Back in the day during what was known as the territory system in North American pro wrestling, wrestlers traveled around the United States and even all over the world when such opportunities arose in order to further their careers and also to make as much money as possible. Performers such as Terry Funk, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race and even Ric Flair did not aspire to be movie stars who were featured in major films and even television programs. They were wrestlers first and foremost, and it was in that business where those individuals made their names and their fortunes above anything else.
Times have changed and for the better in many ways for men and women who venture into the wrestling industry, thanks largely to World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE is now a multimedia conglomerate that has ties in the worlds of movies, television and even music. Top WWE stars are featured in shows that air on cable television and on the WWE Network, and some are even able to eventually take what they learned from wrestling and become superstars all on their own. That has been the case for the wrestler-turned-actor who is known as “The Most-Electrifying Man in Sports and Entertainment.”
Note: These values are estimated per the supposed amounts of money that these individuals have made in and outside of the wrestling business.
25. Kevin Nash: $8 million net worth
Mainstream wrestling fans were first introduced to Kevin Nash during his days as Diesel in the World Wrestling Federation. Nash cashed in on a big payday when he and friend Scott Hall joined World Championship Wrestling in 1996, and the man known as “Big Sexy” and “Big Daddy Cool” has also worked for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Outside of wrestling, Nash has had multiple movie roles that have also netted him some impressive amounts of cash. Those heading out to theaters in the summer of 2015 can see Nash perform in the film Magic Mike XXL.
24. Hulk Hogan: $8 million net worth
Any wrestler who becomes a household name capable of featuring in television shows and movies owes Hulk Hogan all of the credit. Hogan revolutionized the wrestling industry in the 1980s and 1990s, laying down the path for future performers to make significant amounts of money outside of the business. Along with the wealth that he earned working for companies such as the WWF and WCW, Hogan was also the star of his own television show and of several movies. A public divorce along with life decisions and other occurrences have depleted some of the wealth had by Hogan, but the Hulkster is still doing alright for himself.
Note: Diamond Dallas Page, Vickie Guerrero and Sting all also have net worths of $8 million.
23. Rey Mysterio: $8.5 million net worth
The man who is often credited for helping make Lucha Libre style wrestling a massive hit in the United States in the 1990s has been at it for decades. Rey Mysterio started out in Triple A before getting noticed in Extreme Championship Wrestling. World Championship Wrestling then came calling in 1996, and feuds with the likes of Dean Malenko, Psicosis and Ultimo Dragon helped make Rey Jr. a star. His best runs of his singles career came in the WWE, where he won the World Heavyweight Championship and the WWE Championship. Mysterio and the WWE parted ways earlier this year, but he is still working for several promotions.
T 21. Randy Orton: $9 million net worth
Injuries coupled with some unfortunate behind-the-scenes incidents seemed to threaten the WWE career of Randy Orton over a decade ago, but the former “Legend Killer” got his act together and evolved into one of the more consistent workers in the company. Orton has been a part of “Evolution,” “Rated-RKO” and “The Legacy,” but it is as a singles competitor where the man now known as “The Viper” has had the most success. He may not be in the main event picture as of the summer of 2015, but Orton is still making good money for himself in WWE.
T 21. John Layfield/JBL: $9 million net worth
Those who have followed the life and times of John “Bradshaw” Layfield watched his character change from a cowboy-esque fighter to a Wall Street mogul who could also get the job done inside of the ring. Along with wrestling, Layfield has worked as an analyst for FOX News Channel. He has also launched his own company. Is days as an active wrestler have been over for some time, but WWE fans can still see JBL on a weekly basis. He works as a color commentator for the Raw program, and Layfield has also been featured in shows on the WWE Network.
20. David Otunga: $10 million net worth
The WWE chose to let art imitate life regarding David Otunga, explaining his actual background to fans from his first days on the original NXT show. Otunga graduated from Harvard Law School, he has been a successful practicing attorney, and he has been featured on weekly WWE shows. It also does not hurt his overall wealth that Otunga happens to be married to actress and pop singer Jennifer Hudson. He will likely never feature in a WWE main event or win the company’s top championship, but Otunga should nevertheless be living the good life for decades to come.
19. Jeff Hardy: $12 million net worth
As much money as Jeff Hardy has made inside and outside of the pro wrestling industry, the truth of the matter is that he should have even more wealth. Hardy’s battles with personal demons cost him multiple runs in the WWE even at times when he proved that he could be arguably the top babyface in all of the company. While he has done well to earn contracts from TNA Wrestling in the past, that promotion was never capable of making him as rich as he could have been had he been able to remain underneath the WWE umbrella up through at least 2015.
18. Eric Bischoff: $12.5 million net worth
To think that there was once a time where the majority of WCW fans knew Eric Bischoff only as a television commentator. The man who was largely responsible for firing the opening shots of the “Monday Night Wars” was the Executive Producer of WCW television back in the 1990s, and he would become a heel authority figure who did occasionally step inside of the ring for matches. Bischoff worked as an on-air character for WWE following the demise of WCW, he has had gigs in other wrestling companies such as TNA Wrestling, and he has also authored an autobiography.
17. Dave Batista: $13 million net worth
Dave Batista got his first big break in the wrestling industry as part of the “Evolution” heel faction that included Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Triple H. Batista would ultimately become one of the hottest acts in the company working as a babyface and feuding against Triple H, but he also proved that he was capable of being one of the best heels in the business during his time with the company. Whether or not he will ever return to the WWE is unknown, largely because he has found much success in Hollywood. Get used to seeing Batista performing on the big screen.
T 14. Bill Goldberg: $14 million net worth
Those running WCW got the majority of big-time decisions wrong following the initial days of the New World Order angle. Bill Goldberg was, for a time, not one of those miscues. The company did well to push Goldberg as the hottest babyface in all of WCW, and his victory over Hulk Hogan during an edition of Monday Nitro remains one of the most-memorable moments to ever occur during the “Monday Night Wars.” Goldberg made what was a brief return to the ring in June of 2015, taking it to “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner at an independent show. And some say you cannot go back in time.
T 14. Bret Hart: $14 million net worth
Some, depending on how old you are and also on how much you were paying attention at the time, may have not known or forgotten that Bret “Hitman” Hart worked as an actor for multiple television shows and also movies when he was able to take those gigs in the 1990s. Hart is, of course, more known for what he achieved during his active in-ring career. “The Excellence of Execution” earned millions of dollars working for both the WWE and WCW, and he will make occasional appearances on WWE television. Hart is no longer able to work matches due to an actual stroke that he suffered back in 2002.
T 14. Edge: $14 million net worth
Adam Copeland working as “Edge” inside of wrestling rings is now a thing of the past. One of the best workers of his time was forced to legitimately retire in 2011 due to an injury that could have been life-threatening had he continued to have matches. Edge has since made sporadic appearances on WWE shows, and he unquestionably has the verbal skills to be a commentator or a manager were he to ever want to pursue those careers. Copeland has instead ventured into acting, and he has earned several gigs that should help him only earn greatest wealth in the future.
T 12. Jeff Jarrett: $15 million net worth
The wrestling career of Jeff Jarrett has been nothing short of fascinating. Once a wrestler who jumped from the WWF to WCW during the “Monday Night Wars,” Jarrett was left a free agent after the demise of WCW. He then hoped to help create a new No. 2 promotion in the United States; Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. TNA Wrestling has more-so survived than thrived over the past decade, but that has not stopped Jarrett from continuing to pursue options outside of the WWE. His Global Force Wrestling promotion is set to fully launch in 2015. Best of luck to you, Mr. Jarrett.
T 12. Mick Foley: $15 million net worth
Some people working in the wrestling industry and also fans believed that Mick Foley would never make it in the business. “Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy” made it, alright, and the hardcore legend became one of the most beloved acts in WWE history. Nobody can deny that Foley sacrificed his body and likely years of his life to the business, and thus he truly earned every penny that he made as a wrestler. Foley has also been a best-selling author, he has hosted stand-up shows, and he has even worked as a Santa. The hardcore legend is far from finished making money off of wrestling fans, and good for him for it.
11. Undertaker: $16 million net worth
Undertaker has what very well may be the best gig in all of the pro wrestling business. He shows up to work a feud during WrestleMania season. He has a match at the biggest show of the year, one that nets him a nice check. Undertaker then quietly rides off into the sunset, not to be seen on WWE television again until the following WrestleMania season. The veteran of the ring who has played one of the most iconic characters the WWE has ever seen has certainly earned such an easy schedule at this point of his career. Besides, it is not as if Undertaker does not get over with crowds to this day.
10. Shawn Michaels: $17 million net worth
He is seen by some to be the greatest overall wrestler in the history of the WWE, a man who had numerous five-star matches and some legendary feuds with all-time great performers. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels is a tremendous wrestling redemption story, recovering from addiction and also a serious back injury to have an incredible second run to cap off what was already a Hall-of-Fame worthy career. While Michaels still appears on WWE shows every now and again these days, he keeps himself busy with other projects. You may have seen Michaels on different hunting shows that air on cable TV.
9. Chris Jericho: $18 million net worth
Wrestling fans know Chris Jericho as being a phenomenal performer who has worked for promotions in multiple companies and who found homes in WCW and the WWF/WWE. Jericho has branched out to forge legacies outside of the industry, though, competing on Dancing With the Stars and also hosting game shows. The wrestler who has the nickname “Y2J” is also the front man for the band Fozzy. Do not, however, think that Jericho is done as a wrestler. He worked on the July 4 WWE Network special, defeating Neville with what some observers called the best match of that show.
T 7. The Big Show: $20 million net worth
Paul Wight was a hit right out of the gates in WCW as “The Giant,” having one of the best rookie campaigns in 1995 that you will ever see from any pro wrestler. It was a thought that he would be the signing that would forever change the “Monday Night Wars” when he joined the WWE in 1999, but it took some time and also a demotion to developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling before Show found his feet in his new home. Show has since largely been a mainstay on WWE television for the better part of a decade, and his flips from heel to babyface and back to heel have made for some intentional comedy.
T 7. Kurt Angle: $20 million net worth
There will, when all is said and done, be a serious case to be made for Kurt Angle being the greatest wrestler to ever work in North America. Angle made a name for himself when he won a gold medal in wrestling at the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, but it was in the WWF where he truly began earning his wealth as a professional wrestler. The man known as “The Wrestling Machine” has put together instant classic matches in both the WWE and TNA Wrestling, and the hope is that he will be able to put on one final great contest inside of a WWE ring before he calls time on his active career.
T 5. Triple H: $25 million net worth
He nowadays plays the role of a heel as part of “The Authority” faction, and all indications are that the wrestler who has been called “The Game” and “The King of Kings” is only going to accumulate more wealth in the foreseeable future. The wheels have already been set into motion for Triple H and his real-life wife to take the WWE over, and the current state of the NXT brand has largely been a creation of the former D-Generation-X co-founder. He may still wrestle a couple of times a year, but Triple H is now far more valuable to the WWE for what he contributes behind the scenes.
T 5. Stephanie McMahon: $25 million net worth
She may never put on a five-star match at any point during her life, but do not let that take away from the fact that Stephanie McMahon has evolved into a talented on-air character as part of “The Authority” alongside real-life husband Triple H. A respected businesswoman, McMahon was selected as a 2015 Eisenhower USA Fellow, and she and Triple H will sooner than later be tasked with being the new czars of the top promotion in the world. The truth of the matter is that Stephanie McMahon will be worth much more money down the road due to WWE stocks and also increases in yearly salaries.
4. John Cena: $35 million net worth
He has not been a favorite among certain pockets of pro wrestling fans who have grown tired of seeing him in main events. Even those individuals cannot, however, deny how important John Cena has been to the WWE and to the pro wrestling industry. The biggest babyface draw of his time will be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, maybe even before he is finished working as an active wrestler, and Cena has also appeared in movie and television roles. There is no question that the wrestling world is far better off having had Cena in the WWE for over a decade.
3. Steve Austin: $45 million net worth
Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly website have in podcasts referred to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as being the biggest draw in the history of North American pro wrestling. Austin was a revolutionary character that the WWF badly needed while in the midst of a battle for supremacy against WCW, and his battles with foe “Mr. McMahon” were unlike anything that many fans had ever before witnessed. There may have been an “Attitude Era” without Austin, sure, but it would not have been as entertaining or profitable for the WWE.
2. The Rock: $125 million net worth
Here is a crazy thought for diehard wrestling fans: There are going to be a generation of moviegoers who only know Dwayne Johnson for the numerous summer blockbusters and other movies he has starred in and not because he was once the most “over” wrestler in the industry. The Rock is no longer a wrestler who happens to earn movie roles. He is a legitimate Hollywood superstar who occasionally does favors for the WWE by appearing at shows and other events. Rock has also recently been showcased in an HBO program, reminding all that his acting career is only on the rise as of the summer of 2015.
1. Vince McMahon: $750 million net worth
Along with being the king of the pro wrestling world as it pertains to the business end of the industry, Vince McMahon has also worked as an in-ring performer who happened to win multiple titles in the WWE. Thus, McMahon is worthy of being atop this list let alone mentioned in it. The days of McMahon serving as the WWE Chairman may not yet be over, but the man who has built a wrestling empire will turn 70 years old later this year. Age is going to catch up to him eventually, which is why he has already handed off certain aspects of the company over to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.