After the first installment of this article, there was some backlash as some felt there were wrestlers who were left out who deserved to be on this list. Well, for those who felt that way you can put your mind at ease, because after hours of research (I’m being sarcastic), scanning the internet and going through archives, another installment of wrestlers with the worst contracts has been created for your pleasure.
This time around, more current WWE contracts have been included on this list, along with past WCW contracts. It seems like the list of terrible WCW wrestler contracts is endless, as many believe that if not for such ridiculous terms, the WCW would still be running today. Money was absurd and the contract terms were even worse, with so many wrestlers given the right to a guaranteed contract (meaning they were paid no matter what). This factor alone was enough to destroy WCW. The WWE however, has also been guilty of giving out some bad contracts as well (some of these deals will make your head spin). Here are 15 more ridiculous wrestling contracts that will shock you.
15. The Miz
You have to give The Miz props for being in the WWE for this long. The former reality star worked vigorously on his in ring work and became a decent wrestler after some much needed training. No one ever imagined The Miz would reach the accomplishments he has in the WWE, from winning the WWE Championship to Main Eventing WrestleMania, there aren’t many wrestlers in the world that can say they accomplished this tremendous feat. Despite his accomplishments, his contract terms are ridiculous and do not reflect his impact in the WWE. The Miz is making 1 million dollars in salary. Either he is losing in an irrelevant match on Raw, or he has one of his Miz TV segments, The Miz just isn’t worth the money he is making.
Contact: $1 million per year/ $220,000 PPV earnings
14. Rick Steiner
When mentioning the Steiner brothers, Rick is often the forgotten one. In WCW, Rick Steiner was a decent middle card wrestler, but because of his brother and some of the pull he had, Rick was getting paid as much as the top talent. Rick was making as much as his brother and even though Scott’s contract was bad, at least he was in the WCW’s championship picture and Main Event matches, unlike Rick was. This contract was horrible and just confusing on so many levels.
Contract: $750,000 2 years
13. Eva Marie
You know it’s bad when you’re the most disliked Diva in the WWE and you’re not even on the main roster. Fans don’t care how good looking Eva is, they want no part of her in the Diva’s revolution. What will upset fans more is the salary she is currently making, despite her lack of in-ring skills. The red headed diva is making almost double what Sasha Banks makes. Furthermore, she makes only $20,000 less than one of the top Divas in the company, Paige.
Contract: $280,000 per year
12. Jeff Jarret
It seems like this guy has been around forever. Despite his mediocre talent, Jarrett managed to crack WCW’s upper card, winning the World Heavyweight Championship on multiple occasions. Just like many other average wrestlers in WCW that were pushed as top stars, Jarret basked in the financial waterhole that the WCW was. His contract ultimately made him a very rich man, one of WCW’s top earners just before the company shut its doors for good.
Contract: $275,000 year 1/ $300,000 year 2/ $325,000 year 3/ Max 115 days
11. Alex Wright
He became known for his distinctive pre-match dancing, as well as his technical in-ring ability that would ultimately lead him to some success with WCW. Wright was never in the Main Event picture in the WCW, mostly because of backstage politics. To Wright’s credit he was still getting paid like one of the stars (how a lower-card wrestler can get paid this much, I’ll never know). Following the sale of WCW, Alex was unable to sign with the WWE because of the terms of his contract with Time Warner. Instead, Wright took a break from the wrestling business, claiming there was too much backstage politics involved with WCW.
Contract: $375,000 year 1/ $395,000 year 2/ max 200 days
10. Stevie Ray
Once Harlem Heat disbanded, Stevie Ray was no more than a low card wrestler, nevertheless his contract didn’t reflect that. Stevie Ray went into doing commentary during the final years of his deal and yet, he was still being paid like a mid-card wrestler. His contract was guaranteed and full of protections which included a limited work schedule. Stevie went by the name of “Straightshootin'” Stevie Ray during his final days as a commentator for the company.
Contract: $240,000 3 years/ $2,000 per event after 80 days worked
In 2010, the hype surrounding the debut of Kharma was immense, no other Diva on the roster had the strength, power, and look of Kharma. She was unique, and just what the Diva’s Division needed; a skilled female who could deliver in the ring. After dismantling the Divas on Raw and Smackdown, Kharma broke into tears in the ring and announced she was pregnant. She made a comeback in 2012 as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble. Kharma would later once again ask for a leave of absence and was subsequently released from the company this time.
8. Shane Douglas
This is a prime example of the horrible guaranteed contracts the WCW used to dish out to ordinary wrestlers. Douglas was getting paid top star money for a limited amount of days worked. His contract included a clause of only working a maximum of 15 days per month…ridiculous. Not to mention he was a middle card wrestler at best. After the WWE purchased WCW, Douglas returned to XPW (Xtreme Pro Wrestling).
Contract: $350,000 year 1/ $375,000 year 2/ 15 days per month
7. Mike Awesome
For a 300lb pounder, Awesome was athletically gifted. The former ECW champion bolted from the company while still the title holder with ECW. Mike joined the rival company of WCW for a huge pay increase in comparison to what he was making in ECW. Awesome’s success would not translate with WCW though, he was put in mediocre programs and at one time, had a gimmick as a heavyset woman calling himself “The Fat Chick Trilla”.
After the purchase of the WCW, the WWE regrettably bought Awesome and his contract, allowing him to join the invasion angle. Many saw it as an opportunity for Awesome to be a big-time player in the WWE. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Contract: $350,000 2 years/ House Show Bonus $2,000/ PPV Bonus $3,000
6. Mark Henry
Henry hasn’t been a part of any major programs for a few years now. He usually is brought in either to be squashed or to be a random add on to a six man Tag Team match. I do understand he is a veteran and put his body on the line many years for the company, but there is a fine line between paying a wrestler for his years of service and overpaying a wrestler who can’t wrestle anymore.
Henry’s first contract with the WWE was just as bad as (or maybe even worse) his current one. In 1996, he was given a 10 year contract for a huge sum of money. The WWE was in a bidding war with the WCW at that time for Henry’s services, and this caused Vince McMahon to overpay for this wrestler. His terms today are truly ridiculous.
Contract: Current $800,000 per year/ $50,000 PPV earnings Past- 10 year deal guaranteed
5. Ernest “The Cat” Miller
Miller got hired with no prior wrestling experience. Miller was literally hired because he was Eric Bischoff’s son’s karate instructor. He was introduced as a three time world karate champion. Yet, there is no proof of these accomplishments, which was another attempt of WCW challenging our intelligence. Miller was a lower card wrestler getting treated like an upper card talent. Following the purchase of WCW, the WWE didn’t hesitate to release Miller. To Ernest’s credit, he got two years’ worth of salary for staying home and taking care of his children.
Contract: $400,000 year 1/ $450,000 year 2
4. Big Show
When fans start chanting “please retire”, maybe it’s time to take a hint and listen to them. Not taking anything away from Big Show though, as he was a great wrestler for his size and he will be in the WWE Hall of Fame one day. Nonetheless, his contract is way too pricey for what he brings to the WWE nowadays. The company should cut ties with him or at least reduce his salary and role on screen.
Contract: $1 million per year/ $320,000 PPV earnings
3. Dustin Rhodes
In 1999, after leaving the WWE because of personal problems, Rhodes found his way back to the WCW with a hefty contract. He was initially portrayed to take on a horror movie style villain gimmick named ‘Seven’. They filmed many vignettes, and these promos contained ominous footage of Rhodes in full makeup standing outside a child’s bedroom window. This creepy gimmick was later dropped due to concern that the persona could be misinterpreted as a child abductor. Rhodes was a disappointment in and out of the ring, he was a mid card wrestler getting paid big bucks with little to no impact in his time with WCW.
Contract: $500,000 year 1/ $600,000 year 2/ $700,000 year 3/ $50,000 signing bonus
2. Randy Thornton “Swoll”
Don’t feel too bad if you don’t remember who this is, as Swoll’s run with WCW was one of the most insignificant in the company’s history. To make matters worse, Swoll had a massive contract for such an irrelevant role as a part of the No Limit Soldiers stable. Swoll’s career with WCW accounted for only six total matches. The WCW got burned big time on this one. Six matches for more than a quarter of a million? Ouch.
Contract: $350,000 per year/ $50,000 signing bonus
1. Hulk Hogan
When you give an egoistic wrestling legend a full guaranteed contract with creative control, the likely outcome is going to be disorder, and that’s what Hogan brought to WCW. Hulk had a stranglehold on the WCW because of his contract. Hogan’s salary was high, however it was the bonuses he was receiving that were irrational and just plain ridiculous. Hogan got a two million dollar signing bonus (just his signing bonus was more than what any other wrestler was making at that time).
Here are some of the ridiculous terms in his contract:
Hogan was to appear on six WCW pay-per-view events (each year), for which he’d be given a $675,000 payout for each or 15% of “domestic PPV cable sales received by WCW for each event,” whichever was greater. So in PPV payoffs alone, he was guaranteed $4.05 million. Every four months, he was advanced $1.35 million.
“Incentive compensation” bonuses would be received for pay-per-views that did a 1.5% buy rate (or better) in different tiers, which would range from $250,000 for a 1.5 to a 1.79 all the way up to $1.75 million for a 3.5 buy rate or greater. In practice, he only got bonuses on this contract for Bash at the Beach in July 1998, which drew a 1.5 buy rate for Hogan and Dennis Rodman vs. Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone.
Hogan received 50% of the net profits for all merchandise sold directly by WCW incorporating his name, likeness, or character.
Additionally, Hogan got a $20,000/month promotional fee for promoting the NWO.