For many years, professional wrestling did not produce wealthy wrestlers -- unless you happened to be someone like Vince McMahon who built an empire. Stories are rife of wrestlers retiring broke or wrestling into their 70s just because they didn't have any money to retire with. Names like Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Big Van Vader had to reach out for help when facing medical issues later in their lives.
However, things changed around the time of the Monday Night Wars. WCW gave multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts. Wrestlers became smarter, investing money and not throwing it away as soon as they earned it. There are also the men who took their fame in wrestling and used it to become rich in other ventures. Here is a look at the 10 richest wrestlers in the world today.
10 BROCK LESNAR ($12.5 MILLION)
Brock Lesnar has one of the best contracts in professional wrestling today. He is paid $500,000 for every match that he wrestles and an additional $100,000 for every time he appears on television. He also gets $500,000 a year for image rights. It is no wonder the WWE rarely pulls him out to make appearances.
Lesnar was a world champion at the age of 25 and made enough money to leave WWE behind to unsuccessfully attempt a career in the NFL and then become a world champion in the UFC. In 2016, Lesnar was paid a record-breaking $2.5 million for a fight at UFC 200.
9 MICK FOLEY ($15 MILLION)
When looking at Mick Foley, many people might mistakenly assume he was one of those wrestlers who had no money when they retired. He mostly wears sweat pants and flannel shirts over t-shirts. He doesn't look rich, and that is why he is one of the richest wrestlers in the world today. He doesn't spend frivolously.
Of course, his money isn't just from wrestling. He is also a New York Times bestselling author and unlike some wrestlers who used ghostwriters, Foley wrote all his books on his own -- and pocketed all the money himself. He also has sold out standup shows all over the United States.
8 THE UNDERTAKER ($17 MILLION)
The Undertaker is one of the richest wrestlers in the world thanks to his longevity, his iconic persona, and his intelligence when dealing with his money. Mark Calaway has wrestled in WWE since 1990 -- the longest tenured wrestler in the company. He only makes random appearances now and can name his own rates.
He is currently also taking bookings for autograph signings, where he charges a cool $25,000 for an appearance -- and people pay the Dead Man what he asks. He also makes a percentage of his merchandise sales, which is always a large sum thanks to taking on the role of the most legendary character in WWE history.
7 CHRIS JERICHO ($18 MILLION)
Chris Jericho just got even more money, signing the biggest contract of his entire career with the new upstart AEW wrestling. That deal is a seven-figure deal and helped boost Jericho's net worth to impressive heights. Even before signing that deal, Jericho was extremely wealthy.
He not only had great contracts through his years as a WWE superstar, but he could leave and then come back and get whatever he asked for to return. He has his own rock band called Fozzy that plays festivals and works alongside legendary bands like Iron Maiden. He is also an author and has his own radio show and podcast.
6 BIG SHOW ($20 MILLION)
It seems strange somewhat to see Big Show ranked so high above some other of the richest wrestlers in the world today. However, Paul Wight has been with WWE since the '90s and was with WCW before that. He has never left the company and continues to collect impressive checks.
Big Show has also appeared in movies and television shows and has been frugal with his money. Big Show also owns a home in Tampa, and in 2007 had a multi-million dollar home in Miami, adding to his overall net worth. He has still yet to retire and continues to collect paychecks while competing on a limited basis in WWE.
5 HULK HOGAN ($25 MILLION)
The net worth of Hulk Hogan has been up and down. He lost a lot of money in his divorce to his ex-wife Linda Hogan, a divorce settlement that dropped his wealth considerably. However, Hogan then ended up filing a lawsuit against a website called Gawker and won $115 million in the case.
He didn't get that total but the two sides settled for $31 million and after the IRS came in and took their cut (this was not for physical damages, so it was taxable), Hogan ended up with his net worth raised back up to $25 million, making him one of the richest wrestlers in the world.
4 TRIPLE H ($40 MILLION)
One would think that Triple H would be worth even more than his impressive $40 million net worth. His father-in-law Vince McMahon is worth $3.8 billion. However, Stephanie McMahon is only worth $45 million and her husband is worth $40 million.
Triple H makes an annual salary of $684,130 as the Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative of WWE, $1.65 million as an on-air talent and wrestler and another $1.1 million as a corporate executive in WWE. His net worth will just go up every year and he will move up this list.
3 STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN ($45 MILLION)
Stone Cold Steve Austin was not in the wrestling business very long. He started out in the territories and moved on to WCW. After that, he signed with WWE and within two years was the biggest name in the entire industry. A few years later, Austin had to retire due to a severe neck injury. However, while he was in WWE as a wrestler, he was one of their highest paid stars and was at the top of all merchandise sales for years.
After retirement, Austin tried out acting and also worked on reality television competition shows. Austin was smart with his money and is now one of the richest retired wrestlers in the world.
2 JOHN CENA ($55 MILLION)
John Cena has been on top of the WWE longer than any other wrestler in history. He came into the company 17 years ago and while he is now a part-time star, he has been at the main event level for well over a decade. That allowed him to lock up a great contract that is one of the largest in WWE history at well over $8 million a year for wrestling, appearances and merchandise sales.
Cena has also become a successful actor, with two huge movies in the last two years alone in Blockers and Bumblebee. Add in the money for the reality show Total Bellas and the television appearances he regularly makes, and Cena is easily the second richest wrestler in the world today.
1 DWAYNE 'THE ROCK' JOHNSON ($220 MILLION)
The richest wrestler to ever live is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He made a lot of money in WWE and made even more when he returned for appearances and matches after he initially left the company. However, he is not rich just because of his work as a professional wrestler.
Johnson is rich because he is one of the most successful actors to ever step foot in Hollywood. He is a true Hollywood star and has appeared in blockbusters like the Fast and Furious franchise and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and his production company has put out successful shows such as Ballers, which he stars in. No wrestler is close to the net worth of The Rock.