently as this past year, but shortly following a disappointing TV deal with NBC Universal and subpar numbers for the WWE Network subscriptions, McMahon lost $350 million in a span of days and $750 million in a span of two months.
Don’t worry, Vince McMahon is still doing just fine and WWE will be just fine, but the ones who have suffered are WWE employees. There have been many budget cuts in WWE this year, with departments axing jobs, live events using less pyro, less catering, etc… WWE has been aiming to slash their budget by $20 million for the past few months.
It just shows how Vince McMahon is still the most important person in the industry. What’s happening with him affects so many people.